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Watch Icelandic folk singer Asgeir play a haunting Nirvana cover (and more) at Non-COMM

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Icelandic singer Asgeir gave a haunting performance at Non-COMM. Accompanied by a second guitarist, he played an acoustic cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” with shaky vocals that added an ominous feel to the already chilling track. The young artist played songs off his sophomore album In the Silence, including the stunningly-beautiful single “King and Cross.” The single with folk roots had a very mellow and melodic feel that created a serene environment. Check out the two songs below and listen to the entire set here.

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Watch an energized Afghan Whigs played a dark and heavy set at Non-COMM

The Afghan Whigs | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
The Afghan Whigs | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Shadowed in blackness, The Afghan Whigs brought a darker side to the World Cafe Live stage at Non-COMM. The band performed “Fountain and Fairfax” from its 1993 LP Gentlemen, pushed forward by Greg Dulli’s vocals and his dramatic pitch changes, while “Parked Outside” from the new Do to the Beast had a more consistent and steady beat that focused more on the band’s dynamic sound as a whole. The garage and punk rock influences that the Whigs are known for came out in both songs and even after a sixteen-year hiatus, they showed showed it is still a major player. Check out the two songs below and listen to the entire set here.

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After a stellar Non-COMM performance, Hozier announces a show at The Trocadero on November 1

Hozier | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Hozier | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Just days after he played his Philadelphia debut at WXPN’s Non-COMM, singer-songwriter Hozier returns to Philly on Saturday, November 1st at The Trocadero. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 21st at 10AM.

On October 26th, 2013, Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” got its first play on WXPN and since then, he’s captivated the hearts (and ears) of XPN listeners. An Artist To Watch in April, and a featured Gotta Hear Song of The Week last November 2013, “Church’s” extremely powerful sound, anchored by Hozier’s confident vocals, the song’s gospel flair, a tuneful piano line, and reflective lyric struck an immediate chord with music fans. With two EP’s, Take Me To Church and From Eden, Hozier debut full length is scheduled for released later this year.

Listen here to his Non-COMM set last last week. Watch his performance of “Take Me To Church” below. More information about Hozier’s show at The Trocadero here.

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Watch the uber-confident The Hold Steady rock Non-COMM with “Sequestered in Memphis” and “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”

The Hold Steady | Photo by John Vettese
The Hold Steady | Photo by John Vettese

The Hold Steady had no problem keeping the energy up at this year’s NonCOMM. With its engaging and confident stage presence, it was obvious this isn’t the band’s first time performing for a crowd. Frontman Craig Finn’s passion for his music came through in the band’s performance of “Sequestered in Memphis.” With his goofy, yet charming, dance moves, Finn helped to connect The Hold Steady with the crowd and break down the wall between the stage and the floor. The band played a throwback with fan favorite “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” from its 2005 LP Separation Sunday — reviving its punk roots. Check out the band performing these two songs below and listen to the entire set here. The Hold Steady joins us this summer for the XPoNential Music Festival; tickets and information are available here.

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Non-COMM Recap: A fierce set from countrified Columbus rocker Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless | photo by John Vettese

Columbus Ohio singer and songwriter Lydia Loveless showcased music from her new LP Somewhere Else for the Non-COMM crowd on Friday night. A blend of country music sounds and fierce rock and roll attitude, the stylish Loveless and her four backing musicians easily won over the room. Check out photos from the set below and listen back in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player). Somewhere Else is out now on Bloodshot Records.

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Non-COMM Recap: Hurray for the Riff Raff brings southern folk fun to the downstairs stage

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Cameron Pollack

New Orleans-based roots group Hurray for the Riff Raff showed off their winning blend of southern folk, bluegrass and rock and roll on the last night of NonCOMM. Frontwoman Alynda Lee Segarra started the show out with a solo performance of “The New SF Bay Blues” and brought the full band up for a lively set punctuated by their single “I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Allright)” and wrapping with the clever number called “Fiddlesticks.” Most of the band exited so fiddle player Yosi Pearlstein could play center stage while Segarra sang and tapped the neck of the fiddle with two small sticks; it created an very unique melodic / percussive effect that brought the performance to a short and sweet close. Check out photos from the set below and listen to the performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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Non-COMM Recap: Strand of Oaks slayed with their set on the NPR Music stage

Strand of Oaks | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Strand of Oaks | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Philadelphia’s Strand of Oaks kicked off the final night of Non-COMM with a powerful performance on the NPR Music Stage. They showcased four tracks from their forthcoming HEAL, including the winning single “Goshen 97″ and the smouldering epic “J.M.”, a tribute to the late Jason Molina where frontman Tim Showalter positively shredded on his guitar, Crazy Horse style. Check out photos below and listen to the set in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player). HEAL comes out on Dead Oceans Records on June 24th.

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Non-COMM Recap: Nicole Atkins turned on the glam downstairs

Nicole Atkins | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Nicole Atkins | Photo by Cameron Pollack

New Jersey native Nicole Atkins performed songs from her latest LP Slow Phaser, commanding the stage in a floor length black cape / gown ensemble with gold sequins and landing somewhere between Grace Slick and Florence Welch.  Atkins’ new material explores the depths of disco through alternating gothic, pop and psychedelic angles, a large step away from her earlier, folkier sound.  The crowd was happy to sing along with the chorus to “Cool People,” and danced right along with Atkins during the feel-good “Girl You Look Amazing,” two songs that hit at the core message of Slow Phaser both sonically and lyrically.  Check out photos below and listen to the set in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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Non-COMM Recap: Parquet Courts played new songs to a packed crowd upstairs

 

Parquet Courts | photo by John Vettese
Parquet Courts | photo by John Vettese

Brooklyn outfit Parquet Courts hit ground running on the upstairs stage, blowing through six songs from their forthcoming LP Sunbathing Animal.  The full-length will be the band’s third in as many years, and that limitless energy and enthusiasm for their music shows itself on stage as well.  The packed crowd erupted after each song, responding to the mile-a-minute lyrics and sometimes-playful guitar melodies.  With their final song, “She’s Rollin,” Parquet Courts’ signature garage punk was stretched to its feedback-laden limits as the band settled into several minutes of jamming, joined by a harmonica player. Check out photos of the set below and listen to audio in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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Non-COMM Recap: A transfixing set by electronica heavyweight Chet Faker

Photo by Cameron Pollack
Photo by Cameron Pollack

Australian electronica overlord Chet Faker kicked off NonComm Day 3 with an incredible set, filled with loop pedals, synth pads, and drum machines galore. Heavily influenced by jazz greats including Chet Baker, leading to his eventual name change, Chet Faker’s set was filled with jazz-influenced vocals, and syncopated drum beats. A highlight of the set was “Cigarettes and Chocolate,” an instrumental track which starts out with one single voice descending in a major scale, building in minimalist percussion, and eventually becomes driven by syncopated guitar and processed vocals.

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