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Sweet Talk with Beth Ditto

Beth Ditto
Beth Ditto | photo courtesy of the artist

Beth Ditto is the kind of artist where one’s fandom can and often does feel like friendship.

From her tenure as the formidable frontwoman of iconic queer punk band The Gossip all of the way through her recent debut solo album, Fake Sugar, listening to her songs possess a fun but familiar feeling to them, like you’re having a conversation with a friend you either just met or haven’t seen in forever. That intimacy becomes even more immediate when you see her do her thing live, which she’ll be doing at Union Transfer this Sunday.

It felt more instant still when I had the pleasure of chatting with her on the phone last month. It was freewheeling discussion that covered a lot of topics both mundane—we commiserated over our dirty laundry piles and the state of my shoe collection—and more relevant to her music, her philosophies about life and work, and what she gets from both. The highlights from the latter can be found below. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Deer Tick, Gospel Roots, Skull Eclipses, Beth Ditto and more

Beth Ditto | photo by Mary McCartney | courtesy of the artist

In like a lion, right? But the Philly concert calendar is like that all the time anyway — though, with another nor’easter poised to hit our region tomorrow, a handful shows in our weekly roundup are question marks. So here are 17 and maybe even 20 concerts you can see locally in the next seven days, from the kickoff of XPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock and Roll series to a set from legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb at South, and beginning tonight with the farewell show from Philly indie rockers Callowhill. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Beth Ditto will headline Union Transfer in March

Beth Ditto | photo by Mary McCartney | courtesy of the artist

The final record from Portland-via-Arkansas dance punk trio The Gossip landed in 2012 and the band officially parted ways in 2016, but frontwoman Beth Ditto keeps plenty busy. Between acting (a part in a new Gus Van Sant’s new Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot), fashion (a plus-size clothing line designed with Jean Paul Gaultier), collaborating with her heroes (she contributed to Blondie’s 2013 album), and writing (a memoir Coal to Diamonds), Ditto has a full agenda of pursuits outside the music-specific zone.

But oh, that music. And specifically that solo album, Fake Sugar, Ditto’s first outing under her own name, released in June on Virgin Records. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beth Orton at The Trocadero, Cousin Brian and Vintage Kicks at PhilaMOCA, Bell X1 at World Cafe Live, David Gray at American Music Theatre, Gossip at The TLA

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton will take the stage at The Trocadero tonight.  The English musician’s forthcoming record Sugaring Season is her first in six years and represents a time of self-reflection and transitions in both her personal life and her music career.  Supporting Beth Orton is Vermont-bred folk singer Sam Amidon.  Tickets for this seated all-ages  show are $29.50, available here.   Doors are at 7:00 p.m. and music begins at 8:00.  Below, watch the video for Beth Orton’s single “Magpie”.

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Just Announced: Neko Case will play the Keswick in January

Neko Case | photo via Facebook

Neko Case released her eighth studio album Hell-On over the summer. A fiery and rage-filled effort, it was crafted with the help of several talented collaborators, including backing vocals from the likes of Beth Ditto and Robert Forster, and guitar work from Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices, among others. Through fusing the styles of so many musicians, Case was able to create an edgy and unique work, which received an overwhelmingly positive response from critics. Continue reading →

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Florence and the Machine release dramatic new song, “Big God”

Florence and the Machine | photo by Vincent Haycock | courtesy of the artist

Those of us anticipating Florence + the Machine’s upcoming High as Hope album can satiate our hunger for a little longer with the album’s newly released third single, “Big God.” Proving once again that the band are masters of melodrama, “Big God” is a moody piano ballad with stark dynamics and religious lyrical imagery that would fit comfortably on a Nick Cave record. The song also features high-profile collaborators Jamie xx and Kamasi Washington contributing songwriting and saxophone respectively. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Florence and the Machine will bring High As Hope to Philly in October

Florence and the Machine | photo by Vincent Haycock | courtesy of the artist

Theatrical modern rock faves Florence and the Machine will embark on their biggest headlining tour to date this fall, in support of the band’s upcoming fourth studio LP High As Hope. The record sees frontwoman Florence Welch teaming up with a hit-parade of collaborators, including saxophone luminary Kamasi Washington, electro-soul singer-songwriter Sampha, producer extraordinaire Jamie xx, crooner Tobias Jesso Jr. and more.

The band’s 23-date North American tour comes through Philadelphia on Sunday, October 14th at the Wells Fargo Center, with Grizzly Bear opening the show; tickets go on sale Friday, June 1st at 10 a.m., more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Openers on other stops of the tour include St. Vincent, Lizzo, Kamasi Washington, and Perfume Genius. Get the full run of dates below, and watch the music video for “Hunger” from High As Hope. Continue reading →

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Neko Case returns with her first album in five years, Hell-On, and a Festival Pier gig

Neko Case
Neko Case | photo courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter and occasional member of The New Pornographers, Neko Case, is back with her first solo project in 5 years, a new album called Hell-On. The album art is intense, featuring Case wearing a top made of brown hair, a hat sculpted out of cigarettes, the words “Hell-On” melting off of her shoulder, and a small, smokey fire bursting out from under her top. The first single, “Hell-On” features imaginative lyrics, whimsical production, and her unique voice. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Flaming Lips at Festival Pier, Blondie / X at Keswick Theater, Wesley Stace at World Cafe Live and more

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Hailed for their dense psychedelic compositions and exuberant nature, experimental alt-rock legends The Flaming Lips play alongside Tame Impala tonight at Festival Pier. Although the Oklahoma native, five piece outfit toned down their never-leave-a-dull-moment-untouched attitude with April release The Terror, front man Wayne Coyne tells Rolling Stone that the album is “possibly the best Flaming Lips record ever made.” However bleak the release may be, it has not stifled the internationally acclaimed band’s over the top personality; which can be seen in their recent “Turning Violent” and Devo cover “Gates of Steel” videos seen below. Find details and tickets for tonight’s show at the XPN concert calendar.

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