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Hopelessly devoted to rocking: Courtney Barnett at the Electric Factory

Courtney Barnett | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Courtney Barnett | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Aussie singer-songwriter/guitarist Courtney Barnett and her band rocked it out out the Electric Factory on Thursday night. Barnett is currently touring in support of her critically-acclaimed 2015 album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. With multiple festival set appearances, a recent debut performance on SNL’s season finale and a Grammy nomination, Barnett has had quite a busy year since her last performance in Philly at last year’s XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Strong emotions felt during an intimate Rogue Wave concert at Johnny Brenda’s

rogue wave
Rogue Wave | photo by Matthew Shaver | www.brightloud.com

“There but for the grace of God…” Words that could potentially apply to a wide variety of situations, but quite often in music it is the luck of the draw that splits who makes it big time and who never makes it at all. That was the old days at least, these days there is a solid middle ground, a place where working musicians can thrive, make a living, and build a passionate, rabidly loyal fanbase, even if it’s just a stroke of luck that kept them from selling out theaters. Continue reading →

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Photos: Modern Baseball preview Holy Ghost at Long in the Tooth

modern baseball
Modern Baseball In-store Concert | photo by John Vettese

The day before they released Holy Ghost, Modern Baseball played an in-store set at Long in the Tooth for people who pre-ordered the new LP. The set consisted of most of the new record, plus older songs like “Your Graduation” and “Fine, Great.” The Key’s John Vettese was on hand to capture the event on film, snapping shots of the band setting up for the session, fans browsing for records, MoBo frontman Brendan Lukens taking selfies and signing autographs, and of course people singing along. Modern Baseball headline The Fillmore‘s main stage on June 26th; tickets and information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Car Seat Headrest continue the conversation by bringing their Noise Machine to Underground Arts

Car Seat Headrest | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Car Seat Headrest | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

It had only been two days since Car Seat Headrest last played in Philadelphia. Back on Friday, the four piece band fronted by indie-rock wunderkind Will Toledo was introduced by David Dye at NonCOMM (before which Dye said, “I had to play rock-paper-scissors with Bob Boilen to introduce these guys, and I won”). While it was still a great set filled with, as fellow Key writer Joe Bloss put it, “youthful lyrics and mind-numbing guitar shredding,” it was still only four songs, all of which came from the newly released and sarcastically cathartic Teens of Denial (check out K. Ross Hoffman’s great album review for the Key here). The band’s appearance at Underground Arts on Sunday night gave them the chance to expound on their Teens of Denial stuff, while also dive into louder and more fleshed-out versions of Toledo’s early Bandcamp material as well. Continue reading →

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Explosions In The Sky light up The Fillmore for a sold-out instrumental show

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Explosions in the Sky were welcomed by a sold out crowd to The Fillmore Philadelphia on Friday night. It was the bands first show in the city in five years. They are currently on tour in support of their latest album The Wilderness, their first full length release since 2011. The Austin instrumental band captivated audiences with both new and old material. Check out photos from the show below.

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NonCOMM Recap: Simo brings it home at the end of day three

Simo | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | <a href=http://jeremy-zim.com target="_blank">jeremy-zim.com</a>
Simo | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

With 29 bands playing in the span of three days, NonCOMM is more of a marathon than a sprint. In that sense, Simo, being the 29th band to perform, is like a runner on the final two-tenths of a mile at the end of a marathon (this metaphor is not mathematically to scale). And let me tell you, this metaphorical runner finished mighty strong.

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NonCOMM Recap: Nothing can stop the supersonic train that is Soul Asylum

Soul Asylum | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
Soul Asylum | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

At first mention, 90’s heroes Soul Asylum sound a little out of place at NonCOMM – what are these alternative rockers doing with a bunch of folk/Americana acts? As soon as the band started playing, however, they made their purpose here at the convention known with a wall of sound – and the crowd greeted them with roaring applause. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Band of Horses re-emerge to take the audience’s breath away

Band of Horses | photo by Sydney Schafer for WXPN
Band of Horses | photo by Sydney Schafer for WXPN

It’s been a couple years since Band of Horses released a studio album. Four years to be exact, but the band has been busy since 2012 and they proved it on the NonCOMM stage by mixing old songs and new and, please pardon my French, rocking our asses off.

To prepare for the release of their new album Why Are You OK on June 10th, the band used the convention to test out new material but also threw the crowd some favorites such as set opener “Laredo” and tear-jerker classic “No Ones Gonna Love You.” Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: In just four songs, Car Seat Headrest kills it

Car Seat Headrest | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | <a href=http://jeremy-zim.com target="_blank">jeremy-zim.com</a>
Car Seat Headrest | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

As I sat at a desk in the WXPN offices, working on a recap of Esme Patterson’s set here at NonCOMM, I faintly heard on a radio across the room that Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle had just finished up downstairs. I had to hurry if I were to get a good spot for Car Seat Headrest. So, I quickly finished and rushed out the office door, only to find a mob of people already filling the upstairs area of World Cafe Live.

I wasn’t going to settle for the back, so I started to push my way through. As I did, I noticed the guy in front of me, who was pushing his way through as well, looked oddly familiar. Then I realized, it was Will Toledo himself, the man behind Car Seat Headrest.

Toledo made it much further up than I did — all the way to the stage, of course. And when he got up there, he and his band crushed it. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Esme Patterson gets wild at the PRX stage

Esme Patterson | photo by Jeremy ZImmerman for WXPN | <a href=http://jeremy-zim.com target="_blank">jeremy-zim.com</a>
Esme Patterson | photo by Jeremy ZImmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

Esme Patterson has a smile that stretches from ear to ear; she seems friendly and caring, and poppy songs like “No River,” where she admits her human flaws, or “Find It,” a motivating track that tells the listener to go find what you need, seem to confirm that.

But Patterson’s upcoming album is called We Were Wild, and that’s exactly what she and her band were tonight — wild. With a curly head of hair intimidatingly covering her eyes and wielding a signature ESP guitar, Patterson blew the roof off World Cafe Live at NonCOMM. Continue reading →