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Free at Noon Flashback: Mt. Joy brings a dose of folk rock charm to World Cafe Live

Mt. Joy performs live at World Cafe Live for WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert | Photo by Rich McKie / WXPN

Mt. Joy has quickly become a favorite among the XPN universe this year — after being featured as January’s Artist to Watch, the band released their debut album and soon returned to play NonComm and this year’s XPoNential festival. Tonight they’re back in town for a proper headlining gig, and this afternoon they treated us to a preview in the form of an energy-filled Free at Noon performance.

But if you think the up-and-coming band is getting sick of Philly by now, that’s not the case. Every visit back to the city is a homecoming for the band, whose members are originally from the area. (They draw the name Mt. Joy not from the Lancaster Co. borough, but from the mountain in Valley Forge.) And Philly’s certainly not getting sick of them, if today’s enthusiastic audience was any indication. Also, they have a song about painting a school bus green and tailgating at Eagles games, so if that doesn’t earn them Philadelphians’ love and admiration I’m not sure what would. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Mt. Joy is a Silver Lining among other Marina Stage performances

Mt. Joy | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

L.A.-via-Philly up-and-comers Mt. Joy played the second slot on the Marina Stage for the last day of XPN Fest, and their set was vibey and wild and enigmatic. It was all over the board in the best way. These guys are sort of chameleon rockers – each song is so different from the last, but still fits in the pocket of indie soul folk if you had to categorize their sound. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Mt. Joy adds a heavy dose of vibe to its poppy, non-sequitur Americana

Mt. Joy | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

West Coast modern rockers Mt. Joy are best known for their easygoing tunes rooted in 70s folk and Americana. So seeing the band open their NonCOMM set bathed in deep blue and purple lights to a dramatic swell of atmospheric synthesizers and a spectral, tremolo-plucked ukulele was a minor curveball. Were we inexplicably transported to this time last year when Lo Moon brought their voluminous take on 80s keyboard gloss to the public radio masses on the very same stage?

Nah, never fear. As it turned out, Mt. Joy is still very much Mt. Joy, and as the live rendition of “Dirty Love” gave way to “Jenny Jenkins” and its various Lumineers-isms — a chanty wordless chorus, a foot-tapping beat, a plaintive vocal melody — it is clear that, to whatever extent this band embraces vibe, it’s rooted in pop first and foremost. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Chill Moody at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Mt. Joy at Johnny Brenda’s, Secret Nudist Friends at Bourbon and Branch

Chill Moody | photo by Reji B. | courtesy of the artist | www.rejibphotography.com
Chill Moody | photo by Reji B. | courtesy of the artist | www.rejibphotography.com

Penn’s Landing is the place to be on Thursday nights – Spruce Street Harbor Park presents local artists for a free summer concert series in its awesome waterfront space, and tonight is one not to miss. Hip hop sensation Chill Moody will perform with The Bul Bey, and it is sure to be an evening of chill and breezy summer vibes. For more information, click here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band at Johnny Brenda’s

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

It’s easy to imagine Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band sitting around the living room and having a serious band talk after a particularly rough practice. After all, tensions rise in any band sooner or later, at which point a little cooling off and airing of grievances is probably a good idea for everyone involved. But this Seattle quartet is a special case: It’s an almost-all-in-the-family band composed of guitarist Benjamin Verdoes, his wife, keyboardist Traci Eggleston, and Verdoes’ adopted little brother, 15-year-old drummer Marshall. (Oh, right, we said quartet: pity poor bassist Jared Price, the only one who isn’t part of the family—and who has probably had to play peacemaker on more than one occasion.) We’re sure all is fine and dandy in the Verdoes/Eggleston household, but there’s something about the band’s latest album—Where The Messengers Meet (released last month on Dead Oceans)—that troubles us. Maybe it’s the gloomy line in the press release that states, “The recording of Where The Messengers Meet was a patient process, conducted over eight months, in part during Seattle’s darkest and rainiest time of year.” Or perhaps it’s just that, compared to the band’s poppy, 2009 self-titled debut, Messengers seems like kind of a joyless (but no less accomplished) affair. Here’s to hoping there are no family spats on stage when Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band opens for The Boxer Rebellion and Amusement Parks On Fire at 8:30 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10-$12.

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Your top 50 XPN songs of 2018

Brandi Carlile | photo by Alysse Gafkjen | courtesy of artist
Brandi Carlile | photo by Alysse Gafkjen | courtesy of 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. After tallying up the numbers and playing back the jams, we are delighted to bring you a recap of your top 50 XPN songs of 2018.

Continue reading →

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Listen to XPN’s 25 most-played songs of 2018

Death Cab for Cutie | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Leon Bridges | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN // Natalie Prass | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN

Beginning at noon today, WXPN will count down its listener-voted top 50 best songs of the year…but before we get to that, let’s take a look at the station’s most played songs of the year.

The programming staff crunched the numbers and came up with 25 artists that were in the mix the most this year; XPNFest vets (David Byrne, Natalie Prass, Courtney Marie Andrews), Philly favorites (The War on Drugs, Dr. Dog), and generally awesome artists (Courtney Barnett, Leon Bridges, Neko Case, Caroline Rose). Take a listen below, and tune in for the top 50 beginning at noon. Continue reading →

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Weezer takes on the extravagant Met Philly with a nonstop hit-parade

Weezer | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

On Wednesday night, Los Angeles rockers Weezer landed on North Broad Street to perform at the newly opened Met Philly. The four-piece group dropped in on tour in advance of their upcoming album, the black album coming in March 2019.

Weezer has always been the band in the back of your mind that you think of as an eclectic cornucopia of genres — rock ’n roll, surf rock, alternative, pop, but always leaning on the indie rocker vibes. Their songs have resonated with so many since the mid ’90’s self-titled (blue) album came out. Many of those classics were also played in the grand room at The Met. Already a unique venue to see a “legacy alternative rock” band, and having just held its opening night concert with Bob Dylan the week before, it was actually the perfect space for this performance. Because many Weezer fans have been intimately listening to the band since they were teenagers, the large-scale, extravagant venue felt like a better fit than a Frankford Hall or Fillmore. Continue reading →

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Just released: Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44


Hot off the presses, Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44 is available now for a donation. The 17 song collection includes Cafe performances from Brandi Carlile, Margo Price, Moby, Natalie Prass, Mt. Joy, Nathaniel Ratefliff and the Night Sweats and many more.

You can get a copy of the new collection of World Cafe tracks by donating here. Check out the full track list below.

Live at the World Cafe, Volume 44

1. Brandi Carlile “The Joke”
2. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “A Little Honey”
3. Margo Price “Heart Of America”
4. Natalie Prass “Short Court Style”
5. Mt. Joy “Silver Lining”
6. Lo Moon “Loveless”
7. First Aid Kit “You Are The Problem Here”
8. Lake Street Dive “Musta Been Something”
9. Blind Boys Of Alabama “I Can See”
10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Holy Mountain”
11. Sunflower Bean “I Was A Fool”
12. Moby “The Sorrow Tree”
13. Courtney Marie Andrews “Kindness Of Strangers”
14. Darlingside “Eschaton”
15. Lizz Wright “Singing In My Soul”
16. Sunny War “If It Wasn’t Broken”
17. Jen Cloher “Analysis Paralysis”

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Petal covers Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky” for Devinyl Splits

Petal
Petal | photo by Katie Krulock | courtesy of the artist

Petal has been showcasing her songwriting recently with release of her new album Magic Gone, but her latest project takes her fully into cover song territory. Kiley Lotz has teamed up with Brooklyn songwriter Kevin Devine for the latest in his Devinyl Splits series, which periodically releases 7″ splits featuring songs by Devine and different guest artists.

Petal’s half of the split is a rendition of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “You Got Lucky,” the lead single from their album Long After Dark. Minus the psychedelic synths of the 1982 original, Petal’s version takes the song in a new direction that is both heavy and sparse at the same time, with toned-down acoustic guitar and Lotz’s emotion-filled powerhouse vocals at the forefront. Continue reading →