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A Day Without Love shares music video for new LP title track “Solace”

Brian Walker
Brian Walker |Photo by Abi Reimold

As the trees pass by at speeds that make them morph into nothing more than a sea of green, we are reintroduced to Philly alternative musician Brian Walker’s project A Day Without Love in the latest music video for “Solace.” Sitting on a train unaware of the scenes shooting pass him, a common theme of the video quickly becomes the viewers ability to see more of the world around Walker than he does.

Utterly distracted or desperately seeking to blend in with his surrounding, quietly going by unnoticed like an introvert’s dream, Walker floats through his day enraptured by his cellphone. Missing countless (and surely more important) human interactions along the way, it’s a compelling reflection of a society stuck to the virtual and missing out on the actual. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Heart Harbor

Kerry Hallett has come a long way since her first-ever open mic at Atlantis: The Lost Bar in 2005. The Philadelphia-based singer, guitarist, songwriter and mastermind behind Heart Harbor has bounced between cities and coasts over the past decade and change, landing on a great batch of songs and the remarkable Tender Trap EP, which came out last autumn.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Celebrate 10 years of Johnny Brenda’s with Bardo Pond, Birds of Maya, Hurry, Frances Quinlan from Hop Along and more

Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese
Hop Along onstage at Johnny Brenda’s | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

There are definitely times when I love being wrong about things. Like the first time I went to Johnny Brenda’s: in fall of 2006, right after I first began as a volunteer with WXPN. It was a Silversun Pickups show, if you can believe that – Viva Voce opened. The Fishtown pub had recently re-invented itself as a 200-cap venue and, waiting for the show to start, I went to the bar to order a beer.

This was coming off of a half dozen years of living and breathing The Khyber, mind you, so I asked for a Yeungling. “We don’t have Yeungling,” the bartender sniffed. “Um, okay, PBR?” The bartender silently pointed to a chalkboard listing the all-local craft beer venue, which I simply could not wrap my brain around. No PBR? No Yeungling? I grabbed the cheapest thing (something called Kenzinger) and went back to my friends. “Dude, no Yeungling,” I said. “This place is gonna FAIL.”

Oh, young John, you had so much to learn.

Not only did JBs not fail – and thank the gods for that – it’s thrived for the past decade at the corner of Frankford and Girard, weathering rough years in the national music industry and seismic ripples in the local concertgoing landscape. It withstood the opening of the much-heralded and exactly-the-same-size’d Boot and Saddle; both clubs do their respective things in tandem with reliably strong calendars. It’s been dogged by the change in Fishtown and persists in the face of broverflow – though, seriously, if you’re grabbing food after 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, prepare yourself a very different world than it was at the start.

Most importantly, Johnny Brenda’s has been a welcoming home for the Philadelphia music community – the “made it” stage that upstart bands of all stripes aspire to, from Meg Baird to The Bul Bey to Abi Reimold and more. It’s the scene of secret celebrations for big hometown names like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile; it’s held memorable New Years’ Eve throwdowns with A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Hop Along. And appropriately, to mark its 10 years on the Philly scene, it’s celebrating with two nights of all local music. Continue reading →

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All This and More: A radiant Belly reigns supreme at Union Transfer

Belly | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Belly | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

When a band frames a show as “An Evening With…,” the connotation is that this is a special event, a unique and refined occasion for the learned and erudite spectator. It can be construed as a veiled euphemism for “we’re all a little older now.”

As further evidence of the ‘90s revival that Gen X-ers are all enjoying lately, alt-rock darlings Belly have reunited for the first time since disbanding two decades ago. A new record — their third — is due out soon, and they closed the first leg of their reunion tour Sunday night at Union Transfer with “An Evening With Belly.” A special occasion for fans who are a little older now, it was.

Belly didn’t seem to want to let those older fans forget that, either, with lively stage banter throughout their two-hour set about parenthood and bathroom breaks at intermissions, advice on stretching before moshing to avoid sprains, and an interactive conversation about the prescription drugs that have long since replaced the recreational ones. (Cracking a joke about inhalers, bassist Gail Greenwood got a section of the crowd to chant “albuterol!”) Continue reading →

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15 local artists to discover at the Philadelphia Folk Festival

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick | via Facebook.com/besadmusic

If you’re talking about summer music festivals repping Philly artists, nobody is more inclusive than the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. Held in the rolling fields of upper Montgomery County for the past 55 years, the festival will welcome dozens of regional performers to the stage when it kicks off on Thursday, August 18th, and runs through Sunday August 21st. While we’re psyched to see everybody from our neck of the woods, we’ve rounded up a list of 15 can’t-miss locals performing this weekend at PFF this weekend. Read more below and let it be your homegrown festival guide. Continue reading →

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New Music Show Preview with Jack White, Janelle Monae and more!

Photo by Marc Baptise
Photo by Marc Baptise

 

Monday nights mean New Music Discovery on XPN! As we all do our best to hold on to summer, I’ve got some tunes that’ll sound great coming out of your car speakers. We’ll hear a new synth-rock band from Oakland called Waterstrider (one of my new favs), a Philly favorite, Shark Tape, channel The Replacements, and Bon Iver lending his one-of-a-kind vocals to an infectious new song from Francis & The Lights.  Two hours of new music starts at 8pm tonight, here’s a sample of what else we’ll spin…

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