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A.M. Mills is both vintage and contemporary on the contemplative “Ain’t Life Grand”

A.M. Mills
A.M. Mills | photo by Joshua Cicetti | courtesy of the artist

Picture this — it’s a warm, sunny spring day and you’re walking through a garden filled with flowers, probably tulips. There’s a soft breeze blowing. A song plays. It’s A.M. Mills‘ new track, “Ain’t Life Grand,” and it makes you instantly agree with the songwriter and answer into the blue sky, “Yes, life is grand.”

Who knows if that’s what Mills was envisioning when he made the new song, but the scenario certainly fits. “Ain’t Life Grand” is four and a half minutes of soft, lilting musical goodness. Like all of Mills’ songs, it sounds entirely timeless — not like a 21st century artist copying a retro sound, but like it actually could have been made decades ago. At the same time, it’s not old fashioned — like the title suggests, the song is sunny and upbeat, focused on calm pleasantries and filled with delicate harmonies. It’s like the 1950s, minus the bad parts. Continue reading →

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A.M. Mills puts a fresh twist on a classic sound in the Window Box EP

A.M. Mills | photo via the artist’s Facebook page

Window Box, the latest EP from Philly’s own A.M. Mills, has been a long time in the making. The retro songwriter has kept a fairly low profile since his former project Blood Feathers disbanded a few years ago (If your memory stretches back far enough, you may recall seeing the band play both Free at Noon and XPoNential Festival in 2010). Mills released a few songs online over the last couple of years, “Wreckin’ My World” and “Window Box,” which now appear on the new EP, along with four new tracks.

The songs on Window Box were recorded in San Francisco in 2013 but the full collection wasn’t released until this past November, when Mills surprise-released the EP on a Tuesday. Now, the EP has received a ringing endorsement from Joey Sweeney (yes, that Joey Sweeney), who shared “Wreckin’ My World” on his long-running blog Philebrity. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Petal at Everybody Hits, The Districts at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s, and more

Petal | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
Petal | Photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN | ellencm.com

You may have caught Petal in stunning solo form recently at that fantastic show with Julien Baker and Half Waif, and now the Scranton-based project of Kiley Lotz returns to Philly for another solo performance — this time on a smaller-scale, at Everybody Hits, but the show is sure to be no less beautiful and even more intimate than it was on the big stage. Born Without Bones, Super American and Tombo Crush will also play the Home Outgrown Presents gig. Petal’s latest release is the Comfort EP, which includes a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.” Listen below and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: MH The Verb at Silk City, Diana at Boot and Saddle and A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s

MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist
MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia jazz-inspired hip-hop artist MH The Verb plays tonight at Silk City. The rapper recently released a video for his song “Last Dance” commemorating the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut in collaboration with his production collective ArtHouse95. Check out the video for “Last Dance” below and click here for more information and tickets. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties at The Foundry, The End of America at Boot & Saddle, A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s

aaron west
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties | photo via facebook.com/aaronwestandtheroaringtwenties

Dan Campbell brings his Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties project to The Foundry tonight. The Wonder Years’ frontman by day, Campbell started this conceptual folk-rock band as “a character study conducted through music” last year. His first release under the moniker was We Don’t Have Each Other, which will be performed in its entirety tonight. Tickets and information for the show can be found here; watch “Our Apartment” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: A.M. Mills at Ortliebs, Dawn Hiatt at Tin Angel, The Warhawks at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Philly singer-songwriter A.M. Mills celebrated Record Store Day at AKA Music and tonight he plays at Ortlieb’s. Last month, he released a stellar track titled “Wreckin’ My World” which has a ’70s California-rock ballad feel to it (think Tom Petty). It’s simple, melodic and feels good all around. Check it out below and get tickets here.

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The Week Ahead: Emmylou Harris, Kimya Dawson, Strange Parts, York Street Hustle and more

strange parts
Strange Parts | photo by Adam Haney | courtesy of the band

What’s that you say? It’s a holiday week, it’s a heat wave, everybody’s going down the shore or hiding out in A.C.? Guess what, friends: the music doesn’t stop for any of that, and this week we bring you 14 shows to see in the next seven days — from the all-local Chill Moody stage at Wawa Welcome America to a heavy dose of punk to close your weekend at West Philly’s Lava Space.  Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Guided By Voices, Julien Baker, Bilal, Los Lobos and more

Guided by Voices | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

Get things started tonight with prolific indie rockers Guided By Voices; keep it running throughout the week with soul master Bilal, or heartrending songwriter Julien Baker; get lost in the tones of etheral soundscaper Madam Data, then wrap up with The Mountain Goats in Ardmore. Here are 16 shows you can see in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Katie Ellen at PhilaMOCA, Chill Moody at Boot and Saddle (benefit for Beyond the Bars), The Cactus Blossoms at Johnny Brenda’s

Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

The official release of Katie Ellen‘s debut LP Cowgirl Blues is tomorrow, but you can hear it live a night early at the band’s record release show tonight at PhilaMOCA. The new project of Anika Pyle, former frontwoman of punk outfit Chumped, Katie Ellen is her platform for anthemic, cathartic, feminist “sparkle pop twang punk fuzz core” jams. Listen to leading single “Sad Girls Club” below and check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information. Continue reading →