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Firefly on the Fly, Day Three: Chance the Rapper, Bob Dylan, Mondo Cozmo, Kesha, Bishop Briggs, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more

Chance The Rapper | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photos by John Vettese

Day Three of the Firefly Music Festival brought out superstar performances from Bob Dylan, Chance The Rapper, and The Weeknd, but it also brought out some of Philly’s finest including Mondo Cozmo, Chill Moody, Hardwork Movement, Vita and the Woolf, and a DJ set from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some great sets by Bishop Briggs, Sunflower Bean, and Kesha. Continue reading →

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Firefly on the Fly, Day Two: Weezer, Judah & The Lion, Sofi Tukker, Flume, Twenty One Pilots, and more

Weezer | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photo by John Vettese

Here’s a quick rundown of day two of the Firefly Music Festival. While there were over thirty bands on the schdedule on Friday, the big hits of the day were Twenty One Pilots — whose fans are the hypest people at the festival by far — and Judah & The Lion, who opened the main stage in the afternoon. Judah & The Lion joined Twenty One Pilots during their set to cover “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba and “Jump Around” by House of Pain and the world exploded.

Sofi Tukker was the best set I saw today. The Brooklyn based duo – Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern – played very interactive dance rock with touches of South American percussion. Maggie Rogers came onstage to join in on a song with them. Banks was stunning; and her haunting performance was marked with beautiful sound, choreography, and a lot of awesome weirdness. Franz Ferdinand DJ’d Euro pop on the Treehouse Stage after their main stage set; and Louie Louie performed on the Campground Stage. Continue reading →

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: She-Devils

She-Devils | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for our latest Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is the Montreal-based duo She-Devils! Featuring Audrey Ann on vocals and Kyle Jukka on synths and samplers (and a few other unclassifiable gizmos), She-Devils’ self-titled debut was released earlier this year on Secretly Canadian. Rather than re-create the apocalyptic beach party feel of the album, Audrey and Kyle rearranged a few songs to highlight the alluring menace burbling underneath their playful exterior. The result is a session that’s both spacious and claustrophobic, with instruments and vocals being warped to the point where they’re unrecognizable.
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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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Firefly on the Fly, Day One: Maggie Rogers, OAR, Glass Animals, Kaleo, Eden and more

Kaleo | Firefly 2017 | Photo by John Vettese

Day one of the Firefly Music Festival was marked by near perfect weather – sunny skies and comfortable breezes – and some excellent sets of music. Maggie Rogers was by far the standout set of the day. She’s originally from Eastern Shore, Maryland, so this was sort of a hometown set for her. Both OAR and Salt Cathedral played pop-up sets in the Firefly Coffee House after their main stage sets; OAR had the place packed. And there were several cool covers; Maggie Rogers did “Wannabe” by Spice Girls, and Eden did “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson and “Hey Ya” by OutKast. Continue reading →

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Become The Gatekeeper: Ramona Córdova reflects on a decade of pushing boundaries and arriving at the new ON PAPER

Ramona Cordova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist
Ramona Córdova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist

Ramona Córdova‘s video for “Decision” opens with Angela Davis’s sultry, portentous voice lamenting the state of racial relations in 1960’s America, particularly police violence and housing discrimination against black people. Her words and Ramona’s use of them are portentous. As the video lurches through footage of hippies protesting it bleeds into stark bleached out film images of key moments in black history. “Decision” is a song about using your intuition to make loving choices– to stay, to go, and to live with these choices long after you’ve left the corporeal world. The songs contemplative nature is underscored by a marching, casio-fueled back beat that seems to hold together the wistful pop-folk. Despite a stark intrusion from a racist Willie Lynch quote, the video ends hopefully, awash in color, the people having made their choice to abandon the parts of them that are uninterested in liberation.

This kind of witchy imbalance and playful questioning has informed Ramona Córdova for the past decade they’ve been creating music. A multi-instrumentalist whose cultural background is a wonderful mosaic (Haitian, Filipino, Puerto Rican), Ramona embraces a nostalgiac sense of liberation through the dreaminess of the new album On Paper. The record is a buzzy, brilliant fever infecting listeners with its Flaming Lips-but-really good song writing. Ramona peeks through the lazy clouds of the act’s past efforts for a taste of modernity, albeit replete with a lo-fi orchestral scratch. A true angel with a voice to match, you can find Ramona Córdova on the one couch at your local community center, drifting through the dream state and the real world, at once absorbing the sight and sounds of west Philly’s queer bent indie scene and projecting an aura so vibrant genre can not contain.

We talked to Ramona about On Paper, the sometimes rough terrain of the larger indie landscape, and about the power in witchy energy. Join us! Continue reading →