Watch Natalie Prass perform “Short Court Style” on “Conan,” catch her at Johnny Brenda’s in June

Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

Over the last decade, Natalie Prass has done everything from playing keys in Jenny Lewis’ touring band to releasing two EPs and a full-length under her own solo project, gliding into instant indie acclaim. Now, the folk-turned-pop singer-songwriter can add performing on national television to the list. Continue reading →


Fight Fire With Fire: Philly’s Luxe is a force of change for LGBT fans in hardcore punk

Luxe | photo by Andrew Restrepo | photo courtesy of the artist

Although the image of a winking anime character popping out of a turquoise background adorning their self-titled EP may indicate otherwise, Philly’s Luxe is a kinetic, highwire act of a punk band, all nasally irreverence and brash thrash.

The band dutifully marries an artistic elegance (their Bandcamp is found under “haus of luxe”, a shout to the LGBT vogue houses that undoubtedly inspire them) with the clandestine insurgency of a rogue cabal hopped up on Amebix bootlegs. Still, even with all of their poisonous barbs, coated in guitar shrapnel disguised as noise, poised to do open battle with society’s isms, there hangs above the quintet a veil of mystery.

After seeing them shred at the suddenly hip Danny’s bar in West Philadelphia, I knew I had to take a closer step towards unraveling their secrets. Of particular interest was drummer Joey Ross, who acts as the band’s catalyst, its center. Joey’s presence online and in the South Philadelphia streets the band calls home, articulates a passionate, deep-seeded longing for an equity not often found in hardcore punk. We sat down with the enigmatic percussionist as well as vocalist Justin Hyduk to talk punk, passion and the paranoia that comes with trusting your friends. Continue reading →


Coming Together Across Borders: Inside Philadelphia’s burgeoning Global Village Jam scene

Global Village Jam | photo by Andrea Hu | courtesy of the artist
Sinnia Brown performs at the Global Village Jam in Philly | photo by Andrea Hu | courtesy of the artist

The phrase, “It takes a village,” couldn’t be more appropriate when talking about the burgeoning scene at Philadelphia’s Global Village Jam Sessions. Community is the focus, and organizers refer to it as “the only concert where the audience is the headliner.”

Recently, at their event on February 22, at the William Street Commons at 3900 Chestnut Street was packed with singers and musicians who wanted to share their talents inclusively.

“The Village is a big ocean, and you just get caught up in its waves,” says event coordinator, Alyssa Ghilardi. “But they never take you under. You’re just staying afloat on top of them all of the time.” Continue reading →


MINT is driven by sheer, unfiltered energy on Demo Two

MINT | photo via

MINT first appeared on our radar at the tail end of 2017 with a collection of standout demos released on Bandcamp. The songs were unignorable, but the band itself has remained a bit of a mystery.

Now, MINT is back with four more demos in their distinctive loud, unabashed punk style. The Philly four-piece record in Kensington, but have not shared any future plans for their music. We know simply that the band members’ are Jeff on guitar, Tom on bass, Steve  on drums, and Zoë on vocals. Continue reading →


The Suffers spread self-empowerment and good times on “Do Whatever”

The Suffers | photo courtesy of the artist
The Suffers | photo courtesy of the artist

XPN Fest alums and all-around cool people The Suffers have some big news — the soul-meets-rock band is releasing a new album this summer, and their spring tour includes a Philly stop at World Cafe Live. They’ll also appear at The Peach Music Festival in Scranton this July.

Everything Here, the Houston 8-piece’s second LP, is out July 13. The Suffers shared lead single “I Think I Love You” last fall, and just followed it up with a second, “Do Whatever.” The new tune is a groovy, upbeat jam that spreads self-empowerment and good times, with frontwoman Kam Franklin repeating, “do whatever feels right.” The song’s lush arrangements and soaring vocals take The Suffers’ sunshine-y, big band sound to a new level — if the first two singles are any indication, Everything Here is shaping up to be a joyful collection of uplifting reassurance and sheer danceability.

Continue reading →


Coping Skills remind us to take care of ourselves with “Bagel Fruit Water”

coping skills
Coping Skills | photo by Josh Stewart | courtesy of WXPN

Philly duo Coping Skills knows exactly what the essentials are. On the band’s short and sweet new single, which we first heard during their Key Studio Session last year, Lauren Delucca and Rachel Dispenza make sure we learn what the three key ingredients to self-care are, too. According to Coping Skills, that would be a bagel, fruit, and water. Continue reading →


Less War, More Leisure: Miguel holds court at The Fillmore Philadelphia

Miguel | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

I first saw Miguel Jontel Pimentel at South by Southwest, what feels like a very long six years ago. Back then, he was a promising but relatively conventional second-string R&B hitmaker – though already (unbeknownst to us at the time) in the midst of a metamorphosis that would lead him to the dazzling creative breakthrough of his second album, Kaleidoscope Dream. But even at that early stage, his nascent star power was blinding, and blindingly obvious. Some time later, mostly by happenstance, I caught the livestream of his set at Pitchfork Festival during the summer long hot of 2016 – just about a week after the deaths in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas – and witnessed the singer, dressed in angelic white, seizing an emotionally fraught historic moment and channeling it into an empowering, healing and utterly captivating performance.

Last night’s show at the Fillmore offered neither the thrill of discovery and sense of limitless possibility of that 2012 showcase set, nor the urgent topicality, coherence and moral force of the Pitchfork performance. But it didn’t need them. Even as nothing wilder than a seasoned working entertainer, punching in for another showbiz night, Miguel is among the best in the business. Throughout a generous twenty-plus-song set that drew from each of his four albums – including almost the entirety of his most recent, last year’s War and Leisure – he held the enthusiastic crowd in the palm of his hand all night long. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Queen of Jeans

In a phrase possibly borrowed from Bob Dylan, Philadelphia indie pop four-piece Queen of Jeans has both an album title and a mission statement: Dig Yourself.

It’s a poignant statement of self-love in a time where we’re socially scrutinized more than ever, where constant connection leaves us feeling forever inadequate, where anxiety is a reigning force in our daily lives and the friendships we keep and the music we consume. Some day, decades off in the distance, a cultural historian is going to look at the landscape of the 20-teens, cluttered with dismissive gifs and judge-y Slate headlines, and they’ll put our era of world-weary sad pop into a retrospective sociological context. Or maybe not; they’ll no doubt have their own shit to deal with in the 2080s.

But in the fray of it all, Queen of Jeans’ message is simple: do what you love, love who you are. Continue reading →


Camp Cope is kicking off its U.S. tour at PhilaMOCA in June; read a review of How To Socialise & Make Friends

Camp Cope | photo courtesy of the artist

Camp Cope is the kind of band that, when they release new material, you know you need to listen right away — not only because their songs are gorgeously crafted and just the right amount of catchy, but because there’s an urgency to Georgia Maq and crew’s music, a sense of importance that can’t be ignored. Luckily, our wait for new Camp Cope tunes is over. How To Socialise & Make Friends is out now via Run For Cover Records, and it’s the Australian trio’s most powerful release yet.

To go along with the album, the band announced a run of U.S. tour dates, which launch Thursday, June 21st at PhilaMOCA in Fishtown. Scrantonian indie rock singer-songwriter Petal joins them, and more information on the gig can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.  Continue reading →


Handsome Crü reflects on the end of an era and the beginning of a new one with “Dreamcatcher”

Handsome Crü | photo by Joel Todero | courtesy of the artist

After a momentary absence from the music scene, the band formerly known as Semiotics is making its return, with a shiny new EP and a new name, too. Now known as Handsome Crü (to avoid confusion with other bands called Semiotics), the band will release a new EP on April 2 — called Home of The Hits, it’s a compilation of new and old songs. Continue reading →