Tonight’s Concert Picks: Land of Talk at Union Transfer, Ought at Arden Gild Hall, Odesza at Electric Factory

Land of Talk | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Following a seven-year break, Montreal indie rock four-piece Land of Talk returned this year with a majestic third LP called Life After Youth, released in May on Saddle Creek Records. The album finds singer and songwriter Elizabeth Powell and her bandmates in reflective mode, a bit wiser for the years than in their more emo-tinged earlier days, but no less willing to look within and self-reflect amid dreamy guitar tapestries. The band wowed earlier this year opening for The War on Drugs at the Dell, and tonight they’re at Union Transfer with American Football. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; watch the video for “Inner Lover” below. Continue reading →


Wear Black: The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns with new Mountain Goats, Land of Talk and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart!

the Mountain Goats | Photo by Jeremy Lange, courtesy of the artist

After a NonComm-induced break (which, don’t get me wrong, was a ton o’ fun), the Indie Rock Hit Parade is BACK for you tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN! Listen right after the May edition of Land of the Lost with Robert Drake for a full two-hour show that will definitely feature me breaking a sweat trying to catch you all up on the new music that has come out since we last hung out. Two Album Spotlights will guide the way in the midnight hour: First, we’ll dig into the much-anticipated new release from Canadian singer Elizabeth Powell aka Land of Talk. Then, don your best hardcore shirt as we listen to selections from the newest Mountain Goats album. Add in a bunch of new singles and you’ve got a show that is a real jump-start to your long weekend. Check out some of the new tracks below…

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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 →


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 →


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

BC Camplight
B.C. Camplight | photo via

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 →


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 →


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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Porchfest is coming to Collingswood this fall, so we talked to the organizers about it

Heyward Howkins
Heyward Howkins performs at Collingswood Porchfest on September 23 | photo by Kate Harrold |

It’s a pretty great concept, when you think about it — a day of free concerts, all on porches. A way to bring a community together with music, a way to encourage first-time players while giving venue vets a more intimate experience. After launching in New England six years ago and taking up root in West Philly in 2015, the Porchfest model makes its way across the Ben Franklin Bridge this month for the first Collingswood Porchfest.

Set for Saturday, September 23rd in the small Camden County town nestled along the PATCO High Speed Line, the event features a roster of familiar names from the singer-songwriter scene (Heyward Howkins, pictured) and pop-punk rock universe (Kevin Day of Aspiga), as well as first-time players. We spoke with event organizer Stacey Brown-Downham of indie four-piece The Classic Brown — their awesome record Down With Fun turns ten this fall — and found out about coordinating an undertaking of this scope, connecting the community and juggling duties as a performer, behind the scenes and as a fan.   
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Firefly on Film: Reflections of a weekend in the Woodlands on 35mm

Firefly 2017 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Important thing to remember this festival season: a fifty percent chance of rain is also a fifty percent chance of no rain. It could be a fifty percent chance of scorching sun and dry heat. Reality might not line up with your anticipations, and the best approach is to be prepared for anything and expect the unexpected.

This is something that came up at several intervals last weekend at Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival; I went in expecting to get soaked and instead I got sunburnt, I’d read media murmurs about diminished attendance but found it positively jumpin on Saturday; I thought (from experience at XPNFest a few years back) that Bob Dylan was going to to be insufferable and sad, and he was actually mostly very good — the best thing we can hope for with a Dylan set in 2017, honestly — closing his nearly 90-minute performance with a ripping “Ballad of a Thin Man.” Continue reading →