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Mercury Girls gear up for tour with bold new jam “Holly”

Mercury Girls
Mercury Girls | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Yesterday, we announced that Philly indiepop sextet Mercury Girls was part of one of the strongest tour lineups this fall, joining Foxing and Balance and Composure on a huge autumn run that comes to Union Transfer on November 18th. Today, we’ve got news of their next release – they’re on Continental Drift, a four-way split on Slumberland Records that also features Wildhoney, The Spook School and Tigercats. Continue reading →

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Balance and Composure makes their long-awaited return with “Postcard,” stacked tour with Foxing and Mercury Girls

Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist
Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist

It’s been radio silence from spectral Doylestown rock five-piece Balance and Composure for the better part of a year now, so we knew something big was brewing. The band has been working hard at Studio 4 in Conshy with regular collaborator and good buddy Will Yip on the production boards, and today just announced their third album, Light We Made, which is due out on October 7th via Vagrant Records. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: The Districts throw down at the river stage

The Districts | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
The Districts | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

There’s no reason to cover up the truth. Before today, for one reason or another, I had never seen The Districts perform live. And in all honesty, I wasn’t even all that well-versed in their material. But I had heard enough to know that they were a big deal, and my expectations were high.

In short, my expectations were met. The guys from Lititz, PA absolutely killed it and provided what is most likely going to be my favorite XPN Fest set of 2016. They rocked hard — a degree of hard that can’t fully be expressed in a brief recap such as this.

One thing my uninformed self did get out of Sunday’s set, besides a newfound fandom of The Districts, was the fact that a younger crowd was drawn to see The Districts. There’s no denying that this festival, overall, is geared to an older crowd, which is totally ok. All I’m saying is that the average age of a Mavis Staples fan is most likely a few decades higher than that of a Districts die-hard. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Eliza Hardy Jones takes center stage

Eliza Hardy Jones | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com
Eliza Hardy Jones | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

Eliza Hardy Jones has been here before. She played keys in sang in both Grace Potter’s band and Strand of Oaks, two acts that have graced XPoNential Fest in years past. This time around though, all eyes were on Hardy as her solo project took to the River Stage. And in the pressure of the main stage, she made the most of her big moment. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Esme Patterson takes care of the crowd on the Marina Stage

Esme Patterson | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Esmé Patterson | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Esmé Patterson commanded the Marina Stage with her personality, music, and smile, playing songs from this year’s We Were Wild during the midday set.

Opening up with “Find It,” Patterson made it clear from the get go that she and her band were here to have fun. Classic 90s singer-songwriter sensibilities rippled under the high-energy indie rock arrangements, letting us know that this band’s music defies easy classification.

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XPN Fest Recap: Ben Arnold and the 48 Hour Orchestra let loose on the River Stage

Ben Arnold | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com
Ben Arnold | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Ben Arnold is a seasoned vet when it comes to performing at XPoNential Festival. This year was the local music man’s fouth appearance, but this time around things were a bit different. Thanks to the 48 Hour Orchestra, who joined Arnold on stage, his set today brought things to a new level. Together, the two sides brought life to Arnold’s 2016 record Lost Keys, an album that features much more brass than anything he’s put out in the past. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Guitar solos and scenic skylines during Billy Hector

Billy Hector | Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Billy Hector | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

The Riverstage at Wiggins Park is made for rockstars. Behind it lays a stunning backdrop of the Philadelphia skyline and Ben Franklin Bridge; in front sits hundreds of colorful beach chairs and hoards of fans. When our very own dayside host Helen Leicht introduced Billy Hector to the stage, she reminded the audience that Hector first came to her as a request for which area-artist to play on her broadcast showcasing local music. Lo and behold, the people wanted Hector, and next thing you know he was nothing less than a rock great gracing XPoNential Festival.

Hector and his band, made up of Sim Cain on drums and Winston Roye on bass, got the jams going with a good opening song that welcomed the crowd as they poured into the venue and gave them a taste of the beach blues they were about to experience. His next track began with a hint of Jimi Hendrick’s “R U Experienced,” before propelling into a jam session all their own. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Queen of Jeans keep it breezy on the Marina Stage

Queen of Jeans | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Queen of Jeans | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Local outfit Queen of Jeans kept things rolling on the Jersey Arts Marina Stage, playing a set comprised of old and new material. The South Philly quartet (who were just featured in an installment of Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds) were a fitting act to place in front of the marina; their brand of retro pop is exactly the kind of thing you would want to listen to while cruising the Delaware River.

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