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Listen to David Sweeney (aka Johnny Showcase) on the 25 O’Clock Podcast

Johnny Showcase
Johnny Showcase | Photo by Jeremy Quattlebaum for WXPN

Anyone who has seen a show from Johnny Showcase and The Mystic Ticket know that what they do on stage is more than just an ordinary concert. They are musicians who wholeheartedly commit themselves to taking on a character and do so to make the event an experience like no other for their audience. In describing the latest episode of his 25 O’Clock Podcast, Dan Drago admits that when he contacted David Sweeney (aka Johnny Showcase) to come on the show, Sweeney countered by asking if Drago wanted to interview Sweeney himself, or his character, being Johnny Showcase. Yes, it is a tad confusing, but it speaks to how serious Sweeney is about his transformation into a performer separate from his everyday self. Continue reading →

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Catch the good vibes of Rockers Galore’s new song and video, “Good Morning”

Rockers Galore | photo courtesy of the artist
Rockers Galore | photo courtesy of the artist

It’s been in the works for over a year, and finally Blayer PointduJour of Rockers Galore has shared the band’s newest track “Good Morning.” Accompanied by a video as well, the new release presents a summer banger that drops some nasty raps. Plus, it’s loaded with some intense horn blasting to make for a reggae-like feeling feel that’s dipped in a bit of harder rock. Continue reading →

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Thin Lips share a day in the life in new music video ahead of their Fillmore gig Sunday

Thin Lips | Photo by John Vettese
Thin Lips | Photo by John Vettese

Polaroid photos, shimmering crystals and other neatly organized belongings come into frame in a blur, slowly gaining focus to make out what they are. This kind of building clarity is central to Thin Lips’ latest music video for the song “My Mouth is Skinned Like an Apple,” where we explore frontwoman Chrissy Tashjian’s everyday life and home — her possessions, like anyones, abstract at first, reveal their significance once they’re presented in terms of their beholder. Continue reading →

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Watch The Head and the Heart play “All We Ever Knew” on Jimmy Kimmel Live

The Head and The Heart | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com
The Head and The Heart | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

Following a stellar showing at NonCOMM last month, which included the debut of new single “All We Ever Knew,” The Head and the Heart stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! for a performance in support of their new album, Signs of Light. This appearance really shows the band for the rockstars they’ve become, owning the stage and confidently jamming on to the new track. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Charlie Parr

Photo by Peter Lee
Photo by Peter Lee

I need you to listen to Charlie Parr. In some ways, it feels like my mission in radio is to convince every single person cruising the FM dial, surfing the web, or visiting the Folkadelphia website or archive to dig and to dig extra deep into Charlie’s music. If you love roots and acoustic music, Charlie’s your guy. If you love history and the rich tradition of American folk music, I’m pointing you to Parr. If you jive with Folkadelphia’s mission to help bridge that gap between old and new, I can’t raise up a better example than Mr. Charlie Parr. What more can I say?
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dear Althea at Kung Fu Necktie, Big Ups at PhilaMOCA, Liz de Lise at Bourbon and Branch and more…

Dear Althea | photo by Anthony Caggiano
Dear Althea | photo by Anthony Caggiano

Phiily foursome Dear Althea takes the stage at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Playing in support are Doll Baby and The Sugar Pops. To snag some $6 tickets to the 21+ show, head on over to the XPN Concert Calendar where we have you covered with every link you’ll ever need. Listen to some Dear Althea’s Louder * Faster * Female below if you aren’t familiar with their post-riot grrl/indie rock sound. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Liz De Lise

Philly singer-guitarist Liz de Lise writes arresting songs rooted in observational honesty – whatever tone they happen to take. When we first met her early this winter, the music was jazzy folk-pop, and reminded us of 70s Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro records. The project at hand was a series of monthly DIY videos completed across the course of 2015, preceded by 2014’s To & Fro – an acoustic collection based on stories the songwriter gathered from homeless youth she encountered in Portland, Oregon.

In the time since, de Lise has developed her sound into something more cerebral – yet no less catchy. As we hear in this Key Studio Session, she has two chief collaborators: Mark Watter on bass and vocals (you might know him from Rosu Lup, Caroline Reese + the Drifting Fifth, and his own band Howlish), and a tight network of effects pedals and loopers, which she works with skill and finesse (I guess that’s more of a tool than a collaborator, but you get the picture). The set swallows you in sound, with layers of vocal rounds floating alongside askew lead guitar reminiscent of St. Vincent’s Annie Clark. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Defending folk’s good name, Kevin Morby pulls out the stops at Boot and Saddle

Kevin Morby| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Kevin Morby| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Six months ago, a friend of mine suggested I check out a guy named Kevin Morby. “Sounds like Bob Dylan,” I remember thinking to myself. Since then, I’ve seen Morby and his band three times, each show more rockin’ than the last. His Monday night set at Boot and Saddle was different for a couple reasons; it was my first time seeing him both outside of a festival setting, as well as my first time seeing him following the release of his 3rd LP, Singing Saw, this past April.

Monday night’s set brought with it a few more firsts. Morby played—for the first time ever, he told us—a 30 second-long song he wrote about Philly street names to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Blues Run The Game” (“Meet me down at Broad,” he sang). It was also my first time hearing a new Morby tune called “Tiny Fires,” which sounded more like early Wilco than Dylan.

But what’s best about a Kevin Morby show is not the new, but the old (or rather, the sounds old); mellower tracks like “Miles, Miles, Miles,” “Parade,” and “Black Flowers” (which, along with a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “No Place To Fall,” he played solo) would feel right at home at The Gaslight Café (of Greenwich Village). CBGB might be a better fit for tunes like “I Have Been to the Mountain” and “The Ballad of Arlo Jones,” on which guitarist Meg Duffy (whose solo on “Destroyer,” may I add, lead me believe that she is some sort of real-life guitar goddess) dug in and let loose. Continue reading →

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Fail Better: Arcana New Music Ensemble continues a Philly legacy of daring contemporary music

Elizabeth Huston, Eric Derr and Andy Thierauf of Arcana Ensemble performing Moondog's "Marimba Mondo" at the Rotunda | photo courtesy of Bowerbird Promotions
Elizabeth Huston, Eric Derr and Andy Thierauf of Arcana Ensemble performing Moondog’s
“Marimba Mondo” at the Rotunda | photo courtesy of Bowerbird Promotions

Shortly before the finale of last Friday’s debut concert by the Arcana New Music Ensemble at the Rotunda, the group’s ten members were joined by an unexpected guest: a lightning bug flitted across the stage, blinking on and off in time with “Theme,” a piece of accumulating intensity written by Louis Thomas Hardin, Jr. – better known as Moondog. The firefly traced meandering curlicues that seemed to echo the outsider composer’s eccentric thought processes.

That late appearance was only the latest piece of synchronicity involved in bringing the Arcana New Music Ensemble to life. The project was launched under the auspices of Bowerbird, the long-running experimental and contemporary classical presenting organization, and is being spearheaded by Bowerbird founder/director Dustin Hurt in collaboration with harpist Elizabeth Huston and Curtis professor Thomas Patteson. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: M83 to play The Fillmore in October

M83 | Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese
M83 | Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese

M83 has added a long leg of North American dates to its already expansive fall tour, including an October 13th stop at The Fillmore Philadelphia. The announcement comes just days after the electronic outfit, led by the musical wizardry of Anthony Gonzalez, made an appearance right here in the tri-state area — on Saturday night they rocked Firefly down in Delaware. Continue reading →