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NonCOMM Recap: King Tuff transports crowd to the cosmos with a space horn

King Tuff | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

“Anybody know what this is?” asked Kyle Thomas, the colorful frontman of King Tuff, as he raised a peculiar cylinder device in his hand. He looked side to side, faced the crowd, and deadpanned: “It’s called the space horn.”

And with that, the wonderfully strange cosmic flute beamed the last bit of the crowd into Thomas’ zany, trippy, mystical outer space universe as “Neverending Sunshine” began to play. Although, with opening tracks like the saucy video game odyssey, “Raindrop Blue,” the laid-back and sunny daydream, “Thru the Cracks,” and the funky disco jam, “Psycho Star,” the packed upstairs PRX stage audience was already by that point pretty fairly transported to another world. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM recap: The Wood Brothers shake the ground for night three

The Wood Brothers | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

Nashville natives The Wood Brothers played an epic folk set to open the downstairs stage of NonCOMM’s night three. This folk powerhouse has just released their sixth studio album, One Drop of Truth, and plans on returning to Philadelphia on August 28th to play at Longwood Gardens.

This band is, in my opinion, the most unique group that has taken the NonCOMM stage, and after watching them jam for thirty minutes, they might be my favorite group of the whole fest. Night three is only just getting started, but they’re going to be a tough act to beat. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: William Prince got real personal to kick off day three

William Prince | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Canadian folk singer-songwriter William Prince sings with his heart, and is not afraid to be vulnerable on stage. To kick off day three of the NonCOMM Convention, the Juno Award winner gave us a performance that hits ya right in the feels. His soulful vocals and storytelling skills made his performance so memorable. His music is inspired by all aspects of his life, and “Breathless” from his most recent album Earthly Days was one of the songs that truly depicted those raw feelings; he dedicated the song to his wife. Towards end his set, Prince sung an unpublished track dedicated to his father, who passed a bit of time ago. It was a soulful tear jerker that left my heart aching. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Brandi Carlile makes Free at Noon a family affair

Brandi Carlile | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Family, home, love, and forgiveness. These are the virtues interwoven in every powerful note of Brandi Carlile‘s music.

“I feel like it’s important to talk about my family in any format I can,” shared a beaming Carlile midway through her packed Free At Noon performance. Already having left the audience in awe after opening acapella-style with “The Eye” aside integral members, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, as well as shattering hatred with the shining 2018 powerhouse anthem, “The Joke,” — which ushered in a string section and backing band — Carlile took the time to acknowledge her love for her wife of almost six years, Catherine Shepherd, her four-year old daughter, Evangeline, and her new eight-week old daughter, Elijah. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Jade Bird delivers sassy Free at Noon performance

Jade Bird | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

British acoustic queen and Glassnote artist Jade Bird stopped by World Cafe Live this afternoon to play some songs from her powerhouse catalog. She is slight and unassuming, but the moment she starts speaking with that bright lilting voice and absolutely tears into her guitar, you know you’re in for something special. She has undeniable roots in country, but there’s something more, something almost unplaceable that makes her special. She is uniquely herself, and she isn’t afraid to show it. Continue reading →

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Cayetana’s Augusta Koch and Three Man Cannon’s Matt Schimelfenig team up as Gladie, debut with Everyone Is Talking But You

Gladie | photo by Adam Peditto | via gladie.bandcamp.com

Over the last several months, Cayetana’s Augusta Koch has been quietly playing new material in solo shows around town, trading her usual electric guitar for an acoustic one and letting her distinct voice fill smaller, quieter spaces. Now, we know where those songs were going — not to Cayetana (who released their last album just a year ago), but to a new project entirely. Gladie makes its debut with a full band EP, Everyone is Talking But You, out now, and a celebratory Philly show next week.

Continue reading →

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Full Bush paces itself on the tense, explosive “Someone”

Full Bush | via fullbush.bandcamp.com

Philly garage rock four-piece Full Bush brings the sweet sounds of punk grit on their new single, “Someone.” Usually the four-piece hits us with wild headbanging tunes, like in their 2016 song “Ray’s,” but this time, they’ve slowed things down and pace themselves.

Frontwoman Kate Breish deadpan vocals sneak along with throbbing drums, tense bass, and righteous guitar riffs as the song explodes, makes this five-minute track a thrash kid’s perfect fantasy.  Continue reading →

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Khruangbin’s Tiny Desk Concert meshes 70’s soul funk and Middle Eastern jazz

Khruangbin | photo by Elsa Attar via NPR

Texas trio Khruangbin dropped by NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert this week, and their set was nothing short of incredible. Khruangbin most recently opened for Chicano Batman at The TLA back in October, and you can see them again on the east coast this fall.

They played a three song set, beginning with “Maria También,” possibly the best-known track in their catalog. What sets this group apart from other instrumental artists is the fact that they rely on simplicity. They don’t pack their songs with heavy, jumping beats in order to propel the song forward where lyrics otherwise would. Instead, they let Laura Lee on the bass take charge and play a loop while Mark Speer on the guitar fills in whatever is missing in a gentle but intricate style. That mood was evident during their Tiny Desk set. The vibe was so obviously relaxed, with all three members so in sync and fearless. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Low Cut Connie closes the night with a warmup for their big Union Transfer gig

Low Cut Connie | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Rowdy, ribald retro rockers Low Cut Connie returned to NonCOMM to close out tonight’s lineup with piano-driven songs and crowd interaction. The band, led by South Philly’s Adam Weiner, dug back to 2012’s Call Me Sylvia for the opening “Boozophilia,” and repped their latest Dirty Pictures (Part 2) with the XPN staple “Beverly,” as well as “Oh Suzanne” and “Hey! Little Child.”

Saundra Williams of past NonCOMM artists Saun and Starr has been a touring member of the LCC crew for the past half a year, and shined in tonight’s set, handling backing vocals and auxiliary percussion with charisma. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Jeff Rosenstock delivers politically charged, high energy set

Jeff Rosenstock | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Long Island rocker Jeff Rosenstock took the stage upstairs with a crazy amount of energy and a set of songs from his most recent solo release, POST-, which came out in January on Polyvinyl. In what seems like typical Rosenstock fashion, he arrived with just enough time to spare to start his set. Immediately after the band’s warmup, he addressed the eager crowd with: “This goes out to anyone listening who feels disgusted to live in a country that no longer represents you unless you are rich, white, or male. Thanks,” before jumping into “USA.”

Rosenstock is a blast to watch. He is messy. He is loud. He is pretty much insane. His lyrics are so weirdly on point, his guitar is heavy and fast and constant. The crowd absolutely loved every second of this set. He might have started the first ever NonCOMM mosh pit! Continue reading →