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Watch Phish cover the Talking Heads and play the rare “McGrupp & The Watchful Hosemasters” from the Mann Center shows

Photo by Cameron Pollack
Photo by Cameron Pollack

Phish took Philly by storm (literally) this past Tuesday and Wednesday night at The Mann Center. Over the course of the two nights the band played some covers and some rarities. Below, watch them perform the Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless,” and “McGrupp & The Watchful Hosemasters” from the Wednesday night show. “McGrupp” has quite the storied past. You can the history of the song here. Read our review and check out our photos from the show here

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Eddie Austin and Perry Shall made an insanely fun video for a catchy new Pujol song that you must watch

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Pujol is a Nashville based artist who recently released his new album, Kludge on Saddle Creek Records. The album features a fun and ridiculously catchy song called “Youniverse,” the video for which was filmed in various parts of the greatest city on Earth, Philadelphia. Most notably, much of the video is shot in Circle Thrift. Directed by Eddie Austin and Perry Shall, the video features cameos from Ted Leo and members of the Screaming Females.

WARNING: Upon watching this video, the song will be inescapably stuck in your head all day. But it’s totally worth it.

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Ron Gallo’s whimsical “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners” gets a surreal visual counterpart

Ron Gallo | still from "Fine Diners and Finer Whiners" by Caitlin McCann
Ron Gallo | still from “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners” by Caitlin McCann

Ron Gallo teamed up with Dog Days Films’ Caitlin McCann to make the music video for “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners,” a track taken from Gallo’s debut solo effort Ronny.  Loosely following the song’s narrative of feeling out of place and wanting to get back to something familiar, the subtly dark clip shows Gallo waking up in a coffin behind a Philadelphia rowhome and his subsequent journey of getting back to his house with the help of a postman. Dialogue intertitles and technicolor kaleidoscope scenes cast a disorientating dream-sequence aura over the video, though the lyrics are still as sharply true and dryly humorous as you would expect from Gallo tune.

The song itself is a standout from Ronny (released last month via Gallo’s own American Diamond Recordings) and as Sameer Rao wrote in his review, “a look below this whimsical song’s surface reveal some more universal preoccupations… of feeling “awfully tired and alone” and wishing for a past love or some feeling of safety to return to him. This song, mid-tempo and subdued, weaves a tapestry of aural influences and lyrical preoccupations that subvert its easy classification (Americana, folk-rock, etc.) and get under listeners’ skin.”  Check it out below and learn more about American Diamond Recordings here.

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5 Indie Rock shows you can’t miss this summer

Photo via facebook.com/TheStrypes
Photo via facebook.com/TheStrypes

Indie rock is a diverse field and hard to specify, other than, you know, it’s indie rock. Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to highlight the variety of indie rock shows playing in Philly through July and August. Included are new local artists, like Vita and the Woolf as well as great classics, like Neutral Milk Hotel. The genres run through American folk, punk, and blues.

1. OK Fest August 1st and 2nd at Golden Tea House and Nacho House

OK Fest is possibly one of the coolest festivals this summer, at least in terms of indie punk. Presented by Philly’s Golden Tea House, the festival is all ages, has tickets at extremely low prices ($8 to $12) and a truly amazing lineup. Highlights for the first day include are locals Amanda X, Radiator Hospital, who released their newest LP Touch Song this month, Cayetana who did a great Key Studio Session, a phenomenal Shaking Through Session and talked about singing to a label on NPR. On August 2nd, the awesomeness continues with Speedy Ortiz who released their Real Hair EP in February and Swearin’ who did a fun Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session. Listen to Speedy Ortiz’s “American Horror” from Real Hair below.

2. Vita and the Woolf July 15th at Ortlieb’s

Vita, of the talented new duo of Vita and the Woolf is playing at Ortlieb’s July 15th. Featuring the soaring vocals of Jennifer Pague and the beats by Joey Anderson, the band has an EP Fang Song on the way. They recently played at Walla Fest. Their light though somewhat melancholy music draws comparisons to Florence and the Machine as well as Arcade Fire. Let their music sweep you into a great night of music, along with Thunderhank and I Am Love. Listen to “Mary” from Fang Song below. And if you miss this show, Vita & The Woolf will be performing for the EP release party on September 20th at Ortlieb’s.

3. The Strypes August 20th Union Transfer

Irish rock band, The Strypes, have been getting a lot of attention both for their music as well as their youth. Only 15 to 17 years old, they’ve been on tour with the Arctic Monkeys and played in a slew of huge festivals like Glastonbury and SXSW. In March, the group released their first full length, Snapshot. The music is a classic high tempo rock and roll, infused in R & B and the blues. The group makes the classic genre their own, by playing with reckless abandon and high energy. In other words, it’s the perfect show to end summer. Watch the video for “Mystery Man” below.

The Strypes – Mystery Man from Finn Keenan on Vimeo.

4. Sun Kil Moon July 23rd at Union Transfer

Sun Kil Moon, the moniker of Mark Kozelek, makes a reflective, moody combination of acoustic guitar and intimate lyrics. Earlier this year, Sun Kil Moon released a beautiful, harrowing album Benji. The album chronicles the life of Benji, a country man, and his many sorrows. In many ways, it’s the most personal and intimate album Sun Kil Moon has released. Recently, he’s pairing up with Volcano Choir (Bon Iver’s side project) for a release for Project Carousel Restoration. The performance should be a welcome respite from the relentless summer energy. Listen to the ballad of “Carissa” below.

5.  Neutral Milk Hotel July 21st at The Mann

Despite having broken nearly 16 years ago, no new music, and imminent retirement, Neutral Milk Hotel continues to tour. In fact, they extended their tour due to the overwhelming public response, including two sold-out shows in Philly last year. Recently, Jeff Mangum was featured in a fun, candid feature about getting signed onto Merge Records. As a bonus, the band also released a free download of “Song Against Sex” from On Avery Island. Grab your tickets while there still available and settle in for a nostalgic, beautiful night. Listen to “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1″ from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea below.

Find more details about these shows (and many others) at the XPN Concert Calender.

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Chris Forsyth to release new full-band LP this October

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh

Local guitarist Chris Forsyth has announced a few details of his next explosive and exploratory studio LP Intensity Ghost, out this October on No Quarter Records.  The album follows last year’s Solar Motel effort and is the first recording to feature the band Forsyth assembled for touring, including drummer Steve Urgo, guitarist Paul Sukeena (both of whom are known in the Philly for their own projects as well) and Brooklyn bassist Peter Kerlin.  From No Quarter:

Intensity Ghost is the follow-up to last years critically acclaimed Solar Motel album, which made year ends lists at The New YorkerUncut Magazine and Popmatters and provoked ecstatic comparisons; from Television and Neil Young & Crazy Horse to Richard Thompson and The Grateful Dead…. Forsyth brought the group into the studio in late 2013 to capture what became Intensity Ghost, a 5-track masterwork of grace and power.

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band close out a summer tour with two hometown dates this month: a free show at the new Spruce Street Harbor Park on Thursday, July 24th and a show with Oneida at Boot & Saddle on July 25th.  Check out a live video of “Little Johnny Jewel” below and take a listen to Forsyth’s 2013 Key Studio Session here.

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Watch #xpnfest’s Rodrigo y Gabriela perform “Torito” from the Artist’s Den

Photo by Jim Mimna, courtesy of artist.
Photo by Jim Mimna, courtesy of artist.
Mexican acoustic rock duo Rodrigo y Gabriela recently did a session with the Artists’ Den, where they performed “Torito” off of their newest album 9 Dead Alive. The album, their first in five years, came out in April this year. 9 Dead Alive is a movement away from 2012′s Area 52, and a return to the duo’s more “heavier” side. The energetic, live performance highlights what is best about Rodrigo y Gabriela: their phenomenal guitar skills. The two guitars overlap, collide and combine to play a truly beautiful tune. Somehow, this performance feels more intimate than having vocals. Watching the two play live is mesmerizing. Earlier this year, they did an equally entrancing live session with Lumbini Studio in Mexico, where they played “The Russian Messenger”. The duo actually made “The Russian Messenger”, as well as four others, free for download through The Soundmaker EP via NoiseTrade.

Check out Rodrigo y Gabriela live at XPoNential Music Festival Friday July 25th. Purchase tickets here. Watch the performance below.

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Listen to Matt Berninger and Andrew Bird’s rendition of “A Lyke Wake Dirge”

Photo via
Photo via Consequence of Sound

Matt Berninger, of The National, has been doing a lot of collaborations lately. In April, he sang with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth on “Coming Down” off of CYPH’s Only Run. He also appeared on Walter Martin’s “We Like the Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)” from We’re All Young Together and “I’ll See You In My Dreams” with Vince Giordano and the Night Hawks on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire Volume 2. Last but not least, The National did a cover of “The Rains of Castamere” from HBO’s Game of Thrones late last year.

More recently, Berninger paired up with Andrew Bird to sing “A Lyke Wake Dirge” for AMC’s Revolutionary War drama Turn. In a manner befitting a Puritan dirge about the travel of a soul to purgatory, Bird layers on his signature heavy strings. The vocals starts off with Berninger’s low voice, joined later by Bird’s, and then accompanied by a choir. The song is driven by a percussive acoustic guitar. The overall combination is unsettling, which suits the subject matter perfectly. The song is the second song that Berninger did for Turn. Earlier this year, he released “Hush“, the theme song featuring Joy Williams.

Catch the National August 30th as a part of Made in America. Get more information at the XPN Concert Calender. Listen to “A Lyke Wake Dirge” below.

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