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Just Announced: Lucy Dacus will headline Union Transfer in March

Lucy Dacus | courtesy of Matador Records

After a busy 2018, Lucy Dacus has just announced her next tour, which will bring her to Union Transfer on March 21 for her biggest Philly show yet. The tour will take Dacus up and down the East Coast and through the Midwest, stopping in some smaller cities she’s never played before. She’ll be joined by illuminati hotties for the first leg and Mal Blum and Fenne Lily for the second leg. Continue reading →

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Rachel Andie & The Fifth Element meditates on memory, time, and loss on her observational debut LP Tu Me Manques

Rachel Andie | via facebook.com/RachelAndie

We first caught wind of local singer-songwriter Rachel Andie and her band The Fifth Element earlier this year when they were one of a handful of Philly artists to enter NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest. Andie performed “Astral Projection,” a song off her 2016 concept album The Common Calamity, for that entry, but now she’s back with a brand new album, Tu Me Manques. The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has been making music solo for a few years, but this is her first release with her full band, a six-piece alt-folk outfit of fellow local musicians and educators (Andie herself is an elementary school music teacher by day). Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Strand of Oaks

Strand of Oaks | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in recurring installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

It was by luck of the draw that Tim Showalter became a Philadelphian. Having spent his childhood in his hometown of Goshen, Indiana, the Strand Of Oaks frontman was sold on Philly by a childhood friend of his who’d already pioneered the relocation, and to hear Showalter tell it, it hardly even feels adopted, anymore.

He makes reference to that several times, in a recent interview with us, effusive in his affection for all he feels Philly has been able to offer him over the past decade and a half here. Wearing his beard long and his lumberjack coat red, Showalter reminisced warmly about wandering the Wissahickon, building out his band, getting to see Philly legend Jack Rose play hallowed local stages like Brenda’s — and then, with a sense of genuine gratitude, the good fortune of getting to later play them himself.

Showalter also talks “Winter Classic”: a lineup of several consecutive Strand Of Oaks shows that launches tonight at Boot And Saddle. On deck this week to celebrate a fourth year of these gigs with him are folk-singer Joe Pug, and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel. Continue reading →

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Eric Slick reflects on identity and vulnerability in “Nothing Is Real” video from Bullfighter EP

Eric Slick | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

If you’ve seen Eric Slick play a show recently, he was probably behind a drum kit — the ever-busy musician has spent the better part of 2018 touring with his band Dr. Dog and playing in Natalie Prass’s backing band. But Slick is ready to jump back into the spotlight as a solo artist. He’ll release a four-track EP called Bullfighter in January, and the first track, “Nothing Real,” is out now.

The haunting, orchestral song is paired with a video that interprets the EP’s title with a video game-esque bullfight that slowly unfolds with heightened creepiness and suspense as the animated bull and matador face off. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: James Blake will play The Fillmore Philadelphia

James Blake | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
James Blake | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

2018 has been an intensely busy year for producer/singer/songwriter James Blake. He toured with Kendrick Lamar, collaborated on the Black Panther soundtrack and was featured on a single from Travis Scott’s Astroworld. Although there isn’t word on a new album just yet, he released two of his own singles, “If the Car Beside You Moves” and “Don’t Miss It.” Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Wu-Tang Clan will celebrate 25 years of 36 Chambers at Franklin Music Hall

Wu-Tang Clan circa 1995 | via Billboard

Legendary Staten Island rap crew Wu-Tang Clan is playing two full-cast reunion concerts at the top of the new year (well, almost full-cast; RIP, ODB) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their groundbreaking debut LP, Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers…and we’re #blessed to have one of them here in Philly.  Continue reading →

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Listen to Julia Rainer’s satirical, socially aware “I’m Not Like You”

Julia Rainer | photo via juliarainermusic.bandcamp.com

“Fear is a powerful enemy — it put a bigot in the White House,” warns Julia Rainer. Her new track “I’m Not Like You” was born out of anger, frustration and fear. “I’m afraid all the time,” she repeats, describing and in some ways satirizing the hatred and intolerance between clashing belief systems. Continue reading →

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Meek Mill flexes his increased social consciousness on Championship

Meek Mill | photo via facebook.com/MeekMill

In a recent New York Times op-ed, South Philly-born, North Philly-raised rapper Meek Mill laid out a harrowing first-person account of how he has been railroaded by a lying cop and a judge with a grudge. Reading through this sad and horrific account, a broader question begs to be asked: if this could happen to a rich and famous Black Man, how many others have had their lives swallowed up by an unfathomably cruel and racist justice system?

Since his dramatic helicopter-led release from prison before game five of the Sixers vs. Heat playoff series, Meek has (metaphorically) hit the ground running. Dropping new music, spearheading several charitable efforts in the city, and refashioning himself as an advocate for criminal justice reform. Earlier in the year, his song “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” served as the official soundtrack of the Philadelphia Eagles storied Super Bowl run. As he sat in a cell, the streets were filled with his music while the people organized mass rallies demanding he be freed. Meek Mill had become the spiritual symbol of a city’s ambition and determination, but more importantly, his celebrity and (most of) his music would come to represent something bigger. Continue reading →

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Watch John Legend get into the holiday spirit with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” video

John Legend in “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” | still from youtube video

There’s plenty of holiday music to go around, but the season always seems a little more festive when a new tune comes our way. John Legend recently put his own stamp on some classic holiday songs with his new album A Legendary Christmas, and just released a fun, retro-inspired video for “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The singer duets with Esperanza Spalding on the track, and the video sees both musicians decked out in their holiday best, reveling in the season’s festivities as they sing. Continue reading →