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Mir Fontane chases success on his new single “Frank Ocean”

Mir Fontane | photo courtesy of MassX

This year’s Firefly Festival is definitely going to be one for the books, especially since so many of the acts that will be performing are coming straight out of the tri-state area.

While artists such as Chill Moody, Joie Kathos, Ill Fated Natives, and Miles Chancellor will be on stage representing for the City of Brotherly Love, up and coming hip hop artist Mir Fontane will be putting on for the Garden State at the Delaware festival with hits like his new single “Frank Ocean.” Continue reading →

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Philly meets Frank: Alex G and Jazmine Sullivan are featured on Frank Ocean’s new visual album, Endless

Frank Ocean | photo via boysdontcry.co

It’s here.

The world has been waiting ever so impatiently for R&B icon Frank Ocean‘s newest work since 2012’s channel ORANGE, and Thursday night it finally dropped. Now available on Apple Music is Ocean’s visual album Endless. The fact that it’s presented as a visual album might come as a surprise. So might the idea that it isn’t entitled Boys Don’t Cry, as Ocean had been teasing for so long. But what might be most surprising are the Philly ties on the new project.

Both soul singer Jazmine Sullivan and indie rocker Alex G are featured on multiple tracks. Sullivan’s vocals can be found on “Alabama,” “Wither,” “Hubolts” and “Rushes.” Alex G plays guitar on “Wither,” “Slide On Me,” “Rushes” and “Higgs.” So there you have it: what is one of the most highly anticipated releases in recent memory is flooded with talent that’s rooted right here in Philadelphia. Additional (non-Philly) contributors to the visual album include Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, James Blake, UK R&B vocalist Sampha , producer Arca, and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Now, if you can believe this, there actually seems to be more on the way from Ocean. One of his representatives has reportedly said to “keep an eye out for more from Frank.” Most expect it to be the studio album that’s been promised for so long. So maybe that means there’s more Alex G / Jazmine Sullivan / Frank Ocean collaborations just around the corner? Only time will tell. Stay tuned, and watch Frank Ocean’s Endless here.

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Download of the moment: Typhoon, playing Johnny Brenda’s in October, cover Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”

typhoon Portland’s indie-orchestral rockers Typhoon have covered Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You,” that you can download for free below. The 11 piece band are releasing a new album, White Lighter, on August 20 on Roll Call Records and are playing Johnny Brenda’s on Tuesday, October 1. The song starts out with a soft orchestrated-pop twist on the original then turns into a heartfelt gospel choir singalong with some auto-tuned weirdness noise in the background. Somehow, Typhoon have magically turned the already incredible original on its head and completely own it by the end.

Continue reading →

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Photo Recap: Frank Ocean at Union Transfer

Rising pop star Frank Ocean debuted his acclaimed full-length, Channel Orange, before a super sold out Union Transfer crowd last night. Grabbing a seat in the center of the stage, Frankie did not waste time delivering all the favorite jams from the new album as well as an incredible cover of Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing”. Check out a photo recap of the night in the gallery above.

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The Afghan Whigs cover Frank Ocean’s “Lovecrimes,” announce Sept. 27 Electric Factory show

Photo by Sam Holden | samholdenphotography.com
The 90s alt-rock group The Afghan Whigs was always renowned for their off-the-cuff R&B and soul covers in concert, from The Supremes’ “Come See About Me” to Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Since kicking off a string of reunion dates this year, a staple of their set has been a rendition of Frank Ocean’s “Lovecrimes,” originally found on his 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra. Today, the Whigs announced additions to their fall tour – including a stop at The Electric Factory on Sept. 27 – and released a studio rendition of “Lovecrimes” to go with it. You can download the cover below.

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Download a new song by Frank Ocean (playing Union Transfer in July)


Frank Ocean is playing Union Transfer on Wednesday, July 25th. Tickets are on sale now here. Ocean, who is affiliated with Odd Future, a hip hop group releases his Def Jam debut,  Channel Orange, on July 17th. Last year Ocean released his Nostalgia, Ultra. for free after his label refused to release it. You can download the critically acclaimed album for free here. Tickets for Frank Ocean at Union Transfer are on sale now here. Below, download “Pyramids” for free.

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Now Hear This: New songs by Amber Coffman, The Mountain Goats, Jade Jackson, Bleachers, Diagrams, Blondie and more

Amber Coffman | via facebook.com/AmberCoffman123

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

The calendar still says it’s spring, but that’s purely a technicality. It is summertime, buddypals, and with the year we’ve been having, it’s about dang time. So where are the jams? Doesn’t quite seem like Katy Perry’s coming through for us this time around – the Teenage Dream summer of 2010, it turns out, was a long seven years ago. I’m personally getting major mileage out of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut To The Feeling,” a soundtrack loosie packing as potent a dose of fizz-pop headrush euphoria as anything on E*MO*TION, let alone last year’s B-Sides (Man, was 2015 only two years ago?) Keep a lookout for Lorde’s new LP this Friday (and Haim a bit down the line), but in the meantime I’ll share some other prospects with you below.

On the live show front, it’s been a busy month what with another fabulous NonCOMMvention here at WXPN, last weekend’s dueling cross-town polarities of the Roots Picnic and West Philly Porchfest, and an action-packed concert calendar across the board – my personal highlight being the first of Sylvan Esso’s two-nighter at Union Transfer, featuring the most fervently enthusiastic audience I’ve been a part of in ages (no wonder, considering the show sold out in a matter of hours.) Things are looking strangely sparse for the remainder of June, at least from my vantage point (U2 who?), which I blame on the increasing dominance of the summer music festival circuit, infiltrating nearly every level of the industry as opportunities for the sweaty intimacy of those AC-free mid-summer Unitarian basement gigs steadily dwindles. Perhaps. Still, there are a handful of bright spots, particularly on the rootsy/folky end of things, which I’ll get to a bit further on. Continue reading →

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The xx and Sampha dazzle the Mann Center’s Skyline Stage

The xx | photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

Summer musical performances in West Fairmount Park is always a holistic experience – the skyline, landscape, stars, and grooves.  That rang true Wednesday as the Skyline Stage at the Mann kicked off their summer season.  Introduced in the summer of 2012, the Skyline Stage gives the Mann an opportunity to expand its concert offerings with a more intimate experience.  An experience necessary for the stellar bill of Sampha and The xx.

Sampha opened the show just as the sun started to sink in the sky behind backlit trees.  Leading with “Timmy’s Prayer,” a ballad co-written by Kanye West which fully displays how Sampha’s voice hits you on a more spiritual level.  His vocal delivery from start to finish was strong and emotive.  His falsetto, seemingly more delicate than most, rarely came close to its breaking point no matter how high he pushed it. Continue reading →

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Vibing Out With Ivy Sole: A conversation with one of Philly’s most exciting new MCs

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

One of the best ways for an artist to create a vibe with their music is by allowing their listeners to enter their world. The feeling become genuine when the listener obtain the artist’s perspectives, stories, and even their moods. To do that the artist mustn’t be hesitant to be personable with their music. That’s exactly why Ivy Sole an artist that the city of Philadelphia should look out for.

Whether she’s getting busy on the mic or creating soulful melodies, the Charlotte, North Carolina native hip hop artist always finds ways to bring her listeners into her universe. I was recently able to sit down with the local MC to discuss her introduction to hip hop, her debut project Eden, her recent followup EP East, and her upcoming performance at Underground Arts’ International Women’s Day benefit, which is happening tomorrow evening.  Continue reading →