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Free At Noon Flashback: The Districts redefine “explosive” at World Cafe Live

The Districts | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

I had long resigned myself to the bittersweet fact that since I’ve always been unlucky in catching The Districts live, the first time I’d finally see them would be in some large, sold out venue given the skyrocketing trajectory of their career and fanbase around the world that will only grow once their newest release Popular Manipulations reaches the ears and hearts of the masses.

Fortunately, this was not the case. A week after the crazy sold out Union Transfer record release show (read our review here) found The Districts back in Philadelphia to perform for XPN’s Free At Noon series at the smaller, more intimate World Cafe Live. It appeared that the rareness of this opportunity was not lost on fans, as the line stretched up the stairs and out onto the sidewalk long before doors opened and filled the venue to capacity by the ten-minute mark. Continue reading →

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Watch Harmony Woods perform “Negro Y Azul” at Bad Dad Productions; see her open at the Church this fall

Harmony Woods performs “Negro Y Azul” | Bad Dad Music | still from video

Sophia Verbilla’s Harmony Woods recently stopped by Bad Dad Music Productions and performed one of my favorites from her insane debut album Nothing Special. You can catch that below.

Titled “Negro Y Azul,” this track is loud and quiet and charged and soothing. Add in the narrative storytelling-type lyrics, and that crazy catchy guitar hook, and there’s a whole lot of feelings to go around. Continue reading →

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Listen to Kyle Pulley of Thin Lips talk Beatles, bass, and producing Philly’s coolest tracks with Dan Drago on 25 O’Clock

Thin Lips | photo by Jessica Flynn | courtesy of the artist
Thin Lips | photo by Jessica Flynn | courtesy of the artist

After preparing some tasty frittatas in Drago’s kitchen, Kyle Pulley of Thin Lips joined Dan for an early morning convo for the 80th episode of 25 O’Clock.

The two begin their chat how all chats should start: by paying reverence to the gods that are the Beatles. This transitions into a bemoaning of the stupidly low appreciation for bass players, and the need for negative space in songs — all of which are stances I totally concur with. Continue reading →

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Carroll mixes the melancholic and the smooth in saxophone-filled track, “Velvet”

Carroll | photo by Noah Silvestry | courtesy of the artist
Carroll | photo by Noah Silvestry | courtesy of the artist

Minneapolis-turned-Philly dwellers Carroll caught our attention last year with their sparkly psych rock vibes in As Far as Sounds Go. Then, back in December, a Shaking Through session hinted at a more somber forthcoming musical route. Now, we’re seeing elements of this melancholic turn come to fruition in Carrol’s new track, “Velvet.”

This slowed-down song swims through hazy, lush textures tinged in gloominess. But at the same time, it’s smooth as heck. A sad kind of sauciness that’s aided by some amazing sax stylings. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Joan Osborne sings the songs of Bob Dylan on her new album and fall tour

Joan Osbourne | Photo via Rollingstone.com

“I don’t think it’s hyperbole to talk about Dylan as an artist who’s on the same level as Pablo Picasso or William Shakespeare. He’s really an epic poet of America, and any singer can find such an incredible wealth and richness in his material, not just me.”- Joan Osborne re: Bob Dylan in Rolling Stone

Joan Osborne will be heading out on tour this fall, singing the songs of Bob Dylan as she releases a new album. Find out more & check out some of her covers. Continue reading →

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Hear Hoots & Hellmouth’s gloriously grand new EP, Uneasy Pieces

Hoots & Hellmouth | photo courtesy of artist

When local rootsy blues rockers Hoots & Hellmouth released their fourth album In The Trees Where I Can See The Forest last fall, it raised the bar quite high for the four-piece. Their new EP Uneasy Pieces, however, seems to have no problem exceeding those lofty expectations.

The chilling title track opens up the EP with an atmospheric spookiness that just sounds big. Sans the eerie vibes, the rest of the songs follow in the same grand nature as Hoots & Hellmouth are large and in charge of their trademark passionate, lively sound. Single “The Down Part of Town” and “Oh The Bugs” bring the folky organ-searing soul, while last tune, “Soft and Lazy” slows things down for a self-condemning bluesy-gospel mix. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Slaughter Beach, Dog

Seriously, how is it possible that Jake Ewald is this sick of a songwriter? The Philadelphia singer / guitarist and producer, known by many as half of Modern Baseball’s core songwriting duo, also leads a rotating-cast indie rock troupe called Slaughter Beach, Dog, and has done so for the past several years. Though the band is a considerably more lowkey experience than when he plays theater-size spaces to pop punk devotees, it’s no side joint either; Ewald’s attention to craft, both lyrical and compositional, is in top form here, and only continues to heighten as the project releases more music. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cranes are Flying at Johnny Brenda’s, Lizdelise at Ortlieb’s, Amir Obè at The Troc

Cranes are Flying | via facebook.com/cranesareflying

Philly trio Cranes are Flying mixes up pop-punk and post-rock with a dose of anthemic modern rock on its latest EP, Code Switching, out today. The band has been on the scene since 2009 and celebrates its new record tonight at Johnny Brenda’s with Boy Lawyer, Glenn Matthews and Flat Mary Road. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; listen to the new EP below. Continue reading →

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Listen to The War on Drugs high-octane album opener “Up All Night”

The War on Drugs | photo by Dustin Condren | courtesy of the artist
The War on Drugs | photo by Dustin Condren | courtesy of the artist

The countdown is on: ten days till Philadelphia space rock jammers The War on Drugs release their fourth long-player, A Deeper Understanding, via Atlantic Records. After several other teaser tracks over the past couple months, the album opener made its way out into the world today, and it is glorious. Continue reading →

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Listen to Wilco’s new benefit single, “All Lives, You Say?”

Wilco | via wilcohq.bandcamp.com

Chicago rockers Wilco responded to the weekend’s unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia with a new song called “All Lives, You Say?”, available for streaming and download on its Bandcamp page. Proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the memory of Jeff Tweedy’s father, Robert L. Tweedy. Continue reading →