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No Stranger wrestles with spirituality on “Cornerstone” off new LP In Tangible Company

No Stranger | photo by Connor Feimster | courtesy of the artist

Jonathan Cooney is joined by a full band for the first time on his long-running No Stranger project, and their latest LP In Tangible Company is due later this summer. In the meantime, the EP’s single “Cornerstone” is here and waiting. The synthetic-acoustic track tells a story of nostalgia and present-tense removals from the past. In order to make Cooney’s transition from solo artist to full band easier, he enlisted the help of co-producer Lifted Bells’ Matthew Frank in Chicago. By alleviating some of the technical responsibilities, Cooney was able to channel his spiritual anxieties into something that can only be described as “baroque emo.”

“Cornerstone” our first peek at Cooney’s next step from playing as an artist of one to integrating more intricate and powerful forces into the project as a whole. It’s a beautiful song. The vocals are smooth and flowing and the guitar never seems to stop. This track could be played on a continuous loop and I wouldn’t complain. I’m really excited for this EP, if the rest of it sounds anything like the single. Cooney definitely stuck to his roots on this one, considering he began back in 2012 with just a guitar, and the string work on “Cornerstone” is elegant. Continue reading →

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No Stranger explores life and regret on his introspective EP Haste

No Stranger | Photo by Emily Dubin
No Stranger | Photo by Emily Dubin | thedubyscoop.com | via facebook.com/nostrangermusic

Haste is the title of Jonathan Cooney’s new EP, and it’s an appropriate name. The fleeting two-track EP was recorded over the span of two days with Cooney, who records under the stage name No Stranger, and his friend Sam Berry.

The result is an EP that is shockingly cohesive and alluring, given how little time was put into it. Cooney’s crisp, emotive vocals are reminiscent of early 2000s emo, while his quietly prolific acoustic guitar approaches the somber, introspective moods of Elliott Smith and Carrie & Lowell-era Sufjan Stevens. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: No Stranger at Kung Fu Necktie, Sam Smith at Liacouras Center

No Stranger | Photo by John Vettese
No Stranger | Photo by John Vettese

Jonathan Cooney’s solo songwriting project No Stranger headlines Kung Fu Necktie tonight. A mix of contemplative acoustic guitar, ethereal electric guitar and introspective lyrics, No Stranger recalls Jonah Matranga’s Onelinedrawing and The Weakerthans in its emotive reflections on life, faith and humanity. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: No Stranger

I first caught Jonathan Cooney onstage in the basement of the First Unitarian Church in the spring, performing a set as No Stranger at one of music / education nonprofit The Quarterly’s fundraising showcases. It seemed, in a peculiar way, like I’d been transported to a Church show some ten or fifteen years earlier. Cooney’s style – intricate, acrobatic guitar playing with soaring and emotive vocals – is firmly rooted in the emo / acoustic era of the early thousands, stuff like Jonah Matranga, The Weakerthans, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes and so on. It’s bittersweet, sensitive, contemplative and totally engaging. Continue reading →

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The Quarterly Project announces next charity compilation and benefit concert featuring Commonwealth Choir, No Stranger and more

Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Ryan Boswell RBCameraWorks.com
Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Ryan Boswell RBCameraWorks.com
Local music education advocates The Quarterly Project have announced their third benefit concert and bazaar, taking place at the First Unitarian Church on February 28th.

Founded last summer by Philadelphia musician Brian Walker, the organization has released three charity compilations in addition to curating benefit events to support Rock to the Future. February’s show will come a few days after the release of the next compilation, which features 25 local musicians and will be available on February 18th through The Quarterly Project’s Bandcamp.

Contributing artists Commonwealth Choir, Like Crazy, No Stranger, Modern Colour and Christopher Davis-Shannon will also perform at the benefit.  More information for the event can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Learn more about The Quarterly Project below, followed by a track from Commonwealth Choir’s recent Key Studio Session.

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Small Black gets all Missed Connections in their “No Stranger” video (playing a free show at Morgan’s Pier on 6/26)

small black

In the rambunctious new video for Small Black‘s “No Stranger,” a glance shared by two strangers on a train sparks a fantasy that has the pair partaking in some “wanton destruction and debauchery” after road-tripping to a lake. It might remind you of this Rhye video…almost shot-for-shot at some points (a pastoral car ride, a concluding bonfire). The narrative this time tells a classic case of missed connections fit for a Craigslist post – an immediate attraction, the lack of time to act on it followed by the indulgent wondering of “what if.”

“No Stranger” comes from the Brooklyn electronic dream pop outfit’s sophomore record Limits of Desire LP, recently released through Jagjaguwar.  Small Black will play a free show at Morgan’s Pier with Heavenly Beat on June 26th.  More information can be found here.

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Just Announced: Phoebe Bridgers brings Stranger in the Alps to World Cafe Live in February

Phoebe Bridgers | Photo by Frank Ockenfels | via Dead Oceans

Los Angeles based alt-folk artist Phoebe Bridgers released her debut full-length Stranger in the Alps to wide acclaim earlier this fall. The single “Motion Sickness” was named XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week in August. Bridgers will bring the sounds of the new album to Philly on February 21, 2018 for a headlining show at World Cafe Live. Continue reading →

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Watch Xenia Rubinos dance up on some strangers in the video for her vibrant new single “L.O.V.E”

Xenia Rubinos | Photo by Shervin Lainez

If you come across something more unequivocally positive than this new Xenia Rubinos single by the time Sunday rolls around, you are having a very good week. “L.O.V.E.” is the latest from the Brooklyn singer/songwriter, and it’s as vibrant, funky, and soulful as you’d expect. With its heartwarming new video, which sees Rubinos dancing with people all over New York, she positions the track as a joyful extension of the olive branch in the face of prejudice, anger, and hate. Stream the track below. Continue reading →