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The National warm hearts and inspire action on a chilly fall evening at the Mann Center

The National | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Indie rock foretellers The National returned to Philadelphia on Thursday night, where they ushered in the beginning of fall with their Sleep Well Beast tour at the Mann Center. With opening sets by Phoebe Bridgers and Cat Power, and a forecast that called for a rain that never really came, the night was a reflective experience brought on by the political undertones of the day and a warming sense of community. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Brooklynites The National Reserve channel the spirit of southern rock and roll

The National Reserve | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

The National Reserve don’t sound like they’re from Brooklyn. The five-piece rock outfit took to the River stage donned in grass-stained denim and faded plaid. The hazy Philadelphia skyline rose up behind them, a breeze off the water providing relief from the pressing summer heat and their southern tinged, roots rock.

They opened with the upbeat, stomp-dancing “Don’t Be Unkind,” conjuring images of tipped cowboy hats and Texan ranches. The songs off their latest album, Motel La Grange, were heavily piano-driven, with blusey, electric keyboard solos that grew increasingly chaotic. They slowed it down for the ballad “Roll On Babe,” bearded vocalist Sean Walsh wielding a gorgeous fire-engine-red hollow body guitar. Continue reading →

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Listen to The National Reserve’s Sean Walsh play acoustic on the WXPN Folk Show

The National Reserve | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

This Friday, WXPN’s July artist to watch The National Reserve will play Wiggins Park for the first day of the XPoNential Music Festival. The country-tinged New York City band has been making the rounds in public radio circles, appearing at NonCOMM the past two years, and performing on the World Cafe-curated camp stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival last summer. In advance of the latter gig, singer-guitarist Sean Walsh performed a solo acoustic set on the WXPN Folk Show with Ian Zolitor on August 13th of 2017.

During the segment, Walsh and Zolitor discuss the intersection of roots / Americana and rock and roll, as well as travelling and performing at Folk Fest. Walsh also explains how a midwestern motel stay inspired the title track from their 2018 LP Motel La Grange, tells how “I’ll Go Blind” is a middle distance letter to his girlfriend in Reading, and shares his admiration for the lyricism of Dillard and Clarke (whose “Through the Morning, Through the Night” he performed a cover of.
Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The National Reserve brings the heat to World Cafe Live

The National Reserve | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

On Friday afternoon, Brooklyn rockers The National Reserve brought a high energy set to World Cafe Live, filled with solos on the drums, keys, and guitars. The band opened on some older cuts, dropped a cover of Ronnie Lane’s “Roll on Babe,” slowed it down with “Don’t be Unkind” from their new full-length project Motel La Grange, which was released Friday. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest announces more artists, incl. Natalie Prass and The National Reserve

Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen // Fantastic Negrito // The National Reserve | photo by Michael Cooper // Forth Wanderers | photo by Julia Leiby // all photos courtesy of the artists

77 more days, 11 weeks left, a little over two months to go – however you want to say it, you better believe XPNFest is coming up quickly! Kicking off on Friday, July 27 across the river in Wiggins Park, NJ, the annual festival is returning for its 25th rendition. Today, we’re pleased to announce four more artists set to appear at the fest.

Joining the Wiggins Park crowd on Friday is Brooklyn’s The National Reserve, who just wrapped up a Free at Noon set earlier this afternoon. The Brooklynites show off their bluesy brand of Americana rock on their latest album, Motel La Grange, which just so happens to be out today. Give the album a spin if you missed the band’s set, or relisten to some of the tracks the band played earlier on air. Continue reading →

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Meek Mill speaks out on criminal justice reform at the National Constitution Center

Meek Mill
Meek Mill | still from video

It’s only been a matter of days since he was released from prison, but Philly rapper Meek Mill is already turning his hard-fought legal battle into a movement for criminal justice reform. Meek Mill was serving time in a Chester state correctional facility before his two- to four-year sentence for a probation violation was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on April 24. Meek was sentenced by Judge Genece Brinkley, the same judge who convicted him on questionable charges 10 years ago and also allegedly asked the rapper ad his then-girlfriend to record a personalized Boyz II Men cover for her to avoid further legal trouble.

Meek Mill’s imprisonment was widely protested in Philadelphia since his sentencing last November, with rallies outside City Hall, signs emblazoned with #FreeMeekMill and #Justice4Meek, and “Stand With Meek Mill” buses and billboards around town. A few weeks ago, Meek released a video for “1942 Flows,” which contains footage from local protests.

On Thursday, Meek Mill appeared at the National Constitution Center with state lawmakers and Governor Tom Wolf to push for criminal justice reform. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch The National perform a new song, read George Clinton’s thoughts on retiring from Parliament/Funkadelic

The National | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

It does not appear that The National are preparing to release a new album anytime soon —  they did just put out their four-years-in-the-making Sleep Well Beast in September, after all — but they performed a new song at their Homecoming Festival in Cincinnati over the weekend.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The National is coming back to Philly and bringing Cat Power and Phoebe Bridgers along

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Prepare yourselves, because there’s an incredibly good show coming our way this fall. So good that it may take a moment or two to process that it is actually happening. It hasn’t been too, too long since we’ve seen The National in town (those who were lucky enough to score tickets, that is) — the band played to a very sold-out Kimmel Center in December, and performed their new album Sleep Well Beast to an even more sold-out Union Transfer last September for NPR Music’s First Listen Live.

This September, The National is coming back to Philly — not to either of the previously mentioned venues, but to the Mann Center. And if that’s not reason enough to get excited, the opening acts will be Cat Power and Phoebe Bridgers. What?! How does a lineup like this even come together? Maybe it’s best not to ask questions, but just mark our calendars and thank whatever cosmic forces made this happen. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch The National’s new video for “Sleep Well Beast,” hear new music from The Shins’ “flipped” album The Worm’s Heart

The National | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

“It’s a mind-bending technicolor trip that follows the band through a series of different locations with a succession of dark red and moody blue hues” -NME on The National’s new video

The National have just put out a new video for their new tune Sleep Well Beast, the sixth single from their latest album of the same name. Watch it below. Continue reading →