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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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#NowPlaying at The Key: Eight must-hear songs by James Blake, Palberta, Mykki Blanco and more

James Blake | photo by Brianna Kehone for WXPN // Palberta | photo courtesy of the artist // Kanye West | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This week’s song selections from Team Key include music that reminds us of a low-budget indie rom com, possibly one involving robots, a minute-long blast of unconventional energy, a sensitive offering from a complicated and confrontational artist, and more.
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Just Announced: James Blake to headline the Electric Factory on 9/30

Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com"
Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

UK producer/singer-songwriter James Blake will headline the Electric Factory on Friday, September 30th. The news that Blake is touring isn’t much of surprise, considering his 3rd LP The Colour In Anything was released May 6th. The album itself, though, is a totally different story — it came out with basically no advance notice from Blake. Recorded in both the UK and California, Blake’s latest work has contributions from both Frank Ocean and Bon Iver, who is featured in the latest single “I Need A Forest Fire,” found below. Continue reading →

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Cool Intentions: Islands, Speedy Ortiz & James Blake on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Islands | Photo by Christian Faustus, courtesy of the artist
Islands | Photo by Christian Faustus, courtesy of the artist

The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN (right after What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese, of course!). Tonight’s show is a special one, thanks in part to a very unique Album Spotlight I’ve got lined up. When we last heard from our friend Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn, he was out doing a solo thing that resulted in a seriously groovy IRHP session. He also hinted that his next project would be recording and releasing TWO new albums with his main band, Islands. Those two albums, Taste and Should I Remain Here At Sea?, are both out today, and we’ll hear selections from each on tonight’s show. There are also plenty of new singles to get to, namely ones from fellow IRHP Session vets Speedy Ortiz, UK electro-soulster James Blake and the monumental return of The Stone Roses. Check out a few of those below:

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Listen to Jacqueline Constance’s hypnotic James Blake cover

Jacqueline Constance | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Jacqueline Constance | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly R&B singer Jacqueline Constance makes music is exciting in its own right. But as we saw during her Key Fest set this spring, she also does incredible covers. Constance recently recorded a session with the folks over at RECPhilly, and it features her version of James Blake’s haunting “Retrograde.” She injects with a bit more soul than the (equally captivating) original using only a loop pedal and some impressive vocal control. Watch the session below. Continue reading →

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Governor’s Ball Day 3: Banks, Earl Sweatshirt, James Blake, The Head and The Heart and more

Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Yesterday wrapped up our third day exploring Randall’s Island and the sights and sounds of this year’s Governors Ball Music Festival.

Skaters | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Skaters | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

New York City rock band Skaters turned up the heat on an already scorching Sunday afternoon.

Earl Sweatshirt | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Earl Sweatshirt | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Rapper Earl Sweatshirt emerged on stage decked out in beachwear while fans sang along to the lyrics from his latest album, Doris. Continue reading →

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Review: A sold out Union Transfer crowd swoons for James Blake

Blake-8All photos by Melody Chiang

UK born electro pop sensation James Blake entranced a sold out Union Transfer crowd on Monday night with a soulful performance that was nothing short of spellbinding. The young Blake, who won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize this year for his album Overgrown, is no ordinary electronic outfit: instead of enticing you to bounce against the walls like a wild banshee, his live shows pull from the depths of your soul and ask you to simply feel, and that’s precisely what went down at Union Transfer.

Photo by Melody Chiang
Photo by Melody Chiang

The set opened with the bone chilling and hair raising track “I Never Learnt to Share” from Blake’s self-titled album released back in 2011. From the shrills and shrieks that accompanied the opening vocal loops the early number was clearly a crowd favorite. Blake did a beautiful job of incorporating beloved older tracks that early fans yearn for with songs from the most recent release Overgrown, his most widely popular album yet. At a climatic point in the performance Blake began with the more digitized and bass-heavy “Air and Lack Thereof”, a single from way back in 2009, before transitioning into arguably his most popular track “CMYK”, which features rare outside sampling from R&B artist Kelis (Blake’s usual MO is to use his own vocals). Naturally, the whoops and woo’s from the crowd were in full force.

In the relatively short time Blake was on stage, he managed to perform almost all of Overgrown to the delight of many who became introduced to Blake’s music following the album’s release. One of the most beautifully intimate parts of the set came with Blake’s performance of “Our Love Comes Back”, featuring soft vocals in a slower loop that made our hearts jump and throats lump. It was so moving you could hear a pin drop in the max capacity venue (in reality it was the soft clinking of glasses from the back bar that emphasized the silence). He continued to pull from Overgrown with “I am Sold”, “Digital Lion” and the initial track release “Retrograde” that garnered the album so much attention.

Photo by Melody Chiang
Photo by Melody Chiang

Never one to stick to a particular album live, Blake returned to 2011’s James Blake with “A Wilhelm Scream”, a track that displays Blake’s own transition from his older style of music to new, merging the former concentration on potent beat loops to the latter’s more lyrically heavy style found on Overgrown. He strayed further with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”, a curveball that threw off everyone in the crowd in the most wonderful way. “Limit to Your Love”, a Feist cover and another of Blake’s most popular tracks, kept everybody ablaze before the heart melting conclusion. Nobody in the audience had any clue of the masterpiece that was to come. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: James Blake at Union Transfer, Robert Glasper Experiment at World Cafe Live at The Queen, Coke Weed at Boot & Saddle

Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com"
Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Recent Mercury prize winner James Blake returns to Philly tonight at Union Transfer. The electronica artist won the prestigious British music award for his current release, Overgrown. Tickets and information for the all ages event can be found here.

Robert Glasper recently released Black Radio 2, building on the genre bending musical blueprint he debuted on 2012’s Black Radio. Bringing together jazz, R&B, neo-soul, and hip-hop, the Robert Glasper Experiment perform at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington for an XPN Welcomes event. Tickets and more information can be found here. Below, listen to Glasper’s collaboration with Norah Jones from Black Radio 2.

Psychedelic rockers Coke Weed made one of 2013’s most under-the-radar and likely underrated rock records, Back To Soft. The Bar Harbor, Maine quintet is fronted by Milan McAlevey and the band’s music is bathed in electric Sixties vibes with elements of Velvet Underground, Grace Slick & The Great Society, and Creedence. The band play at Boot & Saddle. Go here for tickets and more information about the show.

Also tonight:
John Vanderslice with Philly’s Market East at Johnny Brenda’s.