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Vita And The Woolf talks Firefly Festival, Barcelona, and inspirations for the new TUNNELS

Vita and the Woolf | photo by Ebru Yildiz
Vita and the Woolf | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

Philly’s Jen Pague and the rest of her band that makes up Vita And The Woolf has been pretty busy recently. For the past two years, they’ve been working on the followup to Fang Song, Vita’s first EP, recorded by Pague as a demo while she was studying at Temple University. Since then, the band has evolved from an 8 member band to a 3 piece that incorporates drummer Adam Shumski and guitarist Dane Galloway.

Since beginning their journey to TUNNELS — their debut LP out today, read our review here — the band has built a following not only in Philadelphia but also around the world. In the past 6 months, they’ve toured opening for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah across the United States and filmed a music video in Spain. Tomorrow, they play the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware, a major stepping stone for a band who has worked a lot for their accomplishments.

TUNNELS shows Pague and the rest of Vita And The Woolf at their finest. It’s an outstanding collection of not only modern synth-pop but also conducive songwriting. Pague channels her influences like a magician; sweet melodies blend with dark textures that bring not only a feeling of melancholy but also overwhelming joy.

I recently spoke with Pague over the phone about TUNNELS, read our conversation and watch the album teaser below. Continue reading →

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Sound As Medicine: Maitland reflects on its long-awaited debut Glimpse

Maitland | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

This Friday, Philly indie-folk Maitland will release their debut album, Glimpse. It’s been a long time coming for a band that has gone through several different incarnations over the past couple of years. Combining elements of folk rock with meditative, textural layers of harmony and instrumentation, they recently released the album’s first single, “Sycamore,” and today they are sharing another song from Glimpse, “When Fists Turn To Flowers.” Continue reading →

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Whitney bring the joyous Light Upon The Lake to Union Transfer

Whitney | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN

On Monday night, Chicago indie rock band Whitney, who released their acclaimed debut Light Upon The Lake last year, played to fans both young and old at a packed Union Transfer. “This might be the biggest room we’ve played so far,” remarked vocalist/drummer Julian Ehrlich. “Get used to it!” exclaimed a voice from the audience, and he’s right. This talented six-piece, playing a modern version of soul/country-infused indie rock with catchy, cathartic melodies, only has larger rooms in front of them.

“The last time we were here in Philadelphia,” said Ehrlich, “We played at Johnny Brenda’s and there were five people there.” Whitney was started by Ehrlich (formerly of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and guitarist Max Kakacek (of the disbanded Smith Westerns) in Chicago in 2015. Their set, which lasted a little over an hour, was made up of all the songs from their record, with a couple new ones thrown in as well. Continue reading →

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Interview: Craig Finn talks Hold Steady anniversary, Seth Meyers, and his new solo record We All Want The Same Things

Craig Finn | photo via Partisan Records

Craig Finn may have spent years as the bar-band king of The Hold Steady and Lifter Puller, but the Minneapolis son has always primarily been a songwriter. Finn releases his third solo record, We All Want The Same Things, this Friday, March 24th, and it’s an exercise in both eloquent lyrical imagery and textured melodic phrasing. It’s only been a short while since his last solo outing, 2015’s Faith In The Future, but Finn has kept busy writing like he always does best: Pulling apart his specific characters and the exact moments from their daily life to tell a grander story. Whether it’s hanging in the park drinking dark Bacardi, fumbling through the jitterbug, or waiting on a savior to come, Finn writes slice of life epics that bring you with him.

His US tour with Japandroids ended a couple days ago, but I got a chance to sit down with him before their show at Union Transfer last month. We spoke about his thought process going into the new record, his residency with the house band on Late Night With Seth Meyers, the Boys And Girls In America anniversary shows, and more. Finn will be returning to Philadelphia this Saturday to play a free in-store performance at Main Street Music, open to fans who pre-order his new record. Read our conversation below. Continue reading →

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Japandroids make their grand return for a two night run at Union Transfer

Japandroids | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN

It’s been quite a while, but the mighty Japandroids are back. 5 years after their last show at Union Transfer and the release of the glorious Celebration Rock in 2012, the band returned for a two night run in the same room, the first of which was sold out. According to vocalist/guitarist Brian King, their first UT show was the first night of the whole tour to sell out after it was announced. Our brotherly love towards the band showed, and in return they brought their all to show appreciation. Continue reading →

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Strand Of Oaks brings extroverted Hard Love to Main Street Music for album release party

Strand of Oaks Hard Love release party | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN
Strand of Oaks Hard Love release party | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN

February 17th, 2017: A big day for rock and roll. On Friday, records from Ryan Adams, Dave Hause, Jens Lekman, and of course, Strand Of Oaks, hit the stands at at Main Street Music in Manayunk (which just celebrated its 25 year anniversary back in October). Tim Showalter’s brainchild has been blooming for years now, and even more recently with the release of his new record, Hard Love. It comes as a followup to HEAL, Strand Of Oaks’ last record released in 2014.

To celebrate the occasion, Showalter, who lives not too far from Manayunk in the Mt. Airy section of Philly, announced that he would be holding his record release listening party at Main Street Music. He said the store’s support for him has been huge and he’s developed a friendship with the store’s faithful staff, owner Pat Feeney and Jaime Blood. Listening parties like this are pretty common at Main Street Music; they’ve also held them and live performances for acts such as Wilco, Dawes, and many more. Less common is the artist being on hand personally. Continue reading →

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Main Street Music celebrates 25 Year Anniversary with deals, givaways, performances, and more

Wilco listening party at Main Street Music | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN
Wilco listening party at Main Street Music | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN

Over the next couple of weeks, the famed record retailer Main Street Music in Manayunk celebrates its 25th anniversary. In a day and age where streaming music and online purchases have become the norm, record stores have become only more treasured and special for music fans who prefer to discover and hold a piece of music in their hands to bring home and enjoy. Continue reading →

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Schmilco Love You, Baby: Scenes from a listening party for Wilco’s new album at Main Street Music

Wilco listening party at Main Street Music | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN
Wilco listening party at Main Street Music | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN

Main Street Music in Manayunk has been a haven for local music lovers for years now, so its no surprise that it was chosen as one of the few record stores to hold a listening party for Wilco‘s new album, the humorously titled Schmilco. All around the nation at 6 o’clock p.m. last night, lucky fans got a chance to hear the new record ahead of its release this Friday, while also getting a chance to win Schmilco prizes and chat with each other about the record itself. Continue reading →

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Vita and The Woolf, Hemming bring it all home to Spruce Street Harbor Park

Vita and the Woolf | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Vita and the Woolf | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Throughout the whole summer, Spruce Street Harbor Park has been holding their “Waterfront Sessions,” where they invite Philly’s best and brightest musicians to grace kicked-back audiences to an evening of delight and thoughtful music. The riverside grotto consisting of hammocks and hanging fluorescent lights features several attractions for all ages to enjoy, from pop-up beer gardens for the grown-ups to plenty of wide open areas for the kids to run around and catch a couple dozen Magikarps (I have to admit that I got a couple for myself as well.)

It’s an interesting change up to see these bands play in front of smiling children playing giant chess rather than in a packed basement or a dimly-lit bar. Last week’s crowd got an extra treat as both Vita and the Woolf and Hemming‘s show on the waterfront went on after being rescheduled from a couple weeks ago due to the rain.

Vita and the Woolf started off the evening with their first Philly show since returning from tour the night before, so the band was in fine form. Vocalist Jen Pague thanked everybody for coming before starting off their set with “Brett,” the first single from their upcoming album, Tunnels. The band, now joined by new guitar player Dane Galloway along with drummer Adam Shumski, continued with tracks from their previous record, Fang Song, such as the bombastic “Mary” and the driving “Diamond Halls.” Continue reading →

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Strange Torpedo: Lucy Dacus rockets through powerful Johnny Brenda’s set

Lucy Dacus| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Lucy Dacus| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

She may not want to be funny anymore, but Lucy Dacus definitely has a sense of humor. Her return to Philly after a year may have seen the Richmond, Virginia rocker wearing no shoes, playing pick-less, and sporting jokes about the disco ball, but Dacus brought a night of both quiet simplicity and powerfully crushing rock and roll to Johnny Brenda’s on Tuesday night. Continue reading →