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Get dizzy with Balance and Composure’s “Spinning”

Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist
Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist

Doylestown alt-rockers Balance and Composure continue to explore their new, atmospheric sound with “Spinning,” the third cut shared from the imminent Light We Made. This follows the previously released “Postcard” and “Afterpary” and sees the band “balancing” (ha ha) their newfound appreciation for washy textures with the same pounding drums and angst that made previous efforts so captivating. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile and Hope Sandoval package bliss on “Let Me Get There”

Kurt Vile and Hope Sandoval | image via Pitchfork (Kurt Vile photo by Erika Goldring; Hope Sandoval photo by Luz Gallardo)

A couple thousand years ago, some Egyptian dude invented the sundial as a means of keeping time, and we’ve been stressed out ever since. Gone are the days when people “got there when they got there,” but on her gorgeous new duet with Kurt Vile, Hope Sandoval aims to change that. Continue reading →

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Katie Ellen rebounds from more than one breakup on their debut 7″

Katie Ellen | via katiebandellen.bandcamp.com

Earlier this year, Brooklyn pop-punkers Chumped parted ways after two sold-out shows at Bushwick’s Suburbia. If this left you feeling as empty as the time Alycia Merklin broke up with me over text in the tenth grade, you’re in luck, because guitarist Anika Pyle and drummer Dan Frelly have released their debut 7″ as Katie Ellen. Fans of Chumped will feel right at home with this pair of breakup bangers, as the band brings newfound punch and definition to an old sound. Continue reading →

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Fresh Air will open its archives for an interactive tour at WHYY HQ

Terry Gross and President Barack Obama | via NPR.org

ICYMI, earlier this week President Obama awarded an Arts & Humanities Medal to Terry Gross, host of WHYY’s venerable Fresh Air program. Gross has been at the helm of the beloved radio interview show for over 40 years, sharing stories from folks like fellow medal winner Mel Brooks, comedian Robin Williams, legendary musician Allen Toussaint and so many more. Continue reading →

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Mumblr created a rap about their upcoming tour, name drop LeBron James

mumblr
Mumblr | photo by Ian Amidon | courtesy of the artist

In less than a week Mumblr will be out on the road for two months of “family fun, beer, beach, sand, sun” as they tour around the country in support of June’s The Never Ending Get Down LP. Of course, they’ll be playing shows too – over three dozen in fact – and the four piece has shared an entertaining pre-tour video that shows frontman Nick Morrison and bassist Sean Reilly rapping through the list of states they’ll be hitting.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bilal at Johnny Brenda’s, Lushlife at Boot and Saddle, Lotus at The Mann Center and more

bilal
Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews

Soul / funk / rock artist and Philadelphia native Bilal headlines a show at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown tonight. In the past, he has worked with big names like Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Kimbra just to name a few. His last solo release was In Another Life, released last year. Opening up for Bilal will be the fellow Philadelphian Ursula Rucker. She is a poet, activist, and recording artist who has been performing for over seventeen years. This show featuring some of Philly’s finest is not to be missed. Tickets and more information about the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out the video for “Money Over Love” below. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam shake the rafters “A 1000 Times” over

Hamilton and Rostam | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Hamilton and Rostam | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

When I first heard that Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam Batmanglij were putting out an album together, I was as excited as I was apprehensive. It sounded great on paper, of course, but rarely do collaborations like this go over as well as they’re theoretically supposed to. With The Walkmen and Vampire Weekend in their respective back catalogs, the duo had a lot to live up to, but this afternoon, they did just that with an exhilarating, eight-song set at WXPN’s Free at Noon concert. Continue reading →

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Desire Lines: Brit rock icons Lush played a riveting reunion set at Union Transfer

Lush | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Lush | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

A line of fans of all ages trailed down Spring Garden Street last night, all the way around the corner at 11th and halfway down to Callowhill, waiting for Union Transfer’s doors to open for the return of British rock faves Lush.

Their anticipation was twenty years in the making for this reunion, another in a recent wave of local appearances from ‘90s dreampop bands. Just last month, in another 20th anniversary reunion tour, record label 4AD compatriots Belly played the same beloved Philly venue, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this week. And in December, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips of Luna and Galaxie 500 will play a Velvets tribute show, headlined by Yo La Tengo.

Each of these events is a highlight in its own right, and Lush’s stood out as special for all of the adoration. Continue reading →

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INTERVIEW: Brooklyn indie darlings LVL UP on making their most fully realized album, Return to Love

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

I’ll refrain from making the obvious joke here, and just say this: LVL UP‘s new album Return to Love sounds massive.

After five years and a couple of releases circling the grittier home-recorded periphery of the indie rock universe, the band goes full in on it’s third long player, released today on Sub Pop Records. Fuzzed out punk gives way to pristine pop, and you’ll hear hints of Neutral Milk Hotel and Pavement as much as you will Nada Surf and Fountains of Wayne. In short, it’s their most fully realized album on the sonic front, and talking to singer-guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton, the guys are remarkably level-headed (ugggggggh, #dadjokes) and earnest about their craft.

I caught up with them via phone from Benton’s apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was a hot August day and the band was laying low; they didn’t have anything on the calendar until a music video shoot the following week and a gig at Hopscotch fest in early September. Below, read our conversation about recording, running a label, and how their band and business lives intersect. Continue reading →

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Explore a summer carnival with Little Strike in “Come Out Alright”

little strike
Little Strike | photo courtesy of the artist

The moments of inspiration behind Little Strike‘s art are usually global – time spent in Israel, a sojourn in Ecuador, or friendships made in China. But to film a new video for this year’s “Come Out Alright” single, Philly-based musician Tamar Dart traveled just 35 miles to Hammonton, NJ to capture the experience of the town’s annual summer carnival.

Continue reading →