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Philly punk five-piece S-21 is playing its final show tomorrow; listen to a new song “Thirst for Violence”

S-21 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly five-piece S-21 has been making politically-charged punk rock since September of 2015, and coming up on their two year-anniversary, they’re sadly bringing their run to a close. Their show at the First Unitarian Church basement tomorrow night is their farewell, but they’re not exiting without one last addition to their discography.

The band caught my ear this winter when I came across their Year Zero EP, released on Slugsalt Records, in an installment of Items Tagged Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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Celebrate 10 years of Two Piece Fest with The Afterglows, HIRS and more

two piece fest
The Afterglows | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

How do you squeeze over twenty bands on a bill for a festival in the basement of the First Unitarian Church and have the show run smoothly? Two stages, ten years of experience, and just enough time between acts for the packed crowd to shuffle from one end of the room to the other. The folks behind Two Piece Fest have been doing this for a decade now, so when the annual event hits the Church on February 25th we can expect the usual jam-packed day of celebrating duos of all sounds and styles.

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Slingshot Dakota, Trophy Wife, +HIRS+ playing Two-Piece Fest 8 at PiLam

Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly

In its unique dedication to musicians who come in duos, Two-Piece Fest has announced the lineup for its eighth annual show. The daylong DIY-scene show was created by Philly natives Peter Helmis of Algernon Cadwallader and Craig Woods of Towers. They established TPF back in 2007 for their own two-person collaboration, Peter & Craig. This year’s show will take place on February 14th at Pilam in West Philly. Continue reading →

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Chill Moody introduces new Phirst Tuesdays at Bourbon & Branch to support Philly local talent

Chill Moody | Photo courtesy of the artist
Chill Moody | Photo courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia music advocate and hip hop artist Chill Moody announced today that he will be heading a new music initiative in Philadelphia called Phirst Tuesdays. Phirst Tuesdays will be an open mic/jam session that will take place every first Tuesday of the month at Bourbon & Branch. The night of sign-up performances will feature Chill Moody’s own band including Man-Man, Wheatbread and JRoc to play as the performers’ live backing band throughout the night. Phirst Tuesdays will also include various hosts, with December’s to be hosted by R&B artist Beano who has recently returned from a tour in Africa singing back-up vocals for Jahiem. Continue reading →

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My Morning Download: “Thirst” by City and Colour (playing Electric Factory tomorrow night Wed. 9/18)

Photo by Dustin Rabin
Photo by Dustin Rabin
City and Colour (acclaimed singer-songwriter Dallas Green) will be in town tomorrow evening – Wednesday, September 18th – performing at the Electric Factory with Lucy Rose opening. City and Colour recently released The Hurry and The Harm. It’s the first City and Colour album recorded outside of Canada. Green recorded the album in Nashville, Tennessee’s Blackbird Studios with an excellent group of musicians including Jack Lawrence on bass (The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather), Bo Koster of My Morning Jacket on keybaords, Spencer Cullum (Caitlin Rose) on pedal steel and two heavyweight drummers – Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, Fiona Apple) and James Gadson (Bill Withers, BB King). Below, download “Thirst.”

Go here for tickets and more information about the show.

Purchase The Hurry and The Harm here.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Get Better Fest 5’s initial lineup includes Solarized, Control Top, Big Nothing; benefits Morris Home and Black & Pink

Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records
Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records

Each spring for the past four years, Get Better Records has thrown an event that always leaves us looking forward to the next. The local independent label just announced Getter Better Fest 5, happening over three days in May at two locations — this year it’s the First Unitarian Church and LAVA Space. Not all of the bands have been announced yet, but with initial lineup we have so far, it’s already shaping up to be a stacked weekend of tunes. And Get Better Fest is as much about the community as it is the music — the festival always seeks to promote a diverse and inclusive lineup, all while raising money for local and national organizations. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Radiator Hospital at First Unitarian Church (Get Better Fest 4), Bob Mould at Underground Arts, Whaler at Bourbon and Branch and more

Radiator Hospital
Radiator Hospital | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Radiator Hospital highlights a stacked bill at The Church for the second night of Get Better Fest 4 including HIRS, Soul Glo, Pinkwash and more. Radiator Hospital’s tunes are pure energy, throwing power pop into the gritty DIY tones of modern Philly, all in the name of raising awareness of The Trans Assistance Project, Youth Emergency Services, and Women Against Abuse. The show is all ages, and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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How Get Better Fest is delivering on the promise of hardcore and punk

Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records
Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of the artist

Alex Licktenhour wears their identity on their sleeve. Literally. The 27-year-old head of Get Better Records and the driving force behind the festival of the same name recently got the label’s logo, a sunflower bursting out of an upside down pink triangle, tattooed on the back of their arm. That logo, Lickenhour said, is a representation of, “Queerness [and] being non-binary.” Considering the history of the pink triangle being used to mark LGBTQ+ people in Nazi Germany, it also makes an obvious political statement.

This mixture of the personal and the political is reflected in their approach to running the label – going since 2010 – and booking the festival, which is happening for the fourth time at the end of this month. “I feel like through the label [and festival] I broadcast my politics,” Licktenhour explained. “Who is on the label, what I’m talking about. My politics are very open in terms of what I support and what I don’t support.”

Right now that includes a slew of releases from queer grindcore collective +HIRS+ (for whom Licktenhour is an occasional live drummer), rock n’ rollers Thin Lips, the post-G.L.O.S.S. band Tankini, and the final album from folk punk stalwarts Ramshackle Glory. Just as exciting is the recent announcement that the label would be putting out an album by Dark Thoughts, as well as the cassette release of Cayetana’s forthcoming New Kind of Normal.

What’s the unifying thread running through all these bands, outside of the fact that most are from Philadelphia? The label’s no-nonsense slogan addresses that: “DIY label. For the queers. No sexist, no racist, no transphobic, no homophobic, no apologist bullshit tolerated.”

The festival is a natural extension of that, especially since it serves as a fundraiser for progressive and radical non-profits. This year Get Better Fest – April 28th through the 30th – will be benefitting the Trans Assistance Project, Youth Emergency Services, and Women Against Abuse. Shows will be held at Glitter Galaxy, the First Unitarian Church and PhilaMOCA.

 

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