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Mondo Cozmo finds its calling at Union Transfer

Mondo Cozmo | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

After bouncing around in a few bands earlier in life, including Laguardia and Eastern Conference Champions, Bucks County native Josh Ostrander finally found his calling with Mondo Cozmo in 2015 where he and his band began to pick up steam with the first single, “Shine.” Eventually, one great song would eventually turn into ten when the band released its debut album, Plastic Soul, early last month while the band was on tour playing Lollapalooza in Chicago.

All of the songs off this album were performed last night at a homecoming show at Union Transfer with a few extra covers to boot: The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mondo Cozmo at Union Transfer, Jake Clemons at World Cafe Live

Mondo Cozmo | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Mondo Cozmo have been one of our new favorite bands for quite some time now, and after memorable performances at NonCOMM and Firefly in recent months, we’re happy to welcome them back for a headlining gig at Union Transfer. The project of Joshua Ostrander, the LA-via-Philly rockers are sure to bring a heavy dose of their signature energy. Mondo Cozmo is touring in support of debut album Plastic Soul, released in August. Opening acts Flagship and Illinois are worth arriving early to catch. Watch Mondo Cozmo’s video for “Automatic.” Continue reading →

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Firefly on the Fly, Day Three: Chance the Rapper, Bob Dylan, Mondo Cozmo, Kesha, Bishop Briggs, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more

Chance The Rapper | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photos by John Vettese

Day Three of the Firefly Music Festival brought out superstar performances from Bob Dylan, Chance The Rapper, and The Weeknd, but it also brought out some of Philly’s finest including Mondo Cozmo, Chill Moody, Hardwork Movement, Vita and the Woolf, and a DJ set from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some great sets by Bishop Briggs, Sunflower Bean, and Kesha. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Mondo Cozmo shine with hits and tributes

Mondo Cozmo | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

At last year’s NonCOMM Music Meeting, Songline’s Sean Coakley played a new track that turned out to be “Hold On To Me” by Mondo Cozmo — the west coast band of Bucks County native Josh Ostrander. It was well received by the usually critical crowd, with XPN Morning Show host Kristen Kurtis declaring Cozmo one of her favorite bands. A year and many radio plays later, Ostrander and his five bandmates filled the downstairs stage at World Cafe Live with an intoxicating string of rock songs.

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Your top 50 XPN songs of 2017

 

The War on Drugs | photo courtesy of the artist
The War on Drugs | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, WXPN’s listener-voted best songs of 2017.

We played songs, you listened. You voted, we listened. Today, after tallying up the numbers and playing back the jams, we are delighted to bring you Your top 50 XPN songs of 2017.

You’ll notice a lot of recurring themes, whether it be the mission statement of Strand of Oaks — “play it, play it loud on the radio” — or multiple cuts from epic space rockers Lo Moon, who made a galvanizing introduction this year; art popster St. Vincent, who won over the masses with the daring MASSEDUCTION; disco infultrators LCD Soundsystem, who returned from retirement in top form; or Philly’s The War on Drugs, whose major label debut is their strongest and most confident artistic statement to date.

A Deeper Understanding was a massive winner in our listening community, and you voted four of the album’s ten songs in to the overall top 50 list. Revisit the ranking below, or scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to the entire package in one handy dandy Spotify playlist. And whatever you wind up doing tonight, have a safe and happy New Year. We can’t wait to discover more music with you in 2018. Continue reading →

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Listen to XPN’s 25 most-played songs of 2017

Spoon | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN // Tash Sultana | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN // Chicano Batman | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

As the year draws to a close, the WXPN programming staff crunched the numbers on its playlist to determine the songs that filled its airwaves the most. The resulting top 25, which you can check out below, is a nice snapshot of what the station is all about: singer-songwriters and indie rock, psychedelia and Americana, a little bit of jazz and modern rock, fresh faces and industry vets alike.

There’s a bit of bias towards the stuff that’s been out there longer, of course; tracks by glam rocking Austinites Sweet Spirit and experimental Australian guitarist Tash Sultana, which were first played last winter, rank higher than, say, The War on Drugs, or Phoebe Bridgers, who have only been in the mix since late summer.

Whatever the case, though, these are 25 fantastic songs that are absolutely worth taking out for another spin. We’re interested to see how many of them will appear again in the listener-voted Top 50, which broadcasts on WXPN on New Year’s Eve afternoon. Continue reading →

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25 Random Points from this year’s XPoNential Music Festival

XPoNential Music Festival | photo by Joe Del Tufo | deltufophotography.com

There are a lot of die-hards every year at XPoNential, but this year, one face in the crowd definitely stood out to those of us working backstage. Reuben Frank, who many of you might know from his reporting on the Philadelphia Eagles for Comcast SportsNet and WIP, as well as occasionally writing about music in Magnet Magacine. One of his claims to fame is his 25 Random Points column on CSN Philly, and we asked him to reprise that here on The Key, collecting things he heard and saw and thought about during #XPNFest. Continue reading →

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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 →

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Firefly Guide 2017: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As any committed concert-goer will tell you, the best music you’ll find at summer festivals is often the stuff you come across far from the maddening crowd. Sets stumbled upon by chance when you’re looking for a spot to stretch out in the shade; artists you’ve never heard of who bowl you over as you’re waiting to catch one of the headliners; a DJ playing on a campground stage in the middle of the night or a band in the same spot come early afternoon.

Delaware’s annual Firefly Music Festival kicks off this Thursday afternoon; as we have said in the past, it is one of the most positive festivalgoing experiences of its scale. The headliners are massive, but quality; the crowds are packed, but comfortable; you’re essentially holed up in a ginormous camp-out for the weekend, but it doesn’t feel like you’re being gouged for cash. It’s a fan-friendly experience, and that extends to the fans who are down for discovering new music, seeing new performers for the first time.

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