There was a lot of pent-up energy in the air last night as the XPNFest crowd settled in for the headlining BB&T Pavilion show. Was it going to rain or no? Would all the shifting around of sets and times throw a wrench in the festival works? Was that ominous flock of Canada geese going to go at it with the crowd on the lawn?
The answers: no, no and no. The show was kicked off by an explosive 30 minute set from Hop Along, sauntered through a powerful mix of Bright Eyes and solo tunes from Conor Oberst and was capped by a 95-minute jammer by Wilco — shorter than their usual fare, but nevertheless satisfying. Continue reading →
Before bringing the show to XPoNential Music Fest on Friday, Conor Oberst kicked off a weeklong tour with Philly’s Hop Along last Thursday in Brooklyn,playing the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival. The outdoor show took place at the Prospect Park Bandshell on a hot July night. Continue reading →
The 2017 edition of WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival takes place July 28th through July 30th at Wiggins Park and BB&T Pavillion in Camden, and we are thrilled to bring you the first wave of artist announcements today.
Kicking off the weekend at BB&T on Friday, July 28th will be a set from Wilco, who previously played XPoNential in 2013 and 2012. In the time since, they’ve released two albums — 2015’s left-of-center rock set Star Wars and 2016’s contemplative collection Schmilco — and performed a dazzling set in Philly last summer.
This spring, two notable things occurred in the Philly music circles of Instagram. First, Cat Park – the singer-guitarist of power trio Amanda X – began more actively posting her visual art in the mix along with her slice-of-band-life photos. A couple weeks after that, Frances Quinlan of Hop Along started an Instagram for her sketches from the tour van.
Given that both women have a background in visual art before turning to music, it was exciting to get a look at this lesser-seen side of their creative work — a return to their roots as it were. It also provided an interesting contrast of their styles, Quinlan’s sketches leaning more classic and naturalistic with a touch of impressionism, Park’s work carrying a strong modern flare. Tomorrow night, we’ll get to see their work side by side during an art opening at Fishtown’s Rocket Cat Cafe. Continue reading →
Philly’s Dominic Angelella has been in more bands than anybody else I know. Going back a decade to his time in Dice Raw’s Nouveau Riche, his versatile chops have carried through Zoe Kravitz’ first band Elevator Fight, his own long running DRGN King project and Lithuania, his punk duo with Eric Slick of Dr. Dog. Not to mention his stint playing guitar in Philly favorites Hop Along.
This winter, Angelella is releasing music under his own name for the first time, first name only; Dominic‘s Goodnight Doggies drops on Lame-O Records on February 3rd. You can pre-order a vinyl copy here, and get a digital pre-order here. It was recorded with Brendan Mulvihill of Norwegian Arms, who plays in his current live band along with Andy Molholt of Laser Background.
The record has an eclectic and super lively vibe, very much reminiscent of another prolifc and fun artist, Harry Nillson. The first single, “Birthday Song,” is out today, and we’re excited to bring you a first listen to it below. Continue reading →
Philly indie rock faves Hop Along re-issued their much sought-after debut Freshman Year on vinyllast year, for its tenth anniversary, and this week the band announced a digital version with a mission. This week, the band told fans that 100% of the album’s online sales through Saturday will go to the American Civil Liberties Union. The album is available for $8 at Bandcamp, though you can certainly pay more if you wish. Give it a listen below. Continue reading →
Orchestral Icelandic outfit Sigur Ros are at the Academy of Music tonight. Led by Jónsi, the post-rockers will perform two sets, pulling from their expansive catalog that includes standout records ( ) and Takk…. along with 2013’s Kveikur. Tickets and information for the all-ages concert can be found here. Watch “Óveður” below, released this summer.
There are definitely times when I love being wrong about things. Like the first time I went to Johnny Brenda’s: in fall of 2006, right after I first began as a volunteer with WXPN. It was a Silversun Pickups show, if you can believe that – Viva Voce opened. The Fishtown pub had recently re-invented itself as a 200-cap venue and, waiting for the show to start, I went to the bar to order a beer.
This was coming off of a half dozen years of living and breathing The Khyber, mind you, so I asked for a Yeungling. “We don’t have Yeungling,” the bartender sniffed. “Um, okay, PBR?” The bartender silently pointed to a chalkboard listing the all-local craft beer menu, which I simply could not wrap my brain around. No PBR? No Yeungling? I grabbed the cheapest thing (something called Kenzinger) and went back to my friends. “Dude, no Yeungling,” I said. “This place is gonna FAIL.”
Oh, young John, you had so much to learn.
Not only did JBs not fail – and thank the gods for that – it’s thrived for the past decade at the corner of Frankford and Girard, weathering rough years in the national music industry and seismic ripples in the local concertgoing landscape. It withstood the opening of the much-heralded and exactly-the-same-size’d Boot and Saddle; both clubs do their respective things in tandem with reliably strong calendars. It’s been dogged by the change in Fishtown and persists in the face of broverflow – though, seriously, if you’re grabbing food after 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, prepare yourself a very different world than it was at the start.
Most importantly, Johnny Brenda’s has been a welcoming home for the Philadelphia music community – the “made it” stage that upstart bands of all stripes aspire to, from Meg Baird to The Bul Bey to Abi Reimold and more. It’s the scene of secret celebrations for big hometown names like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile; it’s held memorable New Years’ Eve throwdowns with A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Hop Along. And appropriately, to mark its 10 years on the Philly scene, it’s celebrating with two nights of all local music. Continue reading →
After blowing our minds at the Make The World Better Foundation benefit gig this spring, Hop Along returns to the stage in their hometown this fall for the Philly edition of the Project Pabst concert series.
The show takes place at the Electric Factory on October 8th, and will also feature aughties freak-psychedelic dudes Animal Collective and indie crooner Mac DeMarco. Continue reading →
They may hail from across the pond, but we here at The Key are no strangers to CHVRCHES. They took over the Electric Factory last October just after releasing their sophomore album Every Open Eye, played XPN’s SXSW showcase in March, and we were even lucky enough to catch the at Firefly over the weekend.
On Monday, the latest episode of the How To Be Amazing podcast was released, and it features CHVRCHES’ own Lauren Mayberry. She sits down with host Michael Ian Black for an engaging and enjoyable hour long chat, discussing her recent move from Glasgow to Brooklyn; speaking out against misoginy and the role of women in music; the fact that she pronounces schedule as “shed-jule” but claimed to not have an accent; how a TED Talk changed her life, and much more. At the end, when Black asks for music she’s been listening to lately, Mayberry shouts out Philly’s own Hop Along (!!!). You can (and should) listen to the podcast below. Continue reading →