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Laura Marling shares new video for “Next Time” via NPR Music First Watch

Laura Marling | courtesy of the artist
Laura Marling | courtesy of the artist

Laura Marling has shared a new video for “Next Time,” the latest track we’re hearing from her forthcoming Semper Femina LP. It follows earlier songs “Wild Fire” and “Soothing” with a hushed guitar and gently-swelling orchestral arrangement surrounding the UK singer/songwriter’s intimate vocals, which are reminscent of Karen Carpenter at times. NPR Music has the premiere of the video in their First Watch series here.

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Strand of Oaks talks ecstasy, joy, and losing control with NPR Morning Edition

Strand of Oaks | photo courtesy of the artist
Strand of Oaks | photo by Maclay Heriot | courtesy of the artist

In the midst of celebrating the release of Hard LoveStrand of Oaks‘ Tim Showalter spoke with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition earlier today. After recalling his early musical days in the basement sewing room of the Goshen, IN home that he grew up in, Showalter goes on to discuss some of the inspirational threads of the songs that fill his fifth record.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Church Girls at Ortlieb’s, Caroline Reese at Sellersville Theater, Lee Fields and the Expressions at Union Transfer and more

Church Girls
Church Girls | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com

Local indie rockers Church Girls make a stop at Ortlieb’s for a fantastic gig with The National Reserve and Tinnarose. Think if Franke Cosmos decided to expand her haiku-like sound with some dirtier guitars, and you end up with some lovely post-punk. The gig is 21+, and more information/tickets can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Philly’s GANG returns with the fired up resistance anthem “Nasty Woman”

GANG | Photo by Oliver Lopena

Philly electro-glam-rock four-piece GANG made a huge splash locally in the aughties, debuting with the undeniably badass single “Rat Poison” — a very much of-its-time jam that, holy smokes, turned ten years old back in October.

The band released a few EPs, played a lot of shows, but have kept things on the quiet front since drummer Tim Sonnefeld moved to California, where he works in music production. But the band just dropped its first single since 2012, and it totally would have made a great alternative soundtrack to a certain press conference this afternoon. Continue reading →

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Keeping up with S.udan: Put your ears to “Powers” and “100 South”

S.udan | photo courtesy of the artist
S.udan | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper S.udan has been making good on his promise to deliver a regular stream of new jams this year. When we last check in on him, the observational hustle story “The Difference” had followed up the poignant and socially conscious “Die Tonight.” That was December, and S.udan has dropped two more tracks in the two months since.
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Become The Tourist in Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s world and stream their new album now

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | photo courtesy of the artist
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | photo by Michael Regan | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia art rockers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are back with The Tourist. It drops next Friday, February 24th, following 2014’s Only Run, but you can stream it now via NPR’s First Listen. If you’ve been a fan of the project up to this point, the album is ready and eager to please, but it’s anything but a rehash of their old sound.

CYHSH may not sound as pleasantly rough-around-the-edges as they did on their debut, but they certainly haven’t lost that album’s frenetic energy. The drums on tracks like “Better Off” and “The Vanity of Trying” are as driving and scatterbrained as ever, while cuts like “Fireproof” and “Unfolding Above Celibate Moon (Lost Angeles Nursery Rhyme” ride more spacious, yet equally engaging grooves. Meanwhile, “A Chance to Cure” forgoes drums for almost half of its runtime, highlighting one of The Tourists’ defining characteristics–its doubled-down emphasis on the vocal. Continue reading →

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Abi Reimold debuts a new song, “Workshop,” in her Little Elephant session

Abi Reimold at Little Elephant | still from video
Abi Reimold at Little Elephant | still from video

Watching Philly’s Abi Reimold perform can mean any number of things — a subdued solo electric show, perhaps, or a raucous full band rock show. Or, her preferred touring method of late: solo electric with looper. It’s a craft she’s been perfecting for the past several years, allowing her to balance the best elements of both worlds in a portable setup, and it shines in a recent appearance on Toledo, Ohio’s Little Elephant sessions, which is quickly becoming the internet’s premiere studio sessions series for DIY artists on the road.

Released today, the session includes performances of two songs from Reimold’s outstanding 2016 LP Wriggling – one of  The Key’s best albums of 2016. Aided by a floor tom, her pedal setup and her voice, “Won’t Clot” opens the set tremendously, establishing a pattern that builds and flourishes with beats and voices. “Feed” is incredible and intense on the solo electric tip, with Reimold’s powerful vocal delivery giving way to a dissolving choir of harmonies.

But the treat is a new jam called “Workshop,” which is the poppiest of the bunch. Continue reading →

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Jam to Soft Idiot’s genre-mashing track, “Love Like”

Soft Idiot | via softidiot.bandcamp.com

Philly four-piece Soft Idiot released a teaser for their new album, stillborn, and let me tell ya, I’m hooked. The impeccably-named band’s teaser includes two tracks, including “Brother Part I” and “Love Like.”

The latter is the newest release from the album, and is an amalgamation of all kinds of awesome.  I love when songs surprise me, and oh boy did this song surprise me. The track begins in folk punk, singer-songwriter fashion, but then quickly builds into a wopping smorgasbord of different genres. A sweet banjo riff incites a bluegrass feel, only then to be matched by the addition of some psych synth. Then, about half-way through, searing amps and layers of guttural shouts take over, which abruptly fade into a spooky 80s synth send off.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of different things going on right there. But trust me, all of this actually works together so well. It makes you question why punk-folk-screamo-Americana-synth isn’t already an established genre.  By the end of the song, you’ll be left blinking “what kind of strange beauty did I just stumble upon?” And you will never see the world the same again. Continue reading →

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The Districts, Son Little, Good Girl, The Dove and The Wolf and more to play #AmplifyPhilly SXSW showcase

The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

For the third year running, the Philly music scene has its own SXSW showcase on 6th Street in Austin. This year’s #AmplifyPhilly party, co-sponsored by the City as well as the folks from RecPhilly, takes place March 14th, 2017 — the second night of SXSW — at Buffalo Billiards, with a headlining performance from rock and roll force of nature The Districts.

Also on the lineup is electro-rock / soul soundscaper Son Little, eclectic pop visionary Bilal and dynamic R&B four-piece Good Girl. Philly / LA artist Julian King joins the lineup as well, along with breezy indie poppers Queen of Jeans and spacey folk duo The Dove and The Wolf; between sets, DJ Aktive spins.  Continue reading →

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Vagabon stands tall on Infinite Worlds

Vagabon | courtesy of the artist
Vagabon | courtesy of the artist

The music Laetitia Tamko makes as Vagabon is all about defiance. Be it odds, expectations, or cultural norms, it always seems to come back to being made to feel small. Whether its through internal or external forces, this sense of smallness is what drives her new album Infinite Worlds. It’s given to us right away in the first lines of opener “The Embers”, where she finds herself “on the bus where everybody is tall”. As a woman of color writing and performing in white male-dominated indie rock, there’s a lot of charged ideas and imagery for Tamko to grapple with here, but it’s the bravery and empathy she does it with that makes the record what it is. You can stream it now via NPR First Listen. Continue reading →