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Three Man Cannon takes us behind the scenes of their new self-titled record before this weekend’s release show

Three Man Cannon | photo by Russell Edling

The four members of Three Man Cannon are rarely in the same place at the same time. They’re busy folks — so busy that we could only pin one of them down for this interview. Spenser Colmbs, Matt Schimelfenig, Pat Brier and Dennis Mishko were still teenagers when they formed the band in Scranton, PA, and the decade since has brought countless moves back and forth across the region, not to mention changes in their sound and their approach to songwriting and recording.

Yet while distance can be an issue — 100 mile trips up and down the Pennsylvania Turnpike aren’t exactly conducive to frequent band practices — Three Man Cannon is still going strong. The band braved a snowstorm last winter to convene for ten days in a cozy converted-barn studio in the Poconos, and, day by day, song by song, made what would become their new self-titled LP. Tucked away from the city and their hectic everyday lives, Three Man Cannon brought a new clarity to their music, filling in the pieces that were once missing with a sharp focus and collaborative spirit. The result is their best record yet.

Three Man Cannon is out now. Read our conversation with bassist Spenser Colmbs below. Continue reading →

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XPNFest adds artists incl. Darlingside, Blind Boys of Alabama, Harmony Woods, & More

clockwise from left: Darlingside | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN // Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Jim Herrington | courtesy of the artist // Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN // &More | photo by Dejanaya Spicer | courtesy of the artist

These are exciting times, folks. As if this year’s XPoNential Music Festival lineup wasn’t already stacked enough, today we’re thrilled to announce several more artists that will be joining us this summer on the Camden Waterfront. Continue reading →

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Wilco’s Nels Cline brings some brotherly love to Union Transfer with his one-night-only Lovers (for Philadelphia) performance

Nels Cline | photo by Zoran Orlic | via the artist’s Facebook page

When he’s not playing guitar in Wilco, Nels Cline has evidently been spending some time studying the music of iconic Philadelphia artists. This June, the experimental jazz musician will bring his own renditions of Philly-made songs to the city itself for a “One-Night-Only Love Letter to the City of Brotherly Love,” and it’s shaping up to be not your everyday concert. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Hop Along powers through an record-release day teaser of Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Hop Along | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

It seems like Hop Along is the busiest band in the world these days. They’ve been steadily rolling out singles from their new album Bark Your Head Off, Dog since January, and today that new record is finally out. Lucky for us, ahead of their quickly sold-out record release show tomorrow night, the band found time to stop by World Cafe Live for the second act of today’s Free at Noon doubleheader.

Hop Along has been a favorite of the Philly scene for quite some time — as vocalist/guitarist Frances Quinlan pointed out, she’s been playing under some variation of the band’s name for about 13 years. “That’s as old as an eighth grader,” Quinlan said, adding that Hop Along is having a much better eighth grade year than she did.

And after today’s show, we can certainly confirm that. This was Hop Along’s first hometown show since their appearance at last year’s XPN Fest, and the first time we’ve heard songs from the incredible new record live. It was also their first time performing as a five-piece — the band recently added Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian as their touring guitarist/keyboardist.

All of that made for quite a gripping performance. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Caroline Rose packs a short set full of offbeat energy

Caroline Rose | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Caroline Rose has just a few favorite songs — her own songs, that is. During her Free at Noon performance today, the NYC-based songwriter enthusiastically introduced more than one of her tunes as her “favorite” — and with an enthralling performance like Rose’s, it’s hard to disagree.

Rose’s set may have been on the shorter side to allow time for the doubleheader, but she packed it full of infectious energy and her signature offbeat touches — from the fake flowers (and…vegetables?) decorating the stage to her beloved stuff cat Chelsea perched on the keyboard, which was labeled Key Bore-d. But Rose’s set was anything but boring. Rather, the band was so upbeat that you could hardly tell it was their third Philly show in 24 hours — they played Johnny Brenda’s last night and an in-store at Main Street Music before that, and somehow they have to get to their Connecticut show tonight. Continue reading →

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Now, Now fixates on memories in the new “AZ” video

Now, Now | photo by Sam San Román | courtesy of the artist

Now, Now were well on their way to becoming indie gems back in 2012 with the release of their album Threads. But for a number of reasons, the Minneapolis band decided against the usual route of giving in to music industry pressure to deliver a quick follow-up, and instead took some time off to figure things out. Continue reading →

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Kississippi on sad songwriting, feeling powerful, and the beauty of boxed wine

Kississippi | photo by Megan Thompson | courtesy of the artist

On a summer night in 2014, Zoe Allaire Reynolds was driving from Tennessee back home to Philadelphia with a carful of people she didn’t really know.

Reynolds hadn’t released any music as Kississippi yet, but that night, as she often does, she put what was going on in her head into words. She wrote about that specific moment in time, about who was with her and who wasn’t: “In the backseat of Max’s car / Philadelphia gobbles up the stars / A thousand miles from where you are.”

These lyrics would become the song “Googly Eyes,” which would later appear on Kississippi’s first EP, 2015’s We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed. Continue reading →

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First Time’s the Charm festival returns to build a more inclusive scene in summer of 2018

First Time’s The Charm 2016 vets Aster More play the First Unitarian Church | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Everyone’s always been told that “the third time’s the charm,” but thanks to an effort in the local DIY scene, there’s a reason to redefine that old adage. First Time’s the Charm aims to showcase diverse voices by placing a spotlight on new and underrepresented musicians. The event started in 2013 and will return this July for its third installment. Continue reading →