Allegra Anka of Cayetana releases a pair of indiepop solo tracks

Cayetana | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Creator, tinkerer, weirdo, thinker, freak (all self-described), and local musician Allegra Anka has released two solo tracks on the EP dreams we talk about. Unlike Anka’s main project, the punk trio Cayetana, this pair of songs takes on a more lo-fi home-recorded indie-pop stance. Thanks, in part, to the programmed drum machine and filtered, layered vocals, Anka creates something distinctly their own. Continue reading →


Rock out to Wallace’s debut studio recording, “Sunny Monday”

Wallace | photo courtesy of the artist

Earlier this winter, in the midst of a show at Ortlieb’s, I found myself describing Philly rocker Wallace to a friend via text message as “kind of like Sheer Mag without the radical politics and if Tina and Kyle were one person.”

What did I mean by that? Well, firstly, the band — really the artist, a nom de stage of Wallace Gerdy, lead guitarist of Philly’s Mattress Food — is also a rock band in the most classic sense: tasty 70s / 80s riffs, speedy rhythms, wry delivery and hooks hooks hooks. Second, it’s not to say that Gerdy does not care about society and the world around her, but society is not necessarily what her songs are about; they take a very personal outlook, there’s no revolutionary call-to-arms like Sheer Mag’s “Meet Me In The Street,” and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. Last: in Sheer Mag, Tina Halladay fills the role of charismatic frontperson with the gripping, gravelly voice while Kyle Seely is the lead shredder, establishing the band’s guitar identity; Gerdy, however, does both, often simultaneously. Continue reading →


Navigating Sound: Kilamanzego on the journey from hardcore punk to experimental beatmaking

Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist

From the opening notes on “Picking My Kalimba from a Distance” with its bright, high-pitched samples and tribal stutter-step, the listener can tell that they’re not just in the presence of a beat-maker: they’re witnessing magic by Philly’s Kilamanzego.

Imagine a dusty warehouse in West Philadelphia, stocked to the brim with old, rusting pianos, pitbulls with mange and orange bandanas, and a whole lotta white people wearing black clothes and rocking dreadlocks. This was the scene when I first heard Kilamanzego cast auditory spells, lifting the crowd with euphoric organ swells only to pummel them with roaring bass drop after bass drop. That night, Kilamanzego — armed with Ableton Live triggered from a laptop and an infectious energy — wasn’t just playing a beat set; they were opening portals to realms from which I don’t think I’ve ever returned. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying: that sounds like a lot of music guy talk, and the big lofty words volleyed about to describe what’s being thrown down don’t impress you. The thing is, while that performance might have been a welcome surprise — that so much powerful, trance inducing sound could be conjured by a petit yet tough former hardcore punk, black girl in a west Philly punk rock basement — Kilamanzego’s next performance I witnessed? It was a revelation. There is no doubt that we are dealing with one of Philly’s most creative musical minds.

And for Kila, it’s a long time coming. Kilamanzego has created a tightly wound catalog of entrancing beats, mini-séances that invoke both their time spent toiling in Philly’s underground and their Ghanaian roots. At once tribal and atmospheric, Kilamanzego has etched new sounds on the beat-based landscape. With their series backyardbxss that they curate as part of the smth savant collective, they’ve helped cultivate a movement that bridges scenes and communities in the spirit of Hip Hop. For Kilamanzego though, that spirit doesn’t seem to want to be tamed. With a hypnotic new single called “Stay Floated In The Tribe” out this week and upcoming shows including Get Better Fest at the First Unitarian Church, we sat down with Kila to discuss beats, life, and sonic ritual texture. Continue reading →


Lucy Dacus, Lo Moon, Natalie Prass and more are on tap for SXSW public radio showcases

Lucy Dacus| Photo By Noah Silvestry |

Heading down to Austin, TX for SXSW next week? Even if you weren’t planning on going, this news might make you want to pack your bags and plan an escape route out of snowy Philly (Austin’s only 1,600 miles away, after all).

There’s never a shortage of events to attend, bands to see, or tacos to eat at the annual mega-conference-slash-festival, but this year NPR Music, in collaboration with several member stations including XPN, has put together something truly special. Public radio showcases will be happening throughout the week at locations all over Austin, with some individual stations hosting their own shows, but the stations come together on Wednesday, March 14 for NPR Music’s Public Radio Showcase at the famous Stubb’s BBQ. Continue reading →


Vacationer is intimate, yet incredibly catchy on its new single “Magnetism”

Vacationer | photo by She Hit Pause | courtesy of the artist

When we last heard from regional electo-pop band Vacationer, they were playing a New Years’ Eve gig in Fishtown, showcasing material from their 2012 LP Gone and its 2014 follow-up Relief. This year, they’re poised to make a much-awaited return with new music, and today we’ve got their latest single for your consideration — a bright and buoyant tune called “Magnetism.”

The track opens on a 50s pop drumbeat before the sampled string section and chiming syncopated synthesizers make an entrance; it’s classic Vacationer from that point on, but more romantic and vulnerable than we’ve heard from the band in the past.

Continue reading →


Just Announced: Beach House will bring their new album 7 to The Tower Theater in July

beach house
Beach House | photo by Shawn Brackbill | courtesy of the artist

Long-running Baltimore dreampop duo Beach House will release their new album, 7, this May on Sub Pop, Bella Union, and Mistletone records. As the band writes, “7 is our 7th full-length record. At its release, we will have been a band for over 13 years. We have now written and released a total of 77 songs together.” Beach House by the numbers, people.

With the announcement and album details — cover art, track list, fun stuff that you can see below — the band shared a new single called “Dive.” It opens on a woozy, languid keyboard drone that blankets Victoria Legrand’s vocals (so classic Beach House, in other words) but launches into an urgent double-time drum machine anthem in the vein of New Order at the halfway mark, an animated side that the band does not often reveal. Listen below. Continue reading →


Moor Mother and DJ Haram are 700 Bliss

Image via Bandcamp

Philly favs Moor Mother and DJ Haram have teamed up to create the duo 700 Bliss, and recently put out a fresh and powerful five-track EP called Spa 700. DJ Haram’s spacey, innovative beats provide a trance like experience to get the listener prepared to receive Moor Mother’s passionate lyrics and intense delivery. You can pregame to this, mosh to this, start a revolution to this. Right on time for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Check out the dope EP down below. Continue reading →


The Rail Park presents #partyforthepark benefit show with Sango, Xavier Omar, Bosco and more

Image via TIcketleap

Want an easy and fun way to give back to the community and have a good time? We got you.

The Friends of the Rail Park are hosting a benefit concert to help build the Rail Park, a unique public space made of three miles of unused rail lines in Philly. The event will take place at Voyeur Nightclub this Thursday, March 8th from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The line up includes some incredible up and coming names like Philly’s Sango and Xavier Omar, as well as Atlanta’s BOSCO, with three dope Philly DJs, DJ Lean Wit It, DJ SYLO, and Hvn Lee. Continue reading →


Neko Case returns with her first album in five years, Hell-On, and a Festival Pier gig

Neko Case
Neko Case | photo courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter and occasional member of The New Pornographers, Neko Case, is back with her first solo project in 5 years, a new album called Hell-On. The album art is intense, featuring Case wearing a top made of brown hair, a hat sculpted out of cigarettes, the words “Hell-On” melting off of her shoulder, and a small, smokey fire bursting out from under her top. The first single, “Hell-On” features imaginative lyrics, whimsical production, and her unique voice. Continue reading →