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Land of Talk keep the slow burn going on “This Time”

Land of Talk | photo by Tyler Knight | via the artist's Facebook page
Land of Talk | photo by Tyler Knight | via the artist’s Facebook page

Midway through “Inner Lover”, the first new Land of Talk offering in years, Elizabeth Powell intones, “You light it slowly,” amidst crawling drums and droning guitar. It’s an strange, mystifying hook that pops up several times throughout the song’s sprawling five minutes, and with their latest single “This Time”, they continue taking it to heart. While the track falls more in line with the rest of the band’s catalog than its immediate predecessor, it features the same patient arrangement that made “Inner Lover” feel so fresh. Continue reading →

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Land of Talk returns with “Inner Lover”, their first single in seven years

Land of Talk | photo by Tyler Knight | via the artist's Facebook page
Land of Talk | photo by Tyler Knight | via the artist’s Facebook page

After returning from their long hiatus last year with a series of live shows, Elizabeth Powell’s Land of Talk has just shared their first new single in more than seven years. It’s off their new album Life After Youth, which drops this May 19th via Saddle Creek records.

If you’re a fan of Powell’s previous work, the first thing you’re likely to notice here is how few guitars there are. Until about two minutes deep, the track is all spacious drums, bass, and moody keyboard, so when the distorted leads finally crop-up during the silky-smooth chorus, it almost feels like a reward. There’s a patient, nocturnal quality to “Inner Lover” that we have yet to hear from Land of Talk, and it’s left us excited to hear what the rest of Life After Youth shapes up to be. Continue reading →

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Talking England, new music and Union Transfer with Brian Christinzio of B.C. Camplight

BC Camplight
B.C. Camplight | photo via www.bellaunion.com

Philly expat Brian Christinzio moved to England a couple years ago to make the best record of his career. How to Die In The North, his third release under the B.C. Camplight moniker, is out now on Bella Union Records, and Christinzio is back in the states for a while to tour behind the album – which includes a big homecoming stop at Union Transfer on Tuesday the 9th of June. Continue reading →

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The XPN Morning Show talks with Taney Dragons Assistant Coach Leland Lott

Taney Dragons
The Taney Dragons via Facebook

Tonight at 7:30 pm, Philly’s own Taney Dragons continue their quest for a Little League World Series Championship as they take on a team from Las Vegas in Williamsport, PA. Prior to tonight’s game, XPN Morning Show anchor Bob Bumbera had a chance to talk with Taney Asst. Coach Leland Lott, whose son Jared Sprague Lott plays for the Dragons. Listen to the interview below. Continue reading →

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Nightlands’ Dave Hartley talks tape speed, deconstructs “Nico” with ArtInfo (playing Arden Guild Hall tomorrow)

Photo by Catherine Maloney
A trademark of Dave Hartley’s Nightlands is swirling layers of vocals and psychedelic instrumentation. In an interview with ArtInfo yesterday, Hartley broke down his creative process to reveal how he arrives at his sound: recording take after take, manipulating the speed of his tape machine and other experimental tricks of the trade. To further illustrate, he shared three versions of the song “Nico” from Nightlands’ new Oak Island – the album version, an instrumental version and an a capella version. Listen to them below. Nightlands plays the Arden Guild Hall in Deleware tomorrow night, opening for School of Seven Bells – find tickets and more information on the show at the WXPN Concert Calendar.

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Interview: Talking small town scenes with Portland, Maine’s The Milkman’s Union (playing tonight at Kung Fu Necktie)

Maine, to quote The Milkman’s Union, is an anomaly.  Geographically, it is about as accessible as a Wolf Eyes album.  The winter lasts 8 months or so, but those who make it through get one of the more rewarding and splendid summers around.  Shared suffering through the pretty brutal winters knits the community tighter.  The result, musically, is a dense population of thoughtful, composed and committed songwriters, some with big aspirations, and others contented in their situation.   The Portland, ME music scene has seemingly come out of nowhere, despite all of the challenges against it, to rival scenes twice their size.  One of the many achingly under-known artists is The Milkman’s Union, who are the sum of three especially talented musicians.  They each are extremely invigorated and humbled by their predecessors, but have an exciting, folk-rooted sound all their own.  With the band in town tonight for a show at Kung Fu Necktie, we talked to The Milkman’s Union about the internet making the world smaller, Hegel, and being a rapper trapped in a folk singers body.

The Key: Hey, Where are you? 

Henry Jamison: We’re in Cincinnati, we have nothing to do.

TK: Have you had Cincinnati chili?

HJ: We did last night, we had it on hot dogs…….Are we done here?

TK: Do you guys enjoy the weather in Portland?

Peter McLaughlin: There are things about the weather in Portland that are impossible to like.  I would say that the changing of the seasons is something I have liked. I don’t like that it can range in temperature by about 45 degrees and have three different types of precipitation in 24 hours.  But generally I like the weather as a package deal over the year.

HJ: Well, it gets very dark and I get very sad, but it is probably a good thing for me.

TK: Does the weather affect the music you make?

HJ: Yeah, in that is makes me sad.

PM: Winter is a good time to huddle inside and be creative and morose.

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Interview: Craig Finn talks Hold Steady anniversary, Seth Meyers, and his new solo record We All Want The Same Things

Craig Finn | photo via Partisan Records

Craig Finn may have spent years as the bar-band king of The Hold Steady and Lifter Puller, but the Minneapolis son has always primarily been a songwriter. Finn releases his third solo record, We All Want The Same Things, this Friday, March 24th, and it’s an exercise in both eloquent lyrical imagery and textured melodic phrasing. It’s only been a short while since his last solo outing, 2015’s Faith In The Future, but Finn has kept busy writing like he always does best: Pulling apart his specific characters and the exact moments from their daily life to tell a grander story. Whether it’s hanging in the park drinking dark Bacardi, fumbling through the jitterbug, or waiting on a savior to come, Finn writes slice of life epics that bring you with him.

His US tour with Japandroids ended a couple days ago, but I got a chance to sit down with him before their show at Union Transfer last month. We spoke about his thought process going into the new record, his residency with the house band on Late Night With Seth Meyers, the Boys And Girls In America anniversary shows, and more. Finn will be returning to Philadelphia this Saturday to play a free in-store performance at Main Street Music, open to fans who pre-order his new record. Read our conversation below. Continue reading →

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Laura Stevenson talks cover songs, creative streaks, constant touring and making a live record for Planned Parenthood

Laura Stevenson | photo by Kenneth Bachor | courtesy of the artist
Laura Stevenson | photo by Kenneth Bachor | courtesy of the artist

Laura Stevenson has been quite busy. Over the past year and a half, the punk scene songwriter fave released her excellent fourth LP, Cocksure, via Don Giovanni Records and went on several back-to-back-to-back laps touring the U.S. and abroad in support of it. She hit the festival circuit last summer, released a live album this winter, and appeared on the Don’t Stop Now covers compilation to benefit the ACLU. Somewhere along the way, she found a minute to marry her bass player, Mike Campbell.

Live At the Vera Club came out in December, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Planned Parenthood. It captures a night at the storied club and community creative space in Groningen, situated in the North of the Netherlands. The crowd was small, Stevenson recalls in the album notes, and she couldn’t speak Dutch, so she wasn’t as chatty as usual, but the show rules — the band sounds tremendous, from the uppers like “Torch Song” and “Runner” to the slow burn of “Out With a Whimper” and “Renee,” and a delightful cover of “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements.

Stevenson and her band — Campbell, Alex Billig on accordion and keys, John Burdick on guitar, and Sammi Niss on drums – just headed out on an east coast tour that brings them to Boot and Saddle Thursday. When I caught up with Stevenson via phone from the Hudson Valley home she’s lived in for the past few years, she had just gotten back from a solo tour of Australia with the frontpersons of various down-under DIY acts: Iona Cairns of Shit Present, Lucy Wilson of The Sugarcanes and Wil Wagner of Smith Street Band. We began by discussing this photo of them cuddling a chill koala named Waffles at the Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane. Continue reading →

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Twenty Years of Baduizm: A reflection on Erykah Badu’s landmark debut

Erykah Badu, flanked by Common, RZA and Method Man, during the mixing sessions for Baduizm in Battery Studio NY | via facebook.com/erykahbadu

Twenty years ago, iconic soul singer Erykah Badu released her critically acclaimed debut Baduizm. With the album, the soulful B-girl from Dallas, Texas created a jazzy type of high that manifested truth in light that is still able to grab the attention of her listeners — and will do so again this Saturday, February 11th, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, twenty years to the day from the album’s original release date.

But besides gaining a worldwide audience for Ms. Badu, the production, lyricism, and creativity of Baduizm influenced not only hip-hop, but music at large, giving artists the ok to step outside of the box. Continue reading →

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Listen to Bruce Springsteen talk Jersey, Nebraska, mental health and politics on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | deltufophotography.com
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | deltufophotography.com

After ceaselessly circling the globe on his mammoth tour celebrating The River, Bruce Springsteen is in the middle of a well-deserved month off — but Bruce being Bruce, there’s still something going on. Today, he appears on the latest episode of Marc Maron’s famed WTF podcast, where the two Jersey sons bond about their home state and go on to have a wide-ranging discussion that touches on issues from parenthood to politics and the making of The Boss’ iconic Nebraska LP, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this fall. Continue reading →