Just Announced: Leon Bridges will headline The Fillmore in September

Leon Bridges @ The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle

Acclaimed Fort Worth singer-songwriter Leon Bridges returns this spring with Good Thing, his sophomore album coming out May 4th on Columbia Records.

The two-year run surrounding his debut album Coming Home saw Bridges undgergo a transformation of sorts, from the dapper, suit-clad retro-styled soul singer that won the hearts of the latte-sipping crowd to the cool, commanding and contemporary singer we saw in force at the 2016 Roots Picnic.

From the looks and sounds of the new album teasers, it seems that Bridges is setting his sights further on that bigger crowd for the new record, and a just-announced tour in support of it brings Bridges to show off the goods in a return to The Fillmore Philadelphia stage on Sunday, September 30th. Continue reading →


Heart Harbor traverses the cold for a fresh start in “Porcelain”

Heart Harbor |

Philly’s Kerry Hallett just released the first new music we’ve heard from Heart Harbor in a year and change — a slow-burning, yearning folk-pop song called “Porcelain.”

The standalone single, the first since 2016’s Galaei benefit track “A Million Years,” first came into the world when Hallett was dealing with the affects of heartache and seasonal change, so it’s at least partially appropriate that it was released during this week’s manic, snow-one-day-sun-the-next climate. Continue reading →


Listen to Driftwood Soldier talk gutter folk, b-sides and Porchfest on the XPN Folk Show

Driftwood Soldier | photo by Erin Clark | courtesy of the artist
Driftwood Soldier | photo by Erin Clark | courtesy of the artist

West Philly’s Bobby Szafranski and Owen Lyman-Schmidt have delivered their stripped-down, Tom Waits-y style of folk for the past several years under the Driftwood Soldier banner, and this week appeared on the WXPN Folk Show to share word of their latest endeavors.

Utilizing mandolin, bass and Lyman-Schmidt’s gruff vocal delivery, the duo performed three songs — “Rosalee,” “John Henry” and “Sunny Side” — and chatted with Folk Show host Ian Zolitor for about a half hour. They discussed the origins of their self-styled “gutter folk” identity, their new slow-release B-Sides EP, as well as West Philly Porchfest, the annual community event the bandmates sit on the organizing committee of.  Continue reading →


Fight Fire With Fire: Philly’s Luxe is a force of change for LGBT fans in hardcore punk

Luxe | photo by Andrew Restrepo | photo courtesy of the artist

Although the image of a winking anime character popping out of a turquoise background adorning their self-titled EP may indicate otherwise, Philly’s Luxe is a kinetic, highwire act of a punk band, all nasally irreverence and brash thrash.

The band dutifully marries an artistic elegance (their Bandcamp is found under “haus of luxe”, a shout to the LGBT vogue houses that undoubtedly inspire them) with the clandestine insurgency of a rogue cabal hopped up on Amebix bootlegs. Still, even with all of their poisonous barbs, coated in guitar shrapnel disguised as noise, poised to do open battle with society’s isms, there hangs above the quintet a veil of mystery.

After seeing them shred at the suddenly hip Danny’s bar in West Philadelphia, I knew I had to take a closer step towards unraveling their secrets. Of particular interest was drummer Joey Ross, who acts as the band’s catalyst, its center. Joey’s presence online and in the South Philadelphia streets the band calls home, articulates a passionate, deep-seeded longing for an equity not often found in hardcore punk. We sat down with the enigmatic percussionist as well as vocalist Justin Hyduk to talk punk, passion and the paranoia that comes with trusting your friends. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Queen of Jeans

In a phrase possibly borrowed from Bob Dylan, Philadelphia indie pop four-piece Queen of Jeans has both an album title and a mission statement: Dig Yourself.

It’s a poignant statement of self-love in a time where we’re socially scrutinized more than ever, where constant connection leaves us feeling forever inadequate, where anxiety is a reigning force in our daily lives and the friendships we keep and the music we consume. Some day, decades off in the distance, a cultural historian is going to look at the landscape of the 20-teens, cluttered with dismissive gifs and judge-y Slate headlines, and they’ll put our era of world-weary sad pop into a retrospective sociological context. Or maybe not; they’ll no doubt have their own shit to deal with in the 2080s.

But in the fray of it all, Queen of Jeans’ message is simple: do what you love, love who you are. Continue reading →


Camp Cope is kicking off its U.S. tour at PhilaMOCA in June; read a review of How To Socialise & Make Friends

Camp Cope | photo courtesy of the artist

Camp Cope is the kind of band that, when they release new material, you know you need to listen right away — not only because their songs are gorgeously crafted and just the right amount of catchy, but because there’s an urgency to Georgia Maq and crew’s music, a sense of importance that can’t be ignored. Luckily, our wait for new Camp Cope tunes is over. How To Socialise & Make Friends is out now via Run For Cover Records, and it’s the Australian trio’s most powerful release yet.

To go along with the album, the band announced a run of U.S. tour dates, which launch Thursday, June 21st at PhilaMOCA in Fishtown. Scrantonian indie rock singer-songwriter Petal joins them, and more information on the gig can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.  Continue reading →


XPN MusicNotes: Hear Elvis Costello perform sweeping new song with lyrics from a Johnny Cash poem

Johnny Cash and Elvis Costello | photo via Consequence of Sound

“There was one lyric that was thought to be one that might suit me. And then I was glancing through the folio and that particular lyric was there on the page, and the next thing I could hear it in a very unusual way” –  Elvis Costello in an interview w/ Rolling Stone re: a song he wrote to a Johnny Cash poem.

Next month an album called Forever Words will be released featuring well-known singers who have taken poems and letters written by Johnny Cash, and have put his words to music. Elvis Costello is one of the performers.  Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Miguel, Gepe, Deb Callahan, CRUISR, Palm and more

Miguel | Photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

As I type this, people around me are fretting about snowfall predictions and travel routes home; kind of unusual for a spring equinox. At the same time, we’ve got the first weekend of the new season ahead of us, and a whopping six concerts to choose from this Friday to kick it off, so things are looking up. From a couple shows from country icon k.d. lang to expansive experimental sounds from Philly’s Palm, punk rock from Yankee Bluff and hip-hop from Tiani Victoria, here are 18 concerts you can’t miss this week. Continue reading →


Sunflower Bean takes a turn towards the heavier on “Human For”

Sunflower Bean | photo by Hollie Fernando | courtesy of artist

Rising indie darlings Sunflower Bean release a new single today, entitled “Human For,” their latest to be released ahead of their sophomore LP Twentytwo in Blue, out Friday March 23rd on Mom + Pop Records. The trio of twentytwo-year old New Yorkers have been gearing up for the LP release for months now, and the latest single comes as a surprise to many. The song is a great expansion to Sunflower Bean’s palette, and is just enough to tide over fans ahead of the album release. Continue reading →


Jelani Sei releases powerful new single “Rep. Maxine Waters”

Jelani Sei | photo via

Hartford, CT’s Jelani Sei occupies an interesting and cathartic space between punk and jazz, self described as progressive R&B and future soul. With their new single “Rep. Maxine Waters”, they speak power to the struggles of minorities in Trump’s America through emotionally charged musicianship and effusive, poetic lyrics. Continue reading →