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Free at Noon Flashback: Ryan Bingham is a standout in his genre

Ryan Bingham | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Ryan Bingham sings the blues — on his own terms. Raised in New Mexico and Texas, Western influences run in the songwriter’s blood, and he’s channeled them into everything from his role on the TV show Yellowstone and his Grammy and Oscar wins for the Crazy Heart soundtrack, to his curated music festival outside of Austin and his six albums of grooving Americana tunes.

Bingham played sold-out Free at Noon set today, following the release of his latest record American Love Song earlier this year. His unique sound makes him a standout in his genre — with timeless, traditional elements like gospel backup singers and fiddle solos, Bingham’s brand of country is more authentic than anything you’re likely to hear on country radio. Backed by a rock band and making full use of the venue’s disco ball, he knows how to turn a show into a party, too. Continue reading →

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Shared Energy: Galantis and their fans give it their all at Franklin Music Hall

Galantis | photo by Emily De Hart for WXPN | dehartvisuals.com

Despite the rainy and dreary night, hundreds of people were welcomed to Franklin Music Hall on Friday with blue fog bellowing from the stage. Considering Galantis had sold out the venue that night, no one wasted any time making their way to the front row immediately as soon as doors opened. Continue reading →

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Stinking Lizaveta, Pissed Jeans, Alright Junior, Lisa Christ Superstar and more to play The Troc’s last local show

Stinking Lizaveta | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Pissed Jeans | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN // Alright Junior | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN // Lisa Christ Superstar | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When word got out that iconic Philadelphia venue The Trocadero was closing its doors for good this spring, owner Joanna Pang promised “We’re going to go out with a bang, in grand Troc style,” with a series of final concerts.

One of those is a an all-local showcase, curated by Lisa Flynn, who was a promoter at the venue in the late 90s and early thousands, and packed the Balcony bar and big room alike with Philly rock favorites like her power trio Lisa Christ Superstar. That band is back together for the May 19 main stage show, along with aughties psych mindbenders Three-4-Tens, and alternative-era faves Dandelion, who released two LPs during the major label boom of the 90s. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The Claypool Lennon Delirium provides escape and innovation to World Cafe Live audience

The Claypool Lennon Delirium | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN\

For today’s Free at Noon concert, the downstairs of World Cafe Live was packed with audience members eagerly awaiting The Claypool Lennon Delirium. The band is a project of music greats Les Claypool and Sean Lennon. Claypool is best known for his role as founder, bassist, and vocalist of Primus, while Lennon is the son of Beatles legend John Lennon and a multi-instrumentalist in his own right. Lennon has bounced around the world of underground and indie rock and produced a few solo albums, including Into the Sun (1998) and Friendly Fire (2006). According to Rolling Stone, Delirium was born from Claypool and Lennon’s mutual desire to “sit in a room and make space sounds again.” Continue reading →

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Five artists to see at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival

Preservation Hall Jazz Band | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The Exit Zero Jazz Festival has been setting up shop in Cape May, New Jersey every spring since 2013, bringing a vibrant mix of jazz and jazz-adjacent sounds to the Jersey shore for some springtime revelry. The festival kicks off tonight, and runs through Sunday, and has a stacked lineup of players, many of whom will be quite familiar to XPNFest regulars. Here are five artists to see at this year’s edition of Exit Zero Jazz Fest. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: PUP will headline Franklin Music Hall this September

PUP | photo by Vanessa Heins | courtesy of the artist
PUP | photo by Vanessa Heins | courtesy of the artist

By the looks of it, Toronto punk four-piece PUP is about to spend most of the next year of their life on tour around the world. And deservedly so — their new Morbid Stuff record is their strongest work to date, amplifying and expanding their trademark gang vocal ragers about mental health into sonic territory reminiscent of R.E.M. (the opening title track) and The Hold Steady (listen to frontperson Stefan Babcock get his Craig Finn on during the spoken-sung “Kids”). Continue reading →

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Your guide to Record Store Day 2019 in Philly and beyond

Brewerytown Beats | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN | brotherlylost.com

Record Store Day returns this Saturday, April 13, celebrating the unique culture of independent record stores and the role they play in their communities. This year brings over 400 official exclusive releases from artists like Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Courtney Barnett, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Robyn, Jeff Tweedy, Herbie Hancock and many, many more.

Most stores in the area will have a selection of the special titles in stock, but a few have some other events planned to celebrate the day, from live in-store performances to special promotions and giveaways. Whether you want to wait outside in the wee hours of the morning for the special releases, or you’d just like to stop by your local record store and browse, check out the roundup below to see what the region’s indie record stores have going on.

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Cuban funk artist Cimafunk stopped in Philadelphia during his first U.S. tour. Here’s why that’s important.

Erik Alejandro Rodríguez, a Cuban artist who goes by the stage name Cimafunk, performs at Moore College of Art on March 29 | photo by Angela Gervasi for WXPN | angelagervasi.squarespace.com

Erik Iglesias Rodríguez had hardly finished performing when his audience began chanting in Spanish— ¡otra, otra! — demanding an encore.

Rodríguez, better known as Cimafunk, glanced at his band members. The small crowd had already abandoned its seats to dance in front of the tiny stage of Graham Auditorium, a room tucked inside Moore College.

The band launched into one last song, “Alabao.” Like Cimafunk, the word comes from Cuba, where it’s used as a slang expression to convey exasperation or surprise.

And in a sense, Cimafunk’s own story is… surprising. At one point, he was studying medicine in his Pinar del Rio, a province on the west side of the island. Now, his music is blasting in Havana house parties. He’s landed on Billboard’s “Latin artists to watch” list for 2019 and has graced the stage at South by Southwest. Continue reading →

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Mott the Hoople ’74 packs the Keswick Theatre for what could be THE show to beat in 2019

Mott The Hoople | photo by Emily De Hart for WXPN | dehartvisuals.com

The theatrical, glam-era savoir faire that Mott the Hoople and its singing songwriter Ian Hunter brought to its even its roughest, rocking material has never been given its proper due. Hunter’s grand Spector-ian sweep, filled with honking sax, dramatically tinkling piano and a wall of chugging guitars — often told in his sandpapery croon as long stories, as if a mini-musical — predated Springsteen’s Born to Run moment by years. Everyone from the New York Dolls to Low Cut Connie have benefitted from Mott’s magic.

Now 79, accompanied by two of his latter day original Hooples (pianist Morgan Fisher, guitarist Ariel Bender) and his usual gutsy Rant Band, Hunter’s sweat-inducing suites and dramaturgical rockers packed the Keswick Theatre on Monday night. Continue reading →