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Free at Noon Flashback: Doyle Bramhall II delivers a scorching set at World Cafe Live

Doyle Bramhall II | photo by Taylor Johnson for WXPN

Doyle Bramhall II may not be a household name, but a quick look at his past collaborators is credentials enough. Since the 90’s he’s worked with Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Elton John, Allen Toussaint, and countless others. Spending an hour with him at today’s Free at Noon was enough to understand why he’s in such demand. Bramhall plays the blues with a conviction few can match, and has the stage presence to back it up. Performing selections off his new album Shades, released just today, Bramhall owned the stage with his powerful musicianship. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Metric and Zoé will co-headline at the Fillmore

Metric | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | hellerhound.com

Toronto indie vets Metric and Mexico city Latin rockers Zoé have announced a co-headlining North American tour that’s bound for the Fillmore this Valentine’s Day. Metric will be supporting their new album The Art of Doubt, released just last Friday, while Zoé tour behind their Grammy-nominated Aztlán LP. With bands hailing from opposite ends of the continent and working in vastly unique styles, the show ought to make for a captivating night of music (and a solid date for any couples looking to spice the holiday up). Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Junglepussy cuts to the core on her new single “They Know”

Junglepussy
Junglepussy | photo by Paolo M Testa | courtesy of the artist

A Junglepussy song is never ambiguous. While many contemporary MC’s lean toward a melodic, abstract, sometimes non-lyrical approach to rapping, she spits in a voice clear as day and writes lyrics that cut right to the core. Her skills are on full display on the new single, “They Know.” Over a hard-grooving beat, she fires off punchy raps and a g-funk inspired hook destined for full-club singalongs. Continue reading →

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Watch unearthed footage of John Lennon and George Harrison in studio in 1971

John Lennon and George Harrison in the studio | still from video

Today brings a great surprise to Beatles fans of the world—who we estimate make up about 100% of the WXPN audience. In anticipation of the upcoming reissue of John Lennon’s seminal 1971 LP Imagine, the Lennon estate has released previously unseen footage from recording sessions for the song “How Do You Sleep?” Those who know their fab-four history will remember this song as Lennon’s post-Beatles diss track to Paul McCartney. Recorded just two years after the band’s breakup, it contains such biting lyrics as “those freaks was right when they said you was dead” and “the only thing you done was yesterday.” It’s a fascinating document, showcasing the sheer pettiness that lingered from the Beatles’ end days. Some might call it a sort of a fitting metaphor that the ultimate icons of 60’s peace and love would start the 70’s with an egoistic feud.

Cultural implications aside, the footage is compelling for many other reasons. For one, it features a standout performance from George Harrison, who delivers some particularly soulful slide guitar. His restrained solo exemplifies the subtle mastery of the quiet Beatle. Equally impressive is the sheer rawness of the footage. In its released version, “How Do You Sleep?” features generous echo effects and lush strings. Here, it’s reduced to nothing more than a band in a room. Continue reading →

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Prince probably never wanted us to hear Piano & A Microphone 1983

Prince’s Piano and a Microphone 1983

Prince‘s death is potentially the greatest moneymaker his estate could ever ask for. With the notoriously picky and reserved artist no longer at the reins, they are not only free make his music more widely accessible — finally making much of his discography available on streaming services last year — but they’re also free to dig into his legendary Paisley Park vault. With today’s release of the first posthumous Prince album, the rest of us stay caught between the allure of more classic Prince and the certainty that we’re experiencing his art in a way he never would have wanted. Continue reading →

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Listen to a classic Grateful Dead performance at the Spectrum, September 21st 1972

Throw a dart at a calendar and you’ve got a decent shot at hitting the anniversary of a Grateful Dead show at the Spectrum. The band had a storied history with the classic Philly venue. It was the only site they played in every decade from the 60’s to the 90s’s. This very special soundboard recording comes from just the second of the Dead’s fifty-three Spectrum appearances. Continue reading →

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Florence and The Machine pay tribute to Tori Amos with “Cornflake Girl” cover

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Florence and The Machine | Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese

In a new session with Spotify, Florence and The Machine offered up a reverent cover of Tori Amos’ iconic “Cornflake Girl.”

The dramatic, dynamic mood piece is a perfect fit for the band’s musical style. They faithfully reproduce the dense arrangement of the 1994 recording. Meanwhile, Florence Welch channels Amos’ powerful vocals while infusing them with a unique power of her own. The song’s climaxes soar with emotion. The session also features a reworking of “Hunger”, the much-loved single from this year’s High as Hope LP. You can listen to the full session below. Continue reading →

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Hear Port Henry’s kaleidoscopic pop on their new EP

Port Henry | via porthenry.bandcamp.com

The liner notes of Port Henry‘s new EP, BSL MSI read simply, “recorded using a broken tape machine in September 2017.” The record wears its fidelity on its sleeve; it is muddled and fuzzy and the synths often sound recorded off of an Atari. But Port Henry display striking depth and creativity within their sonic constraints. Their oblique production is like a kaleidoscope revealing new dimensions to their songcraft. Continue reading →

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Women of Philly’s rock scene unite for Mistresses of Mayhem at Connie’s Ric Rac

Workhorse 3 | photo by Dan Williams | courtesy of the artist

Longtime Philly rocker and promoter Lisa Flynn, aka Lisa Christ Superstar, is bringing Mistresses of Mayhem—a new festival for women in rock—to Connie’s Ric Rac this November 10th.

The event will highlight women-led rock bands from around Philly. “The show is all about expression”, says Lisa, “We’re excited to present this night of bands that women built. They rock, they write, and their message needs to be heard.” Continue reading →