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Leon Bridges shares unreleased tracks on new Coming Home deluxe LP

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

Former XPN Artist to Watch Leon Bridges is probably a household name by now. After releasing his critically acclaimed debut Coming Home last year, the Texas soul singer played a killer set at Non-COMM, has sold out shows at Union Transfer and The Fillmore and just announced a slot at June’s Roots Picnic.

Continue reading →

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Listen to Aphra’s introverted new single “Rooms”

aphra
Aphra | photo by Megan Matuzak | courtesy of the artist

The “About” section on Aphra’s Bandcamp page contains a deceptively complex message. “Moving beyond catharsis,” it reads.

This short phrase might be the unifying theme behind all of Aphra’s music. It doesn’t seek to simply express painful emotions. It actually seeks to heal.

“Rooms,” the second single from Aphra’s forthcoming EP Sadness Is a Gesture, fits this mold perfectly. The song is about vocalist Rebecca Way’s suffering following the end of a toxic relationship. “When people fall in love they tend to put each other on such a high pedestal at first (turning another into a Christ figure of sorts),” Way wrote to the Key. Continue reading →

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Listen to a new split EP from Radiator Hospital and Great Thunder

Radiator Hospital | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Radiator Hospital | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Split EPs can often feel scatterbrained. They are, after all, recorded by two different bands. But on Wedding Album, a record put together by Great Thunder (featuring Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and her touring band mate Keith Spencer) and Radiator Hospital, there is no such discontinuity.

The cohesiveness is rather unsurprising, given the amount of collaboration between the two bands. Released on Stupid Bag Records, the record’s first side is technically Great Thunder territory, but Crutchfield and Spencer actually cover two original Radiator Hospital tracks with “Sleeping House” and “Big Cloud.” The latter is one of the record’s highlights — Crutchfield and Spencer provide a shot of punk adrenaline into what was originally a light hearted, playful track. Featuring Waxahatchee’s quintessential driving guitars and Crutchfield’s layered unison vocals, “Big Cloud” would have been right at home on Ivy Tripp. Continue reading →

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Hot damn, it’s a powerful new rocker from Philly’s Sheer Mag

Sheer Mag
Sheer Mag | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly punk powerhouse Sheer Mag is a reliable source of retro rock n’ roll riffs, fierce garage furor, live energy and instantly memorable hooks – and they’ve racked up all the attendant buzz that goes with that sort of combination. The band just dropped a blistering new song called “Can’t Stop Fighting” on its Soundcloud page, and it is fire. As with Sheer Mag’s best moments, this one makes the most of interplay between Tina Halladay’s unbridled vocal prowess and Kyle Seely acrobatic, Thin Lizzy-style guitar licks. Give it a listen below, and see Sheer Mag tear down Ortlieb’s tonight; tickets and more info at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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It’s here! Listen to a new song by The Lumineers, “Ophelia”

The Lumineers | Photo by Scarlet Page | Courtesy of the artist
The Lumineers | Photo by Scarlet Page | Courtesy of the artist

It’s been almost four years since The Lumineers released their self-titled debut album in April, 2012. During that summer, and throughout the fall and winter, the single – “Ho Hey” – steadily worked its way into the mainstream, becoming internationaly massive.

The Denver trio’s unassuming hit, a folkie stomper, was a song you couldn’t escape hearing on radio stations, supermarkets, commercials, and Wawa’s. The Lumineers – Wesley Schultz, Jeremy Fraites and Nyka Pekarek – went from playing small clubs and stages (i.e their Marina Stage performance at WXPN’s XPoNential Music festival in 2012) to major amphitheaters (their sold-out appearance at XPNfest at the Susquehanna Bank Center in 2013). It seemed like the band kept growing and growing in popularity and on April 8th, The Lumineers return with their long awaited followup to their debut, Cleopatra. Continue reading →

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Listen to the new album from Church Girls, “Thousand Lives”

Church Girls | Photo by Charlie Wrzesniewski | courtesy of the artist
Church Girls | Photo by Charlie Wrzesniewski | courtesy of the artist

Way more than nine: Philly’s own Church Girls released their first record, Thousand Lives, last Friday.

The four piece indie-rock group, fronted by Mariel Beaumont, has been around the area for about two years now, previously releasing their self-titled EP in January of 2014. The album was recorded and produced at Miner Street Recordings. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Chelsea Sue Allen

Chelsea Sue Allen is a leading light in the Philadelphia folk scene, but then again, she’s something more. The West Chester singer-songwriter crafts intensely emotional songs that transcend the coffeehouse world, much as she’s a favorite over at Burlap and Bean. On last year’s Lonely Ages, she detailed the tug-of-war between aspiration and self-doubt – “I’ve got daydreams pressing against siren walls / will I become something better if I let them out” – as well as the crash of colossal letdowns – “you’re not the one I’m bankin’ on anymore, anymore?” – and does so over a bed of pattering electronics (“Creaks and Moans,” “Bankin’ On”) and full band swiftness (“Tall Dreams”).

Live, the flourishes are brushed away – Allen goes minimal and meditative, and the songs remain every bit as powerful. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Tune In for Hemming’s Shaking Through Studio Session this weekend

Hemming | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Hemming | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This weekend, on February 6th and 7th, Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series will be livestreaming their new studio session with Philly singer-songwriter Hemming, a.k.a. Candice Martello.

Martello will be joined by members of Cayetana and Three Man Cannon as her backing band to perform a song from her self-titled album that came out last year. The session will be done at Miner Street Recording. For folks who are used to seeing Martello play solo with her electric guitar, this will be a unique experience of seeing her work with a band. Continue reading →