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Cloud Becomes Your Hand brings quirky art-pop to Space 1026

cloud becomes your hand
Cloud Becomes Your Hand | photo by Christopher Swane | courtesy of the artist

Don’t get put off by the self-conscious “weirdness” of Brooklyn art-pop sextet Cloud Becomes Your Hand. Their live sets boast oddball outfits, spasmodic choreography, and craft-fair accoutrements – hell, their name was inspired by a hand puppet that frontman Stephe Cooper employed in another (presumably even quirkier) band. But look past the arch theatrics and the band’s delightfully off-kilter songs inhabit the same catchily cerebral terrain as earlier bands that weren’t afraid to bubble-wrap their complexity inside kiddie show trappings – names like DEVO and the Residents come easily to mind.

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Music for the People: Porchfest takes root in West Philadelphia

Porchfest
Porchfest organizers Owen Lyman-Schmidt, Ross Hoffman and Abe Taber in West Philadelphia | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Owen Lyman-Schmidt first learned about Porchfest by accident.

His band Driftwood Soldier was touring through New England when he got a message from a promoter in Somerville, Massachusetts. Their show was accidentally double-booked; it was the same day as something called Porchfest and the gig had to be called off. Lyman-Schmidt’s reaction: what the heck is Porchfest?

The promoter assured him that, don’t worry, we can still get you a gig that day as part of the event. And when Driftwood Soldier rolled into to town, what they found took them by surprise.

“It was amazing, we’d never seen anything like it before,” remembers Lyman-Schmidt. “We were just hanging out in the neighborhood beforehand and there were all of these crowds of people walking by. We were like ‘whats going on?’ And everyone was like ‘Don’t you know? It’s Porchfest! Isn’t that why you’re here?'”

The band played a show to a backyard filled with total strangers, people who just showed up because Porchfest was going on. Their reaction was simultaneously bowled away and ambitious. We need to bring this back to West Philly, they thought. We’ve got much better porches. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: The Cactus Blossoms bring us back to open up day three

The Cactus Blossoms | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
The Cactus Blossoms | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

Folk duo The Cactus Blossoms hail from Minneapolis, but they could just as well be from the late 50’s. The band, which consists of Jack Torrey and Page Burkum both singing and playing guitar, just released their debut album You’re Dreaming. The songs play out as skiffley, old-time rock and roll in a vein of Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison, serving as a perfect opening statement for NonCOMM day three. Continue reading →

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The Avett Brothers added to Musikfest lineup

The Avett Brothers | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
The Avett Brothers | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

After a stunning performance at the Mann Center earlier this month, The Avett Brothers have announced an end of the summer slot at Musikfest. The folk / rock band of brothers and friends are on tour in support of their ninth studio record True Sadness and will bring the album to the Bethlehem, PA venue on August 14th.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Thin Lips at Everybody Hits, The Snow Fairies at Space 1026, Kate Faust at Stage on Herr and more…

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo courtesy of the artist

This week we’ve showcased Philly punk rockers Thin Lips on our Unlocked series. Tonight, they’ll take the stage at Everybody Hits for a release party celebrating their brand new LP Riff Hard. You might want to see them while they’re still here — they head out on tour with Modern Baseball real soon. Watch their “Never Again” music video below and then head to the XPN Concert calendar for all the details on tonight’s show. Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: Go back to school with Thin Lips in “I Wonder”

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

So we’ve talked a bunch these past couple days about Philly four-piece Thin Lips, and the serious undertones of their seriously catchy punk rock. The way they find release from personal struggles in loud riffs and fast drums.

But there’s another way the band finds release: by making sure fun is a conscious a part of their personas. We certainly saw that in the video for “Never Again,” where the band plays itself, a rival band and various audience members in attendance at a musical face-off at Kung Fu Necktie. Chrissy Tashjian told Noisey that it was “our homosexual Blink 182 video” and that about sums up the goofy party vibe they chose to visualize their hard luck anthem.

Today, there’s a new video for another Thin Lips song. And yes, it’s also got a total party atmosphere. Continue reading →

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Live From The Lot Relocated: Saturday at Electric Factory, Sunday at Ardmore Music Hall

Live From The Lot

Back in February we told you all about Live From The Lot, the two day event taking place outside Ardmore Music Hall. With bands like Snarky Puppy and The Greyboy Allstars in town, this weekend is sure to be a few fantastic days of music.

However, all signs point to the weather not cooperating on Saturday. In order to keep the spirit of the music alive, Saturday’s festivities have been moved to the Electric Factory. Everything on Friday evening and Sunday will remain outside Ardmore Music Hall. Continue reading →

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Plow United doesn’t miss a beat on Three

Plow United | via facebook.com/PlowUnited

Once again, Plow United hasn’t missed a beat. The regional punk rock power trio is back this week with its fifth LP – its second since reuniting in 2011 – and it sounds fantastic. The full record is now streaming on The A.V. Club, and it packs in 14 new songs into just about a half hour’s time.

A couple weeks back, singer-guitarist Brian McGee appeared on The Key Studio Sessions to preview a few of the new songs: “We Should Take Time,” “Break The Barrier” and “Trust.” Contrasting the troubadour-esque acoustic renditions of the songs against the pummeling freakouts that are the album versions is definitely a trip – its sick to hear that, even after twenty years, the Plow boys have that gripping ability to not chill, as the situation may call for. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Rainer Maria adds an all-ages show at PhilaMOCA

Rainer Maria | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Rainer Maria at Union Transfer | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Exciting news for fans of turn-of-the-century emo / punk. Rainer Maria – who put out an incredible run of records between 1995 and 2006, who reunited last year and who just sold out their headlining 21+ show at Johnny Brenda’s – have added a second, all-ages Philly date. They’ll headline PhilaMOCA on Wednesday, August 10th; tickets go on sale Friday, May 20th at noon. More information at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Joan Baez will play the Academy of Music this fall

Joan Baez | photo by Marina Chavez | courtesy of the artist
Joan Baez | photo by Marina Chavez | courtesy of the artist

In January, singer-songwriter Joan Baez celebrated her 75th birthday with a star-studded concert at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. This fall, the celebration continues as Baez goes on a run of tour dates that brings her to Philadelphia. Baez will headline the Academy of Music with Mary Chapin Carpenter on Sunday, October 9th, and tickets are on sale now.

Joining her will be Mary Chapin Carpenter. More information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →