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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Earth, Wind and Fire at The Borgata, Broken Beak at PhilaMOCA, The Youngers at Sellersville Theater, and more

Earth Wind and Fire | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Earth Wind and Fire | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Funky soul legends Earth, Wind and Fire take up a two night residency at The Borgata hotel and casino in Atlantic City tonight and tomorrow evening. As a band that has been writing, recording and touring since 1971, it’s no surprise their career spans genres, lineups and generations of fans. Bringing all their very best to the stage once more, this is your chance to see one of the greats live. Tickets and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the music video for the 1981 hit “Let’s Groove” below. Continue reading →

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Listen to Broken Beak’s Some Nerve in full

Broken Beak | photo by Jess Flynn
Broken Beak | photo by Jess Flynn

For some 20 odd minutes, Philadelphia musician Beau Brynes invites us to explore his headspace — unguarded yet brooding — by way of Some Nerve, his band Broken Beak‘s second LP. What began as a quiet, acoustic exploration in storytelling a la 2015’s Old Evil, has grown and expanded (in sound and in members) to be able to deliver this year’s poignant and rock heavy release. Joining Brynes to create this fuller sound is bassist Evan Moorehead, drummer Jeff Malt and Modern Baseball guitarist Brendan Lukens. Continue reading →

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Broken Beak share new song “Humble” ahead of debut LP

Broken Beak | photo by Jess Flynn
Broken Beak | photo by Jess Flynn

Giving fans a taste of what’s to come, the conglomerate of uber-talented Philly musicians Broken Beak are streaming another single off their upcoming debut album Some Nerve being released by Near Mint Records on Friday, July 1st. The brainchild of spirited songwriter Beau Brynes has caught fire in the scene with the help of Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball — playing guitar and producing, respectively —who have been riding a wave of success following their latest release Holy Ghost just last month. Drummer Jeff Malt and bassist Evan Moorehead come in to round out the band’s roster, each appearing in multiple other Philly-based musical projects.

“Humble” has a different sound sonically compared to first single “Saint,” yet both tracks work together to tell different parts of a rich story, thanks in part to Brynes’ knack for relatable and engaging lyricism. This new track encapsulates some of the best components of Modern Baseball’s past and present tourmates — think of the zany and electrifying guitar work of Tiny Moving Parts matched with the wailing urgency of Joyce Manor. Continue reading →

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Amongst the MoBo mania, don’t forget about Broken Beak

Broken Beak | photo by Jess Flynn
Broken Beak | photo by Jess Flynn

Modern Baseball‘s new album Holy Ghost is officially out today, and has been streaming all week on Bandcamp. It’s had no shortage of coverage — The New York Times and Rolling Stone are just two of the many publications to have written pieces on the exploding Philly rockers. Even better, they came on air with us to talk about the new record. But amongst all of this commotion, Brendan Lukens’ other band, Broken Beak, has been very active as well. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Broken Beak at PhilaMOCA

Photo via facebook.com/brokenbeakmusic
Photo via facebook.com/brokenbeakmusic

To celebrate the release of its new album Old Evil, Broken Beak (aka Beau Brynes) heads to PhilaMOCA tonight for a hometown show. Centered around simple acoustic arrangements, Brynes’ songs are marked by a trail of quiet, unassuming beauty. Listen to “Lucy” below and get details on the show here.

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Who is Harmony Woods? Getting to know the most exciting new artist in Philly DIY

Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If you ask Sofia Verbilla, she’ll tell you she’s no good at onstage banter.

It gives her a not super comfortable feeling, a sentiment shared by just about any honest musician you’ll talk to. Her nerves are already frazzled enough getting up there with her guitar and performing; add in expectations for public speaking that’s witty, chill and conversational but also profesh enough to keep the show moving and remind you that, oh by the way, there’s merch in the back…it’s just daunting. Awkward. Verbilla is not the sort to toss around the word “hate,” so let’s just say the closest form of active dislike you can get.

I would argue that the frontwoman of Philadelphia basement scene favorites Harmony Woods is fantastic at banter, and here’s an illustration. It’s March, her band is playing Underground Arts for an International Women’s Day benefit; a tuning break is needed, and the slight silence that descended during the last song lingers. (Verbilla has that effect on crowds.) As bartenders dump ice buckets in the wings, she asks, “So, does anybody have any jokes?” A pause. “I know one. THE PATRIARCHY.” She blows a raspberry into the mic and gives a thumbs-down; the audience gathered round the stage laughs, and the band launches into another song.

Really, everything about it was perfect. The right thing to say for this crowd, at this event. (Or, let’s face it, in general.) The timing was spot-on. It was funny. And it got the gig from point A to point B. When it comes to banter, as with most things music-related, Verbilla is a natural. Continue reading →

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Steady Hands take a victory lap with retrospective Rude Boys of Bar Rock LP, new single

Steady Hands' Sean Huber | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist
Steady Hands’ Sean Huber | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

The members of Modern Baseball are in a lot of different bands, so those trying to keep track of it all have their work cut out for them. Within the last year, we’ve seen releases from Vicky Speedboat, Broken Beak, Slaughter Beach, Dog, and Modern Baseball itself, and now, Sean Huber’s Steady Hands is primed and ready to join that list. The Philadelphia septet has just announced Rude Boys Of Bar Rock, a retrospective double LP featuring material culled from the band’s first four EPs, including a newly re-imagined version of its first, Not Many Of Us Left. To celebrate, they’ve set up a slew of release shows and premiered a brand new song as a cherry on top of it all. Continue reading →

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Download Silver Linings Charity Compilation by Punk Talks

punktalkscomp
Silver Linings | artwork by Leah Kroger

“You don’t have to be sad to make great music.” This is the slogan for Punk Talks, an organization whose mission is to provide free mental health services to musicians and industry workers. This week, Punk Talks released Silver Linings, a 60-track charity compilation to raise funds for its mission. The compilation features music from some of the best young punk bands today, including Philadelphia’s Steady Hands, Hurry, Mumblr, Broken Beak, (and my band, Plainview). You can purchase a custom t-shirt here to support this cause. Listen to the Silver Linings Charity Compilation below! Continue reading →

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Slaughter Beach and Petal will play an acoustic benefit for McMichael School tonight at Mantua Yacht Club

Photo via facebook.com/petalPA
Photo via facebook.com/petalPA

Acoustic benefit shows seem to be a recent big thing in the Philly D.I.Y. scene, as with last week’s show at the Hazel House featuring Girlpool, Sam Cook-Parrot from Radiator Hospital, and Dean Engle from Quarterbacks. This Friday, the Mantua Yacht Club is hosting its own living room acoustic benefit show, with proceeds  going to the McMichael School in West Philly.

Jake Ewald’s do-it-all solo project Slaughter Beach will be headlining the show. Continue reading →