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XPN MusicNotes: Listen to Tash Sultana’s newest single “Harvest Love”

Tash Sultana | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

XPN listeners have been falling in love with Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana and her song “Salvation,” and now the 23-year-old from Melbourne has just put out a second song from her soon-to-be-released debut full-length Flow State, which comes out in late August. Take a listen to “Harvest Love” below. Continue reading →

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LGP QUA schools the youth with his remake of Meek Mill’s “Stay Woke”

LGP Qua | photo by Colin Kerrigan | via complex.com

Hailing from good ole’ North Philly, MC LGP Qua went viral by tearing up social media with his motivational freestyle Instagram videos and rap tracks, spitting knowledge and wisdom to the world. Doing time in prison made the young rapper figure out his life’s mission which was to wake up the youth with the use of music. Most rappers his age talk about taking drugs and killing people, but not him. LGP Qua’s music focuses on delivering a message or getting a point across. As a result, he has work has attracted the attention of many celebrities such as Brooklyn rap icon Jay Z, born Shawn Carter. Carter reportedly offered LGP Qua a $1 million deal with his record label Roc Nation, who has also signed multiple Philly talents such as Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Chris & Neef, and more.

In the past few months, he has been releasing multiple tracks with a few music videos like “INSOMNIAC (woke)” which features The Black Eyed Pea’s will.i.am and “Hungry” where he collaborated with the shoe store chain Foot Locker for their “Before and After Bite” campaign with Nike Air Max that helps supports up-and-coming artists. Not to mention,  LGP Qua’s first mixtape Voice of the Youth, Vol. I is set to drop soon. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Keep A Little Soul” by Tom Petty

Tom Petty | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

The late great Tom Petty was nothing if not prolific, and his 50+ year career will be celebrated this fall with a 60-song box set called An American Treasure. Curated by his family and bandmates, it will be a set for hardcore fans that goes deep into Petty’s archives for unreleased songs, alternate versions familiar favorites, live performances and deep cuts.

One of those unreleased gems surfaced today; it’s called “Keep A Little Soul,” it dates to 1982 and Petty’s sessions for Long After Dark, and it is XPN’s Gotta Hear Song this week. Continue reading →

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#FreeAtNoon Flashback: Rayland Baxter celebrates his Wide Awake album release day at World Cafe Live

Rayland Baxter | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

In celebration of his latest release, Wide Awake (out today via ATO Records), the Nashville-hailing alt-country star Rayland Baxter took the stage at World Cafe Live for Free At Noon. A cap pulled down over matted blonde hair, gripping a white hollow body guitar, he bounced lightly on his knees with skittish energy.

Baxter was backed by a five-piece band, including Philadelphians Nick Bockrath and Barney Cortez, and the chemistry between the band members was visible as they communicated silently through nods and physical cues, delivering an engaging and sound-tight set. As the crowd swarmed forward, they opened with “Strange American Dream,” a brightly optimistic tune with trailing piano riffs and an overt Southern twang. “Amelia Baker,” was contemplative and full of romantic longing, spliced with rambling solos. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Andy Jenkins, Gang Gang Dance, Gorillaz, Arp, LUMP, Wilder Maker, and more

Orquesta Akokán | via orquestaakokan.bandcamp.com

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

Aw yeah, summer. The entropy, the lethargy, the visceral extremes.  Now, summer makes all sorts of things weird anyway, but I feel like summertime in music-land has gotten especially wonky in recent years. Basically, my take is that the focus on large-scale music festivals which has ballooned over the past decade or so has taken a palpable bite out of non-festival-centric touring itineraries, and thus summer concert calendars, and even, indirectly, album release schedules. (Aside from the overwhelming hype cavalcade of Drake, Jay-Zeyonce and Kanye and Co. all dropping within a matter of weeks, the last few weeks have felt a bit thin for noteworthy new releases, and the rest of July and August, peering ahead, are looking even sparser.) Maybe I’d be less sore about all this if I felt closer to the target audience for either Firefly or Made in America, but as it stands those festivals’ biggest impact on me, personally, has been (presumably) shutting Philly out of proper local headline dates for the makers of some of my favorite music of the year: Janelle Monáe, for instance, and Amen Dunes.

Still, there’s plenty that’s worth seeing, concert-wise, in the coming weeks – it just feels like (even) more of an unpredictable hodge-podge than usual. Some of it is coming in the form of smaller, locally-targeted festivals: there’s XPN’s own XPoNential Festival, of course, and the decidedly weirder and more DIY All Mutable Summer Jam which is running the same weekend (July 27th-28th); I’m also pretty hyped about the free, Latin Roots-affiliated Nuevofest which is coming up this Sunday (read on for more about that.)

Anyhow, this being summertime, what do you say we all take a trip? Just a little musical vacation around the globe and beyond, to points both familiar and strange; real, imaginary and somewhere in between. I can’t say that it will all be straightforward or entirely uncomplicated – what is nowadays, after all – but I do promise we’ll have some fun along the way. And it’ll feel oh so nice to arrive back home at the end.

Continue reading →

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Listen to Amos Lee’s beautifully aching new ballad “Hang On, Hang On”

Amos Lee
Amos Lee | photo Brantley Gutierrez | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia singer-songwriter and XPN favorite Amos Lee released the second single to his upcoming album, My New Moon, out August 31st via Dualtone Records. The slower, ballad-like track appears seventh out of ten tracks on the new album, and is a change of pace from the previously released “No More Darkness, No More Light.”

The new single, titled “Hang On, Hang On,” finds Lee drawing on personal experiences, rather than elsewhere on the album where Lee touches on finding strength in others – from the Parkland survivors to the relationships built through Musicians on Call. From a press release, we learned the track is set around the last night Amos spent with his grandmother. The lyrics “I would’ve stayed forever, but it didn’t work out that way” ache a little extra with this in mind. Continue reading →

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Listen to Rosali spin Frank Ocean, Fleetwood Mac and more in her guest DJ set on the XPN Local Show

Rosali
Rosali | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia singer-songwriter Rosali released her wonderful sophomore LP Trouble Anyway last Friday on Spinster Sounds, and tonight she headlines Johnny Brenda’s to both celebrate the record and kick off a summer tour.

Before she packed up to hit the road, Rosali swung by XPN studios yesterday for a Guest DJ set on the XPN Local Show, and she spun everything from Richard & Linda Thompson and The Velvet Underground to Mary Lattimore and Brian Eno.

Between sets, Rosali and I talked about her new record as well as the way her other two bands, Long Hots and Wandering Shade, juxtapose alongside her traditional songwriter solo work. Continue reading →

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New supergroup Rosie Thorne release debut single “Slick”

Rosie Thorne’s Slick

Local supergroup Rosie Thorne recently released their debut single, a pop track suitable for both nightclubs about town and intimate headphone grooving. Comprised of Marisa Dabice (Mannequin Pussy), Max Steen (Cold Fronts, Vexxed), and Zach Sewall (Grave Goods, Vexxed), Rosie Thorne melds their respective influences and backgrounds to create their debut leftfield dance track, “Slick.” Continue reading →

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Found Wild releases second single “Weatherman,” a somber ballad dedicated to change

Found Wild
Found Wild | photo courtesy of the artist

Tim Arnold and Keith Goodwin of Good Old War have finally given us a release date for Found Wild‘s forthcoming self-titled EP: July 20th. That’s just Days Away (hahaha), and to celebrate, we have a new single to check out. “Weatherman” is the somber track of the album, and if you caught the Avalon Tour at the TLA last week, then you know this since they played all of them for a captivated audience. Continue reading →