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Listen to Laura Stevenson’s “Torch Song,” get stoked to see her play The Foundry at Fillmore Philly

Laura Stevenson | Photo by Christopher Hainey | courtesy of the artist
Laura Stevenson | Photo by Christopher Hainey | courtesy of the artist

Brooklynite Laura Stevenson often gets pulled under the umbrella of punk rock, not so much for how her music sounds but more for the company she keeps: Don Giovanni Records, Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, Gainesville’s annual FEST. But take a listen to any point in her catalog and you’ll hear smart, sophisticated songwriting with appeal that stretches beyond scenes and subgenres.

2013′s Wheel had a jangling folk-pop vibe in the vein of Aimee Mann, Bright Eyes and Laura Veirs, while her follow-up - Cocksure, due out on October 30th via Don Giovanni – is reportedly more raw. We can definitely pick that up on “Torch Song,” premiered today on Spin, which has a strong power-pop thing going on: a little bit Go-Gos, a little bit Fountains of Wayne. Needless to say, we’ve had it on repeat this afternoon, and are pumped to hear the entire record – and to see Stevenson’s next Philly show, slated for the Foundry at The Fillmore Philly on November 18th. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Watch Alex G’s dreamy new video for “Bug”

Alex G | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Alex G | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Nobody captures midtwentysomething ennui quite like Philly’s Alex G. The quiet guitar strums and dreamily chiming harmonic leads, the murmured lyrics, the midtempo pace and listless minimalism. It kind of nails that point in everyone’s life where directon is unclear and the only positive use of time is sprawling out under a graffiti-covered bridge, smoking cigarettes and watching the sun set. That’s pretty much the vibe of the new video for Alex G’s “Bug,” directed by Micah van Hove; it almost feels like a slice-of-life short story, a vignette following a squatter couple about their day. Continue reading →

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You Do You, Darla, Abi Reimold and more will play the Clark Park Fall Festival

Darla
Darla | photo by Evan Chapman

The annual Clark Park Fall Festival hits West Philly on Saturday, September 19th, and in addition to the usual assortment of crafters and food vendors, it brings together a day-long lineup of local music to support education nonprofit Rock to the Future. Tapped for the show are funky favorites You Do You and Black Landlord, jazzy-prog hitmakers Darla, singer-songwriters Rosemary FiKi, Nik Greeley and Abi Reimold, and much more. Music runs from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and more information can be found here. Below, check out music from some of the artists and check out the set times. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kamasi Washington at World Cafe Live, Meg Baird at Johnny Brenda’s, Set and Setting at Kung Fu Necktie

Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, LA saxophonist and acclaimed band leader Kamasi Washington brings his aptly-titled debut LP The Epic to World Cafe Live with an eight-piece band. In an interview earlier this week with The Key’s Shaun Brady, Washington talked about breaking down the boundaries of genre:

The word ‘jazz’ and the word ‘hip-hop’ have a separation, but the music doesn’t really have that same separation. You can’t talk about hip-hop without talking about A Tribe Called Quest, and their music is inundated with jazz. You can’t talk about west coast hip-hop without talking about James Brown and Parliament.

Read the whole interview here, listen to “Miss Understanding” below and get tickets and more information on the show via the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Marietta will celebrate the release of As It Were at Johnny Brenda’s, Lizard Lounge and Everybody Hits

Marietta | via Facebook.com/whereismarietta
Marietta | via Facebook.com/whereismarietta

Locals Marietta impressed us immensely with the release of their twinkly sophomore effort As It Were. (You can read our review of it here). The band just announced a 21+ show at Johnny Brenda’s October 12th alongside the Japanese rock act Tricot. You can purchase tickets for the event here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: La Luz at Underground Arts and A Day Without Love at The Fire

La Luz | Photo by Andrew Imanaka
La Luz | Photo by Andrew Imanaka

Seattle-based hazy rock act La Luz will be taking their soundscapes to Underground Arts. Coming to fruition in 2012, they have since released three records, which each one topping the last. Their latest effort, Weirdo Shrine,  teems with summertime surf melodies. Comprised of members Shana Cleaveland on guitar, Marian Li Pino on drums, Alice Sandahl on keyboard and Lena Simon on bass, La Luz does not fall short. You can get tickets and more information on their show here. Continue reading →

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The Sun Ra Arkestra will be take over 40th Street this weekend

Philadelphia United Jazz Fest celebrates the scene in Center City
Sun Ra Arkestra | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com

The Sun Ra Arkestra is, to put it simply, an experience. A concoction of far too many genres to list, the off-kilter big band will be performing for free as part of the 40th Street Summer Series on the University of Pennsylvania campus at 40th and Walnut. They will be joined by The South Pacific Island Dancers on August 29th to create an event that should not be missed. Music will begin at 6 p.m. and you can find more information here. Continue reading →

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Interview: Kamasi Washington on breaking down the boundaries of jazz with The Epic

Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist

“West Coast Jazz” means something very specific to most listeners – cool, intellectual, played by guys in short sleeves and horn-rimmed glasses whose calmer brand of hip evoked a more laid-back atmosphere than the frantic pace of New York City. It’s an image, as that description implies, that’s not only reductive but locked in the 1950s, reflecting the eclipsing effect that New York has on other areas of the jazz landscape.

With the release of The Epic, Kamasi Washington explodes that image with the force of a supernova. The saxophonist/composer’s sprawling, monumental three-disc debut is an ambitious Afro-futurist opus that swirls in elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop, electronica and soul, as well as a 32-piece orchestra and 20-person choir supplementing the adventurous sound of his core ten-piece band. That band consists of fellow members of a collective known alternately as The West Coast Get Down or The Next Step, a group of like-minded, genre-leaping artists who grew up together in the Leimert Park section of South Central Los Angeles. Their combined efforts suggest something transformational happening in the incubator of the L.A. music scene. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Brianna Cash at The Fire, Alessia Cara at Underground Arts

Brianna Cash with Ill Fated Natives | Photo by John Vettese
Brianna Cash with Ill Fated Natives | Photo by John Vettese

The final Electric Church party of the summer brings singer-songwriter Brianna Cash to The Fire tonight, along with Ill Fated Natives – the band she’s been collaborating with live and and the studio this year – and rapper The Bul Bey, who just got spotlighted in Kate Bracaglia’s Summertime Sips and Summetime Sounds column. Listen to Cash’s “Beautiful Energy” below and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →