Jen Cloher releases acoustic EP Live At The Loft and Loew’s

Jen Cloher | photo by Marcelle Bradbeer | courtesy of the artist

Last seen at Johnny Brenda’s this past January and Free at Noon last November, Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist Jen Cloher has just shared news of her latest endeavor. After releasing a self-titled LP last year, Cloher has taken some of her recent time on the road touring throughout the US to reinterpret a few of her songs, both old and new, into live solo recordings for a new EP, which was released on Friday. Continue reading →


Free at Noon Flashback: Jen Cloher’s got a knack for wry, personal storytelling

Jen Cloher | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Stories are powerful. They can place people in another’s shoes, or provide comfort in relatable, shared experiences. They can move listeners to tears, or to laughter, or to everything in between. To be a storyteller, then, makes you a force to be reckoned with. And that’s exactly what Jen Cloher is: a strong, wry storm of a storyteller.

You won’t find Cloher spinning made-up tales of fantasy though; whether it be through the deeply affecting songs she performed solo-style for today’s Free at Noon crowd, or by the comically-doused, stand-up worthy firsthand tales she recounted for context in between her set, they all shared the trait of personal, honest transparency. Continue reading →


XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Forgot Myself” by Jen Cloher

Jen Cloher | Photo by Tajette O’Halloran

Australian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jen Cloher will perform at WXPN’s Free At Noon this Friday, November 3rd at World Cafe Live. Cloher — who is married to Courtney Barnett, and co-founder of Milk! Records with her — is an excellent songwriter/guitarist is her own right, as showcased on her recently released self-titled album. Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Directors’ Cut — The XPN video team picks its favorite performances of the year

Jupiter and Okwess | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, World Cafe videographers John Groome and Galea McGregor share their top performances of the year.

Two of the hardest working people at WXPN are easily Galea McGregor and John Groome, our two in-house videographers who document practically everything that happens at the station. Free at Noon concerts, World Cafe sessions, NonCOMM, the XPoNential Music Festival — they see and hear just about ever performance that happens in our little world, and they are arguably the most qualified to say what the best performances of the year are. Here are their picks. Continue reading →


Just released: Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44

Hot off the presses, Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44 is available now for a donation. The 17 song collection includes Cafe performances from Brandi Carlile, Margo Price, Moby, Natalie Prass, Mt. Joy, Nathaniel Ratefliff and the Night Sweats and many more.

You can get a copy of the new collection of World Cafe tracks by donating here. Check out the full track list below.

Live at the World Cafe, Volume 44

1. Brandi Carlile “The Joke”
2. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “A Little Honey”
3. Margo Price “Heart Of America”
4. Natalie Prass “Short Court Style”
5. Mt. Joy “Silver Lining”
6. Lo Moon “Loveless”
7. First Aid Kit “You Are The Problem Here”
8. Lake Street Dive “Musta Been Something”
9. Blind Boys Of Alabama “I Can See”
10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Holy Mountain”
11. Sunflower Bean “I Was A Fool”
12. Moby “The Sorrow Tree”
13. Courtney Marie Andrews “Kindness Of Strangers”
14. Darlingside “Eschaton”
15. Lizz Wright “Singing In My Soul”
16. Sunny War “If It Wasn’t Broken”
17. Jen Cloher “Analysis Paralysis”


NonCOMM Recap: Courtney Barnett gives the Free At Noon crowd a taste of what’s to come

Courtney Barnett | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

Australian singer, songwriter and all around force of nature Courtney Barnett will release her highly anticipated new record Tell Me How You Really Feel this Friday, and she’ll headline Union Transfer tonight, but before all that, she stopped by NonCOMM to give us a preview of what’s to come.

Barnett’s appearance this afternoon was a long time coming for many in the audience — she was in Philadelphia last fall touring behind her collaborative project with Kurt Vile, and again to play guitar in her partner Jen Cloher’s band, but this is the first time we’ve seen her play solo material since the last album cycle (which included an appearance at #XPNFest 2015). For both die-hard Barnett fans and those of us who have been waiting for ages to see her (uh, me), today’s incredibly dynamic performance met, exceeded, and blew away any and all expectations.

Performing in trio form, Barnett and band delivered a fast-paced and powerful eight-song set to the midday crowd, alternating between the forthcoming record’s singles, brand new soon-to-be-released songs and some older favorites off 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Barnett is a musician so essential to XPN listeners that sometimes it’s easy to forget she came from all the way across the world to perform here; when the band opened with Tell Me How You Really Feel track “City Looks Pretty,” it seemed that Barnett could easily have been singing about Philadelphia. Continue reading →


Courtney Barnett releases instructional video for new single, “Sunday Roast”

Courtney Barnett | still from video

Courtney Barnett’s latest video opens like many YouTube tutorial videos may open. “Hey guys, its me, Courtney Barnett. Today I’m going to show you how to play ‘Sunday Roast,’” Barnett says, greeting the viewers on the other side of the screen. The instructional video doubles as Barnett’s latest single release off her upcoming album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, out May 18.

The video features Barnett sitting on a futon strumming along to the track, flanked by two figures cropped out of the frame. Close-up shots of Barnett playing the guitar float across the screen throughout the 4-minute video, instructing viewers on how to play along at home.  Continue reading →


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s Fran Keaney talks collaborative songwriting, knowing your place in the universe, and Melbourne’s best new music

Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever | photo by Warwick Baker | courtesy of the artist

There’s an undeniable momentum to Australia’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, a kind of stampede of movement. Though their songs each have their own distinct feel, they retain a thundering energy, coming at you like a gust of cool wind or a lurching wave. The beauty of it isn’t in a single guitar solo, a specific bassline, or the consistently thumping beat of the drums; it isn’t the clever turn of phrase or the catchy hook. The real mastery is in the full, the whole thing hurtling forward, picking up speed and catching more and more as it rolls down hill.

This holds true for the band itself, a five-piece that started as a three-piece, slowly building and growing without a single ego to get in the way. They share songwriting duties and credits and have, up to this point, released two EPs of jangly, late summer-afternoon guitar rock. Singer-guitarist Fran Keaney, one of the founding members of the band, was kind enough to talk with me about, among other things, the band’s growth, harnessing that specific moment in time, Dumb and Dumber, and their highly-anticipated new record Hope Downs. Continue reading →


Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile bring living room intimacy to the Tower Theater

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN |

From the moment it was first announced, there’s been something tremendously appealing about this team-up. Kurt Vile, Philly’s humble hometown guitar hero, and the wry Melburnian riffster Courtney Barnett are two of indie rock’s most beloved, affable slackers, and the notion of the two of them palling around, goofing off and trading drawled vocals and casually sublime guitar licks was worth a bucket of grins. So it is with Lotta Sea Lice, the duo’s goofily-named, pointedly low-stakes collaborative LP, out last month, which, if hardly revolutionary in any respect, is just so abundantly pleasant. And so it was with their sold out Philly date last Friday night: just a couple of friends giving the kind of amiably understated performance that can make a majestic, storied venue like the Tower Theater feel like a big, cozy living room. Continue reading →