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Free at Noon Flashback: Neko Case enchants the midday crowd at World Cafe Live

Neko Case | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | senialopez.photography

Singer-songwriter Neko Case is known as much for her work with The New Pornographers as she is for her seven solo albums, and today enchanted a packed house at World Cafe Live upstairs for the Free at Noon concert. Backed by a six-piece band, Neko wielded a Fender Jaguar, her coppery hair veiling her face. “Easy with the cameras…If you film me I’ll forget the words,” she warned. Beyond the firm request for no cameras, the she kept the stage banter to a minimum, moving fluidly through the set.

The band opened with “Man,” a tambourine-heavy song with country vibes that sneers with attitude, the perfect pick to get the crowd stomping. “Hell-On,” the title track of Neko’s latest album, is eerie and echoing. The lyrics weave a mystical setting as if plucked from the pages of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. “Halls of Sarah” is a wistful call in the dark, with wispy, layered vocals. “She didn’t ask to be your remake or your muse / We’re parasites inside her blues,” Neko sang, her voice toying with language, twisting vowels, sweet but never fragile. The set picked up speed toward the end, “Last Lion of Albion” the seam-splitting finale with heavy drum rolls and clanging cowbell.

Neko Case will play Festival Pier tonight, info and tickets hereContinue reading →

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Body/Head’s “You Don’t Need” is five minutes of Lynchian terror, making them perfect for PhilaMOCA

Body/Head | via facebook.com/bodyheadmusic

Body/Head, composed of Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Bill Nance, releases their new album called The Switch on July 13th. Just last week they released a new single “You Don’t Need,” five minutes of teeth-grinding guitar effects and haunting noise that could play in the background of a Lynch film; listen to it below. Body/Head will play at PhilaMOCA July 16th; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tending soil with serpentwithfeet

serpentwithfeet
serpentwithfeet | photo by Ash Kingston | courtesy of the artist

Experimental pop-star serpentwithfeet is an artist who knows how to power clash, both sonically and emotionally. His music is at once vulnerable and volcanic as influences from the baroque to the Björk collide with each other. On stage, his presence is imposing yet inviting. His debut full length soil, out now on Secretly Canadian and Tri Angle Records, finds him wearing these occasionally messy dualities like finely tailored couture as he sings about the comforts and complexities of queer love. It’s somehow more expansive than his 2016 EP Blisters and more incisive.

He’ll be realizing these narratives on stage at Johnny Brenda’s in Philly next week. It’ll be a semi-homecoming for serpentwithfeet (born Josiah Wise), as he attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia before ultimately moving to New York. To prepare for his return, I had the chance to chat him up about what motivates his creative output, how and when to exorcise one’s inner should, and what parts of Philly he always remembers to visit when he’s back in town… Continue reading →

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Hit the road with #XPNFest artists Sylvan Esso in their new “Signal” video

Sylvan Esso | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Electronic duo Sylvan Esso just released a video for the song “Signal” off What Now. The video is composed of clips from their tour of massive audiences dancing under glowing neon lights, shots of glittering cityscapes and vertigo-inducing rooftop views. It captures playful, candid moments and breaths of composure stolen backstage. Amelia Meath’s buoyant personality and charm is the core of her magnetic performances, and her chemistry with Nick Sanborn gives their shows a compelling energy. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Trap Rabbit

A couple years back, renowned jazz trumpeter Christian Scott introduced the concept of “stretch music” in his album of the same name. The idea was one not of total re-invention or boundary-smashing, but rather of taking one’s creative vocabulary and stretching it to include as much style and range as possible, incorporating uncommon influences while remaining true to one’s musical roots.

Philly duo Trap Rabbit could easily qualify as stretch music for the local scene…though they might prefer their own category of “weirdo beat rock.” Indeed, Arjun Dube’s complex drumbeats are prominently present in the band’s work, propping up and goading on Logan Roth’s expressionistic keyboard playing. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: CHVRCHES and Lo Moon will play the Electric Factory this fall

CHVRCHES
CHVRCHES | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Many of the shows on CHVRCHES upcoming North American tour are already selling out. As a result, and to our great excitement, the Scottish electro pop trio has just added a few additional dates, one of which brings them to the Electric Factory on October 19. (We knew they couldn’t really skip over Philly.) Continue reading →

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Nuevofest brings lineup of Latin American artists to World Cafe Live

Delaporte | via facebook.com/pg/delaportemusic

Get your dancing shoes ready because Nuevofest, the annual festival celebrating the sounds of Latin American music, returns next month. Now in its seventh year, the festival is part of XPN’s Latin Roots project in collaboration with AfroTiano Productions, and each year features a different lineup of contemporary Latin alternative artists spanning many cultures and genres. The free event will be held at World Cafe Live on July 15. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Death Cab for Cutie adds a second show at the Tower

Death Cab for Cutie | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | via NPR Music

Right after Death Cab for Cutie shared the first single from their forthcoming album, their October 9 show at the Tower Theater sold out. Coincidence or not, it seems like the promise of the first new Death Cab tunes in three years has folks eager to see the band in action on their upcoming fall tour.

Fortunately for Philly concertgoers, a second show has been added — Death Cab for Cutie will stick around town for an extra day to make a second Tower Theater appearance on October 10. Continue reading →

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Watch a cinematic video for Kamasi Washington’s gamer theme song “Street Fighter Mas”

Kamasi Washington | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

Jazz star child and saxophonist Kamasi Washington has treated fans to an epic music video for his single “Street Fighter Mas.” As the title suggests, the song is inspired by Washington’s love of video games, specifically his childhood accomplishment as a Street Fighter champion. According to Washington, he planned on becoming a pro gamer, and wrote this song to serve as his theme song at tournaments. Continue reading →

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Listen to Mondo Cozmo’s Josh Ostrander in conversation with Helen Leicht on the XPN Midday Show

Helen Leicht and Josh Ostrander of Mondo Cozmo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Anthemic modern rockers Mondo Cozmo, the project of Southampton’s Josh Ostrander, will return to Philly to night for a headlining gig at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philadelphia, a teaser of their sure-to-be knockout set at the XPoNential Music Festival this summer.

As a warm-up to the show, Ostrander stopped by WXPN studios for an on-air chat with midday host Helen Leicht — whom he says he’s been sending songs to since he was a kid. When he heard that Leicht was enthusiastic about the band’s debut single “Shine” last year, he said “I couldn’t believe you were finally playing my music!” Continue reading →