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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lizzo at The Foundry, Josh Ritter at Longwood Gardens

Lizzo | photo by Garrett Born | courtesy of the artist
Lizzo | photo by Garrett Born | courtesy of the artist

Can’t wait until Made in America to catch Lizzo live? The Minneapolis alternative hip hop act returns to Philadelphia for a performance at The Foundry. Following 2015’s LP Big Grrrl Small World, Lizzo released an EP Coconut Oil last year which features the singles “Good As Hell” and “Phone.” Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for more info. Continue reading →

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Heavyhitters Jay Z and J. Cole join Solange, Sampha, Lizzo and more at Made In America 2017

Photo by John Vettese

Christmas comes only once a year? False. See: Made in America announcement day. Philadelphia’s Labor Day party is back for another round, and with the announcement of this year’s lineup, we imagine the entire city is excited.

Headlining performances from Jay Z (obviously), J.Cole and The Chainsmokers top of the list of 50+ artists, with featured performances from Run The Jewels, Solange, Lizzo, SamphaMigos, and a heck of a lot more. The local scene is also well represented, as PNB RockBeach Slang, Mannequin Pussy and Queen of Jeans nab some earlier spots.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lizzo at The Foundry and Fruit Bats at Underground Arts

Lizzo
Lizzo | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Minneapolis artist Lizzo is bringing her spunky style of alternative hip-hop to the Foundry at the Fillmore tonight. She is currently touring in support of her first release with Atlantic Records, Coconut Oil. Tickets and more information can be found on the WXPN Concert Calendar; watch the video for “Phone” below. Continue reading →

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Stream a webcast of the VuHaus Radio Day Stage at SXSW this March

Lizzo | photo by Garrett Born | courtesy of the artist
Lizzo | photo by Garrett Born | courtesy of the artist

On Friday, March 17th, WXPN and four other public radio stations across the country — WFUV in New York, The Current in Minneapolis, KUTX in Austin and KXT in Dallas —  will present the VuHaus Radio Day Stage at SXSW. The stage will host performances by Spoon, Hippo Campus, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and more. If you’re like me and don’t have the opportunity to attend the festival this year, you’re in luck, because you can still stream it via VuHaus webcast. Find a full lineup and set times below. Continue reading →

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30 Concerts in 30 Days: Here’s your Philly live music agenda for November

Stevie Nicks photo by Kristin Burns | Jim James photo by Neil Krug | B.R.M.C. photo by James Minchin | all photos courtesy of the artist
Stevie Nicks photo by Kristin Burns | Jim James photo by Neil Krug | B.R.M.C. photo by James Minchin | all photos courtesy of the artist

There are two things I can tell you with relative certainty: when it comes to Philly live music, we’ve got an embarassment of riches. And when it comes to the weather, it’s going to become exponentially colder as the next few months progress. (Like I said — we’re talking relative certainty here.)

Point being if you, like us, are hooked on experiencing live music and discovering new artists, you should get out of your house do it now, while it’s practical, before winter finally sets in and you’re hunkered down at home wrapped in comforters and binge-watching Atlanta and Silicon Valley for days on end — which, honestly, is an enticing proposition in itself.

But we’re not there yet! October felt like a massive concert feast, and November is poised to be even moreso, with heavy-hitters Jim James of rock and roll army My Morning Jacket and Stevie Nicks of iconic pop ensemble Fleetwood Mac headlining major shows in Philly, as well as exciting gigs from up-and-coming artists like Toronto punk rockers PUP, Nashville singer-songwriter Margo Price, Minneapolis rapper Lizzo and more. It’s so jam packed, matter fact, that you could easily see a concert a day with options to spare. That sounds like a pretty fun experiment, actually. If we were going to do it, this is what it would look like. Continue reading →

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Reclaiming Alternative: Why Don Giovanni’s festival is what the music world needs right now

Pinkwash
Pinkwash | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Joe Steinhardt doesn’t mince words. The way he sees it, music festivals are destroying music.

“What I’ll dub the festival industrial complex is the antithesis of what music culture – of what culture – really is,” says the co-founder of the New Brunswick, NJ based punk label Don Giovanni Records.

“It’s basically a bunch of corporate sponsors and corporate bands being shuffled around through a couple booking agencies,” he says. “And that’s why you’ll see, every city, every festival has the same lineup. It’s sort of feels like what happened with radio. Clear Channel bought up all the stations and radio feels the same everywhere. ‘Look at all these local festivals!’ But it’s the same goddam bands playing every one, right?”

Steinhardt thinks there can and should be another way. This weekend, the New Alternative Music Festival kicks off at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey. A stacked lineup of DIY favorites will play the venue over the course of two days, with after-parties at Asbury Park Yacht Club and Angosta Lounge.

Appearing are indie scene heavy-hitters: Friday night’s bill is led by Screaming Females, Ought and a reunion of P.S. Eliot (the original project of sisters Katie and Allison Crutchfield of Waxahatchee and Swearin’); on Saturday, Downtown Boys, Girlpool and Laura Stevenson cap off the event. Numerous Philly-regional acts are in the mix as well: Pinkwash, Trophy Wife, Moor Mother, Radiator Hospital.

Most notably: there are no corporate sponsorships. No stages “powered by” such-and-such energy drink. No car company logos on Snapchat filters and merch booths. Steinhardt’s goal was to create a true alternative to the corporate megafestival that has, over the past decade, come to dominate how fans experience live music — and how musicians make their living. Continue reading →

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Shifting the Gaze: Why talking about women in music is as important as ever

St. Vincent | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
St. Vincent | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

“The days of going to shows that feature no women and no trans artists, that feature all male lineups, is over,” says Camae Ayewa. The experimental Philly musician at the head of Moor Mother Goddess has seen the scene evolve since she co-founded the all-inclusive ROCKERS! concert series in 2005. But, she says, “We have a long way to go.”

Tomorrow night, Ayewa is one of the panelists at UPenn’s Kelly Writers House for Shifting the Gaze: Women in Music, a roundtable examination of an industry that has historically been an exclusionary boys’ club. In a sense, women are more prominent in the music sphere than ever before, from top bill artists St. Vincent and Grimes to a plethora of emerging acts like All Dogs and Cayetana. Last year, Portland power trio Sleater-Kinney went on a reunion tour and released the album No Cities to Love – both were rallied around at a near-universal degree.

So, why do we still need to talk about women in music in 2016? As if on cue, a high-power music industry publicist stepped down from his post last week after a series of women, beginning with Amber Coffman of Dirty Projecters, shared their stories of his alleged sexual misconduct towards them. The playing field evidently isn’t so equal after all.

“I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to women being able to speak out about this kind of stuff,” says Cynthia Schemmer. “But then, no we haven’t.” Continue reading →

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Girls Rock Philly will host Sustaining Our Sounds gala on Saturday

Girls Rock Philly
Girls Rock Philly campers | photo via www.GirlsRockPhilly.org

Girls Rock Philly launched in 2006 and held its first camp in August of 2007 with just 20 campers – including yours truly. The next year, it more than doubled in size, and the organization has been growing ever since. For most of its early years, Girls Rock Philly was entirely run by volunteers; in 2012, Diane Foglizzo became the first paid staff member, and now it has several people on staff in addition to its many volunteers. This has opened up many more opportunities for the organization and year-round programming for youth.

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Back and stronger than ever, Sleater-Kinney rocked Union Transfer

Sleater-Kinney | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Sleater-Kinney | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Back in October, Sleater-Kinney astonished their devout fan base by announcing a new album, dropping a new song, and revealing a tour, their first in almost a decade. Four months later, fans in Philadelphia were given a chance to witness the newly resurrected group.

After an opening set by the politically-charged Minnesota MC Lizzo – who preached female empowerment through her intelligence and sexuality, while mixing in a strong sense of intersectionality, mentioning the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Riot Grrrl – Sleater-Kinney took the Union Transfer stage on Saturday night to wild applause from the sold-out crowd. Continue reading →

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Rockers BBQ promotes cultural diversity in Philly this weekend

Shinobi Ninja performs a Rockers! show at Kung Fu Necktie last summer | Photo by Geoff Hall | via facebook.com/thegoodfolksatrockers
Shinobi Ninja performs a Rockers! show at Kung Fu Necktie last summer | Photo by Geoff Hall | via facebook.com/thegoodfolksatrockers

Many events strive to be diverse. Few are as deeply committed to the cause as the people behind Rockers!.

A long-running monthly series in Philadelphia that promotes cultural diversity, the Rockers! shows are mix of genres, ethnicities, and even mediums. Spoken word events and workshops occur often—it’s not strictly music. The event series grew out of a desire to see more bands of color playing punk shows. Continue reading →