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XPN Fest Recap: David Byrne and Sylvan Esso energize bodies and stimulate minds at BB&T

David Byrne | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

About a half hour before XPNFest’s night one headlining sets began, things did not look promising. Wiggins Park had just been evacuated due to an approaching thunderstorm, ticketholders were jammed in the lobbies keeping dry from the downpour. Where was this night going to take us?

With David Byrne and Sylvan Esso as our guides, it transcended the soggy situation. Though markedly different in look, sound and style, both performances brought innovation and inspiration to the BB&T Pavilion stage; they brought big beats and danceable rhythms, they brought maximally minimal approaches to live music, they brought songs that move your body and make you think about the world around you, feeling the gravity of life in 2018 but dancing our way towards a positive future. And as the crowd felt that energy, the air around us seemed to change, calming down midway through Sylvan Esso’s set and clearing up completely for Byrne’s extravagant headliner. Continue reading →

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Hit the road with #XPNFest artists Sylvan Esso in their new “Signal” video

Sylvan Esso | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Electronic duo Sylvan Esso just released a video for the song “Signal” off What Now. The video is composed of clips from their tour of massive audiences dancing under glowing neon lights, shots of glittering cityscapes and vertigo-inducing rooftop views. It captures playful, candid moments and breaths of composure stolen backstage. Amelia Meath’s buoyant personality and charm is the core of her magnetic performances, and her chemistry with Nick Sanborn gives their shows a compelling energy. Continue reading →

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Watch Sylvan Esso perform new single “PARAD(w/m)E” live, see them at the XPoNential Music Festival

Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso | photo by Lindsey Kennedy and Meow Wolf | courtesy of the artist

Synthpop duo and all-around pop powerhouses Sylvan Esso released spirited single “PARAD(w/m)E” today, their first new release since 2017’s sophomore LP, What Now. Characterized by a groovable BPM (116, for those counting at home – or out on the dancefloor), crunchy low-end synth hits, and bubbly, percolating synthlines, the duo crafts a fun yet progressive pop track in terms of production. Amelia Meath’s vocals have the power to transport you to brighter warmer days, enticing the listener to “P A R A D with me.” Continue reading →

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Play It Right: Sylvan Esso at Union Transfer

Sylvan Esso | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

 

It’s hard to imagine many bands that are more just plain fun than Sylvan Esso. And last weekend during two very sold-out shows at Union Transfer, they both had fun performing and shared their magical sense of passion and humor with an adoring crowd of fans. I had been waiting to see the band again for almost two years, since first encountering them in Wisconsin at Justin Vernon’s inaugural Eaux Claires festival — and getting to see their explosive presence touring behind the just-released What Now did not, of course, disappoint. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs by Sylvan Esso, Juana Molina, Colin Stetson, White Reaper, Shugo Tokumaru, Alice Coltrane and more

sylvan esso
Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

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

Let’s see. Cruel April gave us DAMN., Coachella, the debacle-du-spectacle that was Fyre Festival (not actually much a music story, as it turned out)… oh, and Record Store Day. Which, I gotta say, is the one capitalism-based holiday I can fully get behind – not so much for the cavalcade of exclusive releases, which feels more extraneous and vaguely exploitative every year, but for the explicit excuse/occasion to go hang out in record stores, which I sadly rarely do otherwise. And also because quirky devised human-scaled social rituals like that are just great.

I missed RSD this year for the first time in a while, but I made up for it later in the week by swinging by the Numero Group “Factory Outlet Roadshow” tour stop in Kensington: a traveling pop-up shop from the peerless Chicago-based reissue label: where I stocked up on gorgeously-packaged reproductions/assemblages of 20th-century pop ephemera. (Including, to keep things semi-2017-related, the supafunky sample source of Jens Lekman’s megajam “How We Met (The Long Version)” which has also been in my head for about a week.) So far I’ve barely even scratched the surface of my Numero haul – I’ve been much too busy combing through new releases in order to winnow out the month’s absolute finest strains to share with you, dear reader – but I’m pretty amped to dig in deeper as soon as I hit publish! Continue reading →

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Too Much Pleasure: New Feist, Sylvan Esso, The Black Angels on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

Feist | still from the “Pleasure” video

This week and last have seen so many new album releases that I feel it’s proper to declare tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade as Revenge of the Night of Far Too Many New Albums! Listen for a full two-hour show starting at 11pm ET on WXPN (that’s right after Land of the Lost with Robert Drake, okay?) for loads of album spotlights and scattered new tracks. We’ll dig into long-awaited new releases from Feist and Sylvan Esso, plus new albums from The Black Angels and The New Year that shouldn’t fly under your radar. Also in the mix we’ll hear new tracks from Philly experimentalists Palm and Sonic Youth legend Thurston Moore‘s latest solo effort. Preview some of the new stuff below…

Continue reading →

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Sylvan Esso announce What Now, add Union Transfer date to tour

sylvan esso
Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Sylvan Esso began rolling out new material last September, sharing the perfectly poppy “Radio” and its b-side “Kick Jump Twist” but keeping details of their sophomore effort underwraps at the time. Today the duo revealed those details: What Now will be out on April 28th via Loma Vista Recordings, accompanied by a multi-month international tour that thankfully includes a headlining date at Union Transfer on May 20th.

Continue reading →

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Sylvan Esso find some release in their new video for “Kick Jump Twist”

Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist
Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Electronic indie rock duo Sylvan Esso are biding their time as they work on the follow-up full-length to their wonderful self-titled debut from 2014. But if the new songs they’re working on are this good, they can take as much time as they need.

The band today released a music video for “Kick Jump Twist,” the b-side to their “Radio” 12″ single, and it features the hypnotic dancing of Gary Reagan providing an extremely physical response to the 2016 election. Continue reading →

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Sylvan Esso returns with a new song called “Radio”

Sylvan Esso | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com
Sylvan Esso | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

Sylvan Esso returns with a new song called “Radio,” their first release since their self-titled 2014 debut album. The duo is planning to release their sophomore record sometime in 2017. The new single, “Radio,” will be released on vinyl on November 18th along with “Kick Jump Twist.” Listen below. Continue reading →