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In the van with Vita and the Woolf: A SXSW photo story

Vita and the Woolf | Photo by John Vettese
Vita and the Woolf | Photo by John Vettese

“I think we’re parked by that organic coffee shop up the street,” said Adam Shumski. We’re wandering alongside Interstate 35, the highway that divides east and west Austin, and the traffic is intense. During the annual SXSW music festival, the highway effectively becomes a parking lot that slowly trudges out of downtown Austin with vehicles and trailers jutting in at every angle.

Shumski’s band Vita and the Woolf didn’t take any chances. Rather than attempt to negotiate the fray of the downtown, their driver (and unofficial tour documentarian) Jay Miller left their van locked up on the east side of town, though the specific intersection eludes them at the moment.

Up ahead, Miller is jogging alongside Vita’s frontwoman Jennifer Pague; they’re hustling since it’s 1:45 and their gig at in.gredients – an independent grocery not unlike Weaver’s Way in Philly – is at 2:00. Time is of the essence, and it’s not till we get in the car, get the air conditioner cranked and get the GPS punched in with the proper coordinates that everybody breathes a sigh of relief. Continue reading →

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No Country For Old Americana: Shakey Graves at Union Transfer

Shakey Graves | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Shakey Graves | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Alejandro Rose-Garcia is a man of simple pleasures. He hoisted the can of Coors Light and toasted the crowd, throwing back a long sip. “I guess I should be drinking something a bit more locale-specific,” he chuckles. A few minutes earlier, he walked out onto the stage, wearing a black hoodie and looking like he just woke up from a nap, and set up his own guitars and kick drum. There’s lots of girls screaming, but he doesn’t acknowledge it—not yet, anyways—busying himself with cables on the stage. No muss, no fuss, no cowboy hat, and no stagehands. Shakey Graves was in the house. Wednesday night at Union Transfer, Graves proved he’s out to change the Americana game. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: A Winged Victory for the Sullen at First Unitarian Church, The Get Up Kids at Chameleon Club, Galactic at Electric Factory and more…

A Winged Victory for the Sullen
A Winged Victory for the Sullen | photo via Facebook

Neo-classical duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen perform at the First Unitarian Church tonight. Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie and classical composer Dustin O’Halloran released their first collaborative LP in 2011, after which Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor approached them about writing the score to a new a piece for his own company. That exercise resulted in Atomos, released as the band’s second effort last year. Watch a video of McGregor’s Random Dance Company performing to Atomos below and pick up tickets for the all ages concert here.

Continue reading →

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Blackberry Smoke plows through Philly

Blackberry Smoke | Photo by Tom Beck
Blackberry Smoke | Photo by Tom Beck

If you’re one of those people that’s upset about The Black Crowes breaking up, don’t worry. Blackberry Smoke’s got you. The blues-playin’, yee-hawin’ southern cats from Atlanta, Georgia strutted their stuff up North through Philly Friday, playing an intimate, stripped down set for XPN’s Free at Noon during lunchtime. But they plugged in their Les Pauls, raised some hell, and put the “Electric” in Electric Factory for the evening show. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tobias Jesso Jr at Boot and Saddle, Impressionist at Bourbon and Branch, The Cloth at Underground Arts

Tobias Jesso Jr | photo via tobiasjessojr.com
Tobias Jesso Jr | photo via tobiasjessojr.com

Buzzing Vancouver artist Tobias Jesso Jr. headlines Boot and Saddle tonight. The singer-songwriter and pianist writes smooth and sincere pop songs in the vein of Randy Newman, and was produced by members of The Black Keys and New Pornographers (and features drumming from Danielle Haim). His album Goon came out last week on True Panther Sounds. Watch the video for “How Could You Babe” below and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Mermaid Rescue Week: Five days of funk against domestic violence

Jim Stephens' Full Tilt Boogie Band is one of the organizing forces behind Mermaid Music Week | via facebook.com/JSFullTiltBoogi
Jim Stephens’ Full Tilt Boogie Band is one of the organizing forces behind Mermaid Rescue Week | via facebook.com/JSFullTiltBoogie

The First Annual Mermaid Rescue Week will be five days of music for the support and advocacy of domestic violence and rape survivors. Created by Jim Stephens’ Full Tilt Boogie Band, the music and arts event will donate proceeds to two organizations: Women Against Abuse and Woman Organized Against Rape.

The mini-festival will take place June 15th to June 19th with a slew of Philly hip hop, jazz, and R&B artists. Continue reading →

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Listen to Rhett Miller’s summery new song, see him at XPN’s Big Night Out

Rhett Miller | Via Facebook.com/rhettmillermusic
Rhett Miller | Via Facebook.com/rhettmillermusic

Old 97′s frontman Rhett Miller has over two decades of touring experience, so his latest solo album is aptly named.

The Traveler is scheduled for release on May 12 via ATO Records, with a handful of talent featured, like folk rockers Black Prairie, as well as R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey, who are all featured on the album’s first single, “Most in the Summertime,” below. A steamy, upbeat singalong, Miller croons, “My fingers found the notches on your spine/I think I love you most in the summer.” Continue reading →