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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tinariwen at Union Transfer, Oddisee at TLA, John Patitucci & Daedalus Quartet at World Cafe Live, and more

Tinariwen | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Grammy-award winning Tuareg group Tinariwen will bring their sweeping sounds of the Sahara to Union Transfer tonight. The Malian rockers recently released their album, Elwan, which features contributions from Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes, and Matt Sweeney. Find more info on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and take a trip to a rock show in the desert by watching the video for “Sastanàqqàm” below. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Tinariwen and Dengue Fever will join forces at Union Transfer this April

Tinariwen | via the band's Facebook page
Tinariwen | via the band’s Facebook page

Early next year, Tuareg folk rockers Tinariwen will release their seventh album, Elwan, which features contributions from Matt Sweeney, Mark Lanegan, and Philly’s own Kurt Vile, to name a few. You can check out the gorgeous new video for “Ténéré Tàqqàl” below, and this coming April 18th, you catch the band live when they roll through Union Transfer. They’ll be joined by the also fantastic Dengue Fever, a band whose music is significantly more pleasant than the mosquito-borne illness for which its named. Continue reading →

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“My F’in Night at the Opera”: Iggy Pop channels the spirit of ’77 at the Academy of Music

Iggy Pop | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN | wendymccardle.com
Iggy Pop | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN | wendymccardle.com

This story begins on March 19, 1977. It’s the day after the release of Iggy Pop‘s solo debut, The Idiot, and he’s performing at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia with his collaborator and producer, David Bowie. Also in attendance is my concert connoisseur / photographer mother, Nancy. She has brought her camera, hoping to catch photos of Bowie but unwittingly bearing witness to a musical partnership that would connect Iggy Pop to another musical brethren decades later.

Fast forward forty years – I’m standing in front of the Academy of Music, waiting for my turn to photograph Iggy Pop. Continue reading →

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The 7 best things I saw at SXSW

Jack Garratt | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
Jack Garratt | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

As with the past twenty plus SXSW music festivals I’ve attended, coordinating seeing all the bands I’ve want to see each year I go is a function of timing and serendipity. And it’s nearly impossible to see everything I have on my wish list. At any time, there are both official and unofficial showcases all around the city, and there are literally hundreds of them. SXSW is a sprawling, crowded event where you can see a random band rocking out in a vacant parking lot, or see an emerging buzz band, or if you’re willing to wait in a long line to get into the Spotify house, or the Pandora stage or the Hype Hotel, you might be able to see some big name rock bands or rappers along with bands your industry friends have declared the next big thing. It can get very complex very quickly.

Going into SXSW this year I had a list of 23 artists I wanted to see, and given I was at the festival for less time than usual, I knew a list of that size was over reaching. I managed to see about a dozen shows over the three days I was in Austin. Here’s some of the best things I saw. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) w/ new album/tour, Doors’ film “Feast of Friends” finally out, and how to get rid of U2’s “Songs of Innocence” from your iTunes

via consequenceofsound.net
via consequenceofsound.net

Yusuf Islam, who attracted millions of fans when he was known as Cat Stevens is releasing a new album called “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone” on October 27 and also doing his first tour in 25 years. Find out some of the guest artists & listen to the new song “Dying to Live” Continue reading →

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Dean Ween featured on new episode of Guitar Moves

dean-ween-fishing

A new episode of the web-show Guitar Moves has been released, and features Matt Sweeney talking to Dean Ween, co-founder of “avant-stoner royalty act” Ween, in Dean’s shack in New Hope, PA. While Ween may have been a band founded on the grounds of being somewhat of an inside joke, and merely a way to stir things up within the alternative world of music, there’s no denying the fact that Dean himself can really shred, as made further evident by his appearance on Guitar Moves. Check out the video below.

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PREMIERE: The Morelings return with dreamlike new single “We Were”

The Morelings | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist

Psychedelic dream-pop duo The Morelings seem like such an integral part of the Philly circuit that it’s hard to believe it’s been about three years since they first appeared on the scene. They first emerged in late 2014, recording and releasing debut EP No Sign shortly after. Since then the ethereal shoegaze-y project, founded by co-writers and performers Kedra Caroline and Matthew William and now performing live as a five-piece band, has gone on to build their music around a solid and captivating dreamy aesthetic, lodging themselves firmly into the hearts of their fans. Continue reading →

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Step back in time with Christopher Davis-Shannon’s video for “Daffodil”

christopher davis-shannon
Christopher Davis-Shannon | photo courtesy of the artist

I’m almost convinced that Christopher Davis-Shannon is truly from the 1930s, and accidentally stepped through a time machine to today. If that is the case, Mr. Davis-Shannon, I sincerely apologize for the hoopla of a world that you have stumbled into. But I also thank you for bringing a grooving splash of steady, rocking tunes with you. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Madalean Gauze returns in the stylish rager “The Fire”

Madalean Gauze | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist
Madalean Gauze and band | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist

Philly singer songwriter Madalean Gauze has always made art on her own terms.

This goes back to the gripping storm of her debut American War — which was, all things considered, was released quietly amid hazy mystery four years ago. Her 2015 follow-up, Sing, was recorded, scrapped and rerecorded until she knew she had it right. Gauze and her band gigged in support of the record into early 2016, and then she went off the grid somewhat, popping up in late autumn to play a few gigs as a member of Candice Martello’s new band Dreamswell.

But we are happy to report today that Madalean Gauze returns this summer with her latest EP, Cool and Fun — and you can watch the music video for its heavy rocking first single, “The Fire,” below. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Spelling Reform meet strange characters in “Tuscaloosa” video

spelling reform
Spelling Reform | photo by Jonathan Brown | courtesy of the artist

Late last year local indie rockers Spelling Reform gave us a stand-out debut LP in No One’s Ever Changed, a record that The Key’s Chad Snyder tagged “optimistic bummer rock for the teenage soul” thanks to its relatable theme of trying to be your best self. “Tuscaloosa” is the third single Dan Wisniewski and co. are highlighting, and today we have the premiere of its Bob Sweeney-directed video.

Continue reading →