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Full Bush’s self-titled LP takes aim at the patriarchy with shocking directness

Full Bush | via facebook.com/FullBushBand

On their self titled debut LP, Full Bush reveal themselves as the rare kind of band that defies any expectation. Their songs unfold like stories from the wittiest person you know, so spontaneous they feel improvised but so seamlessly constructed you’d think they were rehearsed for years. And like a great story, once you hear the beginning, you can’t stop listening until you hear the payoff. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from The Internet, Dirty Projectors, Bodega, Daniel Bachman, Bad Bad Hats, Steve Hauschildt and more

Shy Boys | photo via shyboys.bandcamp.com

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

We are officially in the dull. drums. of the dog. days. of the slow end of summer. Musically speaking. Not that there’s nothing going on, of course. I mean, this month alone I have already seen fantastic shows by several of my longtime favorites – a triumphant return to Johnny Brenda’s from the perennially entertaining Jeffrey Lewis, and a basement show by the great guitarist Glenn Jones – both of them previewing material from super-promising new albums still forthcoming (later this month in Jones’ case; no official word yet from Lewis.) And yeah oh yeah, I got to see Radiohead for the first time in way too long and fall completely and utterly back in love with them, which seems like it was more or less the consensus regarding their just-wrapped US tour. That said, the column below, as it turned out, only manages to highlight a couple of shows this fall. (Several of these artists, I’m sorry to report, already played Philly in the last month or two, well before their respective album releases – some of them in opening slots, which gives me hope that they might return to headline before too long.)

The upside of a month with a relatively slow release schedule (at least for big-name new releases) is that it inspires me to dig a little further than I might otherwise. Because, let’s face it, we live in an age when it’s all but impossible to get away from worthwhile if not downright vital new music on a virtually weekly basis. Or anyway, it feels that way if you spend an ungodly percentage of your waking hours (and plenty of the ones you should be sleeping too) poking around on the internet as if furiously trying to prevent it from passing you by. (My lord, when will it stop?) Anyhow…here are some knockouts, knick-knacks and novelties from the last month or so. Enjoy, and I’ll See You In September! Continue reading →

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DeVotchKa returns with a powerful, complex new single called “Angles”

DeVotchKa | photo by Manmade Media | courtesy of the artist

DeVotchKa has tried their hand at everything from scoring film soundtracks to performing with symphony orchestra. Their discography demonstrates an impressive range. The last album DeVotchKa released was seven years ago, but don’t mistake their absence for passivity. After downsizing to playing gigs at smaller, more intimate venues, the band embarked on the creation of a new album. The result, This Night Falls Forever, is scheduled for release August 24 via Concord Records. In a press release, lead singer and songwriter Nick Urata says that the album is a self-exploration of his past. Continue reading →

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mewithoutYou surprise release a new EP and announce a full-length on the way this fall

MewithoutYou | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Fans of mewithoutYou, I hope you’re sitting down. The long-running Philadelphia post-hardcore pioneers released a new track, “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses),” a few days ago, and suspicions that the single is indicative of something greater have now proven true.

The band, whose multi-genre exploring music has endured unwaveringly since their formation in 2001, has just released a surprise EP. Over its seven tracks, the EP, [untitled], ventures into new territory for mewithoutYou, blending the personal and political in their signature poetic way. But wait — “Julia…” isn’t on the new EP. Continue reading →

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Mitch Esparza releases experimental phone-recorded EP under moniker ME

Photo by Chris Beat

Philadelphia-based experimental guitarist Mitch Esparza returned with a new EP this week. Released under his ME project, MEMO is the followup to previously released MEEP. Folkadelphia host Fred Knittel once described Esparza as a “scrapbooker,” reinforcing the statement by saying “a scrapbooker not only has style, but a strong, distinctive vision for his art, which totally describes Mitch.” While the quote is from early 2017, the descriptor still holds true today. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile just wants to park in the “Loading Zones” video

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | photo courtesy of the artist

One might expect a song called “Loading Zones” from such a musician like Kurt Vile would reflect on his extensive touring with The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, or with the Violators, loading in and out for shows almost constantly since 2005. Instead, the track is a nostalgic and familiar contemplation of the everyday loading zone, Vile singing of avoiding paying parking by using the loading zones in his hometown streets. “Get my shopping done, laundry too, drop some dead weight, clean my hands of what I need to clean my hands of.” The structure of the song follows suit, never faltering in its churning groove. Continue reading →

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Spirit of the Beehive shares “d​.​o​.​u​.​b​.​l​.​e​.​u​.​r​.​o​.​n​.​g.” from new album Hypnic Jerks

Spirit of the Beehive
Spirit of the Beehive | photo by Emily Burtner | courtesy of the artist

Spirit of the Beehive are in full record release prep mode, but with a band like this there’s no such thing as business as usual. Ever unpredictable in their sound, the band is back with a second single, “d​.​o​.​u​.​b​.​l​.​e​.​u​.​r​.​o​.​n​.​g.,” from their forthcoming album Hypnic Jerks, out September 14. This will be Spirit of the Beehive’s third full length album, and it comes just over a year after their last one, Pleasure Suck. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Porter & Sayles

Christian Porter and Regina Sayles have been friends and musical collaborators for over a decade, and two summers ago, the Stroudsburg singer-songwriter duo released their debut album of songs that straddle the worlds of poppy folk and contemporary country. They’re a little bit Civil Wars, a little bit Lady Antebellum, and their self-titled record caught the ear of XPN midday host Helen Leicht, who connected with the moving contemplation of “This Guitar,” a yearning ballad about balancing the conflicting passions of one’s music and one’s relationships.

This summer, Porter & Sayles returns with its latest single since that record, following up on the spring release “#IAmOne.” It’s a revved up country ripper and unofficial Pocono Speedway anthem “Buckled Up In Drive,” which the duo played acoustically for us during their Key Studio Session. In the set, you’ll also hear “Country,” which reflects on the universality of their preferred form of American music — even for folks who don’t come from down south — as well as “You Had Me From Hello,” a jangling pop tune about first impressions. Continue reading →

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Listen to the multi-movement suite “The Fire” from Lemon Twigs’ upcoming musical LP Go To School

The Lemon Twigs
The Lemon Twigs | photo courtesy of the artist

Beloved Long Island rockers Brian and and Michael and D’Addario, better known as the Lemon Twigs, released a 6-minute multi-movement epic “The Fire”, the third single from their upcoming 15 track “musical” Go To School. 

The album “tells the coming-of-age story of Shane, a pure of heart chimpanzee raised as a human boy” and features contributions from Todd Rundgren, Big Star’s Joey Stephens, and the D’Addario brothers’ mom and dad. Rundgren is an obvious point of reference on “The Fire”, which feels something like a montage of 70’s styles from AOR singer-songwriters to the theatrics of Elton John and Queen. How exactly the song’s narrative fits into the larger plot is a mystery yet to be known, but the story of “The Fire” alone is satisfying and even a bit moving in its absurd drama.  Continue reading →

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Cat Power shares new song “Woman,” featuring Lana Del Rey

Cat Power
Cat Power | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | courtesy of the artist

After a six-year absence from releasing music, Cat Power is back in full force with a new single and a Lana Del Rey guest appearance. “Woman” is the first full song we’ve heard from her forthcoming album Wanderer, which will be released in the fall; Cat Power previously shared a short preview of the title track. Continue reading →