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Masie Blu drops pulsating new track “Lit With Love”

Masie Blu | photo via facebook.com/MasieBlu

Philly soul-pop artist Masie Blu just released “Lit With Love,” an affectionate, synth-heavy crooner with producer Chase of Nazareth. Her echoing vocals and purposefully off-kilter harmonies add a layer of originality that sets Blu apart in the synth-pop scene. Her vocals sound under-produced, leaving an organic tone to her voice, something that isn’t seen too often. The soundscape behind her is full of echoing, pulsating beats, bass-heavy tones, and intermittent drum patterns. Overall, it’s a song dedicated to the rhythm, and the lyrics fit nicely into place. Stream “Lit With Love” below.

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Listen to Chris Forsyth bring maximum jams to his World Cafe session

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

The ultimate Philly jam band, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, played World Cafe on November 9th, and did they leave the audience speechless or what? Playing a 20-minute rendition of “Dreaming in the Non-Dream,” these guys tirelessly delivered an epic performance that I’m sure could have lasted an hour. Comparable to big names like The Grateful Dead, Television, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Forsyth’s band is nothing shy of crazily energetic. Continue reading →

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Listen to AllegrA’s self-titled debut ahead of their record release show

AllegrA | photo by A.W. Klass | via facebook.com/allegrabandmusic

AllegrA announced their new LP just a few weeks ago, but with enough time for quite a bit of excitement to build. The solo project of former Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes bassist Allegra Eidinger, AllegrA released their first EP a year ago and returned recently with a few singles from the new album, “My Pillow is My Punching Bag” and “I’m An Introvert” (which has a delightful video to go along with it). After moving back to their native Philly after a few years in Pittsburgh, they’ve been previewing the new tunes at shows around town — including an appearance at Weller’s record release gig last weekend — and now we can treat our ears to the LP in full. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “I Was A Fool” by Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean
Sunflower Bean | photo by Andy DeLuca | courtesy of the artist

You might remember New York City psych rock power trio Sunflower Bean from a killer performance at Non-COMM 2016, delivered on the heels of their Fat Possum Records debut Human Ceremony. The band drew on Sabbath and the Stooges, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and had a formidable live presence to boot; not only did bassist / vocalist Julia Cumming, drummer Jacob Faber, and guitarist Nick Kivlen get lost in the proverbial zone, they took the eager audience along for the ride.

Flash forward a year and a half, and the band is resurfacing from a seemingly constant tour schedule to deliver the first taste of their next phase. The song “I Was A Fool” premiered on NPR Music last week, and with it came the announcement that Sunflower Bean has joined the Mom + Pop Records family — home to Courtney Barnett, Tash Sultana, DMAs and more. The new song shows a progression in their sound — the sound eases up on heavy drone, making room for ethereal pop. Jangling guitars and trade-off vocals from Cumming and Kivlen are reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and Todd Rundgren, as filtered through Kurt Vile and Rilo Kiley. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Dhani Harrison’s guitar doesn’t weep, it wails

Dhani Harrison | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

A slice (of a slice) of Beatlemania descended upon 31st and Walnut on this pleasantly frigid Friday as the crowd that had lined the street shed their layers and traded in coffees for beers, fortunate to be among the few to have secured a spot at a show that had sold out days before. Nothing less could be expected for Dhani Harrison, and this boundless enthusiasm never wavered during his Free At Noon set – the applause heard after each song was near equivalent to what another band might expect to earn after their final bows. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

A lot’s been said already this year about Japanese Breakfast — not to mention its driving force: singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michelle Zauner.

Candid and vulnerable lyricist. Charismatic and inspiring frontperson. Tight and transcendant live band. Sonic visionaries. Near-universal acclaim for JBrekkie’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet has come in from all corners — The Guardian to The New York Times and NPR — and it is, quite frankly, incredible to see, as we’ve been fans of Zauner and her bandmates in their various forms over the years. She and bassist Deven Patrick Craige go back to beloved punk four-piece Little Big League, she goes further back to Post Post and her production partner (and drummer) Craig Hendrix has worked with anyone from Birdie Busch to Jesse Hale Moore, The Dove and the Wolf and his solo project Auctioneer.

The band is rounded out by guitarist and keyboardist Peter Bradley, and it’s safe to say that Japanese Breakfast has become the highest profile pursuit that any of these Philly-rooted musicians has taken on…and rightfully so. Beyond the emotional hook of Zauner’s songs — which, on Soft Sounds, dissect human connection and communication, positing that our only barriers to intimacy and trust are one another — the band has a tremendous ability to translate that emotion sonically, to make listeners at home and folks in the crowd feel what they are feeling.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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XPN MusicNotes: Watch St. Vincent perform “Los Ageless” live on Ellen

 

St. Vincent | photo by Nedda Afsari

Did you catch St. Vincent on Ellen? No worries — you can check out video below of Annie Clark performing “Los Ageless” from her new album Masseduction, copies of which Ellen gave away to her studio audience. Read more on St. Vincent’s new album Masseduction here and get information on her upcoming Electric Factory appearance at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Elvis Costello releases symphonic new single for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Elvis Costello | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Elvis Costello‘s new song “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way” was written for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a movie following the life of Peter Turner and his relationship with actress Gloria Grahame. The song swells with the slow crooning of Costello’s vocals, lazy piano riffs, and dynamic builds of the strings. It’s beautiful, and I can already sense the vibe of the movie, even though this song could absolutely stand alone. Stream it below and watch a trailer for the film. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Alright Junior

A case study in less-is-more, Philly rockers Alright Junior keep things contained to the time-honored rock and roll elements — guitar, bass, drums, voice — and in the process, they sound massive.

Maybe it’s the way the stringed instruments interact, with ample space carved out in arrangement and tone for each to howl. Maybe it’s the way drums are methodically paced, coming in at just the right moment with just the right amount of force to elevate the fray. The band’s emotive, heavy rock hits any number of touchstones, from Queens of the Stone Age and Soundgarden, to less-remembered artists of the modern rock era like Our Lady Peace and Remy Zero. Performed live in WXPN studios recently, it sounds particularly badass.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Mahatma X provides an introspective look on millennial culture with diverse flows and complex instrumentals

Mahatma X | photo courtesy of the artist

After releasing the highly jazz-influenced A Mobtown Suit Vol. 1 earlier this year, underground Philly MC Mahatma X makes a strong return with a 23 song epic entitled Social Capital. The new album features a slew of complex instrumental tracks as well as unique lyrical tracks highlighting Mahatma’s crackly voice and enticingly choppy flow. Continue reading →