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Free at Noon Flashback: Shoegaze legends take the crowd on a buzzing, high octane Ride

Ride | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Fuzzed-out, atmospheric, gauzy greatness. Yep, you guessed it – I’m talking about shoegaze. The late 80’s genre brainchild has been seeing a major resurgence as of late — whether it be newcomers or pioneers making long awaited returns — and I’m most definitely not complaining about it. Neither was the Free at Noon crowd today, who piled in droves this muggy afternoon to WCL to give a warm (literally) welcome back to shoegaze legends, Ride.

R-I-D-E. These four letters stood big and bold behind the band as they made their way onto the stage. One letter for each member, the backdrop served as a concrete and symbolic visual cue of the band’s sturdy comeback even before they started to play. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Amanda X at Boot and Saddle, Madalean Gauze at Johnny Brenda’s, R. Ring at Everybody Hits and more

Amanda X | photo courtesy of the artist
Amanda X | photo courtesy of the artist

Kensington power punk trio Amanda X will bring their high-energy tunes to Boot and Saddle tonight. Comprised of Cat Park on lead guitar, Melissa Brain on drums and Kat Bean on bass, the group doles out hooky guitar riffs, bumping drum grooves and memorable melody lines. This summer, they will release their second full album later this summer, Giant, and based on opening track “Exquisite,” they keep up with their tendency toward dance-able guitar licks, passionate vocal work and well-crafted melodies. Check out the song below and show details at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Continue reading →

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Cayetana will take Philly friends Hemming out on tour this fall

Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly punk faves Cayetana released a kickass record this year called New Kind of Normal, and they’re currently out on the road opening for Waxahatchee in support of it. When that run of dates is done, the band just announced a fall headlining run, bringing Philly’s Hemming along for the ride. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G announces new headlining tour dates and an opening spot with Fleet Foxes

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

On July 17th, the Fleet Foxes Instagram account posted an announcement that they had added several artists to their upcoming US tour(Sandy) Alex G in the Northeast, Natalie Prass in the Northwest, Bedouine in the Southwest, and Nap Eyes in the Midwest in addition to the already-billed Animal Collective and Beach House.

For a good 24 hours, information on this news was nowhere else to be found, save the account (likely run by frontman Robin Pecknold) answering direct fan inquiries in the comments section. Either way, I naively thought that it was safe to assume the addition of Philly’s own Alex G to the upcoming July 31st show at The Mann Center was a given, as he had no other scheduled shows that day and Philadelphia is a Northeast location. Continue reading →

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Drink The Districts’ Popular Manipulations at Johnny Brenda’s to Benefit Beyond the Bars

The Districts | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

The Districts‘ highly-anticipated upcoming record Popular Manipulations is due August 11th, and now you can drink it too. The indie rockers have teamed up with Crime and Punishment Brewing to create the Popular Manipulations IPL, and the first keg will be tapped on Monday, July 31st at Johnny Brenda’s. The Districts themselves will be the event’s DJs, taking over the Fishtown venue to spin an all-vinyl, four-hour happy hour set – the perfect way to cap off a weekend at the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: We guarantee Josh Ritter won’t get rained out at Union Transfer

Josh Ritter | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Last year’s XPoNential Festival was an overall success, but if there was one negative takeaway, it was that Josh Ritter wasn’t able to reschedule his washed-out Saturday set. If you were one of the many who was disappointed about mother nature’s intervention, here’s some news to wipe away any bad memories: Josh Ritter is coming back to Philly and there’s no chance weather gets in the way of this one. Ritter’s fall tour will include a headlining show at Union Transfer on Nov. 5. Continue reading →

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Kendrick Lamar brings his intimate dance with good and evil to the stadium

ELEMENT.

A post shared by Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) on

In the fall of 2015, following the release of his critically-acclaimed, platinum-selling album To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar announced that he would bypass the round of huge, multi-city touring that would customarily follow such a successful project. While the decision to forgo a large stadium tour in the wake of Butterfly would have struck many as a misstep, the move was perfect.

Instead, Kendrick hit the road with a mini-tour, “Kunta’s Groove Sessions,” a quick and dirty, eight-city jaunt which found him pulling up on mid-sized theaters throughout the South and on both coasts. The purpose behind this choice was clear: To Pimp A Butterfly’s quirky, complex and jazz inflected hip hop songs required a level of intimacy and even physical proximity to the audience that would be difficult to reproduce in a 20,000 seat arena.

Much like Public Enemy’s Chuck D in the summer of 1988 or Jay-Z on 9/11, 2001, Kendrick Lamar had established himself as the pacesetter of the day. He was / is, the rapper with the loudest, most (culturally) resonant voice. In the months immediately following the reception of Butterfly, it was clear that in the minds of many that he was one of, if not the leading creative voice in mainstream hip-hop. A large part of his emergence as the mouthpiece of his generation has been his ability to relate his own personal fears, hopes and ambitions with those of his audience. Throughout his work, the notion of individual triumph and/or failure at the hands of forces larger than himself has remained a central component to his songs. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jill Scott at Sands Bethlehem, Hardwork Movement at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Rosali and the Middlemen at Johnny Brenda’s and more

Jill Scott | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Philly soul queen Jill Scott brings her 2017 summer tour to the Sands Bethlehem arena tonight. After building her name in Philly’s Black Lily open mic scene in the late 90s — and writing the hook for The Roots’ immortal “You Got Me,” and touring with them in the late 90s — Scott stepped to center stage with 2000 with Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Volume 1. The record was universally acclaimed, and holds up to this day; I had it in heavy rotation earlier this week, just because, and it’s amazing the amount of new sound and nuance you discover with each revisit. Scott has had a successful run in the decade and a half since, building her profile from local star to global star, and her fifth album, 2015’s Woman, found her as knockout as ever with the hooks, vocals and introspective words. Tickets and information on tonight’s concert can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Revisit “The Way” below. Continue reading →

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Surprise! Camp Cope needs no notice before last-minute Troc Balcony gig

Camp Cope | photo by Joe Bloss of WXPN

When I woke up yesterday, my plans for the evening were about the same as most Tuesday nights so far this summer: Go to work, leave around nine and get home in time to watch the Phillies lose. Then I saw the news that Melbourne, Australia’s best punk rockers, Camp Cope, were headlining a last-minute gig at the Trocadero Balcony — last night. If the punk rock gods were kind enough, I maybe had a chance to make it in time for Camp Cope’s set, the last of a four-band bill.

I made it. It was as great as expected. I am sorry to Kississippi, Who Loves You and Larry Nodder, the first three acts of the night. Work commitment kept me away just long enough to miss you all. I’m sure you were great, and I’m hopeful any readers in attendance can attest to such an assumption in the comments.

Considering my attendance was as impulsive as the show itself, I did not record the order of the setlist. I can recall at least five numbers from the band’s lone LP — “Done,” “Lost (Season One),” “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams,” “Trepidation” and “Stove Lighter” — two from their more recent split with Cayetana — “Keep Growing,” “Footscray Station” — and, as pointed out in this Facebook-comment fan video, one new song. Whatever order those songs were played in doesn’t matter because what they sounded like was near-perfect. Continue reading →

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Sir Sly and SHAED exude fun with a packed crowd at The Fillmore’s Foundry

Sir Sly | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

Los Angeles’ Sir Sly make their kind of infectious indie-pop-rock so well that it was no surprise to walk in to The Foundry a bit early only to be confronted by a crowd of dedicated fans pushed up against the stage. Make no mistake: their music appeals to the sing-along set, and they know every word. The all ages show left little room for stragglers, and the trio themselves did the best they could to exude fun energy across the limited stage size. Vocalist Landon Jacobs carries himself with a swagger that could have benefited from a little more space, but had no trouble working the crowd up, while Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen kept the grooves going. Continue reading →