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Go around the globe with Up the Chain in their super fun new “Sidecar” video

Up the Chain | Photo courtesy of the artist
Up the Chain | Photo courtesy of the artist

Rootsy Philly rocker Reed Kendall and his cohorts in Up The Chain spent the past several month on the road, and as we see in their new music video for “Sidecar,” they made maximum use of their time.

When I interviewed Kendall last fall for our premiere of the song, he told me their plans for this video: in each town they visit, they’d set up a camera on a tripod, measure 30 feet out from the lens, set up the trip the same distance and in the same configuration each time, and film them playing the song.

What results is a rapid-fire, quick-cut video that sees the band zooming from Knoxville to North Carolina to New Orleans, across the pond to Pontresina, Zurich and Bern (all in Switzerland) and any number of places in between. Continue reading →

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Leon Bridges, Usher, Ibeyi and more to play the 2016 Roots Picnic

Leon Bridges | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Leon Bridges | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Philadelphia heroes The Roots will return to Festival Pier on Penn’s Landing this summer for their ninth annual Roots Picnic, and joining them is their usual eclectic array of artists curated by the man with the ‘fro and the drumsticks, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.

Of course the lineup, reported by Pitchfork and the cast of Broad City (watch the video below), features The Roots themselves in a headlining set, but they’ll be be backing 90s / aughties pop dynamo Usher in a set as well. Other high-profile appearances of note are soul-rock force of nature Leon Bridges, who’s been buzzing in the XPN universe for the better part of a year now (he’s headlining a sold-out show at The Fillmore this winter).

I predict peak cell-service outage will occur during Future‘s set, and there’s appearances from Cheltenham’s Lil’ Dicky in the mix as well, not to mention infectious Oakland singer Kehlani and (wha?) DMX. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: New Order is playing The Tower on March 12th

NEW ORDER ends with a Joy Division set, as images of Ian Curtis float behind them. It was emotionally stunning.

A photo posted by DJ Robert Drake (@djrobertdrake) on

Get ready: new wave icons New Order just announced a short U.S. tour in support of last year’s impressive Music Complete LP that brings them to Philadelphia on March 12th to headline the Tower. Continue reading →

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Following public outcry, Squilla says he’ll withdraw venue bill

Councilman Mark Squilla and a roundtable of music industry representatives | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Councilman Mark Squilla and a roundtable of music industry representatives | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

“We don’t want to discourage artist expression,” Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla told a room of Philadelphia music industry representatives gathered this afternoon. “That’s the last thing we want. By no means am I anti artist or anti-venue.”

The Councilman, understandably, has had a rollercoaster of a week, following the colossal public outcry over a bill he introduced that would increase restrictions on Philadelphia music venues. The bill came to light last week following a report in Philly news website BillyPenn, and within 24 hours was massively trending when an outcry from the local music community went national – musicians our Bill Chenevert talked to called it “impractical” and “insane.”

Today, Squilla said he would withdraw the bill and start over from scratch. Continue reading →

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“Impractical” and “Insane”: The Philly music community weighs in on City Council’s venue bill

Philadelphia City Hall | Wikimedia Commons (Left),  Electic Factory | Photo by John Vettese (Right)
Philadelphia City Hall | Wikimedia Commons (Left), Electric Factory | Photo by John Vettese (Right)

City Council Bill 160016 is, to say the least, problematic.

Last Thursday, Jan. 21, City Council introduced a bill sponsored by 1st District Councilman Mark Squilla that’s generated an outcry from the Philly music community. Rest assured, the legislation has several more steps before it becomes law and it will almost certainly be amended (read: gutted) before it becomes City of Philadelphia law.

Squilla’s bill would amend section 9-703 of Philadelphia Code under “Special Assembly Occupancies,” altering “the application procedures and increasing the fee for a Special Assembly Occupancy license and for Promoter registration, clarifying the role of the Philadelphia Police Department in approvals of licenses…” according to City Council’s bill summary.

Facebook went nuts with a BillyPenn story yesterday, written by Dustin Slaughter, that broke the news. It included a few gems from R5 Productions head honcho, Sean Agnew. Slaughter did his best to break down the unwieldy and, ultimately, misguided language of the 12-page bill: Special Assembly Occupancy licenses would become more expensive ($100 per year to $500 every two years); the Philadelphia Police Department would be involved in the granting of these licenses (read: the police will tell L&I if the venue’s a dump, violent, loud late, etc.); and, perhaps most mystifyingly, venues and promoters could be tasked with collecting the phone numbers and addresses of performers to improve public safety.

Suffice it to say, there’s been an incredible amount of backlash against and press on the bill. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Iggy Pop and Josh Homme will bring Post Pop Depression to the Academy of Music

Iggy Pop and Josh Homme | image courtesy of the artist
Iggy Pop and Josh Homme | image courtesy of the artist

After surprising the music world with their secret Post Pop Depression collaboration, the pairing of punk icon Iggy Pop and modern rock fave Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal) announced a limited run of shows in support of the album – including one at the Academy of Music on Friday, April 15th. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Madonna Sing Tribute to David Bowie, & Listen to Jeff Buckley’s cover of Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman”

Rebel Rebel You tore your dress…………..Rebel Rebel how could they know?? ❤️#rebelheartour

A photo posted by Madonna (@madonna) on

Madonna is among the many artists who have paid tribute to David Bowie. Watch Madonna cover “Rebel Rebel” live in concert in Houston last night. Continue reading →