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 →


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 →


Sound and Vision: King Britt and friends bring their Missed Guided Tour to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

King Britt | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
King Britt composes in front of Kelly’s Seine | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

Footsteps ping from floor to ceiling in Gallery 175 of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they aren’t distracting King Britt. He is focused on the artwork in his line of sight, and the musical gear at his fingertips.

The Philadelphia electronic artist, producer and DJ is composing a new piece in the museum, stationed at a long table covered in an array of gadgetry – synthesizers, samplers, and a laptop plugged into a mixing console. Stereo speakers are set up on the floor, and a cascade of warm electronic notes and slight rhythms bubbles out of them. The texture is appropriate, given the artwork facing Britt on the other side of the table: Seine by American minimalist painter Ellsworth Kelly.

At first glance, the piece is a grid of pixels: black and white squares of oil paint strewn across the wood surface, concentrating with a thick vertical line in the center. Upon further reflection, it becomes clear that the scene is not entirely abstract, but topographical – this image is Kelly’s rendering of the Seine River in Paris.

“It looks digital, right?” King asks me. “But this is from 1951, man. Pre-digital.” Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s songs that defined 2017

Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Maureen Walsh reflects on songs that echoed the complicated feelings of the year.

Last year, I was hoping that 2017 would be a time for healing. Welp, that didn’t go as planned. This year, we learned a lot hard truths. Some of these truths made a lot of us anxious and angry. Artists were anxious and angry too and used their art to reach out to us so we could all feel together. Continue reading →


Moses Sumney brings beautifully resonating set to The Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN |

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 →


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

Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

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 →


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

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 →