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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Loading Zones” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | photo courtesy of the artist

One might expect a song called “Loading Zones” from such a musician like Kurt Vile would reflect on his extensive touring with The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, or with the Violators, loading in and out for shows almost constantly since 2005. Instead, the track — XPN’s new Gotta Hear Song of the Week — is a nostalgic and familiar contemplation of the everyday loading zone, Vile singing of avoiding paying parking by using the loading zones in his hometown streets. “Get my shopping done, laundry too, drop some dead weight, clean my hands of what I need to clean my hands of.” The structure of the song follows suit, never faltering in its churning groove. Continue reading →

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Battle of Who Has The Best Instruments: Cake, Ben Folds, and Tall Heights face off at The Mann

Cake | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last night, Ben Folds and Cake brought their double headlining tour to the Mann Center, the two alt-rock legends rocking the house with their idiosyncratic brands. One might be able to draw all sorts of comparisons and reasons as to why a co-headlining tour between these artists works so well, but I personally am willing to bet it began as a competition as to who could bring the best instruments. Folds’ lineup consisted of piano, of course, but also featuring opener Tall Heights as a backing band, who played on guitar, cello, cocktail drums, and adding a bass harmonica in lieu of an electric bass. Cake, not to be outdone, included an act of  bass, drums, and guitar, with trumpet, melodica, and vibraslap, among several other percussion instruments. The two iconic groups were matched in wit and in talent, and their use of audience participation almost hypnotic. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile just wants to park in the “Loading Zones” video

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | photo courtesy of the artist

One might expect a song called “Loading Zones” from such a musician like Kurt Vile would reflect on his extensive touring with The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, or with the Violators, loading in and out for shows almost constantly since 2005. Instead, the track is a nostalgic and familiar contemplation of the everyday loading zone, Vile singing of avoiding paying parking by using the loading zones in his hometown streets. “Get my shopping done, laundry too, drop some dead weight, clean my hands of what I need to clean my hands of.” The structure of the song follows suit, never faltering in its churning groove. Continue reading →

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Shannen Moser escapes to the southwest in “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man),” the first single from I’ll Sing

Shannen Moser
Shannen Moser | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Shannen Moser will release her sophomore album, I’ll Sing, this September on Lame-O Records, and today released the first single off the record, “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man).”

Diverging from her typically acoustic-based format, this song takes on a sharper edge with the addition of an electric guitar and bass, while Moser expresses an interest in the Southwest, breaking out from the typical confines of navigating relationships. Continue reading →

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Speedy Ortiz gives a dizzying performance of Twerp Verse and more at PhilaMOCA

Speedy Ortiz | photo by Sam Kesler for WXPN

Philadelphia favorites Speedy Ortiz took the stage at PhilaMOCA to perform from their new album Twerp Verse, as well as a set of fan-requested classics. After a stint this past year performing under her electropop solo project Sad13, frontwoman Sadie Dupuis returned to showcase her intricate and intelligent rock side. The performance was dizzying, covering much of Speedy’s impressive discography and diverse sound, featuring Dupuis’ witty lyricism with guitar hooks and musicality to match. Continue reading →

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Snail Mail showcases Lush, duets with Katie Crutchfield at Union Transfer

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlV86Zfl4Bd/?taken-by=uniontransfer

Following the release of their debut album, Lush, Snail Mail rocked the Union Transfer stage this Saturday, with front-woman Lindsey Jordan joined by a full band, going solo, and inviting a special guest out for a cover duet. Snail Mail is still in their early days, but has been making huge waves in indie rock, after releasing their breakthrough EP, Habit, and touring almost constantly since. If her set at UT proved anything, it’s that Snail Mail isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Continue reading →

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Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield revisits her Great Thunder project on new EP

Waxahatchee
Waxahatchee | photo courtesy of the artist

Waxahatchee has announced the release of Great Thunder, an EP named for Katie Crutchfield’s now dormant project with Swearin’ bassist Keith Spencer featuring re-imagined versions of their songs. Following the release of her anthemic 2017 album Out in the Storm, this EP will be based more on Crutchfield’s folk and country influences. “I would say that it is a complete 180 from the last record: super stripped-down, quiet, and with me performing solo, it’s a throwback to how I started,” Crutchfield says in a statement. “Overall, the EP is a warm, kind of vibey recording.” Continue reading →

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Radiator Hospital crush an outdoor set at Spruce Street Harbor Park

Radiator Hospital | photo by Sam Kesler for WXPN

Continuing Spruce Street Harbor Park’s Waterfront Sessions for July, Radiator Hospital played an on-point set that garnered attention from the audience as well as passersby, illuminated by a Philly sunset and the park’s neon lights. The four-piece Philadelphia band played through most of their most recent album, Play The Songs You Like, as well as some of their best live songs. The set was relatively brief, but encompassed a decent sample of their discography, entrapping the crowd and potentially earning themselves a few new fans from the pedestrian public. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest artist Phoebe Bridgers covers Manchester Orchestra’s “The Gold”

Phoebe Bridgers | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Just two weeks before Phoebe Bridgers takes the stage for XPNFest 2018, she has released a cover of Manchester Orchestra’s “The Gold.” It’s not a surprising take on the song, given both Bridger’s and MO’s tendency to buck genre constraints, and the similarities between Bridger’s and Andy Hull’s inflections. The cover resists slowing down the tempo, and instead re-adapts the song into Bridgers’ style, her guitar backed by a lush environment of electronic sounds and distant percussion. Continue reading →