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Escaping the Popacalypse at Landmark Music Festival, with mixed results

Photo by Tom Beck
Photo by Tom Beck

Washington, D.C. was home to the inaugural Landmark Music Festival this past weekend, as headliners Drake and The Strokes graced the stage along with a slew of other top-notch bands including Philly bred artists Son Little and The War on Drugs. The lineup, which was loaded with great talent, also included Houndmouth, The Suffers, Manchester Orchestra, alt-J, Chvrches, Ben Howard, George Ezra, Albert Hammond Jr, The London Souls and Band of Horses. The festival did a lot of things right — namely the booking of top-notch talent. However, Landmark has its work cut out for it if it wants to earn a spot among the best festivals in the country. Let’s start with the bad. Continue reading →

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Watch Nathaniel Rateliff perform “Nothing To Show For” on an NYC rooftop (playing Communion at Underground Arts on 11/7)

Nathaniel Rateliff at Non-COMM 2010 | photo via The World in a Paper Cup
Nathaniel Rateliff at Non-COMM 2010 | photo via The World in a Paper Cup

Following a string of September dates with Dr. Dog and The Lumineers, Colorado singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff will be back on the East Coast this Thursday, November 7th for Communion at Underground Arts.  Rateliff is currently supporting a new record called Falling Faster Than You Can Run, which you can stream in its entirety here.  Below, watch Rateliff perform “Nothing to Show For” in a Sideshow Alley session, filmed in 2012 during Communion’s Austin to Boston tour (you’ll recognize tourmates Ben Lovett, Ben Howard and members of The Staves on the rooftop).  Tickets and information for the 21+ Communion night with Tennis, Savoir Adore, On An On, Low Cut Connie and Rocky and the Pressers can be found here.

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My Morning Download: “Talk Me Down” by Willy Mason

willymason Folk influenced singer-songwriter Willy Mason is signed to Communion Records, the label co-founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. Communion started out as a series of live music events in the indie-folk and singer-songwriter scenes in the UK in 2006 and became a label in 2009. Instrumental in launching and establishing the careers of Ben Howard, Laura Marling, Michael Kiwanuka, Treetop Flyers and others, Communion has set up shop in the US and, with Mason, is releasing his album Carry On in the States on August 20. Willy is out on tour this Summer and opening for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros when they play the sold out show Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square on August 28.

Download “Talk Me Down” here.

As an added bonus, download the title song to Willy’s forthcoming release below.

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The second night sounds of Mumford & Sons with Haim at the Susquehanna Bank Center

Last night Mumford & Sons wrapped up their second sold out show at the Susquehanna Bank Center with a live broadcast on WXPN. Check out our review, photos and set list from the Saturday night show here. Last night, the band performed another excellent, transcendent set. Both nights the band opened with “Babel,” and encored with a version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” While most of the sets both nights shared the same songs, second night concert goers got “Brown Crown,” and “Awake My Soul,” while first night attendees got to hear “Holland Road,” and “For Those Below.” Both nights, Ben Howard and Haim open the show. Haim were pleasantly confident and fun and played a cover of “Oh Well,” a classic older Fleetwood Mac tune along with their new song “Falling,” and “Forever,” from the band’s debut EP. Below, watch some videos of the performances from YouTube user tyrant2525

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Keeping time with Mumford and Sons at SBC (photos, review, setlist, video)

All photos by Eric Ashleigh | showtographe.com

A week ago, music blog Stereogum weighed in on the “secret weapon” of Mumford and Sons: frontman Marcus Mumford’s right foot. Or, more specifically, the kick drum at the front of the stage that keeps time on the majority of the band’s songs.

Seeing them perform night one of a sold-out two-night stand at Susquehanna Bank Center last night, it was immediately evident how integral that kick drum is. For a pop-rock band with folksy instrumentation (upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar), the London band sounded more massive with just its four core members – Mumford, banjo player Winston Marshall, keyboardist Ben Lovett and bassist Ted Dwane – then it did with the horns and strings and full-kit percussionists that joined them on the set centerpieces like “Lover of the Light.”

Foot-stomp beats are common in the folk revival – from Philly’s Hoots and Hellmouth and Columbus, Ohio’s Saintseneca up to bigger names like The Avett Brothers. With Mumford, it breaks through to another plane. On those scaled-back moments, the beat was at its strongest; pulsing, resonant and easy to get swept away in. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tri State Indie Awards at World Cafe Live, Modern Baseball at The Fire, Live WXPN broadcast of Mumford & Sons show at Susquehannah Bank Center

It’s a big night for local music – Tri State Indie will hold their second annual awards show at World Cafe Live, hosted by Toy Soldiers‘ Ron Gallo.  With performances by New Sweden (last year’s Delaware Indie Band of the Year), Cold Fronts and more, the event includes a red carpet walk with professional photographers and gift bag for all attendees.  Check out a list of all the nominees here.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Below,  watch Band of the Year hopefuls Toy Soldiers perform “Tell the Teller” / “Forget How it Used to Be” at World Cafe Live.

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Get to know HAIM, opening for Mumford & Sons in concert this weekend (and making a guest appearance on WXPN, Saturday at 3PM w/ Eric Schuman)

This weekend Mumford & Sons are playing two sold out shows at the Susquehanna Bank Center on Saturday and Sunday evening. WXPN will be broadcasting the Sunday night show live. Both nights there are two opening acts; singer songwriter Ben Howard and HAIM, three sisters from Los Angeles. Make sure you get to the shows early enough to see both opening acts. HAIM include Este, Danielle, and Alana, and drummer Dash Hutton. The sisters grew up in a musical family, raised on the classic rock leanings of their parents, and started as a band in 2006. They released their Forever EP in October 2012, have a fantastic new single “Falling,” and recently captured the prestigious BBC Sound of 2013 award. It seems that the UK has fallen in serious love with the band, and we’re expecting them to make a big splash with Mumford fans here in the States. The sisters sing in an urgent Stevie Nicks kind of way and there’s a percussive element of funky-ness to their songs. Their harmonies are sharp and to the point; the songs are high on melody and the delightful rush of pop candy (the kind that’s good for you). Last March at SXSW in Austin, HAIM received excellent reviews from the music bloggers and critics who covered the festival. HAIM will be on the air with Eric Schuman on WXPN tomorrow, Saturday, at 3PM. Tune in to learn more about them.

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WXPN to broadcast Sunday night’s Mumford and Sons concert from Susquehanna Bank Center

When London folk revivalists Mumford & Sons announced their two-night stand at Susquehanna Bank Center shortly after their sophomore LP Babel dropped in the fall, both shows sold out in seconds. For those who didn’t get tickets, WXPN is broadcasting the band’s set on Sunday night the 17th in its entirety. The night begins at 8 p.m. with host Mike Vasilikos live from the Susquehanna Bank Center while Haim and Ben Howard warm up the crowd. When Mumford goes on, we turn the airwaves over to the stage as the band works through songs from Babel and its 2009 debut Sigh No More. Tune in on the radio at 88.5 FM in Philadelphia or online at XPN.org. Below, check out a video of the band performing “I Will Wait” sold-out show at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn – clearly, the local crowd is in for a high energy mass-singalong whether it’s on-air on in the flesh.

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UK blues / folk singer Marcus Foster coming to World Cafe Live on 3/29

South London singer-songwriter Marcus Foster has announced a U.S. tour that will swing him though Philadelphia for a show at World Cafe Live upstairs on Friday, March 29th.  With his bluesy guitar lines and gravely vocals, Foster’s albums encompass a far-reaching catalog of influences including Bob Dylan, St. Vincent and D’Angelo.  Following up his well-received 2011 debut Nameless Path, this year saw the release of The Last House EP and a few treks around the states with breakthrough U.K. acts Michael Kiwanuka and Ben Howard.  Nashville’s Ruston Kelly and New York’s Sean Rowe will open the World Cafe Live show.  Tickets and information are available here; below, watch Marcus Foster perform “Worn Down By Time” live in New York City.