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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Shuggie Otis at Ardmore Music Hall, Aaron Camper at World Cafe Live Philadelphia, Goddamnit at World Cafe Live Wilmington

Photo by B+ for Mochilla.com
Photo by B+ for Mochilla.com

Shuggie Otis, the son of legendary rhythm and blues trailblazer Johnny Otis, is performing at the Ardmore Music Hall tonight! A fantastic guitar player in his own right, Shuggie is back on tour in support of his album re-release Inspiration Information/Wings of Love. Otis also released his first ever live album last year, Live in Williamsburg. Joining Shuggie as a special guest is Philly favorite Nik Greeley. The show is 21+, doors open at 8, show starts at 8:30. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for more info, and check the vid below for some sweet guitar by Shuggie himself. Continue reading →

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Milky Chance steals the Skyline

Milky Chance | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Milky Chance | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

The sign of an extraordinary musician is their ability to bring their music alive during performances. It isn’t about sounding exactly like their albums, but enhancing the songs we hear on the radio and on record into an experience not only for listening, but for seeing and feeling as well.

Milky Chance brought this energy and sound to Philadelphia’s Mann Center Skyline Stage last night. Their calm yet catchy sound reached new heights, between its electronic aspect, magnified bass and added harmonica solos – the live show was an experience that cannot be achieved through simply listening to the album. Not only was their sound volumized, but the concert was visually exciting as well. The lighting was everywhere from several minutes of darkness at the beginning of the show to swirling psychedelic lights on the trees surrounding the stage. Continue reading →

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Breaking down the elements of sound with Philly composer Bhob Rainey

Bhob Rainey | via bhobrainey.net
Bhob Rainey | via bhobrainey.net

Philadelphia performer/composer Bhob Rainey has developed a global reputation for his ability to reshape the raw material associated with sound— air, resonance, vibration, decay, silence—into delicately arranged sonic shrapnel with hallucinatory effects.

Whether improvising alongside trumpeter Greg Kelley in “lowercase” duo Nmperign, composing multichannel computer music inspired by the neural activity of squid, or designing sound for New Paradise Laboratories’ acclaimed 2014 Fringe Festival production, The Adults, Rainey’s M.O. is just as much about drawing connections between disciplines as it is about exposing “cracks in the symmetry of the world.” Continue reading →

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Scenes and stories from the 56th annual Newport Folk Festival

An all-star tribute to Bob Dylan featuring Dawes, Robyn Hitchcock, Gillian Welch, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more | Photo by Kate McCann
An all-star tribute to Bob Dylan going electric featuring Dawes, Robyn Hitchcock, Gillian Welch, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more | Photo by Kate McCann | flickr.com/photos/126156760@N07

There is a certain energy in Newport, Rhode Island the day before the folk festival begins. Maybe it’s because venues and movie theaters hold pre-fest shows to welcome everyone into town, or because you’ll see Deer Tick wandering the streets after midnight in pirate costumes. But this year it was the anticipation surrounding the newly added “unannounced” guests of the weekend.

“I saw Bono earlier!” “It’s definitely CSNY.” “Man, I don’t know, I think I heard Dawes was playing XPNFest this year instead.” The rumors began Friday morning, and didn’t cease until the minute the show ended Sunday night when over 40 people were all on stage singing “Rainy Day Woman,” paying homage to Dylan’s 1965 infamous set at the NFF. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jason Isbell at Electric Factory, Saintseneca at Millworks, The Appleseed Cast at Johnny Brenda’s

Jason Isbell | Photo by Michael Wilson
Jason Isbell | Photo by Michael Wilson

Alternative country musician Jason Isbell will perform at the Electric Factory this evening with Blake Mills. Isbell played Newport Folk Festival this past weekend, performing tracks from his latest release Something More Than Free and from 2013′s Southeastern as well. The set was an upbeat crowd-pleaser, and we’re looking forward to an equally memorable experience tonight! Listen below, and grab tickets here. Continue reading →

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Magic Death Sounds announces line-up for annual block party with Power Animal, APHRA, Jo Kusy and more

Magic Death Sounds
Jo Kusy | photo courtesy of the artist

Magic Death Sounds has announced details of its 3rd annual block party, taking place in Fishtown on August 30th. The two-stage event will showcase the tape label’s roster of artists along with other up-and-coming locals, including electronic soul-pop project APHRA, psych-rock songwriter Jo Kusy, electronic experimentalist Power Animal and more. There will also be food, drinks, and flea market vendors on hand, making it the kind of block party you won’t want to leave. Check out a highlight reel of last year’s party below and get more details here.

Continue reading →

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Eaux Claires Day 2: More mud, more sweat, a lot more tears

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The Eaux Claires festival in Eau Claire, WI continued (read about Day 1 here) July 18 with a much slower start, a combination of Friday’s intense heat and thundershowers through the night having broken some of the pressure.

Leaving no time to waste, staff photog Jeremy and I headed over to the dome marked “Eternity Awaits” that I described yesterday. Once inside the dome, recorded “confessions” and “Alleluias” played as a soundtrack for the experiment as the hay bales started to fill with those anxious to confess. These recorded confessions included everything from a woman sharing she was really a cat to friends admitting they deceived each other; really weird mix of stuff. I pulled the number “12” from the ticket wheel and patiently waited. Astronautalis came out from the confessional between hearing confessions in full priestly regalia, guzzling a Miller Lite and sizing up every sinner in the room with his own appearance-based evaluation – never mind what each person was actually going to confess.

Finally, my ticket was called and I approached the confessional, totally unsure of what to do once I got up there. But, just like in my Catholic upbringing, I entered one side of the confessional and Astronautalis entered the other. The walls of the small box were filled with photobooth-like mugs of others; a kneeler and a screen were also present in on the wall facing Astronautalis. Continue reading →