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There’s a type of folk music that’s difficult to listen to in an abstract way, a type that’s difficult to extricate from the rich context of its history. A type that seems to always evoke a sort of timelessness, along with its most prominent practitioners and all of the artists who have carried it into the modern era. Nick Drake. Fairport Convention. Pentangle.
Oh, and “The Battle Of Evermore. “ Obviously.
Toward the end of her until-then lifelong residency in the Philadelphia area, in December of 2010, Meg Baird opened for the late great folk singer and guitarist Bert Jansch at Johnny Brenda’s, at what would be his last appearance here. Shortly following that show – in retrospect, an evening on which the proverbial torch of this tradition and this artistry was arguably passed, metaphorically speaking, between its masters in two generations – Jansch would pass away, sadly, and Baird would uproot, and relocate to the West Coast. Continue reading →
Surface To Air Missive is Southern rock, psychedelic flavored project of Tallahassee musician Taylor Ross. As Surface, the multi-instrumentalist released a self-titled album on Leaving Records/Stones Throw Record in 2013. Ross has returned with a new two song single on the New York based indie label, Olde English Spelling Bee, and a new full length to follow in the Fall. Continue reading →
After touring with the Postal Service (Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, producer Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis) on their tenth anniversary in 2013, Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds travelled across the United States twice, went to South Africa and London, and wound up with a new album, Lovers Know. Continue reading →
Happy 40th Anniversary to one of the greatest rock albums ever, Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run. Released on August 25th, 1975, the Boss’s third studio album was his effort to make a record that would break him into the mainstream. He more than accomplished that and created a body of work that captured the essence of the rock and roll dream, and the mood of the 70s collective American psyche. Continue reading →
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jake McMullen moved to Nashville a little over a year ago, to continue his career. He releases his new EP, Always, on October 16th. A self-proclaimed fan of Bob Dylan, The National, Bruce Springsteen, and Ryan Adams, McMullen released his first EP in 2010. Continue reading →
From Oxford, England, the indie rock band Foals are one of the UK’s most popular bands. While they’ve got their share of fans in the States, they’ve struggled however, to build the huge following they’ve truly deserved. That’s all about to change with the release of their fantastic new album, What Went Down on August 28th. Continue reading →
Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds is our occasional, seasonal foray into summer vibes with our fave local “summertime” bands, in which we meet up, share a drink, and revel in the sunny weather (check out past editions here). Today we catch up with rising West Philly emcee The Bul Bey.
South Philly’s the best around the holidays, when row homes battle for “brightest” and “most festive,” and Old City’s gorgeous in the spring, when the national park gardens come alive. But I’ll take West Philly in the summer hands down, when everything is green and lush and farmers’ markets dot Baltimore Ave., yet the bars remain comparatively empty, the college kids and shore-goers all away for the season. Is it a coincidence that The Fresh Prince, in West Philadelphia born and raised, chose summertime as the subject of his epic, seasonal anthem? Is there anywhere east of 40th you’d rather than be than your friend’s giant, wrap-around porch, drinking a beer, after Ethiopian / Eritrean / Vietnamese food at Gojjos / Dahlak / Vietienne?
Amir Richardson, who performs under the name The Bul Bey, is like Smith in that he grew up in West Philly; unlike Smith, he still lives there now. In fact, his neighborhood is the subject of his breakout music video “Where I’m From,” a lively and complex portrayal of a place where, yeah, you better lock your doors—but where there’s also a real sense of community, whether hanging with your crew at a house party or laughing at your drunk uncle’s block party dance moves. The video, with its bright colors and enthusiastic participants (Bey tells me he did not instruct the kids to dance; they just did it) is sort of the ultimate tribute to summers in Philadelphia. So who better to talk summer vibes with than Richardson, who not only created a new summer classic, but is also one of our very fave rising hip-hop artists in the city right now? Continue reading →
Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade boasts a number of very special features, so be sure to catch the whole show starting at 11pm on XPN. On our Weekly Album Spotlight, we’ll hear a few tracks from the new album by the venerable Baltimore duo Beach House, Depression Cherry. Elsewhere, we’ll preview next week’s live studio session with the mysterious New York “pop cult,” Hussalonia. All that plus a few of these new tracks in the mix (I promise):
Look out ska fans, The Selecter are back! The Legendary 2 tone artists are releasing their new studio album, Subculture, on October 2nd.
Fronted by Pauline Black and Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson, The Selector formed in 1979 and released their now classic debut Too Much Pressure, including the hit songs “On My Radio,” and the upbeat title track. It was the height of the 2 Tone music movement – the ska revival – formed mostly in Coventry, England by musicians from England who were influenced by reggae and ska. The Selecter were in good company alongside bands like The Specials, Madness, and The English Beat, and along with each of those bands, became worldwide superstars. Continue reading →