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Watch Angel Olsen and MMJ’s Jim James cover Sonny & Cher in Brooklyn

Jim James | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN // Angel Olsen | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

This past weekend, director David Lynch curated and hosted the “Festival of Disruption” in Brooklyn. The multipurpose event featured a range of artists performing sets and hosting talks at New York venue Brooklyn Steel. Among the host of experimental electronic titans to perform, including Flying Lotus, Jon Hopkins, Animal Collective, and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, kindred spirits Jim James and Angel Olsen connected Sunday night to perform a standout cover of Sonny & Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go.” James and Olsen transformed the cover into an acoustic, downtempo performance compared to the 1964 original. Continue reading →

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Ellen Siberian Tiger and more to play WOAR benefit show at World Cafe Live this weekend

Ellen Siberian Tiger | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

This Saturday, May 26, the upstairs venue of World Cafe Live will be filled with the sounds of four of today’s best emerging artists for the kind of stacked benefit show that doesn’t come along all that often.

Local favorite Ellen Siberian Tiger, who last fall released the fantastic feminist anthem “When Men Explain Things To Me,” will headline the show. Fellow locals Queue and Baltimore’s Joy Postell will both open, along with the just-added Grace London from New York. Continue reading →

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Oldermost’s shimmery new single “The Danger of Belief” sounds like a carefully crafted song long in the making

Oldermost | courtesy of the artist

After a few years’ absence, Oldermost is back with a new five-minute single and news of a record on the way. The Philly-based Americana rockers have kept a relatively low profile since their last release, 2015 EP It’s Difficult to Know Anything At All, and have been teasing the forthcoming LP for actual years, releasing a few standalone singles back in 2016. Now, those new tunes are finally about to be released, this time in full-length form — How Could You Ever Be The Same?, Oldermost’s fourth album, will be out July 13 via AntiFragile Music. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett debuts her new album, jams with Kurt Vile in epic Union Transfer show

Courtney Barnett | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Courtney Barnett played a lively, jam-packed 90-minute set on Wednesday night to a sold out Union Transfer, showcasing her entire new album Tell Me How You Really Feel, as well as older hits like “Avant Gardener” and “Pedestrian at Best,” and a surprise guest performance with Philadelphia native Kurt Vile.

Barnett is on the last leg of their mini US tour with Bones Sloane on bass, Katie Harkin leading on guitar and keys, and drummer Dave Mudie, debuting her new album, out Friday on Barnett’s Milk! Records, Mom + Pop and Marathon Artists.

Barnett started their Philly set with Hopefulessness, and quickly after said, “We’re gonna play our new album. It comes out tomorrow, I think? What day of the week is it?”, with her classic bed-head charm. The band played an energetic “City Looks Pretty,” “Charity,” and “Nameless, Faceless,” along with more subdued songs from the album like “Need A Little Time,” and “Sunday Roast.” Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Belly keeps the crowd superconnected with old faves and new jams

Belly | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

On the surface, you could say that NonCOMM 2018 closed with a doubleheader Free At Noon concert from two different eras of nostalgia acts — one from the 90s (Belly) and one from the aughts (Editors). Thing is, though, both of these artists came with fresh material in tow, and Belly’s set in particular showed that they are musicians who have not missed a beat in the 23 years since their sophomore album King and this year’s radiant return Dove. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: King Tuff transports crowd to the cosmos with a space horn

King Tuff | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

“Anybody know what this is?” asked Kyle Thomas, the colorful frontman of King Tuff, as he raised a peculiar cylinder device in his hand. He looked side to side, faced the crowd, and deadpanned: “It’s called the space horn.”

And with that, the wonderfully strange cosmic flute beamed the last bit of the crowd into Thomas’ zany, trippy, mystical outer space universe as “Neverending Sunshine” began to play. Although, with opening tracks like the saucy video game odyssey, “Raindrop Blue,” the laid-back and sunny daydream, “Thru the Cracks,” and the funky disco jam, “Psycho Star,” the packed upstairs PRX stage audience was already by that point pretty fairly transported to another world. Continue reading →

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Full Bush paces itself on the tense, explosive “Someone”

Full Bush | via fullbush.bandcamp.com

Philly garage rock four-piece Full Bush brings the sweet sounds of punk grit on their new single, “Someone.” Usually the four-piece hits us with wild headbanging tunes, like in their 2016 song “Ray’s,” but this time, they’ve slowed things down and pace themselves.

Frontwoman Kate Breish deadpan vocals sneak along with throbbing drums, tense bass, and righteous guitar riffs as the song explodes, makes this five-minute track a thrash kid’s perfect fantasy.  Continue reading →

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Khruangbin’s Tiny Desk Concert meshes 70’s soul funk and Middle Eastern jazz

Khruangbin | photo by Elsa Attar via NPR

Texas trio Khruangbin dropped by NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert this week, and their set was nothing short of incredible. Khruangbin most recently opened for Chicano Batman at The TLA back in October, and you can see them again on the east coast this fall.

They played a three song set, beginning with “Maria También,” possibly the best-known track in their catalog. What sets this group apart from other instrumental artists is the fact that they rely on simplicity. They don’t pack their songs with heavy, jumping beats in order to propel the song forward where lyrics otherwise would. Instead, they let Laura Lee on the bass take charge and play a loop while Mark Speer on the guitar fills in whatever is missing in a gentle but intricate style. That mood was evident during their Tiny Desk set. The vibe was so obviously relaxed, with all three members so in sync and fearless. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Low Cut Connie closes the night with a warmup for their big Union Transfer gig

Low Cut Connie | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Rowdy, ribald retro rockers Low Cut Connie returned to NonCOMM to close out tonight’s lineup with piano-driven songs and crowd interaction. The band, led by South Philly’s Adam Weiner, dug back to 2012’s Call Me Sylvia for the opening “Boozophilia,” and repped their latest Dirty Pictures (Part 2) with the XPN staple “Beverly,” as well as “Oh Suzanne” and “Hey! Little Child.”

Saundra Williams of past NonCOMM artists Saun and Starr has been a touring member of the LCC crew for the past half a year, and shined in tonight’s set, handling backing vocals and auxiliary percussion with charisma. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Natalie Prass breaks out the disco ball in groovy set

Natalie Prass | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

If there’s one thing I learned from Natalie Prass’s NonCOMM set, it’s that she knows how to groove.

Playing new songs off her upcoming album, The Future And The Past, the performance ranged from slower, smoky jazz ballads (“Hot For the Mountain,”) to bluesy disco jams (“Sisters,”) and a funky pop party (“Short Court Style.”) Throughout each, Prass and her snazzy, jazzy band had a blast as they danced and smiled along to the infectious rhythm. Continue reading →