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The Innocence Mission find power in quiet at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk

The Innocence Mission | still from video

If you’ve ever doubted the power that a few acoustic instruments and some whispery vocals can produce, The Innocence Mission is here to prove you wrong. When the Lancaster-based folk trio stopped by NPR recently to record a Tiny Desk Concert, NPR Music’s Lars Gotrich described their music as the kind that, though quiet, captivates listeners immediately, writing: “The Innocence Mission, ever the most careful cultivators of quiet, encouraged us to come closer, to discover the ‘thing beautiful enough’ in the moment it’s delivered.” Continue reading →

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Listen to an otherworldly Folkadelphia performance from The Innocence Mission

The Innocence Mission
The Innocence Mission | photo courtesy of the artist

Lancaster folk trio The Innocence Mission released their 11th album, Sun on the Square, this past spring. In it, three decades worth of experience culminate in a vast and enchanting work, and though it’s hard to believe the band could get anymore stripped down, that’s exactly what they did in a recent Folkadelphia session. Without orchestral accompaniment, there is nothing to distract from Karen Peris’ lilting vocals, which float above an intricate puzzle of Don Peris’ fingerpicked guitars, creating an otherworldly feeling. Check out the session below. Continue reading →

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the innocence mission returns with the dreamy and emotive “Green Bus” from new album Sun on the Square

The Innocence Mission
The Innocence Mission | photo courtesy of the artist

Lancaster folk trio the innocence mission have made a lot of music in the project’s three-plus decades duration. And still, even after all these years, each new release feels freshly crafted in its own unique way. The innocence mission will return with a new album this summer, Sun on the Square, their 11th full-length and first since 2015’s hello I feel the same.

The forthcoming record’s first single, “Green Bus,” is making us eagerly anticipate innocence mission’s return. It’s a song soft enough to require that the volume be turned all the way up, and it walks the line between soothing, lulling quietness and compelling, attention-grabbing sonic twists. With haunting, whispering vocals, Karen Peris draws the listener in as if she’s sharing a secret to only her deepest confidantes. Combined with her lilting, fingerpicked guitar and joined by singer/guitarist Don Peris and upright bassist Mike Bitts, it’s clear that the innocence mission is back in full dreamy and emotive swing. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Innocence Mission

Lancaster folk trio The Innocence Mission had been hard at work for a decade by the time they broke through to mainstream recognition with “Bright As Yellow” from their 1995 album Glow. While it remains their best-known song on a certain level, the band’s best work was truly ahead of them. Continue reading →

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Innocence Mission share new music video for “Washington Field Trip”

innocence mission
The Innocence Mission | photo via Culture Collide

Lancaster folk trio Innocence Mission have released a new music video for their track “Washington Field Trip.” Filmed entirely in black and white, the video combines tranquil portraits of Washington D.C. with shots of Don and Karen Peris playing guitar and piano in their home. The video has a distinct DIY home-video feeling to it, which plays well with the song’s nostalgic, waltzing piano chords and singer Karen Peris’ wispy vocals. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Sea Offs

Need a solid argument for turning up early to a long day of music? Two words: Sea Offs.

The dream-pop four-piece is one of the opening acts on the Saturday lineup of next weekend’s Philly Music Fest at World Cafe Live — they play 3:10 p.m. on the upstairs stage — and their lucid, moving arrangements of intertwining electric guitars and emphatic drums are an invigorating entry point into the event’s eclectic bill of regional artists.

Sea Offs hail from Central Pennsylvania, in the most literal sense — songwriters and guitarists Olivia Price and Rashmit Arora met at State College, in the dead center of the state, and began writing and recording music in 2015 around the PSU / Happy Valley region. It’s a good place for creative companionship as well as creative isolation — the people who are indifferent about Nittany Lions football tend to stick together, but are nevertheless mutually distant from bigger creative hubs like Buffalo, NYC or Philly. Sea Offs’ debut single, “Colliding,” was a drifting and folky piece in the Nick Drake / Innocence Mission zone, a sound that bloomed into last year’s Sea the Blind EP, where ambient atmospheres were gradually worked into their palette.

And then, there was this year’s rhetorically-titled What’s The Point?, an immersive record and one of my favorites to catch my ear during the year-long Items Tagged Philadelphia project. Continue reading →

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With sale pending, future of The Tin Angel uncertain

The Tin Angel | via facebook.com/TinAngelPhilly

And then there were none. Maybe.

The building that houses 24-year-old Old City folk club The Tin Angel is being sold, according to a report on Philly.com. And while its future as a place for music is uncertain — the buyers own a couple restaurants in Northeast Philly, and have not yet announced their plans for the space — one only has to look at the blocks surrounding it to take the temperature.

This section of Old City along South Second Street was once a bustling live music nexus, from the indie rock dives The Khyber and Upstairs at Nick’s to the hip-hop and funk oriented Five Spot along Bank Street and the tripped out Upstage on 3rd Street. All of those places have since gone away; the Five Spot burned down in the aughties and the rest became bar/restaurants where concerts are scarce — and if live music is there, it’s massively de-emphasized. Continue reading →

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Fig Voices: Meet Lancaster indie pop band Tigers and Thieves

Tigers + Thieves | Photo courtesy of FIG Magazine
Tigers and Thieves | Photo courtesy of FIG Magazine

WXPN has partnered with FIG Magazine to introduce the best new artists from the Central PA area with a new series called FIG Voices.

First up is the indie-pop band from Lancaster, Tigers and Thieves. Their new EP, You Can’t Have Everything, evokes Keane, Peter, Bjorn & John and Coldplay, and is out now. Continue reading →