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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Joseph Arthur at Sellersville Theater, Preen at Kung Fu Necktie, The Bul Bey at Boot & Saddle

Joseph Arthur | photo courtesy of the artist
Joseph Arthur | photo by Josephine Bono | courtesy of the artist

Prolific singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur headlines the Sellersville Theater for a perfect midweek pick-me-up. With 14 full-lenths and eleven EPs in his repertoire, Arthur is taking a look back into his long and storied career to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Redemption’s Son, his third album that was released in 2002. He is currently on a limited tour to perform Redemption’s Son in its entirety. Available June 23rd, the album will also be rereleased with nine previously unheard bonus tracks. For tickets and show information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Listen to Joseph Arthur’s long lost song “Pictures of a Life,” get news on his Redemption’s Son reissue

Joseph Arthur | photo courtesy of the artist
Joseph Arthur | photo by Josephine Bono | courtesy of the artist

Akron, Ohio native Joseph Arthur is one of our favorite artists around here at XPN, going back 15 years to his breakout record Redemption’s Son, and even before that.

Next month, the veteran singer-songwriter will release a new anniversary edition of Redemption’s Son, complete with nine songs that have never been heard before. We’re excited to bring you one of those today — the simmering “Pictures of a Life,” a tune built beautifully about tremolo guitar tones and Laurel Canyon style harmonies, with a beautiful cello part rolling underneath. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: DIIV at Underground Arts, Spelling Reform at Johnny Brenda’s, Joseph Arthur at Tin Angel

DIIV | Photo by Chiaro Tiso | courtesy of the artist
DIIV | Photo by Chiaro Tiso | courtesy of the artist

Brooklyn outfit DIIV have spent 2016 making a resurgence after releasing their sophomore effort Is The Is Are in February, their first album since 2012’s debut. They’ll bring the shoegazy rock songs to Underground Arts tonight for a show with Moon King. Watch “Mire (Grant’s Song)” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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A Decade At the Clubhouse: Celebrating 10 years at World Cafe Live with Dr. Dog, Joseph Arthur, Asgier and more

Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography
Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography

This month marks ten years that WXPN has resided in it’s current location – the building it shares with World Cafe Live at 30th and Walnut Streets in Philly, the old warehouse that was converted into a new music clubhouse. To celebrate, there was a party: a series of anniversary events this past weekend, beginning with a special night of live music for XPN Donors on Thursday, October 2nd that culminated in a rare acoustic set from Philly Local favorites Dr. Dog. Continue reading →

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Joseph Arthur brings rock and roll gold to The Tin Angel

Joseph Arthur | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Joseph Arthur | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Wednesday night marked the fourth time I’ve seen Joseph Arthur live. Each experience has been a different Arthur iteration – from upwards of four on stage to this solo appearance. He knows how to make playing guitar look like the most gorgeous act on the planet while also understanding the value of a syllable. At Tin Angel this week it was less about the showmanship and more about the lyrics of not only him but also Lou Reed. And for about 90 minutes, Arthur showed why he is a nugget of rock gold.

Straddling a stool and having lyric sheets abound (this was the first show he was doing all but one of the Reed songs live), Arthur played the folk poet part well. He frontloaded the show with Reed covers, opening with five of them. It may seem odd but it worked; Arthur frames the intimacy with the familiar unfamiliar of covers and then takes the audience on a walk with his wild side. How apt it was that he opened with “Walk On the Wild Side.” With Arthur condensing a song so well known for the backing vocals into one of just him alone showed off his vocal and music abilities. The changing emphasis of lyrics and tone made the songs his own. And to jump from “Wild Side” to “Heroin” exemplified Reed’s brilliant breadth and Arthur’s understanding of a great setlist.

If the applause was oddly lukewarm for the Reed covers, the crowd, which seemed to be mostly made up of fervent Arthur aficionados, let loose when he broke into his catalog. Drawing mostly from his brilliant 2013 record The Ballad of Boogie Christ, he showed how he excels at understanding the quirks and eccentricities of the world, especially on the stream-of-consciousness “I Miss the Zoo.” And when Arthur did pause, like when lyrics escaped him on the title track of Boogie Christ, he was charmingly self-deprecating.

Rain did not keep away a three-quarters full room from Arthur, who even popped out chestnuts like “Tattoo” from his second album Come to Where I’m From and “You’re So True,” which is strangely from the Shrek 2 soundtrack. The acoustics of Tin Angel carried Arthur’s voice, guitar, and occasional harmonica from front to the very back. And this is just like Arthur, a musician who can appeal to the fan and the newbie with his rarified sense of humanity in the bustling 21st century. He sees the value in playfully interacting with giants of culture – Christ and Lou Reed – and bringing them back to down to Earth for us all to admire.

Lou will be released on May 13.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Big Scary at Boot and Saddle, Joseph Arthur at Tin Angel, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s at First Unitarian Church

Big Scary | Photo by Justin Vague | justinvague.com

Melbourne, Australia alt-pop duo Big Scary bring their electronic infused, moody yet catchy sounds to Boot and Saddle tonight. With vocals reminiscent of Bon Iver, and an blend of keys, electric guitar and synthesized beats, Big Scary create melodic sounds in a swaying atmosphere that touches on both happy and sad emotions in an intricate way. Get tickets for the Boot and Saddle show here. Watch “Luck Now” below.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Walk On The Wild Side” by Joseph Arthur

Photo by Danny Clinch
Photo by Danny Clinch

Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur returns with a new album, his tribute to rock and roll legend Lou Reed, who passed away in October. The 12 song tribute, simply titled, Lou, is coming out on May 12th on Vanguard Records. Arthur recorded and produced Lou by himself. In the liner notes to the collection Arthur writes:

I made a rule:
No drums or electricity.
Lou was electric.
The only way I know to give new life to something as rich with life as Lou’s songs and recordings is to go about them in a completely different way.

Below, listen to Arthur’s cover of “Walk On Wild Side.” Sans the signature sax solo and bass line of the original, Arthur uses a sparse souding acoustic guitar and a rich piano tone and turns the song into a beautiful melancholic ballad. RIP Lou. Good work, Joe.

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Photos: Joseph Arthur brings live painting and musical guests to Sellersville

Joseph Arthur | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Joseph Arthur | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

XPN favorite Joseph Arthur delivered a musically and visually rich set at The Sellersville Theater last Thursday night. Joined on bass and backup harmonies by R.E.M. vet Mike Mills, Arthur played largely from this year’s LP The Ballad of Boogie Christ, and painted an abstract portrait on a canvas propped up on the side of the stage. Local sound loop songwriter Angela Sheik opened the show; see pictures of her set and Arthur’s in the gallery below, and check out video of Arthur after the jump.

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Joseph Arthur played to a packed house for Free at Noon (photos, audio, setlist)

Joseph Arthur | Photo by Abi Reimold | AbiReimoldPhoto.com
Joseph Arthur | Photo by Abi Reimold | AbiReimoldPhoto.com
All Photos by Abi Reimold | AbiReimoldPhoto.com

Singer, songwriter and XPN favorite Joseph Arthur played Free at Noon to a packed house today. On the road in support of his latest release, The Ballad of Boogie Christ, his eight-song set drew entirely from the new album, which was released on Real World Records last month. Check out a gallery of photos from the concert below, see the setlist after the jump, and listen back to the performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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