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XPN Fest Recap: Xenia Rubinos slays her genre-defying set at Wiggins Park

Xenia Rubinos | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

If you missed the supremely cool Xenia Rubinos‘ Saturday set, do yourself a favor and listen to the live recording that was streamed on WXPN. The Brooklyn-based artist absolutely slayed her set on the Marina Stage, and I can’t imagine any complaints had the schedule allowed for double her stage time.

Xenia Rubinos’ sound defies categorization – one verse she’s funk, the next soul, the one after borderline hip hop. No matter the crazy unpredictability of her songs, the one thing they all have in common (besides being completely awesome) is that they are fun. Rubinos kept the crowd jamming and moving to her beats as she threw her voice and body around the stage with contagious and endless energy; she could dance to her own heartbeat. If I were braver this would have been the moment to clear a circle and let out every crazy dance move that the music moved me to, and some people did just that. At one point Rubinos commented to the midday “It feels like nighttime in my soul, that’s because y’all turned it up.” Continue reading →

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Watch Xenia Rubinos dance up on some strangers in the video for her vibrant new single “L.O.V.E”

Xenia Rubinos | Photo by Shervin Lainez

If you come across something more unequivocally positive than this new Xenia Rubinos single by the time Sunday rolls around, you are having a very good week. “L.O.V.E.” is the latest from the Brooklyn singer/songwriter, and it’s as vibrant, funky, and soulful as you’d expect. With its heartwarming new video, which sees Rubinos dancing with people all over New York, she positions the track as a joyful extension of the olive branch in the face of prejudice, anger, and hate. Stream the track below. Continue reading →

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Moses Sumney brings beautifully resonating set to The Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

There’s something heavenly entrancing about the work of Moses Sumney. It’s a quality that seems to connect his listeners with more than just music — his choir-like vocals juxtaposed with his interactive, experimental loops and multi-instrumental tracks, along with his emotional and intimate lyrics, lead to an all-encompassing, physical, and seemingly spiritual experience.

Sumney is on the tail end of his US Tour, headlining for the first time, and debuting his new album Aromanticism. Fans jam-packed the basement in First Unitarian Church last night in anticipation of his set. He played a myriad of songs off the album such as “Doomed,” “Quarrel,” and “Make Out in My Car,” as well as a cover of Bjork’s 1994 song “Come to Me.” Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New Songs from Cold Specks, Moses Sumney, Cults, Susanne Sundfør, Laura Baird, Eamon and Mavis Staples

Moses Sumney | photo via facebook.com/mosessumney

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

October is the coolest month – musically speaking.  There are more (and, pound for pound, bigger) new releases flying around these days than any other time of year.  It’s dizzying.  And correspondingly, of course, there are also many many artists touring through town, now and in the coming weeks.  It’s left me with little choice but to offer an, umm, especially generous baker’s dozen by way of my monthly recap below.  So come feast your ears! 

Among other things, last month saw a considerable number of comebacks, of varying magnitudes – returns to action, artistic reinvigorations, etc – from artists all across the spectrum.  I’ve highlighted a good number of them below, along with a smaller, select handful of shining newcomer – most of whom turn out to be not entirely that new, after all.

The biggest (unintentional) theme for this month, a through-line linking all of these widely ranging selections, is the power of the voice.  The playlist below features a striking array of voices – extraordinary voices and commonplace voices, singly or in multiple, highly processed or unadorned.  And whether or not I call attention to to it in my write-up, each and every cut here offers something memorable in terms of its vocal dimension; a certain quality of the voice (or voices) at hand, or of the way that voice are used.  Let it be a reminder for us all, to keep on using our voices. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via facebook.com/AgainstMe

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Revisit XPNFest with a 45-song VuHaus video playlist

Drive By Truckers | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

The annual XPoNential Music Festival is easily the highlight of our year around these parts, and this summer’s lineup was a particularly strong one. From Rhiannon Giddens to The Record Company, Strand of Oaks to Sweet Spirit, Hardwork Movement to Hurray for the Riff Raff we were covered across the board with sounds and styles and incredible performances. And thankfully, those sets don’t have to remain too far in our memory. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Dave Hause & The Mermaid rep Philly with a rockin’ Marina Stage set

Dave Hause | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

It’s probably pretty hard to be more Philly than Dave Hause. He was born here and became a mainstay in the Philly punk scene for years, spending time with bands such as Paint It Black and The Loved Ones. Saturday afternoon, he shouted out Strand of Oaks and WXPN’s own Bruce Warren and Helen Leicht during his rockin’ set on the Marina Stage. His current band, The Mermaid, covered The Roots’ “The Seed” in the middle of it all. And their newest album, released in February, is entitled Bury Me In Philly. Like I said, it’s pretty tough to out-Philly this guy. Continue reading →

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Drive-By Truckers, Angel Olsen, Strand of Oaks, Joseph and more will play Wiggins Park at XPoNential Music Festival 2017

Drive By Truckers | photo by Danny Clinch | courtesy of the artist

You’ve heard about the Friday night show at BB&T with Wilco, Conor Oberst and Hop Along; you’ve heard that Saturday will be headlined by Spoon, Amos Lee and more. This morning, we bring you the first wave of artists performing at Wiggins Park during the 2017 XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →