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Against Me!’s tour with Bleached and The Dirty Nil comes to Union Transfer this fall

Against Me! | photo via againstme.bandcamp.com

Rolling off an angst-filled tour opening for Green Day, punk rock favorites Against Me! has announced a headlining tour of their own, with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil.

Against Me! will be performing their most recent album, Shape Shift With Me, which is the band’s seventh full-length album. Serving as an honest portrayal of sex, love, and heartbreak, frontwoman Laura Jane Grace discusses in a press release her songwriting choice of focusing on personal narratives rather than politics. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Alex G at Union Transfer, Bleached at Johnny Brenda’s, Open Mike Eagle at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

alex g
Alex G | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Alex G brings a spring tour home to Union Transfer tonight. The Havertown native has been supporting last year’s Domino Records debut Beach Music in a big way, criss-crossing the country, booking international festivals and now headlining his largest Philly show to date. Pretty cool stuff for a band that got its start in the Temple house show scene. Watch the video for “Mud” below and pick up tickets to the all-ages show with Porches and Your Friend here.

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Fools Gold: Bleached, Black Mountain & Operators on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Bleached | Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins, courtesy of the artist
Bleached | Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins, courtesy of the artist

Don’t be some kind of April Fool: Listen to the Indie Rock Hit Parade, tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN! You might have noticed that something like a metric TON of new albums came out today. We’ll throw the spotlight on not one but TWO new releases: Welcome The Worms by L.A. garage-punks Bleached and IV by Vancouver’s riff-monsters Black Mountain. As if that weren’t enough for you (which it isn’t, let’s be honest), we’ll hear new tracks from Yeasayer, Operators, Car Seat Headrest and more! Check out a few of the things you’ll hear in the mix below…

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Billy Bragg at the Keswick, Bleached at The Fire, Ladyfest Benefit at Little Berlin

Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg

Garage-punk Los Angeles natives Bleached headline The Fire tonight. Signed to Dead Oceans, Bleached released their debut album Ride Your Heartearlier this month. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Hunters, Omar and Catnaps can be found here. Watch the video for Bleached’s “Next Stop” below.

The Ladyfest Philly benefit concert presented by Girls Rock Philly is happening tonight at Little Berlin.  With sets by Bad Braids, Cayetana, and Girls Rock Philly bands Wrong Castle and Barracuda Club House Band, the event was organized by participants in the after school program who are learning the ins and outs of putting on a DIY show.  Ladyfest, a summer festival celebrating women in arts, culture and activism, will take place at The Rotunda on June 7-9.  Tickets and information for tonight’s benefit show can be found here.  Stream “Clover” off of Bad Braids’ forthcoming LP Supreme Parallel below.

British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg performa at The Keswick Theatre tonight. A political activist and influential folk musician, Bragg released his first studio album of original material in five years last month with Tooth & Nail. Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  At noon today, Bragg will be performing at Main Street Music in Manayunk for Record Store Day. Below, watch Bragg’s video for “No One Knows Nothing Anymore.”

Also:
WXPN Welcomes Graham Parker and The Rumour at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, Delaware.
Work Drugs at Buzz Ware Village Center in Arden, Delaware.

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Now Hear This: New songs from Cat Power, Elvis Costello, Matthew Dear, Half Waif, Richard Swift, Spiritualized and more

Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

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

This past Saturday was my 36th birthday, and, as it happens, this is my 36th Now Hear This column.  (I’ve been secretly keeping track: the first fifteen installments ran weekly over at Philly Voice during the fall of 2016; the monthly columns for The Key started in February 2017).  Thirty-six feels like a significant year – more so than 35 in many ways (especially considering what’s been happening to the institution of the presidency).  It’s divisible by more numbers, even if five isn’t one of them.  As one friend pointed out, it means I’m now old enough to vote twice! And, more notably, it means that I’ve been a quote-unquote “adult” for fully half of my life; that the time since I left my parents’ house now equals the time that I lived there.

So it’s afforded a nice opportunity to reflect back on the time around my 18th year – an age perhaps less overtly mythologized in song than sixteen or seventeen, but probably even more transformative in real (contemporary) life – which in my case was also the era of Y2K.  I’d reckon that nobody felt the cultural and historical shift from the 20th to the 21st century, from the 1990s to the still-nameless-after-all-these-years 2000s, more acutely than those of us for whom it paralleled the end of high school and the start of what-comes-next; i.e. me and my fellow circa-1982 babies: the oldest, truest millennials.  Conveniently, just two days before my birthday, September Now Hear This boy-toy Troye Sivan joined up with plasticwave popgenius (and certified ‘90s bitchCharli XCX to drop a video memorializing and celebrating the pop culture of that period – specifically 1999, although the references span roughly 1997-2000 – when, as many have mentioned, its creators were still in single digits, if not diapers.  It represents exactly, and in exquisitely realized detail, the “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered (late) ‘90s” that I have been ambivalently anticipating for quite some time now.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via facebook.com/AgainstMe

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Become The Gatekeeper: Ramona Córdova reflects on a decade of pushing boundaries and arriving at the new ON PAPER

Ramona Cordova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist
Ramona Córdova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist

Ramona Córdova‘s video for “Decision” opens with Angela Davis’s sultry, portentous voice lamenting the state of racial relations in 1960’s America, particularly police violence and housing discrimination against black people. Her words and Ramona’s use of them are portentous. As the video lurches through footage of hippies protesting it bleeds into stark bleached out film images of key moments in black history. “Decision” is a song about using your intuition to make loving choices– to stay, to go, and to live with these choices long after you’ve left the corporeal world. The songs contemplative nature is underscored by a marching, casio-fueled back beat that seems to hold together the wistful pop-folk. Despite a stark intrusion from a racist Willie Lynch quote, the video ends hopefully, awash in color, the people having made their choice to abandon the parts of them that are uninterested in liberation.

This kind of witchy imbalance and playful questioning has informed Ramona Córdova for the past decade they’ve been creating music. A multi-instrumentalist whose cultural background is a wonderful mosaic (Haitian, Filipino, Puerto Rican), Ramona embraces a nostalgiac sense of liberation through the dreaminess of the new album On Paper. The record is a buzzy, brilliant fever infecting listeners with its Flaming Lips-but-really good song writing. Ramona peeks through the lazy clouds of the act’s past efforts for a taste of modernity, albeit replete with a lo-fi orchestral scratch. A true angel with a voice to match, you can find Ramona Córdova on the one couch at your local community center, drifting through the dream state and the real world, at once absorbing the sight and sounds of west Philly’s queer bent indie scene and projecting an aura so vibrant genre can not contain.

We talked to Ramona about On Paper, the sometimes rough terrain of the larger indie landscape, and about the power in witchy energy. Join us! Continue reading →

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New Music Show Preview w/ Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Allan Rayman & more!

Preservation Hall Jazz Band | Photo by Danny Clinch

On tonight’s New Music Show, we take a deep dive into the soundtrack to the film La La Land … or is it Moonlight? Better yet, neither.  Instead, we’ll unwrap the new album from Old 97’s, preview another song from the upcoming Spoon record, and debut a few new things like Low Cut Connie, Bleached, and Sam Outlaw.  Our New Music Show starts at 8pm on XPN, and here’s a sneak-listen to some other funky jams we’ve got lined up tonight …

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SWEEP! Parquet Courts, Woods & John Congleton on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Parquet Courts | Photo by Ben Rayner, courtesy of the artist
Parquet Courts | Photo by Ben Rayner, courtesy of the artist

The Indie Rock Hit Parade comes your way tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN! Make sure you’re listening, because this was another big week for new album and song releases. So big, in fact, that we’ll have another DOUBLE Album Spotlight on the show! Not only will we hear new tracks from Parquet Courts‘ much-anticipated Human Performance, but we’ll dive into City Sun Eater In The River Of Light, the newest album from Woods. But that’s just the start! There are new tracks from Car Seat Headrest, Whitney, Moonface and more, so check out a little preview below:

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