XPN MusicNotes: Steve Miller Band to release career compilation set with all the hits and more

Steve Miller | via LiveNation

“I’ve been blessed to work with so many wonderful musicians over the years. Mostly I want to thank you our fans who come out to our shows and listen to our records. I hope you enjoy this as much I did putting this together for you.”- Steve Miller

Steve Miller Band recently performed a rockin’ throwback show with Peter Frampton at the Mann Center on June 27th, and now Miller has announced a giant, career compilation set due out this September. Continue reading →


Aug 7 in Music History: Stevie Wonder releases Signed Sealed & Delivered, John Lennon begins recording his final album

Stevie Wonder Signed Sealed Delivered

1957 – The Quarry Men play at The Cavern Club in Liverpool without Paul McCartney, who is away at Boy Scout summer camp. Skiffle was tolerated though The Cavern was still a jazz club, but when John Lennon dares to play “Hound Dog” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” the club owner sends a note to the stage that says, “Cut out the bloody rock!”

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The Key Studio Sessions: Ensemble Novo

Philly jazz quintet Ensemble Novo is about to get busy. Both in terms of style — their music has a cool, contagious groove you’ll bob along to as soon as they begin — and in terms of their gig calendar. Tonight: SOUTH Jazz Cafe on North Broad Street. Sunday: 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties. Next Wednesday: Penn Museum’s summer concert series.

Led by sax player and flautist Tom Moon — who, in his previous life, was chief music critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer — Ensemble Novo draws on suave tones of Brazilian pop of the 50s and 60s. The iconic Getz / Gilberto record is one clear touchstone, as is the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, whose songs sparked the initial bond between Moon and guitarist Ryan McNeely on the local local open mic scene. They are joined by vibraphone player Behn Gillece, drummer Jim Hamilton and bassist Mark Pryzbylowski, and I also hear echoes of sounds outside the Latin jazz spectrum in their playing: Caetano Veloso, for instance, or even Europop pastiche masters Stereolab. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Blondie and Garbage at The Mann, Hurry at Everybody Hits, Amanda X at Ortlieb’s

Blondie | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

It’s a double header of still-vital rock and roll pioneers at The Mann Center tonight with Blondie and Garbage. In the 70s and early 80s, Debbie Harry and her bandmates bridged downtown New York punk rock with the dance-driven international New Wave scene, and wrote a massive amount of hits in the process; in the 90s, Shirley Manson brought a bold dose of glam and pop sensibilities to the dreary grunge landscape. Thing is, neither band is resting on its laurels or going through the nostalgia motions. Blondie and Garbage have both released albums of new material in the past year that stand strongly alongside their work from 20 (and 40) years ago — Pollinator, from the former, totally rips, as Harry and the band proved at NonCOMM this year, and Strange Little Birds is Garbage at its most vulnerable and honest but still kicks out driving anthems. Watch videos for “Long Time” and “Empty” below and get tickets and more information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert CalendarContinue reading →


Mister Heavenly returns with a new single, announces LP 2 and tour dates

Mister Heavenly | courtesy of the artist

Mister Heavenly is the trio of alt-rock fans’ dreams: Man Man singer Ryan Kattner (Honus Honus) of Philadelphia; Islands’ Nick Thorburn of New York; and drummer Joe Plummer, currently of Cold War Kids, formerly of The Shins and Modest Mouse (and, sometimes, Michael Cera?). The group prefers to classify their sound as doom wop, an intersectional genre of 60’s rock’n’rolling doo-wop and ominous, doom-y themes – a combo that after learning about makes me wish that it was a whole lot more popular.

The group released their debut LP Box of Love on Subpop in 2011, but after touring it they went back to their separate projects and Mister Heavenly appeared to be a one-off until earlier in the year when they posted a picture of studio work. Today, Stereogum premiered the first single “Beat Down” to accompany the group’s announcement of a new album and tour. Continue reading →