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Ali Awan, Strand of Oaks, Rachel Andie and more rocked #AmplifyPhilly at SXSW

Ali Awan at #AmplifyPhilly | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last month at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Amplify Philly convened during SXSW Interactive for three days of networking, cheerleading, panels, and partying from members of Philly’s tech, startup, business, music, and cultural communities. The Amplify Philly “house” took over the Pour Choices Bar and Restaurant in Downtown Austin for three days and nights. During the day, the programming featured panels and discussions, and the evenings were filled with some incredible Philly grown talent. Continue reading →

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Rachel Andie & The Fifth Element meditates on memory, time, and loss on her observational debut LP Tu Me Manques

Rachel Andie | via facebook.com/RachelAndie

We first caught wind of local singer-songwriter Rachel Andie and her band The Fifth Element earlier this year when they were one of a handful of Philly artists to enter NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest. Andie performed “Astral Projection,” a song off her 2016 concept album The Common Calamity, for that entry, but now she’s back with a brand new album, Tu Me Manques. The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has been making music solo for a few years, but this is her first release with her full band, a six-piece alt-folk outfit of fellow local musicians and educators (Andie herself is an elementary school music teacher by day). Continue reading →

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Philadelphia Folk Fest expands lineup to include Helen Leicht’s Philly Local showcase, Dan Blacksberg, Nina de Vitry, Michael Braunfeld, Philly Music co-op and more

The Philadelphia Music Co-Op stage at Philadelphia Folk Festival | photo by Lisa Schaffer | SkylerBug.com

As the 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival grows nearer, the lineup continues to expand as side stage showcases, workshops, and other features are rolled out. These artists join previously-announced headliners David Crosby, Margo Price, and more.

On Saturday afternoon, WXPN’s Helen Leicht hosts her annual Philly Local showcase on the festival’s camp stage. Artists hand-picked by Leicht from the Philadelphia region will include singer-songwriter Blair Bodine, Americana outfit Jackson Pines, electronic pop trio Great Time, and rock band The End of America Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Jamila Woods, Darlingside, Rosali and more

Rosali | still from video

Could it be? Is it actually a reasonably chill week in the concert calendar? Indeed, and you’ve earned it, Philly. After months of multiple show options per night, it’s nice to have a breather, especially when the weather is so agreeable. All that said, get yourself to a show, whether its futuristic pop from Jamila Woods at The Foundry tonight, the whimsical folk of Darlingside on Wednesday, or the smorgasbord of West Philly Porchfest on Saturday. But enjoy your you-time this week as well.  Here are six concerts to see in the next seven days, all around Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Music Auxiliary Support: Listen to Kristen and Paige of Cherry-Veen Zine guest DJ on XPN Local

Paige Walter and Kristen Levine of Cherry-Veen Zine at WXPN | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A few years ago, Kristen Levine watched The Punk Singer, the 2013 documentary on Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and the riot grrrl movement she helped propel from the Pacific Northwest scene to the national spotlight. It wasn’t just a movement about music, though. It was about art, it was about feminism, it was about independence and DIY — doing things by yourself, for yourself, and answering to no one.

Levine was inspired, and channeled that energy into Cherry-Veen Zine, a Philly music scene chapbook she began publishing in the spirit of the zine-makers she saw in The Punk Singer. Fleshed out with the work of graphic designer Laura Cherry, an initial run of six limited-edition issues popped up at places around Philly throughout 2016 — Milkcrate, Johnny Brenda’s, Steep & Grind, and Rocket Cat (RIP) — with lots of social media activity like gig photos and playlists filling the space between one print edition and the next.

But early 2017, however, the independent publishing grind had taken a toll on Levine, and she left Philly to spend a year in York, Pennsylvania. When she returned last year, she met Paige Walter — a Pittsburgh transplant with a background in education and journalism — and Cherry-Veen Zine was re-invigorated.

Last weekend, Issue 9 hit the streets, and on Tuesday night, Levine and Walter appeared on the WXPN Local show for a guest DJ set spotlighting their favorite Philadelphia artists — corey flood to Barney Cortez, Blushed to Pine Barons — and talk about their mission. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Ariana Grade, Gary Clark Jr., RFA, Noura Mint Seymali, and more

Gary Clark Jr. at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Gary Clark Jr. at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

At the top of the week, it’s Ariana Grande and a set of music to raise your spirits; at the tail end, its Stephen Brodsky of metalcore titans Cave-In with music to haunt your dreams. In between, a massive spectrum of shows that includes acclaimed guitarist Gary Clark Jr., Philly rockers RFA, Mauritanian singer-songwriter Noura Mint Seymali, and much more. Here are 15 concerts to see in the next 7 days all around Philadelphia.
Continue reading →

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Strand of Oaks, Killiam Shakespeare, Great Time and more will play the #AmplifyPhilly showcase at SXSW

Strand of Oaks | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Killiam Shakespeare | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN // Great Time | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN

The annual SXSW festival is right around the corner, and once again the #AmplifyPhilly showcase is setting up shop on 6th Street in downtown Austin to show off some of the best names in Philadelphia music.

Headlining #AmplifyPhilly, which takes place on Monday, March 11th of this year, is Strand of Oaks, who is just ahead of releasing the new Eraserland LP on Dead Oceans Records. Continue reading →

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Start your week off by watching every Philly entry to NPR Music’s #TinyDeskContest

Gracie and the So Beautifuls’ Tiny Desk Contest entry | still from video

The annual NPR Music #TinyDeskContest revealed its 2018 winner last month: Naia Izumi, a Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based busker who excels at swift guitar licks, live looping and fervent rock and soul vocals. While we’re certain to hear more from Izumi and team Tiny Desk in the coming weeks and months, let’s not get too far from this year’s competition without celebrating the plethora of impressive Philadelphia-based entries. Continue reading →

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Listen to Trap Rabbit’s new EP Empress ahead of their Bourbon & Branch release show

Trap Rabbit | photo by Rachel Andie | via the band’s Facebook page

If you’re into trap music, don’t get your hopes up when you see the name of the band Trap Rabbit. They make it perfectly clear on their Bandcamp page that, despite the moniker, they don’t make trap music — they fall more along the lines of instrumental hip-hop meets prog rock with some soul and jazz influences. But their music defies easy categorization, so perhaps it’s best to just call Trap Rabbit what it is at its core — a keys and drums duo that makes some really cool tunes. Continue reading →