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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Blondie and Garbage at The Mann, Hurry at Everybody Hits, Amanda X at Ortlieb’s

Blondie | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

It’s a double header of still-vital rock and roll pioneers at The Mann Center tonight with Blondie and Garbage. In the 70s and early 80s, Debbie Harry and her bandmates bridged downtown New York punk rock with the dance-driven international New Wave scene, and wrote a massive amount of hits in the process; in the 90s, Shirley Manson brought a bold dose of glam and pop sensibilities to the dreary grunge landscape. Thing is, neither band is resting on its laurels or going through the nostalgia motions. Blondie and Garbage have both released albums of new material in the past year that stand strongly alongside their work from 20 (and 40) years ago — Pollinator, from the former, totally rips, as Harry and the band proved at NonCOMM this year, and Strange Little Birds is Garbage at its most vulnerable and honest but still kicks out driving anthems. Watch videos for “Long Time” and “Empty” below and get tickets and more information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert CalendarContinue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs by Amber Coffman, The Mountain Goats, Jade Jackson, Bleachers, Diagrams, Blondie and more

Amber Coffman | via facebook.com/AmberCoffman123

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

The calendar still says it’s spring, but that’s purely a technicality. It is summertime, buddypals, and with the year we’ve been having, it’s about dang time. So where are the jams? Doesn’t quite seem like Katy Perry’s coming through for us this time around – the Teenage Dream summer of 2010, it turns out, was a long seven years ago. I’m personally getting major mileage out of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut To The Feeling,” a soundtrack loosie packing as potent a dose of fizz-pop headrush euphoria as anything on E*MO*TION, let alone last year’s B-Sides (Man, was 2015 only two years ago?) Keep a lookout for Lorde’s new LP this Friday (and Haim a bit down the line), but in the meantime I’ll share some other prospects with you below.

On the live show front, it’s been a busy month what with another fabulous NonCOMMvention here at WXPN, last weekend’s dueling cross-town polarities of the Roots Picnic and West Philly Porchfest, and an action-packed concert calendar across the board – my personal highlight being the first of Sylvan Esso’s two-nighter at Union Transfer, featuring the most fervently enthusiastic audience I’ve been a part of in ages (no wonder, considering the show sold out in a matter of hours.) Things are looking strangely sparse for the remainder of June, at least from my vantage point (U2 who?), which I blame on the increasing dominance of the summer music festival circuit, infiltrating nearly every level of the industry as opportunities for the sweaty intimacy of those AC-free mid-summer Unitarian basement gigs steadily dwindles. Perhaps. Still, there are a handful of bright spots, particularly on the rootsy/folky end of things, which I’ll get to a bit further on. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Blondie reinvent cool pop again with Pollinator

Blondie | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

You would think the highlight of a Blondie set would be the flawless performances of classic hits like “One Way or Another,” “Call Me,” “Heart of Glass,” “Dreaming,” and the rap-filled “Rapture,” all of which we heard during tonight’s NonCOMM set and all of which were real treats. But to be honest, the band’s new album Pollinator, released May 5th, is so good that it’s those songs, bridging disco, pop and darker rock, that had the crowd in the palm of Blondie’s hand.

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Just Announced: Blondie and Garbage team up at The Mann this summer

Blondie | courtesy of the artist | photo by Alexander Thompson
Blondie | courtesy of the artist | photo by Alexander Thompson

Here’s a doubleheader blast from the past! Legendary outfits Blondie and Garbage are joining forces for a summer fling dubbed The Rage and Rapture Tour, and today they’ve announced an August 2nd date at The Mann. Debbie and Shirley will be touring behind new records with their respective bands, the former with the also-just-announced Pollinator (out May 5th) and the latter with last year’s triumphant Strange Little Birds return.

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This Day in Music History: Blondie makes their live debut, Rod Stewart plays his last show with The Faces

Blondie

1955 – Chrysler introduces the world’s first in-car sound systems – record players, complete with an assortment of classical vinyl, mounted under the dashboard. The unit measures about four inches high and less than a foot wide. The seven inch discs spin at 16 2/3 rpm and require almost three times the number of grooves per inch as an LP. The players are discontinued in 1961.

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Courtney Barnett perform on Colbert, Blondie and The Pixies added to NYC Bowie Tribute Shows, & Foals is taking a break

The Key
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

She may have missed out on the Best New Artist of the Year Grammy but Courtney Barnett is a hit with nearly anyone who’s seen or heard her music. Check out Courtney’s live-performance of “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” on last night’s  Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dark Blue at Johnny Brenda’s, Blondie at Tropicana, Leana Song at The Fire and more

Dark Blue | photo courtesy of the artist
Dark Blue | photo courtesy of the artist

Three Philly punk scene vets will take over Johnny Brenda’s tonight bringing a mix of 80s oi! and Britpop. Made up of John Sharkey III, Andrew Mackie Nelson and Mike Sneeringer, Dark Blue is a relatively new to Philly, but it has quickly been making a name for itself. Tickets and info on tonight’s show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; listen to its single “Subterranean Man” below.

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