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NON-COMM Recap: Andrew Bird dazzles with trio arrangements of “My Finest Work Yet”

Andrew Bird | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

Andrew Bird put on a dazzling display of musicianship and personality on the NPR Music stage Thursday night. The veteran folk-rock multi-instrumentalist played a crisp set featuring four selections from his new LP My Finest Work Yet, all beautifully executed with the accompaniment of bass guitarist Alan Hampton and guitarist/vocalist Madison Cunningham — Bird added that Cunningham, who also performs as a singer-songwriter, has an “outstanding” full-length record of her own coming out in August. Continue reading →

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Soul Glo calls for action and calls out performative activism on “21”

Soul Glo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Soul Glo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Today, Philadelphia punk outfit Soul Glo is on the way from Novi Sad, Serbia to Vienna, Austria, in the midst of their 2019 European tour. In a couple weeks, their latest album, THE N___ IN ME IS ME, will be released on SRA Records. Tracks have been trickling out since the announcement — the harsh industrial noise / rapped vocal burner “32,” the doubletime hardcore screamer “22” — and today we’re happy to bring you another advance cut from IN ME IS MEContinue reading →

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Baroness is lean and mean on the new single “Throw Me An Anchor”

Baroness | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Philly metal titans Baroness are releasing their new Gold and Grey album on June 14th, and on the record’s new teaser, “Throw Me an Anchor,” the band takes approximately the opposite approach as the lead single “Borderlines.” That song is an expansive six-minute journey, a burner that holds its core with a shimmering melody throughout; the new song might have a tighter run-time, but it finds the band at its most aggressive, a leaner / meaner Baroness, ready to take on its extended world tour. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Lula Wiles’ roots music is honest, original and brilliant

Lula Wiles | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Contemporary roots trio Lula Wiles shined brilliantly on Thursday night. The young band, consisting of Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke, and Mali Obomsawin — joined by Eli Cohen on drums — brought a passionate mix of bluegrass, country rock and folk music to the PRX Stage in front of a full house.

Obomsawin, Buckland and Burke studied at Berklee College of Music together, (Cohen was at New England Conservatory) and the band is currently based in Boston. All four members of the group grew up in Maine, and they met while taking lessons at Maine Fiddle Camp, “which I know is, like, disgustingly adorable,” Buckland remarked during the show. All three singers are also songwriters and instrumentalists, and they displayed impressive group chemistry in several different instrumentations throughout their performance. The trio has always sounded stellar in a traditional bluegrass format — like fiddle, guitar and upright bass — but they added new dimensions to their set when they chose to break out of that format and explore other sounds. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Strand of Oaks open their hearts late Wednesday night

Strand Of Oaks | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Strand of Oaks were full-hearted and full of laughs as they closed out Wednesday night on the PRX stage. The Philadelphia-based guitar rockers and longtime WXPN favorites opened their hearts for the NonCOMM crowd during a sparkling set consisting mostly of material from their stellar new album Eraserland, which came out in March on Dead Oceans. Continue reading →

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Bucolic gets lost in the hazy dreamscape of “Earth Tones”

Bucolic | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

Seth Carpenter’s one-person indie-psych project Bucolic is readying the release of a new LP called Oneirogens on Saturday, May 25th. After first teasing the project back in March with the opener, “Light Traces,” Carpenter recently gave us another pre-release snippet in the form of “Earth Tones,” a song that moves through languid, velvety textures in the spirit of early Beach House. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Cherry Glazerr shows us what punk looks like

Cherry Glazerr | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN

At one point in Cherry Glazerr‘s set, frontwoman Clementine Creevy turned her back to the microphone, leaned back limbo-style, jumped up and down — and didn’t miss a beat. That’s what frustrated feminist punk looks like in 2019 according to Cherry Glazerr, and if you weren’t immediately dancing along, ready to join the band or start one of your own, you must have been watching a different set. Continue reading →

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Anika Pyle finds her footing in the confessional “Good Woman”

Anika Pyle | photo by David Williams

Between her work with her former band Chumped, her current project Katie Ellen, and a newly announced collaborative group, Anika Pyle also finds an occasional outlet for songwriting under her own name. Her solo songs seem to appear when the Philly singer-songwriter has something that needs to be said. Pyle has been working on solo material lately, and she describes her new single “Good Woman” as “vulnerable: full of feels.” Continue reading →

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FIKI makes a shimmering return with the soaring breakup jam “No Good”

FIKI | photo by Robert Carter | instagram.com/rcarterphoto | via instagram.com/thisisfiki

A few years back, Philly’s Rosemary Fiki kicked off the XPoNential Music Festival with an engaging live set on the Wiggins Park marina stage, and followed it up with the release of “I Got It,” a sharp left turn from her funkily eclectic blend and into electronic pop sounds echoing and celebrating her Nigerian heritage. From there, we didn’t hear too much from her for a while; she sang backups with Son Little for a period, and performed last summer at ACANAFEST at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, but has mostly been quiet until now. Continue reading →