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End Of An Era: Longtime Morning Show host Michaela Majoun will bid farewell to XPN next month

Michaela Majoun | Photo by Jaci Downs | jacidowns.com
Michaela Majoun | Photo by Jaci Downs | jacidowns.com

She plays many roles in the XPN community. Celebrator of women’s and other music. Champion of the Philadelphia arts scene. Lover of cats. And most significantly, host of the XPN Morning show for over 25 years. But that era is coming to an end as Michaela Majoun announced her departure from WXPN. Her final day on the air is Tuesday, June 30. Continue reading →

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Dan and Dan podcast interviews Philadelphia legend Schoolly D

Schoolly D | Photo via facebook.com/SchoollyDFanPage
Schoolly D | Photo via facebook.com/SchoollyDFanPage

The Dan and Dan Music Podcast recently sat down with the Philadelphia Hip Hop legend Schoolly D to discuss some pretty big topics in an hour-long interview.  The proclaimed father of gangster rap covered a plethora of topics that included the changing sound of hip-hop along with his own creative output and individuals like 60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley that played a bigger role in his career than one might think.

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Meet singer-songwriter Jason McCue and listen to his new EP

Jason McCue Credit: Jason McCue - Music (facebook)
Jason McCue | photo by Max Sall | via jasonmccue1.bandcamp.com

When you first listen to Jason McCue’s shy, wispy songs, you wouldn’t think he’s done his time in a rock band.

When you listen again, however, his experience definitely shines through, along with his influences. McCue’s four-track EP, EPs for Elephants, borrows from quiet strummers Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley – especially on the tracks “Blank Ending” and “Relativity,” which paint a picture of a lonely midnight practice session by an open window. But you can also hear traces of bigger acts like Queen, Modest Mouse, and the Beatles. The first track, “Skiffle no. 2,” is full of boppy folk-based melodies and soaring harmonies. Continue reading →

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The Snails are going to cover The Jam’s In the City in its entirety

The Snails Credit: The Snails Facebook page
The Snails | photo via facebook.com/thesnailspa2

On June 17, Philly reggae / rock outfit The Snails will temporarily be known as The Jam. They’re covering the legendary English rock band’s debut album In the City.

The band thinks it is a record designed to reach punk fans who need a lesson on the genre’s roots. Lead vocalist and guitarist Todd Fausnacht calls it “underrated.”

“Anyone who listens to punk rock needs to understand how the music got where it is,” he says. “Someone didn’t just say, ‘Oh, let’s play punk’… We dig deep when it comes to the music we listen to. Although some folks would salute the Sex Pistols as the best punk band from the 70′s, I guarantee they will rethink their decision after hearing In the City.” Continue reading →

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Meet Sean Bennett and Franco Yugga, the Philly buskers Glen Hansard brought onstage at NonCOMM

Sean Bennett, left, and Franco Yugga, right, with Glen Hansard backstage at NonCOMM | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Sean Bennett, left, and Franco Yugga, right, with Glen Hansard backstage at NonCOMM | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Sean Bennett is glad that it’s getting to be summer – it’s a much better time of year to be a street musician. People are outdoors more often, they’re less rushed and more willing to listen, and it opens the door to better money and more opportunities for he and his best friend Franco Yugga.

You may have seen the two classically-trained violinists performing in Suburban Station on your commute to and from work; their playing reverberates beautifully across the cement walls by the 17th Street staircase. It wasn’t too far from there yesterday afternoon that Bennett, 19, and Yugga, 18, were performing their rendition of Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 when renowned Dublin singer-songwriter Glen Hansard happened to be within earshot. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Watch Plainview’s Music Video for “Ten Feet Tall”

Plainview. Photo by Colin Lubinski, Red Beard Photography.
Plainview. Photo by Colin Lubinski, Red Beard Photography.

In Plainview’s debut music video, vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Berkin growls “I’ve never once looked back, I can promise you that.” This sentiment is reflected throughout the video, a one-shot venture through a rowdy apartment party.

As the camera pans, it captures the full scope of the Philly quintet – who, according to their Bandcamp page, “deliver high energy performances with enough stomping and jumping to make your ceiling cave in. Every time.” Continue reading →

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Philly artists Creepoid, Nothing, Jeff Zeigler and Mary Lattimore descend on Austin Psych Fest

Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler
Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler | photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight, Jeff Zeigler and Mary Lattimore are setting up shop at the Alamo Ritz in Austin to play their live soundtrack of Philippe Garrel’s 1968 avant-garde film, Le Revélatéur. This will be an intimate gig compared to the next of the weekend, when they’ll switch gears to play for hundreds at Austin Psych Fest’s Levitation festival at Carson Creek Ranch.

“In terms of performing at Levitation, as per usual we’re going into our set with little or no real formal preparation as it’s all improvised, so I guess the plan is to have no real plan. We may discuss the overall arc and vibe but beyond that it’ll be fairly loose,” Jeff writes.

May 8th thru the 10th marks the 8th annual festival, which was rebranded this year as “Levitation” to celebrate the first-ever reunion show from the 13th Floor Elevators, who will close out the festival Sunday night. Continue reading →

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Terracotta Heart: Damon Albarn on Blur’s return

Damon Albarn | Photo by Mark Metcalfe
Damon Albarn | Photo by Mark Metcalfe

As his beloved band Blur returns with its first new album in over a decade, Damon Albarn talked with XPN’s Eric Schuman for our Monday night New Music Show. Albarn talks about the making of The Magic Whip, with sessions initially serving as a way to pass the time while the band was stuck in Asia following a cancelled festival date. Though a tour in support of the new album is on Albarn’s mind, he remains reliably busy with other projects, including a new musical based on Alice In Wonderland.

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Philly trombonist Ernest Stuart on nurturing the scene with Center City Jazz Fest

Ernest Stuart | Photo by Jauhein Sasnou | courtesy of the artist
Ernest Stuart | Photo by Jauhein Sasnou | courtesy of the artista

After growing up and studying jazz in Philadelphia, trombonist Ernest Stuart moved two hours north to make a go of it as a musician in New York City. It exposed him to a spectrum of new sounds and connected him with artists he works with to this day – including the Brooklyn-based Bhangra band Red Baraat, with whom he tours on the regular. When he returned to Philly in 2010, Sturart decided to add some of that spark the local scene. “There wasn’t much happening here jazz-wise and I grew tired of hearing myself complain about it,” he recalls. “Somehow that ended with me creating a jazz festival.” Continue reading →

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The Return of The Tough Shits: Hear a new song, catch them at Repo Records this Saturday

The Tough Shits | Photo by Nikki Volpicelli
The Tough Shits | Photo by Grey Haas | courtesy of the artist

The Tough Shits recently played a show at Beautiful World Syndicate, a record shop just down the street from the bar we’re meeting at. It wasn’t was very publicized, and lots of their longtime fans could’ve missed it if they didn’t catch the Facebook note the group posted eight hours before showtime. There was no setlist because they never make setlists, and there were mistakes because they admittedly always make mistakes.

That show has helped the Philly band – who are quietly emerging from the several-year hiatus that immediately following the release of their self-titled debut – devise a plan for this weekend’s Record Store Day showcase at Repo.

“This time John will realize what’s wrong with his guitar after the first song instead of six songs in. I will remember all of the words…” singer/guitarist Mark Banfill begins. Continue reading →