By

Just Announced: The Districts will play a special string of shows at Johnny Brenda’s this fall

The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

One of the first major Philly gigs The Districts played was the stage of Johnny Brenda’s back in fall of 2014, opening for The Lawsuits’ Cool Cool Cool album release party. Now that they’re heading into a new year, hopefully with a new record on the horizon along with some of their biggest shows to date, it seems fitting that the Philadelphia by way of central PA rockers return to the JBs stage for a string of intimate shows on Thanksgiving weekend. Continue reading →

By

Strand of Oaks announce return of the Winter Classic, playing two nights at Boot & Saddle

strand of oaks
Photo by Noah Silvestry | http://silvestography.tumblr.com/

For the second year in a row, hometown hero Strand of Oaks will close out twelve months of big moments with back to back shows at Boot & Saddle, dubbed the “Winter Classic.” Tim Showalter will perform two nights of “stripped way down” sets on December 2nd and 3rd, playing songs from his own catalog as well as some covers (and maybe even a few new tracks, if we’re extra lucky).

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Bronx / Mariachi El Bronx at The Fillmore, Kula Shaker at World Cafe Live, and Bryant Eugene Vazquez at Bourbon and Branch

Mariachi El Bronx
Mariachi El Bronx | Photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight at the Fillmore in Fishtown, Los Angeles hardcore band The Bronx performs both as themselves and as their alter ego Mariachi El Bronx. In the latter, the band performs (you guessed it) mariachi music, an idea was born out of the band’s desire to challenge themselves musically. The Bronx will be supported by Dead Heavens, a four-piece group with roots in hard rock and New York City. Check out what Mariachi El Bronx is all about below. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: LVL Up at PhilaMOCA and Pylon Reenactment Society at Johnny Brenda’s

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

Tonight, the lo-fi Indie rockers of LVL Up will be playing at the PhilaMOCA. The four-piece outfit just released their third full length LP, Return to Love, on Sub Pop Records; read our interview with the Brooklyn band here, and let them personally guide you through their new album tonight at PhilaMOCA. For more information about the show check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the video for “The Closing Door” off their new album below. Continue reading →

By

Get dizzy with Balance and Composure’s “Spinning”

Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist
Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist

Doylestown alt-rockers Balance and Composure continue to explore their new, atmospheric sound with “Spinning,” the third cut shared from the imminent Light We Made. This follows the previously released “Postcard” and “Afterpary” and sees the band “balancing” (ha ha) their newfound appreciation for washy textures with the same pounding drums and angst that made previous efforts so captivating. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bilal at Johnny Brenda’s, Lushlife at Boot and Saddle, Lotus at The Mann Center and more

bilal
Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews

Soul / funk / rock artist and Philadelphia native Bilal headlines a show at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown tonight. In the past, he has worked with big names like Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Kimbra just to name a few. His last solo release was In Another Life, released last year. Opening up for Bilal will be the fellow Philadelphian Ursula Rucker. She is a poet, activist, and recording artist who has been performing for over seventeen years. This show featuring some of Philly’s finest is not to be missed. Tickets and more information about the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out the video for “Money Over Love” below. Continue reading →

By

INTERVIEW: Brooklyn indie darlings LVL UP on making their most fully realized album, Return to Love

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

I’ll refrain from making the obvious joke here, and just say this: LVL UP‘s new album Return to Love sounds massive.

After five years and a couple of releases circling the grittier home-recorded periphery of the indie rock universe, the band goes full in on it’s third long player, released today on Sub Pop Records. Fuzzed out punk gives way to pristine pop, and you’ll hear hints of Neutral Milk Hotel and Pavement as much as you will Nada Surf and Fountains of Wayne. In short, it’s their most fully realized album on the sonic front, and talking to singer-guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton, the guys are remarkably level-headed (ugggggggh, #dadjokes) and earnest about their craft.

I caught up with them via phone from Benton’s apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was a hot August day and the band was laying low; they didn’t have anything on the calendar until a music video shoot the following week and a gig at Hopscotch fest in early September. Below, read our conversation about recording, running a label, and how their band and business lives intersect. Continue reading →

By

Philly’s Dear Friend will celebrate their new album at Ortlieb’s on Saturday

Dear Friend | via Bandcamp

Saturday night in Northern Liberties, Philly indie four-piece Dear Friend celebrates its album release at Ortlieb’s. The self-titled album is the band’s first record since 2014, and in the time since, the band has been an active part of the Philly music scene, playing gigs at Philly venues like Boot and Saddle, MilkBoy and Bourbon and Branch. Music from the new album hasn’t made its way online yet, but in the meantime, check out the audio from the band’s 2014 release (also self-titled). Saturday’s show is 21+, tickets start at $10 and can be found here. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Peter, Bjorn and John at The Trocadero, Anais Mitchell at Tin Angel, Puff Daddy at Wells Fargo Center

Peter, Bjorn and John | photo courtesy of the artist

Swedish pop is arguably some of the best pop there is, as Peter, Bjorn and John has handily proven time and again. From their infectious and ubiquitous hit “Young Folks,” all the way up to the new Breaking Point LP, the long running trio are masters of their craft. Tonight they headline The Trocadero. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch the music video for “Dominos.”
Continue reading →

By

The Key Studio Sessions: Bel Heir

It may be the first day of autumn, but Philly modern rock four-piece Bel Heir are firm subscribers to Brian Wilson’s “endless summer” school of thought. In other words, today’s Key Studio Session does not shy away from sunny vocal hooks, energized riffs and rhythms and breezy hints of reggae, and it’s all the awesomer for it.

The regional band first caught our ear in 2013 when brothers Paul and Patrick Mencel began dabbling in a new studio recordings after the dissolve of their previous band Find Vienna. Where that crew aimed for Kings of Leon-style arena rock stratospheres, Bel Heir takes a more contemplative and laid-back route — “beachy,” as the kids like to say, and very much in step with the globally-informed electronic pop tones of Vacationer and Vampire Weekend. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head