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Moses Sumney brings beautifully resonating set to The Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

There’s something heavenly entrancing about the work of Moses Sumney. It’s a quality that seems to connect his listeners with more than just music — his choir-like vocals juxtaposed with his interactive, experimental loops and multi-instrumental tracks, along with his emotional and intimate lyrics, lead to an all-encompassing, physical, and seemingly spiritual experience.

Sumney is on the tail end of his US Tour, headlining for the first time, and debuting his new album Aromanticism. Fans jam-packed the basement in First Unitarian Church last night in anticipation of his set. He played a myriad of songs off the album such as “Doomed,” “Quarrel,” and “Make Out in My Car,” as well as a cover of Bjork’s 1994 song “Come to Me.” Continue reading →

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Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue bring the party, New Orleans style, to The Fillmore

Trombone Shorty | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue brought a high-energy and vibrant New Orleans style party to The Fillmore stage on Wednesday night. The band is currently touring in support of their recently released album Parking Lot Symphony, and the performance had the band dancing from front to back. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews led the show as the band played a great set of their funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop infused music. Throughout the set, Andrews switched between multiple instruments including trombone, trumpet, tambourine and even drums at one point. Midway through the show, Andrews left the crowd speechless as he played an impressive trumpet solo — one continuous note for at least 2 minutes before ending with a dramatic slide up the scale with an explosive ending before falling to his knees to finally catch his breath. It was easily one of the most memorable instrumental solos I have seen.  Continue reading →

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Chicano Batman delivers an electric performance at TLA with The Shacks and Khruangbin

Chicano Batman | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

On Sunday night, Theatre of Living Arts welcomed Chicano Batman for a night of psychedelic, soulful grooves. I’ve had my eye on this show for a while now, and finally seeing them live completely changed my perspective on their music. I really understand what all the hype is about, because these guys are fun, and I’m happy I had the chance to check them out in person. Continue reading →

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Kesha shines at The Fillmore Philly

Kesha | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

Kesha Rose Sebert (better known as just Kesha) made one thing abundantly clear as soon as she hit the stage at the Fillmore on Saturday night – she was there on her terms.  With more than a few middle fingers to her detractors, she loudly proclaimed that she owns her music, and she takes care of herself.  After an extended absence, and some demoralizing public battles, Kesha has a new album with Rainbow and a fresh, positive outlook on the future.  Welcome back, Kesha. Continue reading →

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Tash Sultana delivers a mind-blowing performance at Union Transfer

Tash Sultana | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

A sold out crowd warmly welcomed Tash Sultana to Union Transfer yesterday evening. Sultana, a twenty two year old multi-instrumentalist from Melbourne, Australia, has been making waves all across the globe with her jaw-dropping one woman show, as well as her debut EP Notion. She employs sound looping to build layers of melody and rhythm onstage, giving the illusion of a full band when, in fact, its just her. This technique, mixed with mind-blowing guitar performances left the audience speechless. Continue reading →

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During troubled times, Broken Social Scene spreads the love in Philly

Broken Social Scene | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | www.nataliepiserchio.com

“I believe in love, and that’s what we’ve always tried to do: Spread the love. It’s not a great day,” speaks Kevin Drew, co-founder of Canadian baroque-pop experimental musical group Broken Social Scene. “It’s a very hard time right now. Evil will always be in the room. But, we’ve gotta get together and we’ve gotta outshine it.”

“I didn’t think coming into this tour I’d be talking about love,” he continues. “I’m 41 years old, and I’ve gotten my ass kicked many times by my own heart. But, I believe in love, ladies and gentleman.”

Broken Social Scene began the encore of their show at The Fillmore on Monday referencing the series of violent and tragic events that occurred on Sunday, October 1st, 2017 in Las Vegas, where nearly 500 concert goers were injured and almost 60 died due to a gunman open-firing into a crowd at Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. The band then delved into a deeply intimate and emotional version of “Lover’s Spit”, before Kevin Drew entered the audience, front and center. “Let’s hug it out”, he says, mid-song, hugging fans and lending them the mic.

A certain connectedness was established, and it said one thing: we’re all in this together. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Rostam delivers expansive experience with Half-Light

Rostam | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

Rostam Batmanglij released his debut LP Half-Light on September 15th, and to say that it was a long time coming is a definite understatement. It was six years ago this month that Rostam’s first solo track – and now Half-Light track – “Wood” was released on Soundcloud, as his band Vampire Weekend recorded their chart-topping Modern Vampires of the City. 

The years since have seen Rostam leave Vampire Weekend in 2016 to pursue solo work, produce tracks on a number of records for genre-spanning artists from Solange to Carly Rae Jepson to Hamilton Leithauser, and all the while steadily release singles that would eventually become his solo debut.

Half-Light is fifteen tracks of mystical, musical magic, and at today’s Free At Noon show Rostam performed seven of them (plus a bonus Vampire Weekend cover). Continue reading →

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Slomo Sapiens to Skull Eclipses, Shannen Moser to Strand of Oaks: Scenes from the inaugural Philly Music Fest

Ceramic Animal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

This past weekend, the inaugural Philly Music Fest touched down at World Cafe Live, filling the venue’s upstairs and downstairs stages with two nights of performances by local artists. Highlights included dazzling late-night performances by headliners Cayetana and Strand of Oaks, packed-floor upstairs sets by Harmony Woods and Ivy Sole, the live debut of Skull Eclipses — the experimental hiphop project of Lushlife and Botany — and much more.

In the mix were foodies, artists and crafters, musicians in the audience watching the musicians onstage, and a couple top-secret stripped down performances for VIP ticket holders. 26 artists performed in total, money was raised for LiveConnections, and you can take a look at scenes from the weekend care of ace Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo.To see more of her work, check out her website, and give her Instagram a follow.  Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Josh Ritter celebrates his new Gathering at World Cafe Live

Josh Ritter | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

Friday was a big day for Josh Ritter: it marked the official release of his ninth studio album Gathering following 2015’s excellent Sermon on the Rocks, and he and the Royal City Band were able to bring their foot-stomping, fast-talking tunes to World Cafe Live before flying to Minneapolis to kick off the record’s tour.

The singer-songwriter has long been a favorite of XPN and its members, and the crowd that had been steadily lining up outside quickly filled the venue to capacity in anticipation of his triumphant return. As one of the audience observed, “Nothing like Josh Ritter to get the people out of the woodwork.” Continue reading →

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Easygoing Vibes, Explosive Force: The War on Drugs makes a powerful homecoming at The Dell for a good cause

The War on Drugs | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When it was announced that Connor Barwin’s fourth annual Make The World Better Foundation fundraising concert was being held at the Dell Music Center and that The War On Drugs would headline, questions arose. For some, the question was “What the heck is The Dell?” and for those familiar with the city-run venue in Fairmount, the question was “Why The Dell?” The answer to the latter is that the venue is looking to throw in an occasional rock or country band to their normal summer mix of funk, R&B and soul music. Based on the crowd who entered The Dell “ooh”ing “ahh”ing, the venue most likely will not have trouble filling seats for these outlier acts. Continue reading →