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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bedouine at Johnny Brenda’s, Mitch Esparza at Random Tea Room, Shilpa Ray at Kung Fu Necktie, and more

Bedouine | photo by Polly Antonia Barrowman | courtesy of the artist

Bedouine, the nomadic solo project of L.A.-via-Syria artist Azniv Korkejian, headlines Johnny Brenda’s tonight with support from Domino Kirke and the fresh-off-of-tour Rosali. Known for 60’s- and 70’s-inspired folk tunes, Bedouine released a debut self-titled album this past summer. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Kendrick Lamar, SZA and cohorts from the Top Dawg Entertainment roster bring their summer jam to BB&T

Kendrick Lamar and SZA at Coachella | photo by Emma McIntyre | Getty Images

Tour announcement season is officially upon us! With a handful of star-studded spring/summer lineups already announced (Waxahatchee / Hurray For The Riff Raff / Bedouine at Union Transfer on 4/16; Japanese Breakfast / LVL UP / Radiator Hospital at Union Transfer on 6/3; Dr. Dog / (Sandy) Alex G at The Festival Pier on 6/23), it’s only fitting that one of the best modern day Hip-Hop labels announces the tour of the summer.

Dubbed TDE: The Championship Tour, the label’s all-star lineup enlists Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, SiR, Lance Skiiiwalker, and stops in Philly on Friday, June 8th at BB&T Pavilion. Continue reading →

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Meet the #NPRSlingshot class of 2018

L-R, Top To Bottom: Air Credits, Bedouine, Brent Cowles, George Li, Gracie and Rachel, Haley Heynderickx, Hello June, Hembree, The Hogan Brothers, Jade Bird, Knox Fortune, Lawrence Rothman, Liz Brasher, McKinley Dixon, Mt. Joy, Phoebe Bridgers, The Shacks, Sidney Gish, Thunderpussy, WebsterX – The #NPRSlingshot Class of 2018 | via NPR Music

After an introductory year introducing Big Thief, Jamila Woods, and Lo Moon to listeners across the country, public radio’s emerging artist spotlight Slingshot returns for a second year — and a seven-fold increase in artists.

Some of the class of 2018 will be familiar to savvy listeners of XPN — like Bedouine, who recently appeared on World Cafe, or Phoebe Bridgers, who was an XPN Artist to Watch (and who appeared onstage with Conor Oberst at XPNFest). Many of them will be new — and that’s the whole point of Slingshot. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs by Kelela, Parquet Courts, Fever Ray, Alvarius B., Special Request, Circuit Des Yeux and more

Fever Ray | via facebook.com/FeverRay

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Much as I may pride myself on keeping my ears as wide open and omnivorous as possible, I’m often struck, as the time of reckoning draws nigh, that so much of the music that really affects me from any given year tends to fall into a few relatively narrow categories.  Looking back on the 2017 releases that I’ve spent the most time with and returned to most consistently, most of them can be sorted into two general buckets: emotionally resonant electronic pop made by (relatively young) women – Lorde, MUNA, Sylvan Esso, Kelly Lee Owens – or wordy, wide-ranging critical statements made by opinionated and perhaps over-analytical old (or at least aging) men: Randy Newman, Jens Lekman, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

Is there a throughline there?  I tend to think of it in terms of personality: if there’s one thing most likely to pique my interest in a new artist, or keep me engaged with a familiar one, it’s in their music’s ability to serve as a tool for human expression, straightforward or otherwise; a means of telegraphing a vivid and recognizable individual identity – whether that individual be a quote-unquote “real person,” a constructed persona or, as it surely is in the vast majority of cases, some ambiguous, unparseable intertwining of the two.  Perhaps that quality is more readily apparent in the second group of aforementioned artists.  It’s not that those verbose songmen are single-mindedly preoccupied with age and mortality – though it’s clearly on their minds (see: Newman’s heartwrenching “Lost Without You”; Murphy’s “tonite”; Lekman’s bouncy but pensive “Wedding in Finistère”; the entire conceit of Merritt’s 50 Song Memoir) but it certainly informs their outlook, helping to distill a clarity of perspective (and tendency toward warts-and-all honesty) translating into albums that function as poignant, if sometimes roundabout self-portraits.   Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G announces new headlining tour dates and an opening spot with Fleet Foxes

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

On July 17th, the Fleet Foxes Instagram account posted an announcement that they had added several artists to their upcoming US tour(Sandy) Alex G in the Northeast, Natalie Prass in the Northwest, Bedouine in the Southwest, and Nap Eyes in the Midwest in addition to the already-billed Animal Collective and Beach House.

For a good 24 hours, information on this news was nowhere else to be found, save the account (likely run by frontman Robin Pecknold) answering direct fan inquiries in the comments section. Either way, I naively thought that it was safe to assume the addition of Philly’s own Alex G to the upcoming July 31st show at The Mann Center was a given, as he had no other scheduled shows that day and Philadelphia is a Northeast location. Continue reading →

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New Music Show Preview w/ Iron & Wine, Alvvays, & more!

Bedouine Press Photo 2 by Polly Antonia Barrowman HIRES

Monday nights mean new music discovery on WXPN, and tonight we get back in the studio to share some great recent finds.  The show starts at 8pm and on the menu we’ve got new albums from Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie, plus Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Gov’t Mule.  Also, the band Deer Tick are set to release TWO new albums, we’ll hear a new song from each of them.  The Philly music scene keeps cooking, we’ll play you new Waxahatchee, The Districts, and Son Little.  Plus, check out a few more new tunes we’ll spin this evening.

Continue reading →