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Watch Interpol’s latest heady music video, featuring Ebon Moss-Bachrach as “The Rover”

Interpol | photo by Jamie-James Medina | courtesy of the artist

NYC rockers Interpol trekked around Mexico City to shoot their latest music video with director Gerardo Naranjo (Narcos). The video to lead single “The Rover” intersects with the band’s recent press conference, which featured a surprise interruption by The Rover himself, actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach (The Punisher, Girls). Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Andy Shauf adds a PhilaMOCA show to his fall solo tour

Andy Shauf
Andy Shauf | photo by Chris Graham

Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf‘s upcoming solo tour doesn’t begin until November, but tickets are already selling out left and right — which makes sense, because who wouldn’t want to see Shauf, who usually commands stages the size of Union Transfer, play a tiny show at a space like PhilaMOCA with only an acoustic guitar and the promise of new songs? Lucky for us, that dream is about to come true this fall. Continue reading →

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Watch Black Thought’s appearance at the Tiny Desk with Mumu Fresh

Black Thought and Mumu Fresh | photo by Morgan Noelle Smith | via twitter.com/nprmusic

A familiar local face appears towards the end of NPR Music’s latest Tiny Desk Concert, featuring Baltimore singer Mumu Fresh. With over a half dozen musicians packed behind the desk to back Mumu, the singer and emcee pauses during the middle of her third and final song, “Say My Name,” to introduce none other than The Roots’ founding member Black Thought. Continue reading →

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Celebrate Ardmore Music Hall’s 5th anniversary with Ted Leo, The Dead Milkmen and more

Ted Leo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Ardmore Music Hall has hosted so many memorable shows that it’s hard to believe the venue has only been around for five years. This fall, they’ll celebrate in true Ardmore Music Hall style — with nine birthday shows throughout the month of September featuring an eclectic sampling of artists.

The artists in the mix range from familiar Ardmore Music Hall faces to those who will be playing the venue for the first time, with genres spanning punk, jazz, folk, reggae and more. Local indie rock favorite Ted Leo will play a solo show, pianist Holly Bowling will perform classical renditions of Grateful Dead and Phish songs, New Jersey bluegrass outfit Railroad Earth will hit the stage with a banjo in tow, local jazz virtuoso Stanley Clarke will showcase his bass skills, and Philly punk rock legends The Dead Milkmen will tear things up — and those are just a few of the performers scheduled to help Ardmore celebrate. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest set times announced, single day tickets available, Katie Frank replaces Forth Wanderers

photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

The 2018 edition of the XPoNential Music Festival is right around the proverbial bend, and this morning we’ve got a few items of interest for all you music lovers converging on the Camden Waterfront in a couple weeks.

First, the set times have been announced — and while XPNFest, for the most part, does not make you choose between competing sets like so many other summer festivals might, it’s still a helpful detail to plan out your weekend. You can peruse the rundown of who’s playing when at the XPNFest Website, or in the handy dandy graphic at the bottom of this post. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Andy Jenkins, Gang Gang Dance, Gorillaz, Arp, LUMP, Wilder Maker, and more

Orquesta Akokán | via orquestaakokan.bandcamp.com

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Aw yeah, summer. The entropy, the lethargy, the visceral extremes.  Now, summer makes all sorts of things weird anyway, but I feel like summertime in music-land has gotten especially wonky in recent years. Basically, my take is that the focus on large-scale music festivals which has ballooned over the past decade or so has taken a palpable bite out of non-festival-centric touring itineraries, and thus summer concert calendars, and even, indirectly, album release schedules. (Aside from the overwhelming hype cavalcade of Drake, Jay-Zeyonce and Kanye and Co. all dropping within a matter of weeks, the last few weeks have felt a bit thin for noteworthy new releases, and the rest of July and August, peering ahead, are looking even sparser.) Maybe I’d be less sore about all this if I felt closer to the target audience for either Firefly or Made in America, but as it stands those festivals’ biggest impact on me, personally, has been (presumably) shutting Philly out of proper local headline dates for the makers of some of my favorite music of the year: Janelle Monáe, for instance, and Amen Dunes.

Still, there’s plenty that’s worth seeing, concert-wise, in the coming weeks – it just feels like (even) more of an unpredictable hodge-podge than usual. Some of it is coming in the form of smaller, locally-targeted festivals: there’s XPN’s own XPoNential Festival, of course, and the decidedly weirder and more DIY All Mutable Summer Jam which is running the same weekend (July 27th-28th); I’m also pretty hyped about the free, Latin Roots-affiliated Nuevofest which is coming up this Sunday (read on for more about that.)

Anyhow, this being summertime, what do you say we all take a trip? Just a little musical vacation around the globe and beyond, to points both familiar and strange; real, imaginary and somewhere in between. I can’t say that it will all be straightforward or entirely uncomplicated – what is nowadays, after all – but I do promise we’ll have some fun along the way. And it’ll feel oh so nice to arrive back home at the end.

Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Rosie Langabeer and the BalletX Players

Experimental Philadelphia composer Rosie Langabeer is no stranger to ballet. She’s previously worked composing dreamlike scores and immersive soundscapes for Philadelphia contemporary dance company BalletX on 2016’s Sunset, 0639 Hours and on 2011’s Proliferation of the Imagination.

Likewise, BalletX is no stranger to doing interesting and unusual things with music; the’ve performed dance pieces based around the songs of Beirut and Amy Winehouse, and for their 10th anniversary, they did a retrospective of their greatest hits — dances to Rufus and Chaka Khan, to Joanna Newsom, to Ólafur Arnalds, to Bach and Handel.

For BalletX’s Summer Series, opening tonight at the Wilma Theater on South Broad Street, Langabeer once again joins forces with the dance company, working with choreographer Penny Saunders to create a score that broods with intensity and blisses out to heavenly pop. The piece, Rock-a-Bye, “explores transience and permanence, destiny and free will,” and Langabeer translates that into sound with the help of Tara Middleton of Sun Ra Arkestra and Gregg Mervine of West Philadelphia Orchestra.

We had Langabeer and the BalletX players in the WXPN studio this week to get a rare glimpse at the artists on the other side of a dance production. Continue reading →

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Listen to Amos Lee’s beautifully aching new ballad “Hang On, Hang On”

Amos Lee
Amos Lee | photo Brantley Gutierrez | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia singer-songwriter and XPN favorite Amos Lee released the second single to his upcoming album, My New Moon, out August 31st via Dualtone Records. The slower, ballad-like track appears seventh out of ten tracks on the new album, and is a change of pace from the previously released “No More Darkness, No More Light.”

The new single, titled “Hang On, Hang On,” finds Lee drawing on personal experiences, rather than elsewhere on the album where Lee touches on finding strength in others – from the Parkland survivors to the relationships built through Musicians on Call. From a press release, we learned the track is set around the last night Amos spent with his grandmother. The lyrics “I would’ve stayed forever, but it didn’t work out that way” ache a little extra with this in mind. Continue reading →

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Listen to Rosali spin Frank Ocean, Fleetwood Mac and more in her guest DJ set on the XPN Local Show

Rosali
Rosali | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia singer-songwriter Rosali released her wonderful sophomore LP Trouble Anyway last Friday on Spinster Sounds, and tonight she headlines Johnny Brenda’s to both celebrate the record and kick off a summer tour.

Before she packed up to hit the road, Rosali swung by XPN studios yesterday for a Guest DJ set on the XPN Local Show, and she spun everything from Richard & Linda Thompson and The Velvet Underground to Mary Lattimore and Brian Eno.

Between sets, Rosali and I talked about her new record as well as the way her other two bands, Long Hots and Wandering Shade, juxtapose alongside her traditional songwriter solo work. Continue reading →

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New supergroup Rosie Thorne release debut single “Slick”

Rosie Thorne’s Slick

Local supergroup Rosie Thorne recently released their debut single, a pop track suitable for both nightclubs about town and intimate headphone grooving. Comprised of Marisa Dabice (Mannequin Pussy), Max Steen (Cold Fronts, Vexxed), and Zach Sewall (Grave Goods, Vexxed), Rosie Thorne melds their respective influences and backgrounds to create their debut leftfield dance track, “Slick.” Continue reading →