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Later Fortune is a lush, lucid collab between local indie singer-songwriter vets Chet Del Campo and Heyward Howkins

Later Fortune is Chet Del Campo (left) and Heyward Howkins | photos courtesy of the artists

Heyward Howkins and Chris Madl (who records under the name Chet DelCampo) have been making their individual marks on the Philly music scene over the last few years, but recently the two local songwriters took a quick break from their respective solo material to team up as Later Fortune, with a new release out now via Bandcamp. The musicians have been frequent players in each other’s solo work, but this is the first time they’ve joined together for a truly collaborative effort. Continue reading →

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The Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the 7th Annual XPN Halloween Spooktacular!

Myrna Loy conjures spirits at home

In case I haven’t made it clear by my year-round lifestyle, it goes without saying that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Part of why I love it so much is the abundance of weird, wild and wacky music that celebrates the spookiest season of the year. Since 2011, I’ve been digging into my personal music crypt for some of these tricks and treats and, to paraphrase The Nightmare Before Christmas, I believe this year’s was my most horrible yet!

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Joey Sweeney and the Neon Grease release an “emergency Election Day single”

Joey Sweeney & The Neon Grease | courtesy of the artist

As of an hour or so ago, Joey Sweeney and the Neon Grease are winging their way to the midwest, where they have a string of tour dates in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis in support of their new LP Catholic School.

This week, with election day just around the corner, Sweeney and the band released a new non-album single inspired by a meme that was circulating the internet in 2017: “This Is The Future That Liberals Want.” Continue reading →

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Steve Gunn to release new album The Unseen In Between, playing Union Transfer in February

Steve Gunn | photo by Clay Benskin | courtesy of the artist

Philly-area native Steve Gunn is back with the news that his next album, called The Unseen In Between, will be released January 18. The follow up to 2016’s Eyes on the Lines, the new LP will be Gunn’s second release on Matador Records and his fourth solo album. The Brooklyn-based songwriter, who’s currently playing a hometown residency at the borough’s Union Pool, has also announced a string of US tour dates throughout the winter, with a show at Union Transfer on February 2. Continue reading →

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The Menzingers get in the Halloween spirit with new single and video “Freaks”

The Menzingers | still from video

The Menzingers released a new single called “The Freaks,” accompanied by a video that captures the spirit of spooky season. The song is an anthem for anyone who has ever felt like an outlier, ostracized from the norm, summoning together all the oddballs and misfits. The video, directed by Adam Peditto, depicts a freak-exclusive Halloween party, complete with creepy costumes, a smoke machine and spin the bottle. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Joey Sweeney and the Neon Grease

Joey Sweeney has been a fixture on the Philadelphia scene for as long as I can remember. Back in my college days, he was a witty, sassy, no-bullshit columnist for the Philadelphia Weekly who also fronted the Wilco-tinged indie rock band The Trouble With Sweeney. He went on to found the revered cityblog Philebrity (which, sadly, seems to be on something of an extended hiatus), then returned to music in the 2010s: first with the wacky denimcore rock outfit Arctic Splash, then with the elegant Long Hair Arkestra. That’s to say nothing of the early ramshackle rock acts of his formative years, which I wasn’t around for, but I’m told The Barnabys were quite good, and their brief reunion at his 40th b-day gig Your Life is Calling, and tracks on its companion compilation, seem solid.

Point being: Sweeney has been ingrained in the city’s music and culture for so long that he probably needs no introduction. And now that I’ve gone and spent all this time introducing him, we arrive at the question: why? What keeps us returning to Mr. Joey Sweeney two decades into his career? Continue reading →

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Joey Sweeney & The Neon Grease gets goofy on Fox 29 with a performance of “Polaroids on the Floor”

Joey Sweeney and the Neon Grease | still from video

A month after dropping their saxophone-driven, dad rock debut Catholic School, Joey Sweeney & The Neon Grease made an appearance on Fox 29’s The Q this week, playing the nostalgic “Polaroids on the Floor.” The band announced that proceeds from the record go to Rock to the Future, a nonprofit organization providing music education for youth in Philadelphia. Their performance is as goofy and energetic as always — as they pointed out on Facebook, Sweeney breaks the fourth wall to look directly into the camera and into the homes and offices of viewers across the Delaware Valley to sing the line “I just stayed inside on the couch/and I got HIGH” — and you even get a little bit of host Quincy Harris awkwardly holding a tambourine like he’d never seen one in his life. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Lemuria will play PhilaMOCA on Halloween

Lemuria | photo via lemuriapop.com

Tis the season for the announcement of Halloween shows in Philly, and long-running indie pop trio Lemuria is the latest band to join in on the fun. They’ll play PhilaMOCA on the spooky holiday itself, Wednesday, October 31, though there’s no word yet on whether any special shenanigans are planned. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Sun Ra Arkestra to play Johnny Brenda’s on Halloween

Sun Ra Arkestra
Sun Ra Arkestra at Johnny Brendas | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Sun Ra Arkestra, the eclectic and virtuosic ensemble of the late jazz legend Sun Ra are bringing their cosmic talents back to Johnny Brenda’s for a two-hour Halloween show. The Arkestra performs the visionary, multi-stylistic compositions of Sun Ra under the guidance of longtime alto-saxophonist Marshall Allen. This will be the Arkestra’s third Halloween appearance at Johnny Brenda’s and a rare opportunity to experience one of the truly singular legacies in the music world. Continue reading →