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Free at Noon Flashback: Amy Ray and her band offer a delightful start to the holiday weekend

Amy Ray and XPN go way back. She has appeared at World Cafe Live and on World Cafe the show countless times, both as one half of Indigo Girls and as a solo artist. She will play World Cafe Live again tonight and XPoNential fest in July. Before all that though, she and her band treated us to a fantastic Free at Noon set. It was a great way to roll into the long weekend.

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Watch Native Harrow perform “Can’t Go On Like This” in WXPN studios for Folkadelphia

Native Harrow | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Philly area singer-songwriter Devin Tuel founded her duo Native Harrow back in 2011 in Woodstock, New York, where she connected with drummer and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms; since then they’ve moved to Philly, then spent a nomadic year on the road, and as of this winter are back in the Chester County burbs with a new record called Happier Now under their belts. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Tact

Philly indie-punk staple Cat Park is commanding and cathartic on her latest project, channeling anger and aggression into the edgy noise rock of Tact.

Launched in late 2017 with drummer Jarret Nathan of Pears and also bassist Evan Demianczyk of Pocket — with guitarist Josh Agran of Paint It Black joining the fold more recently — the band’s music is a stark contrast to the cerebral pop of Park’s best-known band Amanda X, or the hooky nuggets of Eight, another of her projects.

In Tact, distorted guitars screech and squeal, Nathan’s drums thunder, and Park poetically details observations on the outside world in a mixture of sung and spoken word lyrics; a little bit Kim Gordon, a little bit Patti Smith. Continue reading →

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NJ rockers The Dead Flowers are amped up and introspective on two new singles

 

The Dead Flowers | photo by Becca Carroll | courtesy of the artist

The Dead Flowers are a five-piece rock band from New Brunswick, NJ who have released three songs so far this year, the most recent two being “What I’m Lookin’ For” and “So Damn Easy”. Their sound is dynamic, leaning garage-rock-ish on the surface, but also on the softer indie side at times. Continue reading →

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Mavis Staples shares new album via NPR Music’s First Listen

Mavis Staples | photo by Myriam Santos | courtesy of the artist

Despite turning 80 this summer, Mavis Staples is showing no signs of slowing down. A week before its official release, the legendary singer, has shared her new album We Get By via NPR Music’s First Listen. Written with Ben Harper, the album is an intense and moving body of work. In line with her recent output, the music feels of the present, but in touch with the past. It is a rich listen, marked by Staples’ luxurious sounding voice. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Madonna’s Madame X tour is coming to The Met

Madonna | courtesy of Live Nation

Madonna has extended her world tour behind her forthcoming album Madame X, and will be making a stop in Philly this December. The tour will see the pop icon playing more intimate venues than usual, appearing in cities across North America and Europe in mini-residencies. The tour includes a three night run at The Met on December 7, 8 and 11. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Rodrigo y Gabriela show us what two guitars can do

Rodrigo Y Gabriela | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Rodrigo y Gabriela may have started off their set with a soft, lullaby-ish tune, illuminated only by a single spotlight. But don’t get too comfortable with that mellow sound, beautiful as it is, because what followed after was a loud, jarring song that gave us a taste of what heavy metal might sound like if it could only be played with two guitars. Nearly 20 years into their career, the duo is continuing to push the boundaries of guitar music, showing off the full range of what the instrument is capable of — and what they as songwriters can imagine into existence. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Orville Peck makes a strong case for the “Yeehaw Agenda” on the PRX stage

Orville Peck | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Yeehaw is having a moment. With Kacey Musgraves snagging the top prize at The Grammys, “Old Town Road” being the biggest song in the country, and artists like Solange and Mitski embracing cowboy imagery, country’s future has never seemed brighter. Toronto-based Country crooner, Orville Peck, treated NonCOMM attendees to a taste of that future. With his bulletproof voice, punk -inspired playing, and masked face, Peck put on a rousing and fringe-filled set.

Peck and his band, which included two bassists, a drummer, and one guitarist/synth player/vocalist, arrived in their Western best. They each had a bolo tie and many wore cowboy hats. Peck dawned one of the BDSM meets cowboy mask-hat combos. With fringe and leather covering his face, one might expect his music to be similarly inaccessible. Luckily, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. With a voice reminiscent of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, Peck delivers every lyric with supreme conviction, continuously intriguing his audience more and more.

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