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Paul Simon swears like a sailor on his latest single and it’s kind of awesome.

Paul Simon | Photo courtesy of artist
Paul Simon | Photo courtesy of artist

Folk legend Paul Simon is prepping his newest solo album, Stranger To Stranger, and he recently shared the album’s newest single, “Cool Papa Bell.”

The song, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the classic Graceland, channels island beats, chimey guitars, and a thumping tuba bassline. But there’s also an unexpected lyrical side to it. Continue reading →

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Key Fest 2016 In Photos: Hardwork Movement to Kississippi, Madalean Gauze to Lou, and much more

Kississippi at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Kississippi at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Last weekend we took up residence on the second floor of MilkBoy in center city for our second-ever KEY FEST – a celebration of the Philadelphia music community, curated by us here The Key, spread out over three nights. It was once again filled with great music and positive vibes, and major thanks are due to all the performers, as well as the folks at MilkBoy and Bonfire Entertainment for graciously allowing us to bring artists into their space.

Below, check out an assortment of scenes from the weekend, by Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo and Key editor John Vettese. Continue reading →

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Pinegrove will headline PhilaMOCA this summer

Pinegrove
Pinegrove | courtesy of the artist

New Jersey indie rockers Pinegrove have plans for a full U.S. tour this summer, beginning here in the Northeast and hitting PhilaMOCA on June 28th. The band released its Run for Cover Records debut LP Cardinal in February, though their catalog of recordings reaches back to 2010. Read a review of the album here and listen to it below. Tickets for the all-ages show with Ratboys go on sale Friday, April 29th at 10:00 a.m.; more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Gogo Penguin bring electro-jazz to World Cafe Live

gogo penguin
Gogo Penguin | photo by Matthew Shaver | http://www.brightloud.com/

I’m a list fan.  Top 10 lists, bottom 10 lists, doesn’t matter.  When it comes to music, outside of the annual, quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, and Bey-weekly lists, my favorite is the Mercury Prize shortlist.  It’s a prestigious list that celebrates British and Irish musicians, and it is the place where I discovered a little trio called Gogo Penguin.

When I first saw the name, the immediate thought that popped in to my head was “quirky indie rock band.”  A tried and true formula for success.  I quickly discovered that I was deliciously incorrect.  Gogo Penguin is, at their heart, a jazz band. 

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Polica reclaims Union Transfer with its new United Crushers

Polica | Photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN
Polica | Photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

I’ll never forget my first time…the 2012 Non-COMMvention. Non-COMM is the annual gathering of non-commercial triple-A stations, held every may at World Cafe Live.  From the first row, my eyes immediately locked on a seductive, yet graceful Channy Leaneagh.  It was a new sound, a new experience, and I was hooked from the start. 

The band Leaneagh fronts – Minneapolis electronic rock outfit Polica –  took the stage on Monday night to a rolling bass that reverberated throughout Union Transfer.  As the building shook, the mood for their signature interplay between drums and bass began to pull the audience deeper into their sound – much like my first time experiencing them.  In support of their third album, United Crushers, Leaneagh opened the set with the album’s first three tracks in sequential order.  “Summer Please,” “Lime Habit.” and “Someway” all showcase the bands wonderful maturation through richer, more textured sounds – very much a departure from the rawness that was their first album, Give Up the Ghost, in 2012. Continue reading →

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Celebrate the 15th anniversary of BODYROCK with Illvibe Collective at The Fillmore

illvibe collective
Illvibe Collective | photo courtesy of the artist

Illvibe Collective is easily a hometown favorite when it comes to Philadelphia’s DJ scene. The group is known for their dance parties, where they spin music ranging from soul to hip-hop, b-boy anthems to funk. On April 29th the team is celebrating the 15 year anniversary of their most popular event, BODYROCK, at Ajax Hall at The Fillmore.

For those who are not familiar with Illvibe Collective, the members include Mr. Sonny James aka Statik, Lil Dave, Skipmode, Panek, Matthew Law, and DJ Philly Blunt. Rarely do all six guys get the chance to spin together due to hectic national and international touring dates, as well as local residences. BODYROCK is one of the few times where the collective is able to come together and show out as a unit.

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Just Announced: Jenny Lewis will headline The Grand in Wilmington this September

Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

Since re-emerging a couple years ago with The Voyager, Jenny Lewis has been on a heck of a roll when it comes to live gigs – from XPoNential to Union Transfer to Union Transfer again (with the Watson Twins, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Rabbit Fur Coat) and now at Wilmington’s elegant Grand Opera House.

Lewis will headline The Grand on Friday, September 16th; tickets go on sale this Friday, April 29th, at 10 a.m. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ted Leo at Underground Arts, Family Volleyball at Goldilocks Gallery

ted leo
Ted Leo | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

We’ll take Ted Leo any way we can get him, whether it’s with Aimee Mann in The Both, with his band The Pharmacists or, like tonight, solo. XPN welcomes the Indiana-born musician to Underground Arts, where he’ll open for Husker Du frontman Bob Mould. There have been hints that a new Pharmacists album could be released this year, which would be the band’s first new material since 2010’s The Brutalist Bricks. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.

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Drake’s new album cover is giving us vertigo. Also he’s playing Wells Fargo Center in August.

Cover art for Drake’s Views from the 6

Quite possibly, it was staged or Photoshopped. And if is indeed real, Drizzy was no doubt safety harnessed and secured out the wazoo.[UPDATE: OMG yes it was totally Photoshopped, unless Drake is actually 12 feet tall sitting down.]

But dang, that is one intensely compelling album cover image Drake chose for his long-awaited Views From the 6, out this Friday on Republic Records. The man sitting on the very top of the 1,815-foot tall CN Tower, surveying his hometown of Toronto – as he said on Twitter last night, it’s for “the city I love and the people in it.” It’s a pretty epic, Cloud City-looking structure and expanse, and I’m getting vertigo just looking it. Continue reading →