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PREMIERE: The Spring Standards celebrate Boxing Day at Arden Hall with a live “Nightmare” video

The Spring Standards | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
The Spring Standards | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

For the past seven years, infectious New York folk / pop trio The Spring Standards have headed to Delaware over the holidays to headline packed houses at Arden Gild Hall. It’s a sort of homecoming for them – even though their career has been based in NYC, the bandmates grew up in Delaware and Southeastern PA, and each year they spend Boxing Day on the stage playing with their family and old friends in the crowd.

“It’s a great time to reconnect with our roots,” says singer and multi-instrumentalist Heather Robb. “That area will always be our true home.”

Last year, The Spring Standards released Live from Delaware – an album documenting their 2012 shows at Arden, and this year they’re releasing a companion concert film – with animated vignettes and other flourishes – at the Boxing Day Spectacular. Continue reading →

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Listen to Philadelphia Girls Choir sing Christmas carols on WXPN’s Leicht Lunch

As their busy season draws to a close tomorrow night with a sold-out performance at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Center City, members of Philadelphia Girls Choir stopped by WXPN studios yesterday to sing Christmas carols for host Helen Leicht. The seven-member concerto group sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “The Wexford Carol,” and chatted with Leicht along with director Nathan Wadley. If you missed it, you can listen to the performance below and download it here via Soundcloud.   Continue reading →

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Robert Drake’s Christmas Countdown: Kay Starr introduces us to “The Man With the Bag”

Kay Starr

It’s just 6 days ‘til The Night Before on XPN … and to help get us prepared for 24 hours of yours truly, I present to you a unique holiday song each day!

Today we travel back to 1950, when Irving Taylor, Hal Stanley and Dudley Brooks penned this Christmas classic, “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag”. Brooks is best known as a jazz pianist and arranger who spent years collaborated with Elvis Presley on some of his most famous albums and movies (including the Elvis’ Christmas Album!) Originally sung by Kay Starr – this song has been covered over and over … but in this case, nothing beats the original. Sadly no video of Kay singing this song exists – so this will have to do … and yes, Kay is alive and well at age 92!

Be sure to join me for my 22nd annual edition of The Night Before on XPN; 24 hours of me and my eclectic collection of seasonal sounds – midnight to midnight on the 24th day of December … only on WXPN.

Continue reading →

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Music Video: El Malito has some tips for dealing with intolerant jackasses at the holidays

El Malito and 33rd Century
El Malito and 33rd Century

Okay, so we all know the holidays are stressful. Tensions are high, regularly-calm people can easily snap at family, friends and strangers. That’s normal. But then there are people who take it to a whole other level of bigotry. Philly rapper El Malito had a bad experience along those lines last December, and turned it into an empowering anthem this holiday. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Thin Lips

Before Thin Lips, there was Dangerous Ponies. Frontwoman and songwriter Chrissy Tashjian, her brother Mikey on the drums and bassist Kyle Pulley were all part of Philly’s premiere indie rock carnival from 2008 till about 2013. That band was a total blast and a spectacle; glitter, brightly colored costumes, singalong hooks, big arrangements. When that crew split, Tashjian refocused her energy into a more simplified, straightforward punk rock direction. Continue reading →

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Robert Drake’s Christmas Countdown: Elvis Costello joins Stephen Colbert on “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In”

elvis costello

It’s just 7 days ‘til The Night Before on XPN … and to help get us prepared for 24 hours of yours truly, I present to you a unique holiday song each day!

Today we keep it modern with a clip from the surprisingly funny 2008 TV Christmas special hosted by Stephen Colbert. With an impressive list of special guests, my favorite has to be a visit from Elvis Costello – together they perform a song that channels the spirit of Frank & Dean, preaching their message of holiday goodwill.  Here they are performing “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In.”

Be sure to join me for my 22nd annual edition of The Night Before on XPN; 24 hours of me and my eclectic collection of seasonal sounds – midnight to midnight on the 24th day of December … only on WXPN.

Continue reading →

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Listen to the Philly Local Home for the Holidays special ft. Vita and the Woolf, Cole Redding, Samantha Gongol of Marian Hill and more

The 6th Annual Philly Local Home for the Holidays show was recorded at Morning Star Studios in Montgomery County PA. It was a return visit to this studio and once again Glenn Barratt recorded the session. It’s always a wonderful day of music. A time for getting together with friends and making new friendships in the music community. I love hearing the artists warming up and working on arrangements. Continue reading →

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Choose your own emotion with Vivre Sa Vie’s new single “How Couldn’t I?”

Vivre Sa Vie
Vivre Sa Vie | via facebook.com/vivresavieband

You’ll feel two different things when listening to Vivre Sa Vie‘s new single “How Couldn’t I?” On one side, the Philly modern rock four-piece conveys the emotion of a broken heart when delivering lyrics like “I hate it when we wake up / Together when we brake up / It seems just like a fantasy / Because you really mean that much to me.” But on the other side, when you listen to the instrumental part of the song, the melody and rhythm, it gives you sort of sense of positive enjoyment. Continue reading →