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Unlocked: Hey, Punks of Baltimore, this one’s for you; DRGN KING’s Dom Angelella shares his Baltimore Crush

Photo by Blake Gumprecht
Christine Cunnif, Lucy Stone, Ricardo Lagomasinos, Dominic Angelella | Photo by Blake Gumprecht

Christine Cunniff, Ricardo Lagomasinos, Lucy Stone and Dominic Angelella

The sophomore album from DRGN KING, Baltimore Crush, feels personal. As an outsider, you’re immediately invited into this fuzzy psychedelic reality where suddenly there’s places and people who feel important. You know their behaviors, dreams, flaws and fears. That’s personal. This world comes from the strength of songwriting from frontman Dom Angelella, whose upbringing among the Baltimore DIY crowd comes out in this love letter of sorts to the scene. As a place where his self-discovery started to take shape, listeners gain a very real picture of what this scene means to those who were, are, and will be influencing/influenced by such a hotbed of creativity. This album thrashes in that convergence of ideas.  I hung out with Dom recently to ask him about the album, and he shared some insight into Moments Where Things Changed for him as well as fears and goals cultivated from the environment around him. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Allman Brothers Band plays final show at Beacon Theater, New film-doc shows how music helps dementia patients, & Watch Ingrid Michaelson’s video for “Afterlife”

Karsten Moran for The New York Times
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Allman Brothers Band concert, this past Tuesday night at the Beacon Theater in New York City, was most likely the last in the band’s remarkable 45 year history. Continue reading →

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Philly Local artist Cole Redding covers “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys for a good cause

Cole Redding
Cole Redding | photo courtesy of the artist

A few weeks ago, Philly Local artist Cole Redding joined us for our Musicians on Call afternoon of music. He’s been in the studio recording and shared with me his cover of The Beach Boys’ song “God Only Knows.” This Beach Boys song came in at #22 in our 885 Greatest Songs Countdown that was voted on by our listeners, so I thought I’d talk with Cole about his cover of the song and his forthcoming album. Cole will also be one of the Philly Local artists joining me for the 6th Annual Philly Local Home for the Holidays show to be aired on XPN in December.

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Unlocked: Why Jersey’s Young Statues took measures to make “Flatlands” feel like a home away from home

Young Statues _Shervin Lainez (LoRes_WEB)
Young Statues | Photo by Shervin Lainez

Carmen Cirignano hopes putting on his band’s new record can provide a very certain kind of feeling.

He relates it to taking a trip to his grandmother’s house. Whenever he visited her, he’d feel a certain way and have very distinct memories. It’s an idea of being somewhere familiar that’s not exactly home.

“I wanted a cohesive, kind of flowing record that made sense from the beginning to the end and felt like a tangible thing, in a way,” Cirignano says. “I wanted people, when they listened to it or put it on, to be able to go somewhere, go to a place, wherever that place is to whoever listens to it. It could be different for everybody. I wanted it to have that feeling, like it was something as a whole rather than just a collection of songs.”

Cirignano, frontman for Young Statues, is sitting at an outside table at Old City’s Ole Café, having just driven downtown from his home in Prospect Park. He’s joined by bassist Tom Ryan, who has just driven in from across the bridge in New Jersey. They’re both joined by Ryan’s sister’s small dog, who remains mostly quiet as the two discuss the past and present history of the band. 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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Sax player Mark Allen draws out the beauty of the baritone

Mark Allen
Mark Allen | photo by Howard Pitkow

The baritone is often treated as the red-headed stepchild of the saxophone family. It’s often viewed as a bulky, unwieldy instrument, good only for anchoring the sax section in a big band where its honking bleats can be kept under control. A few great bari players have emerged over the course of the history of jazz, but even the best known – Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams, Cecil Payne, Hamiet Bluiett – have failed to approach the iconic status of their smaller horn counterparts like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Continue reading →

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Interview: The Art of Hip Hop No. 1 with Black Milk

Black Milk
Black Milk | photo courtesy of the artist

Born Curtis Cross, Black Milk is a renowned hip hop producer and MC from Detroit. Influenced heavily by the likes of J Dilla, he has worked with prominent musicians from all over the pop spectrum. Although a frequent collaborator, he has also forged a career as a solo artist and is due to release his sixth full length, If There’s A Hell Below, on October 28.  His music has evolved steadily since his 2005 solo debut, Sound of The City, combining his foundational soul and jazz sampling with an ever increasing array of studio manipulations and sonic experimentation that mark him as both one of the most ambitious beat smiths now working, and one of the most subtle. He will be performing Saturday, October 18 at Johnny Brenda’s and recently spoke to us from Texas where he was visiting family. Continue reading →

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Interview: Matt Scottoline of Hurry talks about covering Weezer and what’s in his fridge

Hurry
Matt Scottoline (center) with his bandmates in Hurry | photo by Ally Newbold

At this time last week, Matt Scottoline was playing in a Weezer cover band with members of Bleeding Rainbow and Blowdryer. Not because he didn’t have anything better to do than spoon down Little Baby’s Ice Cream and practice “My Name is Jonas” a bunch of times. (But that does sound like a delightful life…) Continue reading →