By

Watch Beck and Jenny Lewis cover Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”

Beck and Jenny Lewis | still from video

You gotta appreciate a good astronomy gimmick. Last night was the harvest moon, aka the full moon that falls closest to the beginning of autumn, and to mark the occasion, modern rock vet Beck teamed up with singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis to sing Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” The cover happened during a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater, where Lewis was opening for Beck. Watch a clip of it below, see more videos over at Brooklyn Vegan, and check out our review of Beck and Lewis’ Festival Pier concert from this summer.
Continue reading →

By

Strand Of Oaks’ Winter Classic IV features guests Joe Pug and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel

Strand of Oaks | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

In what’s become something of a Philly tradition, Strand of Oaks will return to South Broad Street’s Boot and Saddle this December for three nights in a row: the storied Oaks Winter Classic, edition IV. This year, the shows take place Thursday, December 6th; Friday, December 7th; and Saturday, December 8th.

Unlike last year’s gigs, where Showalter hand-picked different openers each night, these shows will all feature Greenbelt, Maryland singer-songwriter Joe Pug — a full-circle moment, since one of Showalter’s first tours in the wake of Pope Killdragon‘s success was opening for Pug — as well as Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, who Strand of Oaks opened for at the Tower Theater in 2015. Continue reading →

By

Watch unearthed footage of John Lennon and George Harrison in studio in 1971

John Lennon and George Harrison in the studio | still from video

Today brings a great surprise to Beatles fans of the world—who we estimate make up about 100% of the WXPN audience. In anticipation of the upcoming reissue of John Lennon’s seminal 1971 LP Imagine, the Lennon estate has released previously unseen footage from recording sessions for the song “How Do You Sleep?” Those who know their fab-four history will remember this song as Lennon’s post-Beatles diss track to Paul McCartney. Recorded just two years after the band’s breakup, it contains such biting lyrics as “those freaks was right when they said you was dead” and “the only thing you done was yesterday.” It’s a fascinating document, showcasing the sheer pettiness that lingered from the Beatles’ end days. Some might call it a sort of a fitting metaphor that the ultimate icons of 60’s peace and love would start the 70’s with an egoistic feud.

Cultural implications aside, the footage is compelling for many other reasons. For one, it features a standout performance from George Harrison, who delivers some particularly soulful slide guitar. His restrained solo exemplifies the subtle mastery of the quiet Beatle. Equally impressive is the sheer rawness of the footage. In its released version, “How Do You Sleep?” features generous echo effects and lush strings. Here, it’s reduced to nothing more than a band in a room. Continue reading →

By

From Dizzle Dizz to Whack World: A beginner’s guide to Tierra Whack

Tierra Whack in her Dizzle Dizz days | still from video

When her stunning 15-minute visual album Whack World was released earlier this year, the world took notice of Tierra Whack. The Philly-born 20 something effortlessly blends traditional songwriting chops with Eminem’s syllable-bending technical prowess and Missy Elliot’s bizarre surrealist aesthetic. Despite what some may think, Tierra did not appear out of nowhere. Since 2012, she had been making a name and building her skills in Philly’s underground rap scene. We’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to one of the music world’s brightest creative lights. Continue reading →

By

Watch The Dixie Hummingbirds in concert for XPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul

The Dixie Hummingbirds | Photo by Ellen C Miller for WXPN

On Wednesday evening, August 29th, the legendary Dixie Hummingbirds kicked off their 90th year anniversary celebration with a live show for the Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul project at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. A standing room only crowd was presented with a concert that was part musical celebration, part history lesson and paid tribute to the Hummingbirds of the past and connected to the current group, Ira Tucker Jr., Carlton Lewis III, Lyndon Baines Jones, Torrey Nettles, Troy Smith, and Roy Smith. Continue reading →

By

Strand of Oaks and Magnolia Electric Company will release a single as Goshen Electric Co.; listen to “The Grey Tower”

Goshen Electric Co. | still from video

This year, Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks gets to step into the role of one of his heroes — singer-songwriter Jason Molina, who wrote profoundly moving music in aughties outfits Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Company. After Molina passed away in 2013, Showalter wrote the epic “J.M.” in tribute to him, a central track on Oaks’ 2014 album HEAL, and this fall he teamed up with the surviving members of Molina’s band to tour Europe as Memorial Electric Co.

“There was such an intimate relationship with his music – it felt a lot deeper than just liking a song,” says Showalter of the experience of getting ready for these shows, and his fandom in general. “You live in these songs.”

Continue reading →

By

Wilco’s Nels Cline sets the mood at Union Transfer, pays tribute to Philadelphia’s rich musical history

Nels Cline of Wilco | photo by Noah Silvestry

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline recently came through town to play a special evening of Philadelphia music, and Jazz Night in America was there to capture it all on film. Cline’s performance was intended as a sort-of love letter to the music of the City of Brotherly Love, and for Cline, a personal exploration of the city’s musical roots from jazz to soul.

Lovers (for Philadelphia) was a long time in the making, a follow-up project to Cline’s 2016 Lovers album. According to NPR, Cline made several trips to Philly prior to the show to conduct research, visiting cultural landmarks like the Curtis Institute of Music and the headquarters of Sun Ra Arkestra in Germantown. Cline turned Union Transfer into an intimate jazz club for the night, performing songs by iconic Philadelphia artists ranging from Benny Golson to The Delfonics. Continue reading →

By

Watch Hole bring Celebrity Skin to the Electric Factory in May of 1999

Hole at the Electric Factory | still from video

Twenty years ago, grunge was long gone, hip-hop and corporate rock ruled the radio, and Alternative-era stars Hole realized that the only way through was to evolve. On September 8th, 1998, they released their excellent third LP, Celebrity Skin, an album of sunny Southern California pop that flew in the face of the overwhelmingly white male rock critic world who still wanted to pigeonhole Courtney Love and her bandmates in the “angry feminist” box.

Not that there weren’t elements of anger in the songs on Celebrity Skin, or despondency, or themes delivered from a feminist perspective. But they mixed with sardonic humor (the title track) shimmering earworm hooks (“Malibu,” “Awful”) and beautiful atmospherics (“Boys On The Radio”). Even though Hole was always a group with complexity, here they fully owned those complexities and the result was the best album of their career. Continue reading →

By

Watch Nothing’s surreal nightmare in “I Hate the Flowers”

Nothing
Nothing | photo by Ryan Lowry | courtesy of the artist

Nothing is fueled by nightmares. Their latest effort, “I Hate Flowers,” directed by Matt Newman, is another entry in the series of visually captivating music videos for Dance On The Blacktop. The video follows an agoraphobic man leaving his NYC apartment, thrashing as he’s dragged by some invisible entity in a sort of Fight Club scene. Flickering collages flash between clips of the man shearing his head and lathering his face in gold paint. In this surreal, apocalyptic world, the narrative becomes frayed and disconnected, reflecting the paranoid thoughts and disintegration of the character’s mind. Continue reading →

By

Watch Wallace try to keep her cool in the band’s latest video

Wallace
Wallace | photo by Katy Mauer | courtesy of the artist

A classic coming of age song, frontwoman Wallace Gerdy finds herself disapproving her best friend’s choices on her most recent single, “Keeping Composure” by Wallace. The track was released last month, and earlier this month the single received the music video treatment, animating the lyrical content of Wallace’s displeasure of her friend’s choices at parties, or maybe just in general. A song birthed by change, Wallace sings “It’s hard to keep composure when your best friends are getting high in the next room.” Continue reading →