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NON-COMM Recap: Orville Peck makes a strong case for the “Yeehaw Agenda” on the PRX stage

Orville Peck | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Yeehaw is having a moment. With Kacey Musgraves snagging the top prize at The Grammys, “Old Town Road” being the biggest song in the country, and artists like Solange and Mitski embracing cowboy imagery, country’s future has never seemed brighter. Toronto-based Country crooner, Orville Peck, treated NonCOMM attendees to a taste of that future. With his bulletproof voice, punk -inspired playing, and masked face, Peck put on a rousing and fringe-filled set.

Peck and his band, which included two bassists, a drummer, and one guitarist/synth player/vocalist, arrived in their Western best. They each had a bolo tie and many wore cowboy hats. Peck dawned one of the BDSM meets cowboy mask-hat combos. With fringe and leather covering his face, one might expect his music to be similarly inaccessible. Luckily, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. With a voice reminiscent of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, Peck delivers every lyric with supreme conviction, continuously intriguing his audience more and more.

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NON-COMM Recap: The National preview the stunning new I Am Easy To Find

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

During today’s Free at Noon, indie rock giants The National treated us to an early taste of over half of their new album. Produced by Mike Mills, I Am Easy To Find will be officially released tomorrow, May 17th, and is accompanied by a short film directed by Mills and staring Alicia Vikander. Expanded to a ten-piece band, The National showcased ten of the album’s sixteen tracks, demonstrating the beauty and strength of the project. Vocalist Matt Berninger led a the group’s vast array of instruments and vocalists, and kept everything from sounding overwhelming. The resulting set was a glorious display of emotion and expansive sound.

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Free At Noon Flashback: Emily King brings nostalgia and 80s glam to World Cafe Live

Emily King | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

What do you get when you pair Michael Jackson, Prince, a sequin jacket, and one-hundred mile journey across New York State? You get Emily King.

More specifically, you get King’s new album, Scenery, which explores her move from her home in the South Bronx to Woodstock, New York. The album is bursting with the vibrant spirit of someone who believes in the power of new beginnings. King performed several songs from her new album at the World Cafe Live’s Free at Noon concert today, along with selections from her previous EP, The Switch. Dressed in all black, complete with black satin gloves and a sequined tuxedo jacket, King commanded the stage from start to finish. The crowd clapped, danced, and cheered her on throughout the set — especially when King twirled and danced on stage in razor-thin stiletto boots. Continue reading →

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Stream Death Cab For Cutie’s Thank You For Today via NPR First Listen

Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie for WXPN | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com

Thanks to NPR Music’s First Listen series, Death Cab For Cutie’s ninth album, Thank You For Today, is available to stream before the full release this Friday, August 17th.

Third track and lead single “Gold Rush” has been a favorite around the station leading up to the album’s release. The track touches on the gentrification of a hometown, seemingly changing overnight or without any notice. Themes of change are riddled throughout the album, from the location-slanted “Gold Rush” to physically leaving a space, like on “You Moved Away.” While vocalist Ben Gibbard’s lyrics are at the forefront of each track, the backing instrumentals are not to go unnoticed. Swirling synths accompanied by drums, bass, guitar, and piano, perfectly paired with Gibbard’s register, weave a sense of nostalgia and hope throughout the album. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G’s Live at Third Man Records set is available now

Alex G. | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Alex G. | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

Philly indie rocker (Sandy) Alex G announced the release of a new live set via Third Man Records, a recording of his performance in the Nashville label’s Blue Room series. The Live at Third Man Records LP features tracks from his latest album, the indie-folk pop outing Rocket, which he’s been promoting on this past tour. The self-released lo-fi bedroom singles that prompted his rise in the DIY scene also resurface on the live record. Listen below for a sample of this intimate, unplugged take on “Bobby,” and grab the full LP here, via Third Man Records. (Sandy) Alex G will play Festival Pier June 23 with Dr. Dog. Tickets and info at the WXPN concert calendar. Continue reading →

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Low announce new album and tour dates; release three new singles

Low
Low | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

Slowcore veterans Low announced the release of a new album today, their twelfth to date. Titled Double Negative, the album is due out September 14th via Sub Pop. Along with the album announcement, the Duluth, MN-based band released the opening three tracks from the album, “Quorum”, “Dancing and Blood” and “Fly,” along with an accompanying suite of music videos. Continue reading →

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Listen to two new Gorillaz songs, “Humility” and “Lake Zurich,” see them at Wells Fargo Center in October

Gorillaz | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Good news in the Gorillaz-verse! Earlier this week, Gorillaz announced new album The Now Now, the quick follow up to 2017’s Humanz. Today, the virtual band released two new tracks off their 6th studio LP, groovy bop “Lake Zurich” and album opener “Humility,” which features George Benson on guitar and vocals. Along with the two new tracks, the band provided more details on their upcoming album, which is set to release on June 29th. View the full tracklist and album artwork below. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Menzingers’ high-energy new single “Toy Soldier”

The Menzingers | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
The Menzingers | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Local punk favorites The Menzingers released a new track out of the blue this week, titled “Toy Soldier.” Vocalist/guitarist Greg Barnett first performed the then-unreleased track solo this past April at The First Unitarian Church, the night of the “Roger Harvey & Family” concert. The full band studio version kicks the track into high gear featuring driving guitars and punchy drums and Barnett’s signature gravely vocals leading the way.

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NonCOMM Recap: King Tuff transports crowd to the cosmos with a space horn

King Tuff | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

“Anybody know what this is?” asked Kyle Thomas, the colorful frontman of King Tuff, as he raised a peculiar cylinder device in his hand. He looked side to side, faced the crowd, and deadpanned: “It’s called the space horn.”

And with that, the wonderfully strange cosmic flute beamed the last bit of the crowd into Thomas’ zany, trippy, mystical outer space universe as “Neverending Sunshine” began to play. Although, with opening tracks like the saucy video game odyssey, “Raindrop Blue,” the laid-back and sunny daydream, “Thru the Cracks,” and the funky disco jam, “Psycho Star,” the packed upstairs PRX stage audience was already by that point pretty fairly transported to another world. Continue reading →

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Caroline Rose brings some body positivity to her music video “Bikini”; hear her World Cafe session and interview

Caroline Rose | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Through her transition from folk to self-made genre “schizodrift” (a self-styled blend of surf rock, country and folk), Caroline Rose has created a name for herself in recent years, attracting the attention of The New York Times Magazine, NPR, Pitchfork as well as us here at WXPN, who named Rose “Artist To Watch” for May. The NYC-based songwriter’s latest record LONER’s success is attributed to taking a more pop approach, but at the same time still staying true to her aesthetic self. Continue reading →