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The Mountain Goats will bring a new album about pro wrestling and death to Union Transfer in April

The Mountain Goats | photo via mountain-goats.com
The Mountain Goats | photo via mountain-goats.com

John Darnielle has always used poetic language, whether it’s in writing lyrics for his indie folk band The Mountain Goats or in his first novel, “Wolf in White Van,” which was on the National Book Award for Fiction.

The ambitious songwriter (and recent new father) today announced the release of Beat the Champ, an upcoming Mountain Goats album about, what appears on the surface, wrestling. But deep down, of course, is lyricism outlining ideas that are “really more about death and difficult-to-navigate interior spaces than wrestling,” as Darnielle explains on the band’s website. Continue reading →

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Talking growth and friendship with Philly four-piece The Retinas

The Retinas | photo courtesy of the artist
The Retinas | photo courtesy of the artist

The four early twentysomethings behind The Retinas consider each record they release “stepping stones” to bigger projects, bassist John Brennan said.

Jake Joseph and Tom McHugh were childhood friends in Cheltenham. “We were always in bands together growing up,” said McHugh, vocalist of the Philadelphia-based indie punk band. Tom found John Brennan and Anthony Fulginitti on Craigslist and formed a band with them. In November 2011, the four formed the Retinas.

Hello…My Name is the Retinas is their biggest and latest project they have released. In comparison to their first two EP’s, Life At Work and Ha Ha Nostalgia, the post-punk group said they have changed a lot musically.“Going from recording 5 songs to recording 10 songs is a different context for us,” said Joseph, lead guitar for the Retinas. Continue reading →

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LA’s Girlpool moved to Philly, is playing a bunch of DIY shows this month

Girlpool | Photo by Alice Baxley | via facebook.com/GIRLPOOOL
Girlpool | Photo by Alice Baxley | via facebook.com/GIRLPOOOL

Minimalist punk duo Girlpool – who relocated from LA to Philly this month – is kicking off a string of dates in at local DIY venues tonight at West Philly’s Hazel House. The show is a benefit for the DIYPHL P.A. Share, a sort of gear and instrument co-op for independent Philadelphia bands. Continue reading →

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Philly underground faves Secret Plot played their final show at Lavender Town

Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott
Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott

A Kat Kat Records poster featuring a pink cartoon feline in front of a yellow pentagram stands out at the Philadelphia house show venue, Lavender Town. A celebration of the regional DIY scene three years running, this year’s Kat Kat Phest ran from December 27 to January 1, showcasing Philly punk staples like Mumblr, Marietta, Cyberbully Mom Club, and Clique. But day two of Phest generated mixed emotions for KKP creators Ruben Polo and Dan Anderson; their band, Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe, was on the lineup, playing its last show. Continue reading →

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Guster’s Evermotion tour will bring it to The TLA with Kishi Bashi in April

Photo by Joe English | via facebook.com/Gustermusic
Photo by Joe English | via facebook.com/Gustermusic

Alt rock faves Guster recently announced a spring 2015 tour with soundscaper Kishi Bashi opening on several dates, including their Philadelphia stop at the TLA in April. The tour comes after the release of their seventh studio album, Evermotion, due out January 13. The Boston four-piece took a break from their acoustic tendencies for some experimental noise rock on this album with the help of the Shins keyboardist/Black Keys bassist, Richard Swift. Evermotion was recorded at Swift’s Cottage Grove studio in January 2014, and will be released via Guster’s own label, Ocho Mule Records. In addition to the new album, the band is  celebrating 20 years together, and performs at the Theater of Living Arts on April 24 with Kishi Bashi. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN concert calendar. You can listen to a teaser of the new album below. Continue reading →

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Discover the smooth, solemn punk-folk of Scranton transplant Cave People in “Cluster”

Cave People by Gabrielle Elizabeth Photography
Cave People by Gabrielle Elizabeth Photography

Scranton transplant Cave People announced this week that they will be releasing their debut EP Older on December 9th via their new label, Stereophonodon Records. In addition to the EP announcement, Cave People is also streaming “Cluster”, the first track off of Older via Stereogum. Singer/songwriter David Tomaine, the artist behind Cave People, creates a smooth, solemn folk track with tinges of punk rock coloring it nicely. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Read the Young Statues guide to what’s good (and familiar) about Athens

YoungStatuesPromo
Carmen Cirignano of Young Statues | Photo via runforcoverrecords.com

For the final installment of Young Statues’ Unlocked spotlight, frontman Carmen Cirignano shares some of his favorite places in Athens, Georgia where the band recorded its new album, The Flatlands Are Your Friend. He also describes why and how his favorite spots remind him of home in Philly.

I spent six weeks away from Philadelphia recording this record. Luckily I got to do it in a place that is now starting to feel like a second home: Athens, Georgia.

Athens, like Philadelphia, is an amazing city with a rich cultural history. Naturally, there were a lot of similarities. Here are a few of my favorite places that reminded me of home while in Athens. Continue reading →

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Rick Parker and Li Daiguo bring global jazz to The First Banana

rick parker
Rick Parker and Li Daiguo | photo via www.facebook.com

Accompanying his wife, a Pace University communications professor researching youth culture in China, to Shanghai over the past decade, trombonist Rick Parker initially looked forward to the cultural exchange possible in the world’s most populous city. But over the course of several visits he found himself frustrated by the lack of local artists on the scene. Continue reading →