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The Week Ahead: Strand of Oaks, Ivy Sole, Mavis Staples, Swearin’ and more

Ivy Sole at SXSW | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

From alt rock heros to rising stars in hip-hop, a Philly favorite taking over three nights at Boot and Saddle in South Philly, while a soul queen posts up for two nights at World Cafe Live in University City. And the time of year being what it is, there are not one, not two, but three holiday shows on the calendar this week. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Watch John Legend get into the holiday spirit with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” video

John Legend in “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” | still from youtube video

There’s plenty of holiday music to go around, but the season always seems a little more festive when a new tune comes our way. John Legend recently put his own stamp on some classic holiday songs with his new album A Legendary Christmas, and just released a fun, retro-inspired video for “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The singer duets with Esperanza Spalding on the track, and the video sees both musicians decked out in their holiday best, reveling in the season’s festivities as they sing. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Shy Boys introduce Kansas City indie pop to World Cafe Live

Shy Boys performing at World Cafe Live for WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert | photo by Rich McKie

Shy Boys may be from out of town — Kansas City, Missouri, to be exact — but their two-day stint in Philadelphia has had them feeling right at home. After the band’s show at PhilaMOCA last night, they were gearing up for today’s Free at Noon performance with a hearty breakfast when frontman Collin Rausch noticed that the restaurant was playing XPN over the speakers. It got even more surreal for the band when they heard a promo for own show today, making them feel like they weren’t too far away from home after all. Continue reading →

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The Innocence Mission find power in quiet at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk

The Innocence Mission | still from video

If you’ve ever doubted the power that a few acoustic instruments and some whispery vocals can produce, The Innocence Mission is here to prove you wrong. When the Lancaster-based folk trio stopped by NPR recently to record a Tiny Desk Concert, NPR Music’s Lars Gotrich described their music as the kind that, though quiet, captivates listeners immediately, writing: “The Innocence Mission, ever the most careful cultivators of quiet, encouraged us to come closer, to discover the ‘thing beautiful enough’ in the moment it’s delivered.” Continue reading →

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Full Bush, Overwinter and more will play Great How’ve You Been Fest this weekend

Full Bush | via Facebook

One of Philly’s biggest DIY music festivals returns for a second year this weekend. Presented by goodhowareyou records and Paper Scissors Media, Great How’ve You Been Fest 18 will be hosted at two South Philly DIY spaces on Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, Dec. 2nd; the lineup features many of the label’s artists plus several other local acts. According to goodhowareyou, the mission is “to provide two full days of non-stop entertainment that is affordable, safe and welcoming to all, and supports artists directly.” Continue reading →

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Puppy Angst introduces themselves to the scene with new single “meet at the show”

Puppy Angst | via puppyangst.bandcamp.com

Philly’s Puppy Angst just made their full-band debut with the release of a single, “meet at the show.” Formerly the solo project of musician Alyssa Milman, the band recorded the new tune as a four-piece and is out on Bandcamp via Good How Are You Records. Self-described as “a quiet solo project turned noisy bummergaze,” Puppy Angst captures universal feelings of confusion and frustration with “meet at the show,” pairing the song’s themes with a bright, poppy sheen underscored with classically DIY grit. Continue reading →

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Orion Sun showcases her influences and sketches in test: experimental tape continuous mix

Orion Sun at Made In America | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Orion Sun has a new album in the works, but ahead of that release she’s sharing some new material in the form of a 19-minute Soundcloud compilation. According to the artist, the new release, which is titled test: experimental tape, features a combination of mostly self-produced remixes and unreleased songs that Orion Sun decided didn’t fit with the new record but wanted to share anyway. Continue reading →

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Listen to the latest from The Retinas, “Back Alley Brats” and “Come On Over”

The Retinas | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s been an explosive year for prolific Philly rockers The Retinas — first the band wiped their Bandcamp clean in order to focus on new material, and then they released two EPs over the course of a few months. Their latest EP, Yellow Rocket, was just released in September, but The Retinas are already back with their next recording, a pair of new singles, “Back Alley Brats” and “Come On Over.”

The two tracks follow the band’s penchant for stylistic fuzzed-out garage rock, but are set apart from the band’s other works in the way they tie together seamlessly with their laid-back, steady groove. Listen to the two new songs below; as of right now The Retinas don’t have any upcoming shows scheduled. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Meek Mill brings The Motivation Tour to The Met

Meek Mill at Made In America | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Rapper, activist and Philly native Meek Mill has announced The Motivation Tour, which will take him across the US following the release of his new album Championships. The tour kicks off in February and includes a hometown appearance at The Met on March 15.

Championships, which is out November 30, will be Meek Mill’s first full-length release since 2017’s Wins & Losses; in the interim he put out an EP called Legends Of The Summer, which you can revisit below. Since his own release from prison this past April, Meek Mill has used his platform to advocate for reform of the criminal justice system, appearing everywhere from local rallies to national television. Continue reading →