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Listen to Major Pursuit’s contemplative album opener “When It’s Convenient For You”

Major Pursuit | photo by Ashley Gellman

“Did you cry when your mom got sick / or were you numb by then?”

So opens “When It’s Convenient for You,” the latest single from Philly / Nazareth band Major Pursuit, the project of singer-songwriter Olivia Bellito. The contemplative four-minute burner doubles as an atmospheric lead-in to their latest record, With Feeling, and from the outset, it does not skimp on the feels, moving from addressing trauma and emotional distance to the ways that can affect friendship and companionship.  “I thought you were what I needed,” Bellito sings later, “but I was wrong.”  Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Editors use sheer energy to keep the crowd on its feet in the final stretch

Editors | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

By day four of NonCOMM, it’s not surprising that some of the crowd was beginning to feel a little weary. Some were already on planes or trains, heading back to their everyday lives, but plenty others stuck around, coffees and/or beers in hand, to catch the final two acts of this year’s convention.

After a perfect warmup set by Belly, British rockers Editors had the honor of closing out the party on the NPR Music stage. And party they did. Before the band came onstage, I overheard someone behind me in the audience say “Are you ready to rock?” I thought to myself, “Haven’t we been rocking all week?” But Editors, with their charismatic charm and songs that filled the room to the brim, seemed to almost redefine what it means to rock. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Belly keeps the crowd superconnected with old faves and new jams

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

On the surface, you could say that NonCOMM 2018 closed with a doubleheader Free At Noon concert from two different eras of nostalgia acts — one from the 90s (Belly) and one from the aughts (Editors). Thing is, though, both of these artists came with fresh material in tow, and Belly’s set in particular showed that they are musicians who have not missed a beat in the 23 years since their sophomore album King and this year’s radiant return Dove. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: King Tuff transports crowd to the cosmos with a space horn

King Tuff | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

“Anybody know what this is?” asked Kyle Thomas, the colorful frontman of King Tuff, as he raised a peculiar cylinder device in his hand. He looked side to side, faced the crowd, and deadpanned: “It’s called the space horn.”

And with that, the wonderfully strange cosmic flute beamed the last bit of the crowd into Thomas’ zany, trippy, mystical outer space universe as “Neverending Sunshine” began to play. Although, with opening tracks like the saucy video game odyssey, “Raindrop Blue,” the laid-back and sunny daydream, “Thru the Cracks,” and the funky disco jam, “Psycho Star,” the packed upstairs PRX stage audience was already by that point pretty fairly transported to another world. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: William Prince got real personal to kick off day three

William Prince | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Canadian folk singer-songwriter William Prince sings with his heart, and is not afraid to be vulnerable on stage. To kick off day three of the NonCOMM Convention, the Juno Award winner gave us a performance that hits ya right in the feels. His soulful vocals and storytelling skills made his performance so memorable. His music is inspired by all aspects of his life, and “Breathless” from his most recent album Earthly Days was one of the songs that truly depicted those raw feelings; he dedicated the song to his wife. Towards end his set, Prince sung an unpublished track dedicated to his father, who passed a bit of time ago. It was a soulful tear jerker that left my heart aching. Continue reading →

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Cayetana’s Augusta Koch and Three Man Cannon’s Matt Schimelfenig team up as Gladie, debut with Everyone Is Talking But You

Gladie | photo by Adam Peditto | via gladie.bandcamp.com

Over the last several months, Cayetana’s Augusta Koch has been quietly playing new material in solo shows around town, trading her usual electric guitar for an acoustic one and letting her distinct voice fill smaller, quieter spaces. Now, we know where those songs were going — not to Cayetana (who released their last album just a year ago), but to a new project entirely. Gladie makes its debut with a full band EP, Everyone is Talking But You, out now, and a celebratory Philly show next week.

Continue reading →

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Full Bush paces itself on the tense, explosive “Someone”

Full Bush | via fullbush.bandcamp.com

Philly garage rock four-piece Full Bush brings the sweet sounds of punk grit on their new single, “Someone.” Usually the four-piece hits us with wild headbanging tunes, like in their 2016 song “Ray’s,” but this time, they’ve slowed things down and pace themselves.

Frontwoman Kate Breish deadpan vocals sneak along with throbbing drums, tense bass, and righteous guitar riffs as the song explodes, makes this five-minute track a thrash kid’s perfect fantasy.  Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Low Cut Connie closes the night with a warmup for their big Union Transfer gig

Low Cut Connie | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Rowdy, ribald retro rockers Low Cut Connie returned to NonCOMM to close out tonight’s lineup with piano-driven songs and crowd interaction. The band, led by South Philly’s Adam Weiner, dug back to 2012’s Call Me Sylvia for the opening “Boozophilia,” and repped their latest Dirty Pictures (Part 2) with the XPN staple “Beverly,” as well as “Oh Suzanne” and “Hey! Little Child.”

Saundra Williams of past NonCOMM artists Saun and Starr has been a touring member of the LCC crew for the past half a year, and shined in tonight’s set, handling backing vocals and auxiliary percussion with charisma. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Jeff Rosenstock delivers politically charged, high energy set

Jeff Rosenstock | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Long Island rocker Jeff Rosenstock took the stage upstairs with a crazy amount of energy and a set of songs from his most recent solo release, POST-, which came out in January on Polyvinyl. In what seems like typical Rosenstock fashion, he arrived with just enough time to spare to start his set. Immediately after the band’s warmup, he addressed the eager crowd with: “This goes out to anyone listening who feels disgusted to live in a country that no longer represents you unless you are rich, white, or male. Thanks,” before jumping into “USA.”

Rosenstock is a blast to watch. He is messy. He is loud. He is pretty much insane. His lyrics are so weirdly on point, his guitar is heavy and fast and constant. The crowd absolutely loved every second of this set. He might have started the first ever NonCOMM mosh pit! Continue reading →