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The Key Studio Sessions: Foxtrot and the Get Down

It’s hard to believe, but Philly rock faves Foxtrot and the Get Down are coming up on eight years in the scene. Like any good band active for that amount of time, they’ve grown — and I’m not just talking about going from the duo project of West Chester University friends Colin Budny (guitar and vocals) and Ken Bianco (bass) to the soaring six-piece band that filled WXPN studios this week. I’m also talking about growth sonically and stylistically.

In the beginning, and even a decent way into the mid-period, Foxtrot’s bag was bare-knuckled bluesy modern rock, amped up and aggressive. They’re still a loud band with a big sound, mind you, but today they boast an expanded scope and a dynamic range — something that came first with Erica Ruiz joining the band on keys and vocals in 2014, and then with the 2017 release of Roots Too Deep on Nashville’s American Echo Records, where the band began to incorporate country and folk melodies and arrangements into their poppy rock fold.

They’ve been releasing singles one-by-one in the couple years since then — and playing them for massively engaged crowds ready to dance, as we saw in a high-energy throwdown at Firefly last summer — and the latest batch of songs finds the band diving deep into the American soul stylings of Motown and Stax Records. All that is to say that the Foxtrot and the Get Down that joined us for The Key Studio Sessions is the expansive R&B-minded Foxtrot, fleshed out by saxophone leads from Will Schade and guitar licks from Collin O’Donnell, propelled by percussion from Jimmy Iovine, and not at all shy about flexing their prowess in a near-seven minute cover of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” which Ruiz totally slays on the vocal front before letting just about everybody in the room take a solo.

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Firefly Bonus Reel: Photos from Smallpools, Foxtrot and the Get Down, Portugal. The Man and more

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

A week ago today, we were heading into the Dover Woodlands for our third day covering the annual Firefly Music Festival. We saw dozens of artists, shot hundreds of photos, and are continuing to sort out our thoughts on the experience — more of which we’ll share with you later this week. For now, take a look at some bonus photos from the weekend, shot by The Key’s Dylan Eddinger. Continue reading →

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Foxtrot & the Get Down debut new songs to full house at Johnny Brenda’s

Foxtrot and the Get Down | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Proud Philadelphians Foxtrot & the Get Down premiered new songs off a forthcoming EP to the most excitable crowd I’ve ever seen at Johnny Brenda’s. The band, who have just been signed to Soundly Music, have definitely earned their place as one of our hometown’s most recognizable local acts. Just this past summer they played several sets at Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival and made their national TV debut on Fox’s The Q, and they don’t have any plans to slow down.

Foxtrot also shared last night’s lineup with longtime friend and fellow Philly native artist Brianna Judge. Fun fact: singer and guitarist Colin Budny told me that he and Brianna played their first ever shows together back in 2012 down the street at the local bar Kostas – though then called The M Room.

The setlist for the night included old favorites like “Shine,” a newer bluesey track called “Down & Out” (which also features a brand new music video that you can watch below), a brand new week-old tribute to the 27 club called “Legends Never Die,” and a sneak peak of a single dropping this Friday called “Battered & Blue,” which will be featured on their forthcoming EP under Sony. Continue reading →

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Listen to Wilco play Penn’s Landing in the summer of 2003

via wilcobase.com

I think my friend Patrick Rapa put it best in the pages of City Paper back in summer of 2003. With the wind of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot still in their sails, Wilco was playing the newly-opened Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing on June 28th of that year, it was a co-headlining show with NYC noisemakers Sonic Youth — one of those rare “this doesn’t totally make sense but I love it” concert bills — and in the late great alt-weekly’s summer arts preview issue, Pat wrote something to the effect of “if the Festival Pier broke loose and sank into the Delaware River during this show, what ever would become of Philadelphia’s entire music critic community?”

He had a point. This was one of those gigs where you could spot music journos from CP, the Weekly, the Inquirer, Magnet — pretty much everybody who wrote about mainstream and indie rock in the 215. Continue reading →

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Firefly On The Fly: Saturday shines with The Killers, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Lucy Dacus, Alex Lahey and more

The Killers | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Saturday is always the longest haul of Firefly weekend, and we took in a huge range of music today. Pop rock four-piece The Aces started us off on the Lawn Stage, with Philly singer-songwriter Ben O’Neill not far behind in the coffeehouse. A doubleheader of Australian rock featuring Middle Kids and Alex Lahey lifted up our afternoon.

Philly rockers Foxtrot and the Get Down performed a rare acoustic set, something they should get in the habit of doing — these songs sound like they were written to be performed in this intimate, elegant way. Continue reading →

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Firefly Guide 2018: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly 2017 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Dover, Delaware’s annual Firefly Music Festival kicks off this Thursday, and will jam-pack some 130-plus artists into four days. For a few of those artists, like headliners Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, it’s safe to say that most of the tens of thousands in attendance will be watching. For several of the artists — electropop duo Marian Hill, alternative vets Jimmy Eat World, Alaskan modern rockers Portugal. The Man, 90s R&B hitmaker Warren G — the crowds will be be reliably huge.

But for many of the acts on the bill, the audience might be less automatically robust. It might take a little bit of discovering to see them, and these are often times the most thrilling sets to catch. In the past, this has meant Bishop Briggs playing the intimate confines of the treehouse stage, or Laura Stevenson rocking the Toyota Music Den; it’s been the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning the hits on a sunny midday, or singer-songwriter Hamilton Leithauser at the Coffeehouse Stage; it’s been rapper Pell rocking a Porch Stage set in the twilight, or Maggie Rogers starting the day off at the Lawn Stage at 1 p.m.

In short, it’s established names in much smaller settings than we expect, or unfamiliar names that we go on to remember. This year, we present you an assortment of artists to discover at all tiers of Firefly 2018 — from newcomers like Cali punks The Regrettes and Philly rapper Tierra Whack each playing two sets on Friday, all the way to acclaimed jazz visionary Kamasi Washington taking to the festival main stage on Sunday. Listen up, pack your sunscreen, stay hydrated, and get ready to explore. – John Vettese

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Celebrate five years of MilkBoy with Fishbone, The Weeks, and more

Fishbone | photo courtesy of the artist
Fishbone | photo courtesy of the artist

MilkBoy in center city has been hosting great shows for five years, and it’s time celebrate such an impressive milestone. On August 11th through the 13th, MilkBoy will host a three night anniversary party, and they’re holding nothing back in the process.

Big time out-of-town acts like reggae legends Fishbone and Mississippi rockers The Weeks will headline on August 12th and August 13th, respectively. Plus, it wouldn’t be a MilkBoy party without some of the finest local acts in Philly — so Nik Greeley and The Operators, Ceramic Animal, Foxtrot & The Getdown, Hardwork Movement, Carmalized, and The Last Generation On Film will all be joining the shindig. More acts are expected to be announced as the celebration draws closer. Continue reading →

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Mock Suns on mixing sound and visuals on the new “Friday Night” video

Mock Suns | photo by Chelsea Schryver | courtesy of the artist
Mock Suns | photo by Chelsea Schryver | courtesy of the artist

Philly indie-psych outfit Mock Suns have always had a healthy mix of art with their rock. Their 2012 debut Here Nor There was released in conjunction with paper masks hidden at various places around the city. The 2014 double EP Santander All That I Knew was  packaged with beautiful monochromatic photographs of the bandmates in various natural settings.

“The visuals have always been super important to us,” says frontman Greg Puglese. “Especially for me, coming from a visual arts background. I studied design in school, I’ve always been to making videos and all around doing it myself.”

The band’s newest song, “Friday Night,” comes with its own striking visual component. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Communion Philly feat. Pine Barons at MilkBoy, Telequanta at Kung Fu Necktie, The Last Bison at Haddon Lake Park and more…

Pine Barons
Pine Barons | photo by Caitlin McCann

The Communion residency returns to MilkBoy with a stacked line-up of local and touring bands. Canadian Dan Mangan + Blacksmith and Detroit’s Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas join Philly acts Foxtrot & the Get Down and Pine Barons. The latter premiered a new track called “Clowns” on World Cafe‘s Sense of Place: Philadelphia program last week, a preview of the debut LP the band is working on. Check out the song below and pick up tickets for the show here.

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