Indie folk singer Ryley Walker is back in Philly to play the Museum of Art; its his first local appearance since 2016, when he played Philly following the release of his Golden Sings That Have Been Sung. Walker’s appeal lies in his ever-changing sound, something he’s lucky is so flexible. Last month, he released a music video for “Lonesome Traveller” with Bill MacKay, who he frequently duets with. You can find them both on their midwest Lonesome Traveller tour this winter, but not before you stop by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to catch a Walker solo show. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
It’s prime time. As summer winds to a close, we’ve arrived emphatically at the part of the year where seemingly every week brings a fresh trove of high-profile new releases. The last few weeks have seen records from what feels like a who’s-who of top-tier “prestige” indie rock acts: The National, Grizzly Bear, Iron and Wine, LCD Soundsystem and, of course, Philly’s entry in the conversation, The War on Drugs. And there’s more right around the corner from Beck, St. Vincent, Destroyer, Wolf Parade and, of course, Philly’s entry in the next phase of the conversation, Kurt Vile (in collaboration with Courtney Barnett.) As always, it’ll be interesting to see which of these albums manage to live up to the anticipation, and how many wind up largely forgotten in a few months time.
But it’s a great time of year for all sorts of music; not just the big names and known entities. There’s so much stuff coming out it’s hard to even keep track of it all, and the influx of well-established acts means higher-than-usual potential for worthy smaller records to slip through the cracks. But I’ll do my best to help – read on for a smattering of relatively under-the-radar releases from the past month or so. No deliberate themes or through-lines this time, but there are a few trends that stick out. Notably, we are now sufficiently far enough removed from last November’s election – and the many varieties of devastating fallout that ensued – that an increasing number of new releases are referencing or responding to the national (and global) political situation at least on some level – and there are several examples below. Also, for no particular reason except that it just happened that way, all of these songs were made by women – well, with one or two exceptions right at the end, but at least those are sung in falsetto. Enjoy! Continue reading →
Monday nights mean new music discovery on WXPN, and tonight we get back in the studio to share some great recent finds. The show starts at 8pm and on the menu we’ve got new albums from Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie, plus Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Gov’t Mule. Also, the band Deer Tick are set to release TWO new albums, we’ll hear a new song from each of them. The Philly music scene keeps cooking, we’ll play you new Waxahatchee, The Districts, and Son Little. Plus, check out a few more new tunes we’ll spin this evening.
Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade is packed to the gills with brand new tracks from beloved bands and up-and-comers alike! Tune in to XPN at 11pm ET for a full two-hour show that’ll also serve as the chaser for this month’s What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese. In the hopper, we’ve got a live session that John and I recorded together with the now-Philly based experimental pop band Palm. The quartet has a new EP, Shadow Expert, coming this month, and we’ll hear them perform tracks from it live in the studio. Also, since it was just released this week, we’ll spotlight the new full-length from Big Thief, Capacity. Be on the lookout for new singles from Superchunk, Alvvays and Ariel Pink, too!
Check out some of the new things below:
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Whenever I walk into a venue, I look around and try to guess the median age of the crowd. Sometimes it’s for kicks, but sometimes it’s very telling about what the nature of the concert will be. I’ve walked into enough shows with the crowd brimming with high-school age teenagers to know that, should the crowd be of this age, the show will involve the bulk of the audience bobbing their heads and pretending to know the words. Alvvays at Union Transfer was very much an exception. Continue reading →
Memorial Day Weekend is best known as the unofficial start of the summer season. As it has come and went, the holiday weekend has also marked the start of the concert season as well. With that start, we have highlighted some awesome bands that are worth seeing throughout the month of June. Here are six of the best shows happening in Philly in June, beginning tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. Continue reading →
Toronto indie rockers Alvvays step things up with an announcement of their biggest Philly show to date, a headlining slot at Union Transfer on June 12th. Continuing to tour in support of their debut self-titled effort from last year, the band has been gaining fast momentum close to home and abroad.
Alvvays recorded a special live session for this week’s Indie Rock Hit Parade. The Toronto outfit was in town a couple of weeks ago to support its self-titled debut and performed two cuts from the LP along with an unreleased new one called “New Haircut.” Stream and download the session below.