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XPoNential Artist Spotlight: Meet Commonwealth Choir, Fishtown’s new kids on the block

Commonwealth Choir | photo by Mike Bucher
Commonwealth Choir | photo by Mike Bucher

We’ve got a lot of great new local talent to look forward to this weekend, and Saturday will start off with one of the newer bands on the block.  Commonwealth Choir is closing out a year of “XPoNential” growth – even before the release of its debut Shirtless EP last fall, the band’s single “Rest” was placed in XPN’s rotation.  Since then, they’ve sold out shows at MilkBoy multiple times (including New Year’s Eve), opened for New Sweden’s record release show and recorded an incredibly popular Key Studio Session.  I spoke with Commonwealth Choir’s lead vocalist / guitarist Davis Jameson Howley to find out how the band got its start, what this past year has been like and what it means to them to be playing the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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XPoNential Artist Spotlight: The Districts get a little help from their friends

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

There are few things that can be as debilitating for a young band as finding out that your tour van – including all of your gear inside and all of your tour earnings – was stolen right out from under your nose. That was The Districts’ now widely-known story in early June. But the Lititz-bred, Philly-based band was able to get by with a little help from their friends, even when they were nearly 900 miles away from home. Continue reading →

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Listen to the polished version of Amanda X’s “Dream House”

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean (Photo by Peter Murray)
Photo by Peter Murray

Philly post-punk trio Amanda X just released another song, “Dream House” off of their highly anticipated debut Amnesia, out July 28th on Siltbreeze Records. Their music is both a tribute to 90s indie and a really poignant new spin on punk. Unlike the raw power of the previously released track, “Gautemala”, “Dream House” is a slower, existential track. It also showcases the amazing vocal abilities of singer-bassist Kat Bean, going from fragile to powerful in a matter of seconds. Continue reading →

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Watch #XPNFest artist The Hold Steady rock out on Conan

The Hold Steady | courtesy of the artist
The Hold Steady | courtesy of the artist

This week XPoNential Music Festival artists The Hold Steady appeared on Conan to perform “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You,” from their latest album, Teeth Dreams – it’s a song carried the trademark story-telling lyrics by frontman Craig Finn that we all know and love. So far, the album has received great reviews from outlets such as The Guardian, and USA Today. Continue reading →

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Unpredictable things will happen when you see Todd Rundgren in October

ToddRundgrenA Often when you see an artist billed as “A Special Evening With,” it usually means it’s going to be an acoustic performance, often a solo one. Todd Rundgren’s upcoming show at the Keswick Theatre is billed as “An Unpredictable Evening with” Todd Rundgren. This tells fans right up front to that he isn’t going to play Something/Anything in its entirety. Continue reading →

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Watch Pattern is Movement’s evocative “Suckling” video

Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer
Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

Philly experimental pop duo Pattern is Movement recently released a video for “Suckling”. The group has been making headlines lately, with features on both NPR’s World Cafe and on the Key’s Unlocked series. This year, the duo released their self-titled fifth album. It is a baroque, yet vibrant collection of electronic pop, with elements of R&B.  Interestingly enough, the inspiration to use R&B came from a surprising source. As Andrew Thiboldeaux explained, the  parallels between his religious background and R&B, “But the feelings I had in those church meetings were TRUE. My brain was registering it, I was high as a kite. There’s something about R&B and hip-hop that resonates with me as a result.” In his album review, the Key’s Sameer Rao states that “ every string-and-horn ensemble buildup in the beautiful service of capturing something as ephemeral as it is universal.” Continue reading →

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Listen to Julie Slick’s sprawling ambient rock in Fourth Dementia

Photo via julieslick.com
Photo via julieslick.com

Philly bassist Julie Slick recently released her latest project, a collaboration with Marco Machera called Fourth Dementia. Over the years, Slick has been a part of a slew of local bands ranging from Paper Cat to DRGN King. For the past few years, she’s been touring as a part of Crimson ProjeKCt, a project of King Crimson singer-guitarist Adrian Belew, and touring around the world. In between all that, she’s found time to write and record a handful of solo releases – including this latest one with Machera and her brother Eric (who also drums in Dr. Dog). Continue reading →

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XPoNential Artist Spotlight: Escaping the everyday with Jersey singer-songwriter Ginger Coyle

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Photo by J. Potenta

There is nothing ordinary about Ginger Coyle.  From her style as a vocalist to the lyrics in her songs, she shows us that creativity has been an innate thing for her ever since she was young.  She is proud to be making music here in the Philly scene (she lives just across the bridge in South Jersey) and is excited to take the XPoNential Music Festival stage this weekend.  This week, we swapped emails with Ginger to get to talk about blasting Billy Joel and Carole King, to get a taste of her new single “The Big Picture” and see who she’s excited for at XPoNential. Continue reading →

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XPoNential Artist Spotlight: The beat-heavy road to the top of Marian Hill

Photo by Paul Gilmore via facebook.com/marianhillmusic
Photo by Paul Gilmore via facebook.com/marianhillmusic

Of all the shining local stars we’ve featured on WXPN, few have seen their fortunes rise quickly as Marian Hill. When they take the stage this Friday at the XPoNential Music Festival, they will be doing so on the heels of escalating tour momentum, glowing reviews in national news outlets, and a boatload of raw talent – all of which has come together within only a year-and-a-half of their official formation.

It would be foolish, however, to think too much of the duo’s relative youth (both as a band and as 24-year-olds). Vocalist Samantha Gongol and producer/beatsmith Jeremy Lloyd possess the rare mix of gracious humility and insatiable, studied ambition that strongly correlates with creative longevity.

“We still have a long way to go, but already realizing so many dreams and having this type of audience…it’s been out of this world,” says Lloyd. Continue reading →

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Amanda X talk DIY, punk, and the new Amnesia

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean (Photo by Peter Murray)
Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean (Photo by Peter Murray)

In some ways, the ladies of Amanda X are the biggest punks we know. When they first came together, they were still new at their instruments (guitarist/vocalist Cat Park had previously played bass and sang in Band Name; and bassist Kat Bean and drummer Tiff Yoon had only played guitar). Yet they formed an easy bond despite this, and within 2 months of coming together, recorded their first EP—much like the Ramones or the Sex Pistols before them.

“If I don’t play music, I explode,” says Park. Continue reading →

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