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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.

Continue reading →

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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 →

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Ali Awan, Strand of Oaks, Rachel Andie and more rocked #AmplifyPhilly at SXSW

Ali Awan at #AmplifyPhilly | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last month at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Amplify Philly convened during SXSW Interactive for three days of networking, cheerleading, panels, and partying from members of Philly’s tech, startup, business, music, and cultural communities. The Amplify Philly “house” took over the Pour Choices Bar and Restaurant in Downtown Austin for three days and nights. During the day, the programming featured panels and discussions, and the evenings were filled with some incredible Philly grown talent. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington to share Met Philly stage in August

Happy Jazz Appreciation Month! In case you missed it, in 2002, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History declared April as Jazz Appreciation Month, or JAM. What better way is there to celebrate the heritage and history of jazz in Philadelphia than with this news of an exclusive, one-night-only double header of Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington at The Met on August 4th? Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Lovelorn returns to Johnny Brenda’s in June

Lovelorn | courtesy of the artist

Philly darkwave outfit Lovelorn will play their first hometown show of 2019 at Johnny Brenda’s on June 20, headlining a lineup that also includes Queen Jo, Pouring Silver and Arch Of Love. The duo of Anna and Patrick Troxell started out in local psych punk band Creepoid before moving on to the current project, and they’re getting ready to release Lovelorn’s debut LP. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Robyn will headline The Mann this summer

Robyn | photo by Mark Peckmezian

Her tour this winter skipped over Philly, but we’ve just learned that Robyn will be coming our way soon. The Swedish pop star just added a couple of shows on either side of her previously-announced Pitchfork Fest appearance in July, with a headlining show at The Mann Center on July 17. Robyn released Honey, her much-anticipated first album in eight years, last October. Continue reading →