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Powerful, Poignant, Fun: Open City celebrates City of Ash this weekend

Open City | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of Get Better Records
Open City | photo by Scott Troyan | scotttroyan.com | courtesy of Get Better Records

How much can you pack into just two songs? If you’re Open City, the answer is a ton. The hardcore quartet’s new 7” record City of Ash is seven minutes of incredibly powerful, poignant, and fun music. You might not consider ‘fun’ as being an important quality when it comes to purposely political art, but nobody wants to listen to something that is dull, even if it does share their ideals. Think of it as a ‘the medium is the message’ sort of thing. City of Ash is anything but dull. Continue reading →

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Meet Open City: Philly punk scene vets raging with abandon

Open City | photo courtesy of the artist
Open City | photo courtesy of the artist

Long running members of the Philadelphia hardcore punk scene got together this year to make new music under the Open City banner; the album, self-released today, is a fierce kick of energized outrage, deftly delivered by a crew with decades of experience under their belt.

Rachel Rubino of Bridge & Tunnel and Worriers fronts the band with gut-wrenching vocals and incisive lyrics; Andy Nelson and Dan Yemin from Paint it Black (and various others) play bass and guitar respectively, with Yemin on guitar for the first time since his Kid Dynamite days; pounding out the rhythms is Chris Wilson of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and HOUND. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Freelance Whales to The Abbey Bar, Dave Hause opening for Flogging Molly at The Electric Factory, XPN Welcomes The Stray Birds to World Cafe Live, Sour Mash at City Tap House

Brooklyn indie kids Freelance Whales head out to Harrisburg for a show at The Abbey Bar tonight.  The quintet followed up their 2009 debut with Diluvia last year.  The sophomore effort sees Freelance Whales expanding their sound and their narrative with more intricate arrangements and a complex sci-fi concept running through the tracks.  What hasn’t changed with the new release is the band’s accessible and appealing indie pop sound that got the buzz started in 2009.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Hundred Waters can be found here.  Below, watch the video for “Spitting Image.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hop Along and Kite Party at The Fire, RNDM at Union Transfer, Now Now Opening for Motion City Soundtrack at TLA, Milk Carton Kids at Tin Angel


Hop Along and Kite Party will be performing tonight at The Fire. Hop Along released their debut full-length album Get Disowned earlier this year in May, while fellow local band Kite Party have the entirety of their first album Hand Claps Music available as a free download here. The all ages show tonight starts at 6:30; tickets are available here. Below, watch Kite Party performing “Buried in Dogs.”

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Just Announced: Cold Fronts and City Rain opening for Vacationer at Underground Arts

Photo by Kirk Love | kirklove.tumblr.com

We love to see a musical pairing that’s working this well. Electro-pop outfit City Rain and swaggery rockers Cold Fronts first shared the stage at PhilaMOCA in August. Since then, they’ve opened the Work Drugs Endless Summer Kickoff at Johnny Brenda’s last weekend, and now they’ve both been added as openers on the September 28 Vacationer show at Underground Arts. Tickets to the 21+ show are available here; below, check out Cold Fronts’ video for “Blood.”

Cold Fronts – Blood from think/feel on Vimeo.

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MilkBoy Coffee’s Center City location opened this week, live shows start next month (including plenty of local acts)

MilkBoy Coffee’s third location opened earlier this week at 1100 Chestnut Street. The coffee shop, bar, and music venue joins the franchise’s two Main Line locations in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr. Like its sister sites, MilkBoy Philly will serve coffee as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, with many vegetarian options available. The Center City spot is the first to hold a liquor license, and will feature a full bar on each of its two floors. The top floor will feature a 200-person standing room 21+ music venue, for which eight shows have already been announced. One highlight is sure to include a September 29th show with local Eastern European brass band-inspired collective West Philadelphia Orchestra and recent 2nd Street Festival performers, Philly band The Great Unknown. Other local acts with scheduled shows include Gang, Black Landlord, Meeting in the Aisle, and Man Like Machine.

Ticket prices for the concerts are cheap, ranging from $8 – $13.50, so be sure to check out the new venue and support some local music while you’re at it.

Preliminary MilkBoy Philly show calendar:

9/17: Gang w/ Hank & Cupcakes and Pink Skull
9/21: Jim Ward
9/24: Black Landlord
9/28: We Are Augustines
9/29: West Philadelphia Orchestra w/ The Great Unknown
9/30: Meeting in the Aisle (Radiohead Tribute Band) w/ Man Like Machine
10/6: Toubab Krewe w/ Gongo Junction
10/20: Lisa Hannigan

MilkBoy Philly is located at 1100 Chestnut Street. Its hours of operation are from 6am – 11pm. Tickets to all upcoming shows can be found here.

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Arcade Fire celebrates the audacity of love in the animated new music video for “Chemistry”

Arcade Fire’s “Chemistry” video | still from video

Watching Arcade Fire’s music video for “Chemistry” feels like indulging in Saturday morning cartoons over a bowl of sugary cereal— to enjoy it, you have to revert back to an adolescent mindset. Directed by Ray Tintori and animated by Starburns Industries (the people behind Rick And Morty), this is a vibrant and endearing endeavor.

The story follows a typical underdog-gets-the-girl plotline (literally). Continue reading →

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Open Sound Concert Series brings Radiator Hospital, The Goodbye Party, Strawberry Runners and more to Lansdowne

Strawberry Runners | photo by Scott McCormick | courtesy of the artist

Just six miles west of Center City lies the small borough of Lansdowne, PA, and with its proximity to city things minus the steep city rent prices, the town is turning into a small hub for art and music. That trend will continue this summer with the Open Sound Concert Series — a free bi-weekly outdoor concert series at the Lansdowne Landing park and community space featuring some of the area’s best artists. Continue reading →

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Bruce Springsteen will perform at the grand reopening of beloved Jersey venue Asbury Lanes

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | deltufophotography.com
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | deltufophotography.com

On June 18th, the city of Asbury Park will celebrate the grand renovation of its famed Asbury Lanes with a night of live music…and of course Jersey native Bruce Springsteen will be featured in the lineup.

A bowling alley and bar that became a beloved spot to catch punk shows in the Garden State, Asbury Lanes is now officially outfitted as a new music venue, and the celebration (which also features Portugal. The Man) will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County. Asbury Lanes has been officially open since Memorial Day Weekend. Continue reading →