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Old 97’s announce holiday album; Rhett Miller announces solo album

Old 97s | courtesy of the artist
Old 97’s | courtesy of the artist

News from Rhett Miller and his band Old 97’s comes two-fold today. First off, the alt-country veterans have shared that they’ll be getting into the holiday spirit a bit early this year with the announcement of Love The Holidays, their first album of original holiday songs, to be released on November 16. Additionally, Miller will release his next solo album, The Messenger, on November 9, making for a busy fall for both the solo performer and the band. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Ring in the New Year with Hop Along in Asbury Park

Hop Along at SXSW | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Even after several months of steady touring, Hop Along couldn’t help but join in on the New Year’s Eve fun. The Philly-favorite band has just announced that they’ll play two shows at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ on December 30th and 31st, after kicking off their New Year’s run in Boston on the 29th.

Hop Along is touring Europe with The Decemberists this fall, and while they’ve been through Philly a few times following the April release of their newest record Bark Your Head Off, Dog, their most memorable local appearance was a hometown headlining show at Union Transfer this past May. Continue reading →

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Wilco’s Nels Cline sets the mood at Union Transfer, pays tribute to Philadelphia’s rich musical history

Nels Cline of Wilco | photo by Noah Silvestry

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline recently came through town to play a special evening of Philadelphia music, and Jazz Night in America was there to capture it all on film. Cline’s performance was intended as a sort-of love letter to the music of the City of Brotherly Love, and for Cline, a personal exploration of the city’s musical roots from jazz to soul.

Lovers (for Philadelphia) was a long time in the making, a follow-up project to Cline’s 2016 Lovers album. According to NPR, Cline made several trips to Philly prior to the show to conduct research, visiting cultural landmarks like the Curtis Institute of Music and the headquarters of Sun Ra Arkestra in Germantown. Cline turned Union Transfer into an intimate jazz club for the night, performing songs by iconic Philadelphia artists ranging from Benny Golson to The Delfonics. Continue reading →

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Elton John gave Low Cut Connie a shoutout at his Wells Fargo Center show

Elton John with Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner | via Facebook

Elton John wants you to know that he’s a Low Cut Connie fan. Furthermore, he wants to make sure that you listen to them, too — though XPN listeners won’t have any trouble with that. The Philly band has been a favorite among their hometown audiences for some time, but it’s rare for a local band that hasn’t quite reached mainstream attention to receive such a ringing endorsement like this from a musical icon.

When his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour came through the Wells Fargo Center earlier this week, Sir Elton gave Low Cut Connie a public shoutout, even dedicating his song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to the band, which he ranks among his current favorites.

Captured on the Instagram video below, “There’s always been a lot of wonderful music coming out of Philadelphia, ever since I can remember,” said Elton John. “And there’s a band that I love at the moment so much called Low Cut Connie, who are also from Philadelphia. And I’d like to dedicate this song to them right now, because I love them very much, and you should check them out. Buy their records, go see them. Amazing.”

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Free at Noon Flashback: Mt. Joy brings a dose of folk rock charm to World Cafe Live

Mt. Joy performs live at World Cafe Live for WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert | Photo by Rich McKie / WXPN

Mt. Joy has quickly become a favorite among the XPN universe this year — after being featured as January’s Artist to Watch, the band released their debut album and soon returned to play NonComm and this year’s XPoNential festival. Tonight they’re back in town for a proper headlining gig, and this afternoon they treated us to a preview in the form of an energy-filled Free at Noon performance.

But if you think the up-and-coming band is getting sick of Philly by now, that’s not the case. Every visit back to the city is a homecoming for the band, whose members are originally from the area. (They draw the name Mt. Joy not from the Lancaster Co. borough, but from the mountain in Valley Forge.) And Philly’s certainly not getting sick of them, if today’s enthusiastic audience was any indication. Also, they have a song about painting a school bus green and tailgating at Eagles games, so if that doesn’t earn them Philadelphians’ love and admiration I’m not sure what would. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker will bring abysskiss to the Church

Adrianne Lenker | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Adrianne Lenker may be best known as the vocalist and songwriter of Big Thief, but fans of the popular indie band would be remiss to overlook her solo work. The prolific musician will release her next solo album, abysskiss, next month, and while Big Thief will be busy touring this fall, Lenker will tour the new album in early 2019, with a stop at the First Unitarian Church on February 15. Singer-songwriter Luke Temple will open. Continue reading →

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Storytelling with Shannen Moser

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

Some people move to places like Philadelphia for the appeal of city life — to leave the rural or suburban communities they came from far behind. That’s not the case for Shannen Moser. When the songwriter talks about growing up in the mountains of Berks County, Pennsylvania, her words spill out of her. Both her love for her hometown and the influence it’s had on her music are immediately evident; she speaks as passionately about the details of her rural former home as she does about her career as a musician. So if Moser’s songs make you think of back country roads, looming mountain ranges, and crisp fall days, then you’re on the right track.

After five years in the city — years spent becoming a key figure in a music scene that is full of heavier, louder music than her own — Moser still returns to the kind of music that has always come the most naturally to her. She’s back with her latest record, I’ll Sing, out now. It’s 15 tracks of what you could call folk, even country (though Moser herself prefers to just call it storytelling), but either way, it’s music that transports you to a different time, a different place. And yet it’s incredibly real — and proof that Philly music doesn’t have to sound like it comes from Philly. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile returns with the expansive “Bassackwards” from his new album Bottle It In

Kurt Vile | photo by Jo McCaughey | courtesy of the artist

When Philadelphia’s newest concert venue, The Met, opens this December, hometown hero Kurt Vile will be there to celebrate. Vile has just announced that his new album, Bottle It In, will be released October 12 on Matador Records. Following the release, Vile will embark on a lengthy tour throughout the fall, winter and spring that will take him through many of the world’s iconic venues, but playing one of The Met’s first shows will certainly be a highlight. Along with today’s announcement Vile has also shared a new song off the forthcoming album, the nearly 10-minute “Bassackwards,” which Matador calls “the album’s beating heart.” Listen below.

The Met, once known as The Metropolitan Opera House, was built in 1908 but sat dormant for years before its recent rehabilitation, which intends to restore it to its former glory as a key piece of Philadelphia’s cultural scene. The North Broad Street venue will be Philadelphia’s largest non-arena venue and will host a variety of performers; its initial lineup of shows has just been announced and will include performances by Bob Dylan, Weezer, Amos Lee, and several more music and comedy acts. Continue reading →

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Sixteen Jackies, American Trappist, and Madalean Gauze will play The Deli Philly’s 10th Anniversary Bash

Sixteen Jackies | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN / American Trappist | photo courtesy of the artist / Madalean Gauze | still from video

The Deli Philly‘s annual birthday bash is a special one this year — the local edition of the music magazine is turning 10 years old, and to celebrate, they’ve put together a stacked triple bill of local artists. The birthday gig will take place on October 6 at PhilaMOCA, and glam rockers Sixteen Jackies will headline the show. The Deli recently chose Sixteen Jackies’ new EP Mascula as their record of the month in June. Continue reading →

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Charles Bradley’s final album will be released posthumously this fall

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

It’s been nearly a year since the passing of The Screaming Eagle of Soul, Charles Bradley, who lost his battle with cancer not long after performing at 2017’s XPN Fest. This fall, though, Bradley’s music will live on in the form of Black Velvet, his posthumous final album.

Compiled by Bradley and his producer/co-writer Thomas “TNT” Brenneck, the 10-track album will feature songs spanning the soul and funk singer’s decade-long career, and will include covers of Nirvana’s “Stay Away” and Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” Dunham and Daptone Records will release Black Velvet on November 9, and lead single “I Feel a Change” is out now. The accompanying video shows black-and-white footage of Bradley as he records and performs. Continue reading →