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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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City Winery is coming to Philadelphia

Suzanne Vega at City Winery New York | via facebook.com/citywinerynyc

As renovations continue at what was once the Gallery at Market East, news emerged this week that live music will be in the cards when the space re-opens next year.

City Winery, the restaurant / live music chain that originated in New York City in 2008, will open its seventh satellite venue in the shopping and entertainment complex (which will be called Fashion District Philadelphia) when it opens in September of 2019, the Inquirer reports. Continue reading →

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Made In America’s future on the Parkway is in question; Jay-Z responds to city’s “eviction” in Inquirer op-ed

Jay-Z | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

While Jay-Z’s seventh annual Made In America music festival is set to bring Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, and Janelle Monae to Philly on Labor Day weekend, this could be the last year the event takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Or, depending on how alarmist you want to get about it, in Philly at all.

Yesterday, Danya Henninger of Philly news site Billy Penn reported that MIA 2019 would not be held on the Parkway, attributing the news to an unnamed Philadelphia communications official; this was verified by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Dan DeLuca, who received a statement from deputy communications director Sarah Reyes. Both accounts contained similar reasoning and language: per Reyes in the Inquirer, “When the festival first started, it was intended to provide a unique attraction to the city on the otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend. Over the years, tourism has grown overall, and the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary.”

This, however, came as news to Jay-Z and his partners at both Roc Nation and LiveNation, who organize the festival every year. They learned about the city’s intents though the Billy Penn article, and Jay-Z responded to what he’s termed as an “eviction” with a scathing Inquirer op-ed today. Continue reading →

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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 →