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Break Prep: New Broncho, Downtown Boys & Shilpa Ray on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

Broncho | Photo by Pooneh Ghana, courtesy of the artist

This week’s Indie Rock Hit Parade will be the last one for a little bit, but believe me I have a very good excuse. Listen at 11pm ET on XPN (right after a week-early edition of Land of the Lost with Robert Drake) for a full two-hour show that’ll hopefully tide you over until our post-XPNFest return. In the spirit of next weekend’s bonanza, we’ll hear from a few IRHP favorites who’ll be joining us at the festival, like Sweet Spirit, Strand of Oaks and Hop Along. We’ll also sample new releases from bands who won’t be at the festival (not this year, anyway). Listen for new singles from Providence political punks Downtown Boys, NYC’s preeminent ‘door girl’ Shilpa Ray, and a roadtrip-ready track from Oklahoma’s Broncho. Preview some of those new tracks below…
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Downtown Boys at Everybody Hits, Laura Stevenson at Boot and Saddle, Strange Parts at Bourbon and Branch and more

downtown boys
Downtown Boys | photo courtesy of the band

Providence revolutionary rockers Downtown Boys have been making a lot of noise on the underground level the past few years, and with a new deal on Sub Pop Records, this punk five-piece is poised to fight the good fight at a much bigger level. The band just released its latest single, “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)” — which it told NPR was “a declaration of one’s ability to decolonize one’s mind, and the importance of fearlessly unlearning the ways white supremacy conditions people to think and exist.” Listen below, wait with baited breath (like us) to get word on Downtown Boys’ upcoming Sub Pop LP (no details are available yet), and check the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and information on the band’s headlining show tonight at Everybody Hits.
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Downtown Boys sound fiercer than ever on “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)”

downtown boys
Downtown Boys | photo courtesy of the band

Last month, Rhode Island’s Downtown Boys signed to Sub Pop Records with promise of major label debut later this year. It was also promised that Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto would oversee the sessions for that album, but if that sounded too good to be true, the proof is finally here. Their new single “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas),” which translates to “We’re Elegant/Intelligent (We’re not Dumb),” is available for streaming below. Continue reading →

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Downtown Boys sign to Sub Pop, announce show at Everybody Hits

downtown boys
Downtown Boys | photo courtesy of the band

Providence, RI outfit Downtown Boys have become familiar faces in the Philadelphia DIY scene lately, building a grassroots movement around their multi-faceted punk music (think grit, political resistance, and horns) for the last half decade that led to the 2015 release of Full Communism on Don Giovanni Records. Well, the quintet is continuing to move up with this week’s announcement that revered Seattle label Sub Pop has signed them on for a new LP, with Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto joining Communism‘s Greg Norman in the engineering seat.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: PINKWASH at Everybody Hits, Cherry at Boot & Saddle, Bryant Eugene Vazquez at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

Pinkwash
Pinkwash | Photo by John Vettese

West Philly punk rock duo PINKWASH are making some of the loudest, most rage-worthy tunes in the city right now, and they’ll bring their energetic and heavy sound to Everybody Hits tonight for a show with WAND, who are touring support of their recently-released new album Plum, and Darto. PINKWASH’s last release was their debut LP Collective Sigh in 2016, and they recorded a Key Studio Session earlier this year, which you can listen to below. Since guitarist / vocalist Joey Doubek has been busy on tour drumming for Downtown Boys and drummer Ashley Arnwine has been doing the same with Waxahatchee, getting the two bandmates in the same place at once has been rare this year — so don’t miss it. Find more information on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →

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Kill, Jay-Z: HOVA reigns supreme at Made In America day two with Meek Mill, Japanese Breakfast, Kelela and more

Jay-Z and Meek Mill | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Two-plus decades into the game, hip-hop icon Jay-Z is still full of surprises. First there was the lowkey release earlier this summer of 4:44, a terrific back-to-basics collection that easily sits along his canonical records Reasonable DoubtThe Blueprint and The Black Album. Then there was yesterday’s closing set at the Made in America Festival.

After a wide ranging, 90-minute performance touching on everything from “Heart of the City” to “H.O.V.A. (Izzo)” to “Hard Knock Life,” Jay swiftly exited the Rocky Stage after dedicating “Numb / Encore” to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The lights around Logan Circle came up, the crowd looked around and, perplexed, shrugged to one another, figuring the show had just come to an abrupt conclusion. As the exodus began, stage lights flickered on over at the festival’s Liberty Stage a little ways down the Parkway. Continue reading →

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10 artists you didn’t realize are playing Made In America this weekend

Rapsody | via The Source

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be teeming with music and meyhem this weekend when the annual Made In America festival kicks into gear Saturday at noon. There are some incredible big names on the bill – the brilliant Solange and the charismatic J. Cole; the emotive Sampha, whose record Process is one of 2017’s best; Philly-rooted pop sensations Marian Hill, who play the main stage on Saturday; and of course Jay-Z himself, returning to the festival stage to celebrate his latest outing 4:44.

But there’s been a modest amount of grumbling about the lineup this year, in no small part because the polarizing dance-pop outfit The Chainsmokers are a co-headliner on Sunday night. People are either “I passionately hate this band and all that they stand for” or “yay music, I listen to whatever’s on the radio!” — and for those in the former camp, once they saw The Chainsmokers’ name on the lineup, they stopped reading further. But as always, the Made in America undercard is reliably awesome, and the early-afternoon slots as well as the out-of-the-way spots (helloooooo Skate Stage) are packed with goodness.

Here are ten artists that you maybe didn’t realize are playing Made in America, but who you definitely should not miss. – John Vettese
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Declare Independence: AMERICAN PUNK 3 on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Downtown Boys | Photo by Miguel Rosario, courtesy of the artist

Lace up those kickers and get ready to get rowdy as the Indie Rock Hit Parade presents AMERICAN PUNK 3: A July 4th (adjacent) special! Listen at 11pm ET on XPN (that’s right after this month’s Land of the Lost with Robert Drake, of course) for a full two-hour salute to American Punks of all generations. We’ll hear new releases from Austin’s A Giant Dog, Providence’s Downtown Boys and Philly’s own Sheer Mag, alongside classic cuts from Descendents, the Misfits and Sleater-Kinney! Preview some of the new cuts below…

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Finding Philly in Austin: Catching up with nine local artists at SXSW

The Districts | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

South by Southwest: the festival to end all festivals. That time of the year when the entire world takes over the city of Austin for a week of networking, tacos, and lanyard tans. But somewhere amidst the corporate clutter, in between the long lines outside sponsored showcases and under the litter of promotional flyers strewn across the main drag of Austin’s 6th street by week’s end, is that which makes SXSW so strange and wonderful: the thousands of independent artists who chose to play more sets in just a few days than certain artists play in a year, compensated by the choice between $250 and a wristband, and the vague promise of discovery.

This year, I decided that I, myself, would participate in the SXSW hustle, running around the streets of Austin to the sound of a hundred bands at once, camera and notebook in hand (which is nothing, really, compared to the gear most musicians were toting) to catch up with nine of Philadelphia’s own artists showcasing at this year’s festival. Below, read excerpts from our conversations, and see photos from their live sets. Continue reading →

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Because we need Paint It Black more than ever, they’re playing the First Unitarian Church

Paint it Black at 8Seconds | Photo by John Vettese
Paint it Black at FEST 2014 | Photo by John Vettese

Last Wednesday afternoon, I sat at my desk feeling numb, despondent and uncertain about the future in the wake of the presidential election. I was certainly not alone in this, and in the midst of a steady stream of outrage and disappointment on my Twitter feed, one Tweet from Philadelphia hardcore heroes Paint It Black stood out. Continue reading →