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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Flasher

Flasher | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | senialopez.photography

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is the band that’s behind one of 2018’s finest debuts. Though they formed only a few years ago, Flasher have quickly become mainstays of Washington, DC’s bountiful punk scene. Formed by guitarist Taylor Mulitz (who is also a member of the equally lauded band Priests), bassist Daniel Saperstein and drummer Emma Baker, Flasher’s early EPs and singles were released on Sister Polygon, a DC-based label the members founded. When it came time to release Constant Image, Flasher’s full-length debut, they made the jump to Domino Records, who put out the album earlier this year. Before their show at Everybody Hits, Flasher visited our studio to perform a few of the new songs.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Petal

Petal | Photo by Katie Tapman for XPN

For this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session, we’re joined by an artist from NEPA (that’s Northeast Pennsylvania for those of you non-Pocono people). Kiley Lotz has been recording and performing as Petal since 2012. and even joined us for a Key Studio Session when her 2015 album The Shame was released. Three years later, and on release day for her new album, Magic Gone (Run For Cover), Kiley returns to our studio with a borrowed guitar that looks just like hers, and a selection of gorgeous new songs.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever | Photo by Eric Schuman for XPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a band that visited our studio last year for a performance on World Cafe. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (or Rolling Blackouts C.F., if you’re pressed for time) have kept plenty busy over the past year, prepping their full-length debut album, Hope Downs (Sub Pop). Led by the triple-guitarist/songwriting team of Fran Keany, Tom Russo and Joe White, RBCF also features bassist Joe Russo (Tom’s brother) and drummer Marcel Tussie. After two very warmly received EPs in as many years, the band is sharpened by a nonstop regimen recording and touring. Rolling Blackouts C.F. stopped by our studio about a month before the album’s release (which happens to be today!) to perform a trio of new songs that show off each singer’s unique style.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cut Worms

Cut Worms | Photo by Katie Tapman for XPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is an artist with an immediately arresting approach to music. Essentially, Max Clarke is Cut Worms. The singer/guitarist recorded his earliest songs largely on his own, before teaming up with members of Foxygen and Woods to track his full-length debut, Hollow Ground. Currently on tour in support of the album, Clarke is joined by keyboardist John Andrews and bassist Keven Lareau, both members of the band Quilt, along with drummer Noah Bond. Before their slot opening for King Tuff at the First Unitarian Church, Cut Worms stopped by our studio to perform some of the new songs live.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Nap Eyes

Nap Eyes | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us for this latest Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band with some of the most sneaky-catchy songs you’re likely to hear all year. Nap Eyes formed in 2011 out of the solo project of singer/guitarist Nigel Chapman. Joined by bassist Josh Salter and drummer Seamus Dalton, the group is rounded out by lead guitarist Brad Loughead. Earlier this year, Nap Eyes released their third proper album, I’m Bad Now. The album has a breezy, laid-back quality that evokes keystone records by Silver Jews or early Wilco. The band visited us before their show at Johnny Brenda’s to perform some of the new songs in our studio.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: The Mattson 2

The Mattson 2 | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

We’re joined for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session by a pair of identical twin brothers who made their IRHP debut just over one year ago.
The Mattson 2, featuring guitarist Jared and drummer Jonathan, joined us last spring along with Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bear, for an in-studio performance of songs from their 2017 collaboration, Star Stuff. Flash forward and the Mattsons are back out on the road, this time on their own. Bringing peerless instrumental chops and omnivorous musical influences and inspirations, The Mattson 2 stopped by before their sold out show with Khruangbin at Underground Arts for this session. Despite the overflow of sounds, I can assure you that there are just two people performing!

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Ought

Ought | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us for our latest Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a group that I’ve been trying to get on the show for years! I first heard about the Montreal-based quartet Ought when they released their 2014 debut album, More Than Any Other Day. In fact, I had slated to have Ought come to the studio to record a live performance for the IRHP, a booking which quickly turned into the group’s World Cafe debut. Four years on, Ought still features singer/guitarist Tim Darcy, drummer Tim Keen, keyboardist Matt May and bassist Ben Stidworthy, but the band’s sound takes a bold new shape on their newly released third album, Room Inside The World. Serving as their first album for Merge Records, Room Inside The World sees Ought subverting pop conventions by fusing their experimental tendencies with urgent, concise songwriting. Though the sprawl of earlier songs like “Gemini” and “Beautiful Blue Sky” might be toned down this time, Ought’s new material is their strongest yet. Hear for yourself in their long-awaited Indie Rock Hit Parade performance:

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Shopping

Shopping | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a band that I’ve admired ever since their debut album was released in the US. Formed in 2012 by members of several punk- and dance-leaning bands in the London scene, Shopping features guitarist Rachel Aggs, bassist Billy Easter and drummer Andrew Milk. Earlier this year, Shopping released their third full-length, The Official Body. Not surprisingly, given the involvement of producer and indie rock luminary Edwyn Collins, the album is one of Shopping’s best and brightest. The nervous energy of their early records is not sacrificed but rather augmented by a momentum that keeps each song moving forward. Before their show at Johnny Brenda’s, Shopping stopped by to perform selections from The Official Body in our studio:

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Girl Ray

Girl Ray | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for our first Indie Rock Hit Parade session of the year is the band behind one of my favorite records of the last year. Formed just a few years ago in London, Girl Ray‘s debut, Earl Grey, was released in 2017 when all of the members were still teenagers. Featuring Poppy Hankin on guitar, Iris McConnell on drums and Sophie Moss on bass (along with their friend and producer Mike O’Malley on guitar and keys), Girl Ray’s music incorporates influences well beyond the members’ years. Everything from pop to punk to dance music comes together in Girl Ray’s performance, which gives exciting new life to these still-evolving songs.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Mister Heavenly

Mister Heavenly | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a group whose members have all visited us before, both separately and together (long, long ago). Mister Heavenly was formed by Nick Thorburn of Islands, Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner of Man Man and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins around seven years ago. Back then, when their debut album Out Of Love came out, they stopped by our studios to record a handful of live tracks. Joining the trio this time around is bassist Brett Morris, who doubles on guitar in Kattner’s solo Honus Honus band. Even if you can’t keep all those affiliations straight, it’s easy to fall in love with Mister Heavenly’s long-awaited new album, Boxing The Moonlight. Before a sold-out show, the four friends returned to our studio to perform a few of the new songs live.

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