Maggie Rogers looked like a star Thursday night, headlining a sold out show at Union Transfer. And I mean literally. Decked out in a stellar jumpsuit/cape combo, covered in stars, eyes, hands, and flowers, she rocked the stage with her songs backed by a full band. Rogers kicked off her North America tour in Philly, playing through the entirety of her repertoire since her debut EP Now That The Light Is Fading was released last year on Capitol Records, as well as a few new songs from her upcoming full-length album. Continue reading →
The latest compilation of live performances from NPR’s World Cafe is available this spring to XPN members — and it’s a fantastic collection.
Ranging from rock and folk vets Bob Weir, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, and Suzanne Vega to new voices Maggie Rogers, Sweet Spirit, and Phoebe Bridgers, Philly rooted artists The Districts, The War on Drugs, and Waxahatchee, Live at the World Cafe Vol. 43 is an expansive release. Continue reading →
Day one of the Firefly Music Festival was marked by near perfect weather – sunny skies and comfortable breezes – and some excellent sets of music. Maggie Rogers was by far the standout set of the day. She’s originally from Eastern Shore, Maryland, so this was sort of a hometown set for her. Both OAR and Salt Cathedral played pop-up sets in the Firefly Coffee House after their main stage sets; OAR had the place packed. And there were several cool covers; Maggie Rogers did “Wannabe” by Spice Girls, and Eden did “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson and “Hey Ya” by OutKast. Continue reading →
Alternative pop princess Maggie Rogers made a stop by World Cafe Live for an energized Free at Noon, taking time out of her sold-out tour of the great United States to pay one of her favorite stations a visit. Just like her sparkling blue kicks, her brand of singer-songwriting adds that ounce of shiny flair with a fantastic blend of folk harmonies paired with booming electronic instrumentation.
Maggie Rogers – remember her name. The singer-songwriter recently went from a being a nearly unknown folk musician to an overnight sensation. On June 1st, a video of Maggie sitting in a class she was taking at NYU with musician and producer Pharrell was posted on the internet. During the playback of the song, “Alaska,” he was brought to tears by her song, and the video went massively viral. Continue reading →
Dover, Delaware’s annual Firefly Music Festival kicks off this Thursday, and will jam-pack some 130-plus artists into four days. For a few of those artists, like headliners Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, it’s safe to say that most of the tens of thousands in attendance will be watching. For several of the artists — electropop duo Marian Hill, alternative vets Jimmy Eat World, Alaskan modern rockers Portugal. The Man, 90s R&B hitmaker Warren G — the crowds will be be reliably huge.
But for many of the acts on the bill, the audience might be less automatically robust. It might take a little bit of discovering to see them, and these are often times the most thrilling sets to catch. In the past, this has meant Bishop Briggs playing the intimate confines of the treehouse stage, or Laura Stevenson rocking the Toyota Music Den; it’s been the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning the hits on a sunny midday, or singer-songwriter Hamilton Leithauser at the Coffeehouse Stage; it’s been rapper Pell rocking a Porch Stage set in the twilight, or Maggie Rogers starting the day off at the Lawn Stage at 1 p.m.
In short, it’s established names in much smaller settings than we expect, or unfamiliar names that we go on to remember. This year, we present you an assortment of artists to discover at all tiers of Firefly 2018 — from newcomers like Cali punks The Regrettes and Philly rapper Tierra Whack each playing two sets on Friday, all the way to acclaimed jazz visionary Kamasi Washington taking to the festival main stage on Sunday. Listen up, pack your sunscreen, stay hydrated, and get ready to explore. – John Vettese
Underneath neon lights and in front of a sunset on a Philadelphia skyline, local band Harmony Woods performed for the first of Spruce Street Harbor Park’s 2018 Waterfront Sessions. The air smelled of beer, local food trucks, and the miscellaneous scents of the Delaware River, and as Sofia Verbilla, front-woman for the four-piece band, noted: “I’ve seen so many dogs and babies in the last hour! This is why I do what I do!” An incredibly peaceful and joyous night of amazing music, it was a perfect way to start off the summer-long series, featuring all local Philly bands and free admission.
The Key’s own John Vettese warmed up the crowd for a couple hours with an amazing DJ set featuring tracks from Kississippi, Maggie Rogers, Caroline Rose, Lauryn Hill, Sylvan Esso, Japanese Breakfast, and an infuriatingly smooth transition from Hop Along to Daft Punk. He concluded with the almost-too-on-the-nose track “The Walk” by Oso Oso for Harmony Woods to walk onto.
Harmony Woods began with the opener of their 2017 album Nothing Special, “Vignette # 1” leading into “The Best Things”. Their sound was surprisingly clear for an outdoor venue, the rough rhythm guitar of Sofia Verbilla punctuated by the sharper lead guitar provided by Chance Halter, smooth bass from Hank Byerly, and dynamic drums by David Juro. Sofia’s vocals were stellar as well, standing out among the instrumentation, particularly on their hit single “Renovations,” which rises from hold-your-breath serene to breathtakingly anthemic within three minutes. Their set also featured standout tracks “Jenkintown-Wyncote” and “Negro y Azul” with sparkling guitar riffs perfect to match the outdoor lighting and transportive descriptions of romance. Continue reading →
Through her transition from folk to self-made genre “schizodrift” (a self-styled blend of surf rock, country and folk), Caroline Rose has created a name for herself in recent years, attracting the attention of The New York Times Magazine, NPR, Pitchfork as well as us here at WXPN, who named Rose “Artist To Watch” for May. The NYC-based songwriter’s latest record LONER’s success is attributed to taking a more pop approach, but at the same time still staying true to her aesthetic self. Continue reading →
Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, WXPN’s listener-voted best songs of 2017.
We played songs, you listened. You voted, we listened. Today, after tallying up the numbers and playing back the jams, we are delighted to bring you Your top 50 XPN songs of 2017.
You’ll notice a lot of recurring themes, whether it be the mission statement of Strand of Oaks — “play it, play it loud on the radio” — or multiple cuts from epic space rockers Lo Moon, who made a galvanizing introduction this year; art popster St. Vincent, who won over the masses with the daring MASSEDUCTION; disco infultrators LCD Soundsystem, who returned from retirement in top form; or Philly’s The War on Drugs, whose major label debut is their strongest and most confident artistic statement to date.
A Deeper Understanding was a massive winner in our listening community, and you voted four of the album’s ten songs in to the overall top 50 list. Revisit the ranking below, or scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to the entire package in one handy dandy Spotify playlist. And whatever you wind up doing tonight, have a safe and happy New Year. We can’t wait to discover more music with you in 2018. Continue reading →
Important thing to remember this festival season: a fifty percent chance of rain is also a fifty percent chance of no rain. It could be a fifty percent chance of scorching sun and dry heat. Reality might not line up with your anticipations, and the best approach is to be prepared for anything and expect the unexpected.
This is something that came up at several intervals last weekend at Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival; I went in expecting to get soaked and instead I got sunburnt, I’d read media murmurs about diminished attendance but found it positively jumpin on Saturday; I thought (from experience at XPNFest a few years back) that Bob Dylan was going to to be insufferable and sad, and he was actually mostly very good — the best thing we can hope for with a Dylan set in 2017, honestly — closing his nearly 90-minute performance with a ripping “Ballad of a Thin Man.” Continue reading →