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The High Key Portrait Series: Joie Kathos

Joie Kathos | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Philly’s Joie Kathos has had a busy year. In June, she performed at Delaware’s Firefly Festival; back in March she was showcased on both the iStandard Beat Battle and in Washington DC’s SheROCKS event. She’s got her hands in several ongoing projects, having released singles for Comin Home With Me (CHWM) on iTunes late last year. And come September, she’ll open up at the Electric Factory for Young M.A.

The Philly native’s star is on the rise, but her head seems to be planted squarely right here at home, in a city that’s imbued her with a deep cultural tradition going back to her parents’ love for arts and music. In this interview, she recalls childhood memories attending local concerts with her father, and all of the music that continues to fuel her own creative energy. She’s inspired and informed by hip hop touchstones like The Roots and KRS-One, and one of her personal heroes, Bahamadia, invited the young rapper to perform at her #KOLLAGE tribute show at Johnny Brenda’s last year. “We sat in the studio and talked and she was droppin’ jewels,” Kathos reminisces about the collaboration. “I’m grateful for her.”

As she describes CHWM, she evokes more cherished memories of ‘90s music media culture. “Remember back in like the ‘90s when they used to release singles on CD, and then there would be like the ‘radio edit,’ and three different house mixes.. I just wanna keep it true to that.” You’ll be quickly laughed off and contradicted, though, should you try to point that she couldn’t possibly “remember the ‘90s” because she’s only 25: “I’ve always been into music. My start in music was way back when, when I was a baby! My mom sang, and she danced, and my uncle sang, and I was just around it. So I’m a little bit ahead of my time, a little bit old-school too.” Continue reading →

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Live from The Cave with Second Womb

Second Womb | photo courtesy of the artist
Second Womb | photo courtesy of the artist

One of the most important things to do as an upcoming artist is to stay consistent no matter what. There will be trials and tribulations that make some feel alone at times, and feel like praying for the perseverance to not quit, but one’s self-confidence makes them refute the idea of giving up. That type of consistency allows the craft to be perfected, more work to be displayed and a hunger for success to constantly expands. This type of consistency can be seen by Jersey’s duo Dookie Brown, an MC, and Father Earth, a producer, collectively known as Second Womb. I recently got the opportunity to speak with Dookie Brown about the Garden State hip hop duo’s beginning, work ethic and their latest EP Live From The Cave Vol: 19.    Continue reading →

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Watch a super-serious Strand of Oaks cover Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love”

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Everybody has their own routine to get ready for work. Timothy Showalter’s just might be a little different (OK, a lot different) compared to the rest.

Before a show earlier this week in Athens, Georgia, Strand of Oaks posted a video of Showalter and some of the crew warming up their pipes with a cover of Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love.” The camera work and black-and-white editing add an entirely new level of entertainment value. Every few seconds brings a new surprise twist to this captivating and inspirational film. Watch it below for a good laugh. Continue reading →

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Listen to Wolf Alice’s latest, catch them at The Foundry Saturday night

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

The second full-length album from Wolf Alice is on the way, due out Sept. 29, and the UK-based band shared a few more pieces of it Wednesday. Along with the artwork of Visions Of A Life, they released another single entitled “Don’t Delete The Kisses.”

This is the second single from the album, following up “Yuk Foo.” As opposed to its predecessor’s angry rant of a song, “Don’t Take The Kisses” laces Ellie Rowsell’s whispering verses with an echoey chorus, all throughout a spacey pop beat that soothes instead of scolds. The shredding from the first single is replaced with layers of synths. On Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, the four-piece explained Wednesday that the gap between the two songs won’t seem as wide once the whole album is out. We’ll hear the proof in a couple of months. Continue reading →

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Watch two Fleetwood Mac classics live in concert from the Spectrum in 1977


Today WXPN is celebrating the music of 1977 for #tbtXPN Throwback Thursday. In February of ’77, Fleetwood Mac released their mega hit album Rumours. Shortly after the release of the album, the band started their tour, with a stop in Philly at the Spectrum on March 21, 1977. They would return to play the Spectrum again in Philly on the tour in the Fall, on September 27th. Continue reading →

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Watch Peter Frampton’s cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” at The Mann (Talk Box)

Peter Frampton | Photo by Megan Lynch for WXPN | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

Peter Frampton rocked Philly with his performance last week at the Mann Center. Along with his own tunes, Frampton treated the crowd to a cover of Soundgarden’s hit, “Black Hole Sun,” which he dedicated to the band’s late frontman, Chris Cornell.

Before the song, Frampton takes the time to formally tribute the cover to Cornell and the singer’s wife and children. He then dives into his unique, heartfelt take on the track. Beginning as purely instrumental, Frampton fuses his trademark guitar-driven, talkbox vocals about four minutes in before sending it off with an epic guitar solo. Continue reading →

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Hear Broken Social Scene’s eclectic and expansive new album, ‘Hug of Thunder’

Broken Social Scene | Courtesy of the artist

Broken Social Scene’s new LP, Hug of Thunder, is the album I didn’t know I needed. It’s eclectic, it’s thought-provoking, it’s dance-worthy, and as what you’d expect from a fifteen-piece group — yes, like a one and a five next to each other — it’s big.

No matter the tone of the tune, each song conjures up its own expansive, atmospheric flavor — fully immersing the listener in it’s individual world — while simultaneously connecting to a larger woven fabric of sound. Though Hug of Thunder isn’t officially released until the 7th, you can stream the album in full here thanks to our friends at NPR. Continue reading →