The Key Studio Sessions: AnnonXL

AnnonXL is a singer who can stop you in your tracks. From strong core melodies to vibrant melisma, teasing drops of pitch-shifting and a constant sense of passion and joy, he is a commanding force as a vocalist…not to mention as a charismatic frontperson and left-of-center songwriter.

The emerging Philadelphia artist caught our ear with his second project, last year’s Teen Angst album; this year he followed it up with a breezy EP called Summer Affair. While both releases have their roots in pop and R&B, they branch into unexpected directions — bubbling, dancefloor-ready electropop as easily as cloudy and cosmic balladry. Some moments vibe like house jams, others like Disney theme songs. In a way, AnnonXL makes music in the spirit of other unable-and-unwilling-to-be-easily-defined artists — Prince to Frank Ocean to James Blake — and with a new six-piece band joining him for this week’s Key Studio Session, the sound and style expands even further. Continue reading →


AnnonXL tag-teams with rapper Eli Capella on the expressive, impressive “Finer Things”


Philly crooner AnnonXL is bringing a breath of fresh air with his whimsical electronic R&B. His latest project JUMP is full of chill, rich, relatable R&B gems, but a definite standout track is “Finer Things” featuring Philly rapper Eli Capella. It’s a song about wanting a non performative relationship with lyrics like “You don’t have to buy me things. / You don’t even have to dress up.” Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Sidney Gish, JD McPherson, Kingsley Ibeneche, Lyle Lovett, and #XPNFest of course

Kingsley Ibeneche’s Realms ensemble | photo courtesy of the artist

Okay, friends, it’s the final week in July, and that means one thing here in the XPN universe: the XPoNential Music Festival. So while that is our number one concert suggestion for the week — and who can argue with this ridiculous lineup starring Hozier, Japanese Breakfast, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Amy Ray, Guster, Dawes, Lucy Dacus, Caroline Rose, Y La Bamba, local folks like Ali Awan, RFA, Foxtrot and the Get Down, and Zeek Burse — there is lots more live music to see this week. From the Glasgow post-punk duo Sacred Paws tonight to the jazz stylings of Lafayette Gilchrist and the retro rock swagger of JD McPherson, here are 13 concerts to see all around Philadelphia in the next seven days. Continue reading →


Five artists to see at O:O Our Black Arts Festival this weekend

Kingsley Ibeneche | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

O:O Our Black Arts Festival is this weekend, February 9th and 10th, at Circle of Hope in South Philadelphia. The two-day festival welcomes people of all ages, shapes, colors, genders, and orientations. There will be visual work, poetry, and performances from various artists, which you can read more about below.  Continue reading →