After seven years fronting the live hip-hop band Philadelphia Slick, local MC Noesis (aka Ben Polinsky) is releasing his debut solo album, The Way Things Work, next month. The record features many of the players in the Philadelphia Slick ensemble, as well as contributions from local singer-songwriter Ali Hoffman, but also puts a newfound focus on Noesis’s production work and beats, looking to forge a middle ground between new school live hip-hop and old school sample-based hip-hop. You can grab a download of the album’s lead single, “A Picture,” below; The Way Things Work is out July 6, and the release party is set for July 7 at Triumph Brewery.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from WXPN and The Key! The last several weeks we celebrated the holiday season by offering a twelve original seasonal songs. WXPN’s Helen Leicht asked local bands to write and record original holiday songs for the third year in a row which the bands have offered as free downloads. Thanks to all the bands for these wonderful songs. You can download the entire sampler as a .zip file here.
The 12 Days of XPN Philly Local Christmas Sampler
Find Vienna – “Christmas Is For Our Hearts”
Gillian Grassie – “When the Night Gets Long”
Summer Fiction – “Christmas Eve for Two”
Matt Santry – “The Xmas Song”
Atomic Square – “Christmas Time is here”
Scot Sax and Suzie Brown – “Coming Your Way”
Angel Band – “I Want A Present”
JD Malone & the Experts – “Best Day Of The Year”
Kingsfoil – “The Valley, A Christmas Song”
John Flynn – “Christmas Balls”
Ben Smith – “I Got A New Tattoo For Christmas”
Ali Hoffman – “Evergreen”
Ali Hoffman joined the Philly Local hour this year and shared her powerful, soulful voice and songwriting. The song she wrote for XPN’s 12 Days Of Local Christmas was her first foray into the land of Christmas tunes. It was her second time teaming up with Derek Nievergelt to write, and the two ended up jiving really well. What kind of vibe is the song? “The best holiday moments are situational and closely shared with the people you love,” Ali says. “Loftiness be damned, I wrote about the simple act of chopping down a Christmas tree for the first time with the man I love.” The two had found an apartment on Ridge Avenue near Manayunk last year, but in all the craziness of moving in, they forfeited getting a tree. This year, Ali thought, will be different. You can visit Ali’s website and get information about her 2011 release Not Gonna Beg.
Last week, Helen Leicht brought Ali Hoffman into the studio for an interview and live performance on XPN’s Philly Local Hour. Below, you can read a brief transcript from the full interview (which you can listen to via the XPN Media player), and listen to two of the songs Hoffman performed in the studio.
Helen Leicht: So Ali, you are from Philadelphia?
Ali Hoffman: I am, yeah. I grew up in Northern Liberties, and then around high school or middle school I moved out to the Main Line area. Then I came back to UPenn for college.
HL: So, when did you graduate and what did you take in school?
AH: I graduated in spring of ’06 with a BA in English, and I did a creative writing emphasis there which was really cool. It actually helped me get into the music industry. I took a class there that was taught by Anthony DeCurtis—who has been writing for Rolling Stone and got a Grammy for writing the liner notes for Clapton’s Crossroads—and we really hit it off. And when I told him I was planning to move to New York to pursue this whole singing thing he was like, “Yeah, I’m totally on board. And I wouldn’t say this lightly but you have to do this.” So I was like, “Well, is there anyone I can bring coffee to? Can you hook me up with some sort of job?” His wife actually works at A&E in production. And they have been so great, they took me under their wing. I started working at A&E and then Anthony said a friend of his, Joe Rosenthal, was starting up a label and was looking for talent so he hooked me up with an audition and the rest is history. It all started at Penn.
Bluesy, soul-influenced singer-songwriter Ali Hoffman is releasing a new EP called Not Gonna Beg on Wing Court Records tomorrow. Hoffman, whom we profiled here, recorded the album at New York’s Magic Shop. To celebrate the release of the EP, Hoffman is offering a free song from each of her previously released EPs (including a song from the new record) here. Below, download “Use Me,” written by J.B. Flatt (from Eli Paperboy Reed’s band) from Hoffman’s new Not Gonna Beg.
Ali Hoffman sounds like she was raised on classic records from the Stax, Atlantic, and Hi Records vaults. The 26 year-old Philadelphia native has a new five-song EP, How Our Love Has Grown (on Wing Court Records), which conjures up varying degrees of soul music. “Keep Me Satisfied” brings to mind the grooves of Willie Mitchell-produced records like Al Green’s “I’m Still In Love You”; on the ballad “My Love,” Hoffman pulls on her inner Janis Joplin to deliver a sultry performance. On her song “Miracle,” (which you can download below) she sounds like the sweet side of a young Aretha Franklin. Hoffman’s voice is confident, wise sounding and compelling.
The University of Penn alum (Class of 2006) got her record deal in an interesting somebody-who-knows somebody kind of way. When Hoffman was at Penn, one of her teachers was author, music critic and Grammy Award-winner Anthony DeCurtis. After hearing some of her music, DeCurtis introduced her to Joe Rosenthal who at the time was starting his label Wing Court Records. Hoffman released her debut full length album, This Side Of Morning, in 2009. Currently she is working on material on her next EP and lining up some shows in the area.