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Rick Parker and Li Daiguo bring global jazz to The First Banana

rick parker
Rick Parker and Li Daiguo | photo via www.facebook.com

Accompanying his wife, a Pace University communications professor researching youth culture in China, to Shanghai over the past decade, trombonist Rick Parker initially looked forward to the cultural exchange possible in the world’s most populous city. But over the course of several visits he found himself frustrated by the lack of local artists on the scene. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Courtney Barnett at Union Transfer, Something Like A Monument at Kung Fu Necktie, These Wild Plains at Tellus360

Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic
Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Courtney Barnett, who went from a Melbourne musician with a couple of EPs to the toast of the indie singer-songwriter scene. Propelled by her wit and lyrical charm, perhaps best exhibited on the infectious “Avant Gardener” – the first single from her 2013 release A Sea of Split Peas – Barnett headlines Union Transfer for the second time tonight, and according to her recent interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia, will show off a few new songs from the album she’s releasing next year. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch a video of “Avant Gardener” performed live in the studio for World Cafe. Continue reading →

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Network for New Music celebrates 30th anniversary with musical “Exquisite Corpse” project

Network for New Music
Network for New Music ensemble | photo by Jacques-Jean Tiziou

Over the past three decades, Philly-based new music chamber ensemble Network for New Music has commissioned work by a host of notable composers, including renowned names like Alvin Curran, John Harbison, Bright Sheng, Jennifer Higdon, Toru Takemitsu, Shulamit Ran, and Todd Reynolds. So when your entire mission is dedicated to commissioning and performing music by living composers, how do you celebrate a landmark anniversary? Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Twin Peaks at The Barbary, Spuyten Duyvil at Ardmore Music Hall, and Zeus at Ortlieb’s

Twin Peaks | via facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes
Twin Peaks | via facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes

Chi-town garage rock group Twin Peaks will be headline an all-ages The Barbary tonight The group of 20-somethings has gained recognition for their light-hearted and happy approach to classic garage rock, combining the styles the three separate singers/songwriters in their band. Twin Peaks touring in support of its August release, Wild Onion, and will be supported by Tweens, Public Access TV, and Slow Animal. Below, check out Twin Peaks’ “I Found A New Way” and get information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: mewithoutYou at the Trocadero, Black Milk at Johnny Brenda’s, Phantogram at Union Transfer, and more!

mewithoutYou | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
mewithoutYou | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Upper Darby-based rock group mewithoutYou brings its Catch For Us the Foxes 10-year anniversary tour to The Trocadero tonight. Their second full-length album came out in October of 2004 and cathartically explored the tension between heartache, faith and the complex emotions of youth. The record contained fan faves like “In a Sweater Poorly Knit” and “January 1979″, the latter of which won mtvU’s “Left Field Award for Most Original Artist,” and the album peaked at number 20 on Billboard’s “Top Heatseekers.” Joining mwY tonight are Lawrence, Kansas post-rock group The Appleseed Cast and Philadelphia art-punk favorites Hop Along. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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UPenn’s SPEC presents Skylar Grey and The Lawsuits at World Cafe Live

Skylar Grey | photo via skylargreymusic.com
Skylar Grey | photo via skylargreymusic.com

On Saturday, October 25th, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Planning and Events Committee is bringing singer/songwriter Skylar Grey to World Cafe Live. Grey is an accomplished composer and lyricist, having been credited with co-writing tracks like “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna, “Coming Home” by Diddy Dirty Money, “Clarity” by Zedd, and “I Need A Doctor” by Dr. Dre and Eminem. Continue reading →

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Sam Smith will headline The Liacouras Center in January

Sam Smith | photo via facebook.com/samsmithworld
Sam Smith | photo via facebook.com/samsmithworld

Known for his almost sensual blend of pop, R&B, and soul, British singer/songwriter Sam Smith, will be returning to Philadelphia to play the Liacouras Center on January 13th. Since his meteoric rise to fame in 2012 for his feature in Disclosure’s deep house single “Latch”, Smith has taken the national and international music scene by storm. Continue reading →

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How mushroom soup and an optimistic work ethic keep Courtney Barnett moving

Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic
Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic

Courtney Barnett sometimes gets saddled with the “slacker” tag—she’s got this shaggy hair and these boxy tees, and these slow, shuffling bass lines that amble lazily across your eardrums, like maybe they had two beers and it’s a Saturday. Really though, she’s anything but—the Aussie crooner founded her own record label, Milk Records, while in her early 20’s; now, barely into her mid-20s, she’s emerged as somewhat of a workaholic, playing no less than 64 shows since I saw her last February, in addition to working on a new record.

“I don’t reckon you would know anything about me if I wasn’t moderately hard-working,” she once quipped.

Hard work probably got Courtney there a little sooner. But it’s her songwriting—and quirky, relatable lyrics—that did most of the heavy lifting. Continue reading →

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The Ultimate Basement Show: Why Gainesville’s FEST is so important to the Philly DIY scene

Philly's Restorations is headed to Gainesville's FEST for the fifth time, and timed it's new album release around it | photo via restorations.tumblr.com
Philly’s Restorations is headed to Gainesville’s FEST for the fifth time, and timed it’s new album release around it | photo via restorations.tumblr.com

Some musicians route their tours around it. Others plan major releases to coincide with it. Others still will travel thousands of miles to play a one-off show at it, turn right around and head home.

The annual FEST in Gainesville, Florida, has become something of a DIY scene mecca over its 13-year existence. A series of punk concerts housed in a handful of venues over the course of a weekend where, as legend has it, the University of Florida’s football team is always out on an away game, THE FEST – usually written in all-caps, but not for any particular reason – is a huge draw, especially for artists from the Philadelphia region. Continue reading →

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Help end world poverty with Afrojack, Wiz Khalifa, LP and Moosh & Twist this weekend at The Piazza

Photo via OCD: Moosh & Twist Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/teamocd/)
Photo via OCD: Moosh & Twist Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/teamocd/)

Afrojack, Wiz Khalifa, LP and Philly’s OCD: Moosh and Twist have all come together to put on an enticing show for a good cause this weekend at the Piazza at Schmidt’s.  The free, 21+ event kicks off the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and is part of a series of free concerts held by Global Citizen Nights.

Yep, I said it. You can see all of these big-ticket artists for free this weekend. Some big names in a such small venue, right? Well, the aim of these shows is to involve major artists with intimate concerts to join the movement to end severe poverty by 2030. Continue reading →