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The Week Ahead: Kelela, Matt Cappy, Combo Chimbita, Diet Cig and more

combo chimbita
Combo Chimbita | photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez | courtesy of the artist

Even on a slow week, you’ve still got fourteen amazing concerts to choose from — that’s how you know you’re living in a great music city. From Kelela at the TLA tonight to Greg Sover at the Sellersville on Sunday, here’s what’s going on in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Matt Cappy

Local trumpeter Matt Cappy is full of loving references to his native New Jersey. Just look at the song titles that he and his band played for their Key Studio Session: “856,” for the area code. “Rose Lane,” for a street he grew up on in Berlin, NJ. “East Philly,” regional slang for Camden County.

But as much as Cappy makes it clear where his roots run, he’s Philly through and through. The University of the Arts-schooled jazz player gigged at the now-defunt Wilamena’s back in the day, blew horns in late 90s ska staples The Freakin’ Cads and has played on and off with Jill Scott since her band went by the name Fatback Taffy.

Last year, Cappy released his long-in-the-works debut solo album, Church and State, and it sees him flexing his sound and style both inside and outside the jazz spectrum. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jurassic 5 at TLA, Tedeschi Trucks Band at Merriam Theater, Matt Cappy at 2300 Arena

Jurassic 5 | photo via band’s Facebook page

Aughties hip-hop supergroup, Jurassic 5, are bringing their old-school vibes to the TLA tonight. Comprised of DJs Numark and Cut Chemist, and MC’s Chali 2na, Zaakir, Akil and Mark 7even, the group was formed at LA’s The Good Life cafe, and was incredibly influential in the West Coast underground scene. Tickets for the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to their 2002 jam, “What’s Golden,” below. Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Matt Cappy

Matt Cappy | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Matt Cappy | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Philly brass-man Matt Cappy will be dropping his debut album Church And State from Ropeadope Records on June 16th. It’ll be available everywhere digitally, but you can grab an advance hard copy at his CD release party at 2300 Arena in South Philly on June 8th.

Cappy cut his teeth at Philly’s jazz clubs, but has since blown a trumpet on everything from R&B, neo-soul, indie rock and ska, hip-hop and jazz records. He’ll kick off a tour next month supporting compatriot neo-soul singer Jill Scott, and representing Philly as far west as LA’s Hollywood Bowl. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bethlehem and Sad Patrick at Boot and Saddle, David Wilson at Tellus 360, Matt Cappy Quintet at World Cafe Live and more

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick | via Facebook.com/besadmusic

Bethlehem Roberson and “Sad Patrick” Arkins have made a splash on the Philly folk community over the past year with a knockout combination of soaring vocal melodies infused with slick guitar licks and a completive, simmering pace. The band’s Did You Ever Do came out last year, and it’s a polished set showcasing their skill in the studio realm. But it’s honestly best in person, with solitary guitar, hand percussion and vocals. Tonight you can catch them at Boot and Saddle, opening for The Bones of J.R. Jones. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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XPNFest adds artists incl. Darlingside, Blind Boys of Alabama, Harmony Woods, &More

clockwise from left: Darlingside | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN // Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Jim Herrington | courtesy of the artist // Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN // &More | photo by Dejanaya Spicer | courtesy of the artist

These are exciting times, folks. As if this year’s XPoNential Music Festival lineup wasn’t already stacked enough, today we’re thrilled to announce several more artists that will be joining us this summer on the Camden Waterfront. Continue reading →

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“Cunio Sings Etta” an Etta James tribute show, comes to The Ruba this January

Michael Cunio | photo via artist’s Facebook

Calling all jazzy soul aficionados: there’s a gig coming Philly’s way you’ll probably tap your foot to. Titled “Cunio Sings Etta,” the event is an Etta James tribute show performed by Broadway star, Michael Cunio. It will grace our city’s presence via the Ruba Club in Northern Liberties on Saturday, January 20th; on the anniversary of her passing and just a few days ahead of the anniversary of her birth (January 25th).

Along with basking in Cunio’s soaring vocals as he performs classical arrangements of Etta’s hits, you can expect horn-driven quintet accompaniment, which includes Philly’s own trumpeter master, Matt Cappy. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mike Vasilikos’ All-Philly best of 2017

Max Swan
Max Swan | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, XPN on-air host and assistant music director Mike Vasilikos shares his favorite Philly music of the year.

Around this time each year I start the daunting task of trying to prioritize my favorites songs and albums of the year.  It’s a task that has become more arduous year after year.  Nonetheless, as I began to sift through my iTunes library I noticed that much of music had something in common … Philly music was dominating.

2017 was a tremendous year for bands like The War on Drugs who continued their ascent as a modern day rock and roll pillar with A Deeper Understanding.  Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks dominated my stereo early in the year with the muscular, yet emotionally charged Hard LoveSheer Mag’s Need To Feel Your Love is as brazen a debut as we’ve heard in years.  And Waxahatchee’s Out of the Storm tops my overall Album of the Year list.  Katie Crutchfield produced a flawless collection of indie rock that see’s her making good on her massive potential. Continue reading →

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New Music Show Preview w/ Radiohead, Waxahatchee & more!

Radiohead-photo-Alex-Lake
Radiohead-photo-Alex-Lake

Our New Music Show returns after the Memorial Day holiday, and we’ve got some catching up to do.  Of course, Dan Auerbach just released Waiting on A Song so we’ll dip into that album.  Plus, we represent Philly with new music from The Districts, Waxahatchee (read below), and a super cool collaboration between trumpeter Matt Cappy and rapper Chill Moody.  Also, another song from Offa Rex (The Decemberists and Olivia Chaney) with Colin Meloy on lead.  And we’ll give you a preview of another tune from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit’s new album.  Whew! We’ll hear all that and a lot more tonight starting at 8pm!

Continue reading →

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Marah is celebrating the vinyl reissue of Kids in Philly with its “classic” lineup

Marah's Kids in Philly
Marah’s Kids in Philly

Legendary Philly alt-country rockers Marah are coming to Underground Arts on October 17, and they’re bringing back the lineup that recorded their breakout album, Kids in Philly.

Marah have gone through many, many lineup changes throughout the years. If you missed your chance to see this stellar lineup back in the early 2000s, you’re in luck. Frontman David Bielanko will be joined by his brother, Serge Bielanko, along with Christine Smith, Adam Garbinksi, Dave Petersen, and Mark Sosnoskie, and special guests Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner and Matt Cappy + horns. Continue reading →