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Philly rocks with DJ Lean Wit It

DJ Lean Wit It
DJ Lean Wit It | photo by Sannii Crespina-Flores | courtesy of the artist

The blue collar energy that Philadelphia provides builds character for its local artists. It takes a certain type of talent and dedication to win the attention and the heart of Broad Street but once it’s captured, it strengthens your confidence to shine outside of your of city.

That’s something DJ Lean Wit It has learned throughout his years behind the turntables. Whether was on Temple University’s campus, a Heineken Green Room event or even a local bar, the North Philly DJ has spent years perfecting his craft to capture the attention of not only his hometown, but in other cities and countries as well. And as DJ Lean Wit It prepares for a really huge set for the upcoming No Place Like Home event at The Fillmore on Saturday, August 18th — not to mention his warm-up gig at Spruce Street Harbor Park this Thursday — I was able to sit with him to talk about his early stages as a DJ and how a Philadelphia crowd separates itself from any other crowd in the world. Continue reading →

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Dj Lean Wit It pleases everybody

DJ Lean WIt It | Photo via djleanwitit.com
DJ Lean WIt It | Photo via djleanwitit.com

It’s always good for a DJ to be versatile so that he or she can please any crowd that’s put in front of them. Plus it makes their mixes more interesting because the crowd will never know where the DJ is going with the music. Maybe that’s why DJ Lean Wit It has made a name for himself in his hometown of Philadelphia.

DJ Lean Wit It’s skills have not only made him quite popular in the tri-state area, but they’ve also led him to become the official touring DJ for Selina Carrera and Motown’s MPrynt, and a resident DJ for RedBull’s Play and Destroy Competition, Heineken Green Room and Thursdays at Pub Webb. Continue reading →

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Waterfront Sessions continue through August with Restorations, Killiam Shakespeare, Hardwork Movement and more

Hardwork Movement | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

This August brings us not four but *five* Thursdays, which can only mean one thing — more Waterfront Sessions. The free outdoor concert series at Spruce Street Harbor Park kicked off in June with a different local band and DJ set each week, and continues with four more performances throughout July. Now, August lineup is here, giving us more tunes to look forward to as the summer marches on. Continue reading →

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The Rail Park presents #partyforthepark benefit show with Sango, Xavier Omar, Bosco and more

Image via TIcketleap

Want an easy and fun way to give back to the community and have a good time? We got you.

The Friends of the Rail Park are hosting a benefit concert to help build the Rail Park, a unique public space made of three miles of unused rail lines in Philly. The event will take place at Voyeur Nightclub this Thursday, March 8th from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The line up includes some incredible up and coming names like Philly’s Sango and Xavier Omar, as well as Atlanta’s BOSCO, with three dope Philly DJs, DJ Lean Wit It, DJ SYLO, and Hvn Lee. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New music by Belle & Sebastian, Django Django, Tune-Yards, Soccer Mommy, Nils Frahm, Shopping and more

Belle and Sebastian | photo courtesy of the artist

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

We’ve had a pretty good last month or so here in Philadelphia, on a couple of fronts.  Musically though, at least in terms of the broadest, pop-cultural arena, things have felt just a tad uninspiring lately.  The best-selling album of the year thus far, by a wide margin, is the Greatest Showman soundtrack; an artistic triumph I have no doubt.  Camila Cabelo’s full-length bow, despite a couple of serviceable bangers, basically failed to make good on the promise of “Havana,” the year’s first new Hot 100 chart-topper and one of the best we’ve had in a while.  The most notable musical performance, the halftime show of that one football game, was a perfectly enjoyable and well-executed medley of five-to-fifteen-year-old hits with no real relevance to anything in particular – I’m not sure whether it’s more dispiriting that Justin “Man of the Woods” Timberlake chose not to even attempt promoting his just-released new album by actually performing something from it, or that this was, on balance, probably the right decision.  I mean, no offense JT…

Then there were the Grammys, which despite well-deserved (if largely meaningless) acknowledgments for the likes of LCD Soundsystem, The National, Aimee Mann and our very own War on Drugs, overwhelmingly reaffirmed its own insignificance, diversity issues and fogeydom (I mean, no offense Bruno); adding insult to irrelevance by denying a performance slot to (sole female) album-of-the-year nominee Lorde.  That hot pile of nothingness was capped off by the truly vile, toxic comments of Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who, in response to questions about the underrepresentation of women among winners and nominees, called for “women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls…to step up, because I think they would be welcome.”

Of course, it goes without saying that, beyond the psychotically warped bubble that is mainstream culture and the self-congratulatory machinations of the “music industry,” music itself continues on and, as always, the past month offered plenty of tunes worth digging into.  You’ll find a smattering below, from indie-pop earworms to exuberant dance jams, including a handful of artists experimenting in various, intriguing ways, with strains of world music.  And – I swear I didn’t plan this – it just so happens that all but one of the selections below were made, either by solely or in part, by female artists.  Step on up! Continue reading →

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Aleana puts words and emotions in the forefront on her Chapter 22 EP

Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly vocalist Aleana has just released her EP Chapter 22. The EP chronicles the beginning and the end of a romantic relationship, as Aleana sings through emotions from sprung to completely over it. I immediately noticed her vocals, which have a clean and real quality to them. She’s not too flashy a singer, and her voice isn’t buried in effects and plugins, which makes the music more relatable.

Some standout tracks from the EP are “Divine Creatures,” “Dear Darla,” and “Careless.” “Divine Creatures” probably has the best vocal performance on the whole project; the emotion of the song is clear and evident in the vocals as well as the lyrics. The fade out at the end of the song is an interesting choice as it emphasizes the romance of the song by implying that she could go on and on forever about how great love is. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: The Django Pages – A.D. Amorosi’s greyhound rates the hits, disses the misses of the year gone by

Django Amorosi | photo by Reese Amorosi | courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributor A.D. Amorosi turns to his trusty greyhound Django for some musical feedback.

Your best friend does not always like the music that you like. That’s what friends are for. At least this is the case of Django, our greyhound, with whom my wife and I share a loving bond and living/listening space on a daily basis. It’s his house, he just lets us live there.

If I am reviewing a Migos single with Pharrell Williams, he is reviewing it too.  Same with a Johnny Cash box set, a Sheer Mag download, an Archie Shepp YouTube moment, or what-have-you.  If I am laughing at Love & Hip Hop: New York and watching the dilemma between Remy Ma and her husband/manager Papoose, chances are Django is observing this behavior – and my reaction – with his ears pricked high. Does he enjoy everything on Love & Hip Hop? No. Can I tell the difference? Yes. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aleana at Breedlove Poetry Night, Coping Skills at Lava Space, Vince Tampio at World Cafe Live

Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Singer and songwriter Aleana checks in with the good folks at Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party tonight at APoetArtGallery on West Girard Avenue. After releasing her XXI EP a couple years back, Aleana re-emerged this past year with an alluring single called “S.O.S.,” as well as gigs singing backup in Mars Parker’s band and opening for Hardwork Movement at Underground Arts. Get tickets and more information on tonight’s apperance at Breedlove Poetry Night here. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This – Ambient Edition: New music by Bitchin Bajas, Marcus Fischer, Gyða Valtysdottir, Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno, Gas, The Caretaker, and more

Gyða Valtýsdottir | via gyda.bandcamp.com

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

Last year, in my final installment of Now Hear This over at PhillyVoice, I inaugurated what I’ll now establish as an annual tradition: a column dedicated to the wide, unobtrusive world of ambient music. Ambient is always around us, but the winter is an especially good time for it. No other genre better evokes (or soundtracks) the placid, frosty stillness and/or the glowing, contented, indoorsy warmth that represent the season’s great duality.

Accordingly, there’s been a bumper crop of worthy ambient-leaning releases in the past month or so. Just to name a few, in addition to those I’ll feature below: an intriguing, formally innovative modular drone experiment by the always worthwhile Eluvium; a pair of reissues from indie favorites The Album Leaf; a gorgeous new set of swirling, marimba-heavy instrumental chamber-pop from Thor and Friends; an enjoyable record of ambient-adjacent electronic burblings from Coupler, a.k.a. Lambchop’s Ryan Norris, and a massively acclaimed left-turn into stark ambient purism by the habitually eclectic producer Bibio – whose work I typically enjoy, but which in this instance leaves me persistently, inscrutably cold. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Eleanor Friedberger at Johnny Brenda’s, Control Top at The Galleries at Moore, Ronnie Vega at LAVA Space

Eleanor Friedberger| Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Eleanor Friedberger| Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

Singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger makes a solo stop at Johnny Brenda’s tonight, on the road sans band after releasing her latest album New View last year. Local solo artist Jesse Hale Moore opens, so it’ll be a night full of raw and stripped-down tunes. Read The Key’s interview with Friedberger here, watch the video for “He Didn’t Mention His Mother” below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →