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Just Announced: Tank and the Bangas will be joined by Big Freedia on tour this fall, with a stop at the TLA in October

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Although we may still be recovering from the unforgettable “vortex of crazy” that was Tank and the Bangas‘ XPN Fest performance, it’s never too soon to welcome them back for another show. Now that we’ve had over a week to catch our breath post-festival, the news of Tank and the Bangas’ return to Philly feels perfectly timed, and their upcoming fall tour couldn’t have a better lineup. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Tank And The Bangas send the crowd into a vortex of chaos and joy

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

The New Orleans-based Tank and the Bangas can be described as a tribe of truly passionate artists with immense, generous talent and massive amounts of energy — it all showed on stage.

Everyone in the vicinity was not ready for the vortex of crazy we were about to enter. The band’s stage presence, especially frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball’s, was electrifying as they performed a beautiful, chaotic explosion of genres from hip-hop to funk to hard rock, with covers from Anderson .Paak’s funky bop “Come Down” to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Continue reading →

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Listen to #XPNFest artist Tank and the Bangas’ new single “Smoke.Netflix.Chill.”

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Gus Bennett Jr. | courtesy of the artist

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since Tank and the Bangas appeared on our radar as the winners of NPR Music’s 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. There’s a reason the New Orleans-based group stood out among the annual contest’s six thousand other entries and made their way into the winning slot. Their energy is infectious, and we’re about to hear a whole lot more of it. Continue reading →

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New Orleans outfit Tank and the Bangas chosen as 2017 Tiny Desk Contest winners

tank and the bangas
Tank and the Bangas | photo via Facebook

After sifting through 6000 entries, NPR Music has found its third annual Tiny Desk Contest winner in Tank and The Bangas. The New Orleans outfit wowed the panel of ten judges with an “organic” performance of their song “Quick,” filmed in a classroom with Tarriona “Tank” Ball sitting on the requisite desk, surrounded by her bandmates.

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XPNFest 2018 brings Josh Ritter, Margo Price, Bermuda Triangle, Phoebe Bridgers and more to Wiggins Park

clockwise from left: Josh Ritter | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN // Margo Price | photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN // Phoebe Bridgers | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Bermuda Triangle | photo by Harvey Hale courtesy of the artist

The Wiggins Park lineup of the 2018 XPoNential Music Festival was rolled out today, and it will bring veteran singer-songwriter Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band to the Camden Waterfront this July, along with country breakout Margo Price, the Nashville trio Bermuda Triangle (featuring Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Becca Mancari and Jesse Lafser) and returning festival favorites The Lone Bellow. Continue reading →

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Lucy Dacus, Lo Moon, Natalie Prass and more are on tap for SXSW public radio showcases

Lucy Dacus| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Heading down to Austin, TX for SXSW next week? Even if you weren’t planning on going, this news might make you want to pack your bags and plan an escape route out of snowy Philly (Austin’s only 1,600 miles away, after all).

There’s never a shortage of events to attend, bands to see, or tacos to eat at the annual mega-conference-slash-festival, but this year NPR Music, in collaboration with several member stations including XPN, has put together something truly special. Public radio showcases will be happening throughout the week at locations all over Austin, with some individual stations hosting their own shows, but the stations come together on Wednesday, March 14 for NPR Music’s Public Radio Showcase at the famous Stubb’s BBQ. Continue reading →

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ILL DOOTS, Hardwork Movement and more will play NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Philly 2017 concert

ILL DOOTS | via illdoots.com

After a lively third year of over 6000 entries and a knockout winning video from New Orleans outfit Tank & The Bangas, NPR Music is once again taking its Tiny Desk Contest on the road, and it swings through Philadelphia on May 2 at World Cafe Live.

The all-Philly lineup will feature two hip-hop bands near and dear to The Key’s hearts. ILL DOOTS, a South Philly collective that just recorded a Key Studio Session last month, will perform after delivering an impressive Tiny Desk submission featuring their stirring and socially conscious anthem “Black Matter.” Hardwork Movement, a band we’ve loved since hearing their first single “Shine” a year and a half ago, is also on the bill on the strength of their breathtaking new “Becca’s Jam,” making its debut in their Tiny Desk submission. Two more artists will be announced closer to the event; stay tuned for more on that. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest on Film: 35mm of scenes from our weekend on the Camden Waterfront

photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If you see me photographing a concert, you most likely will see me with one of WXPN’s digital cameras in hand. But depending on the gig, and depending on my mood, if you look closely you might spot something else; an old Pentax 35mm, or a Yashica twin-lens 120 camera. Or a Holga if I’m feeling particularly daring.

I went to school for photography when shooting on film was still the dominant thing — it was on its way out, for sure, but it was still being taught — and my initial outlook on how to shoot photos was shaped by the process of taking 24 or 36 frames and not knowing for anywhere from a few hours to a few days what any of them look like.

Lately, it’s been a fun way for me to document the music festivals I cover here at The Key — the sun-speckled Roots Picnic, or the earthy-toned Firefly Festival. Obviously I shoot digital in tandem, which allows me to gather as many images as I need and have as much control over all the parameters that go into those images; basically it guarantees me something serviceable (and immediate) for our web and social media coverage.

But there’s something to be said for surrendering much of that control to limitations and chance; taking photos as scenes unfold to you, to taking just one or two shots per scene (because you only have so much film), to refrain from getting caught up in fussy details and seeing what turns out. This year at the XPoNential Music Festival, I brought two cameras with me — a Ricoh SLR, an Argus rangefinder — and shot a roll of color film and a roll of black and white. Here’s what happened.
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XPN Fest Recap: Hiss Golden Messenger’s southern folk takes root on the Marina Stage

Hiss Golden Messenger | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Nursing a fresh sunburn and dodging the inflated beach ball being tossed around the crowd, I wove my way toward the Marina Stage. MC Taylor and the accompanying four-piece band of Hiss Golden Messenger dared the audience to match the energy of last night’s set in Newport, where the band was joined by singer Mavis Staples. “I could’ve died after that particular performance…It’s the third day of this festival, nothing matters anymore. This time tomorrow I’ll be in a hammock with my kids,” Taylor said.

What the blues-rock band lacked in dance moves (especially considering that they directly followed that wild Tank and the Bangas set), they made up for in power, giving a vivacious performance that left them toweling the sweat from their faces. Continue reading →

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NPR’s 2018 Tiny Desk Contest is here

via NPR.org

NPR Music has just announced the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest. Over the years, the contest has racked up thousands of submissions, and introduced the world to artists like Tank and the Bangas, Gaelynn Lea and Fantastic Negrito.

The contest is open to unsigned artists of any genre. Submissions will be open from February 20th to March 25th at 11:59 PM ET. You’ll need to create a video of you performing one original song at a desk, and upload that to YouTube along with your submission form. You can read all of the official rules here. Continue reading →