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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aspiga at Ortlieb’s, Jacqueline Constance at World Cafe Live, Hezekiah Jones at Ardmore Music Hall and more…

Aspiga
Aspiga | photo via Facebook

New Jersey punk group Aspiga celebrate the release of What Happened To You? at Ortlieb’s tonight.  The LP marks Aspiga’s second effort for Paper + Plastik records, following 2012′s Every Last Piece full-length.  On “My Little Eraser,” the first song shared from the new record, Aspiga hardens their pop-punk sound with an aggressive pace and a knack for brevity.  More information for the 21+ show with Thing Lips, By Surprise and Fo A Cha can be found on the Facebook event page here. Listen to “My Little Eraser” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Fleeting Ends at MilkBoy, July Talk at the First Unitarian Church, Parker Millsap at Ardmore Music Hall and more

The Fleeting Ends
The Fleeting Ends | photo by Emily Morgan | www.emilymorganphotography.com

Philly alt-pop power trio The Fleeting Ends are gearing up to release their first new music since 2013′s Our Eyes are Peeled. Their new Can’t Say No EP is due out November 25th, and its very catchy title track is already in rotation on XPN; you can check out the cover art and read the lyrics over at the band’s Facebook page, and keep your eyes peeled (ba-dum-bum) for a new music video really soon. The band is in residence all month at MilkBoy, and will have physical copies of Can’t Say No available on the final day, November 26th. But you don’t need to wait to hear the new songs; go to tonight’s installment of their residency and you’ll hear a mix of old and new in their setlist. Below, check out “I’m Like That” from their last album and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Twin Peaks at The Barbary, Spuyten Duyvil at Ardmore Music Hall, and Zeus at Ortlieb’s

Twin Peaks | via facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes
Twin Peaks | via facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes

Chi-town garage rock group Twin Peaks will be headline an all-ages The Barbary tonight The group of 20-somethings has gained recognition for their light-hearted and happy approach to classic garage rock, combining the styles the three separate singers/songwriters in their band. Twin Peaks touring in support of its August release, Wild Onion, and will be supported by Tweens, Public Access TV, and Slow Animal. Below, check out Twin Peaks’ “I Found A New Way” and get information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Beardos steal liquor from Ardmore Music Hall; Facebook commenters blame Nickelback

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A screengrab from Ardmore Music Hall’s security footage

Well, this sucks. Today, Main Line venue Ardmore Music Hall posted security footage on their Facebook page captured in the wake of last night’s funk spectacular with Turkuaz and Swift Technique. In it, we see three lanky long-haired people (at least one sporting a burly beard and dreads) stumbling around the venue and stealing from behind the bar.

“Here’s a shout out to these three scumbags who decided to rip us off last night,” the post read. “Way to tarnish a great night.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheerleader and The Ataris at MilkBoy, Sturgill Simpson at the Ardmore Music Hall, BITBY Summer Sounds Showcase at The TLA and more…

Cheerleader
Cheerleader | photo courtesy of artist.
Local haze-pop group Cheerleader join Kristopher Roe of alt-rock stalwarts The Ataris at MilkBoy tonight for the venue’s 15th anniversary.  Cheerleader released a new video for its crystalline pop single “Perfect Vision” earlier this month, a track that will be on the full-length follow-up to this year’s self-titled debut EP.  The song moves away from the pure haziness of the EP and pulls production influences from radio pop songs, making it a perfect summer anthem alternative.  Meanwhile, Kristopher Roe of The Ataris has embarked on a solo acoustic tour of the States, performing fan favorites and requests in intimate settings.  Watch Cheerleader’s video for “Perfect Vision” below and get more information about the free show here.
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It’s Jam Band Season! Get to know eclectic 8-piece band, Somewhere South

somewheresouth
Photo via https://www.facebook.com/somewheresouthmusic

There is nothing more summery than a jam band.  Even if you aren’t a religious follower (aka Phish fan) you can still go to a show and appreciate the freeing sensation a jam band’s music gives you.  With the Phish shows just wrapping and Cheers Elephant, Umphrey’s McGee and Disco Biscuits performances in the future, we are excited to introduce you to a new jam band, Somewhere South.

Hailing from Philly, Somewhere South creates dynamic music that combines elements like horns, bass guitar, dual male and females vocals, as well as lyrics in both English and Spanish.  Their self-titled EP, includes folk, funk, and even a little bit of country twang.  Each track is different from the next, but maintains a melodic consistency that makes the young band’s work sound extremely mature. The first track “Alright” is one of their slower tracks, but sets the precedent for the rest of the EP.  It’s instantly calming in nature, and meshes well with breezy, summer weather and attitudes. The song is all about simplicity and trying to live in the moment, as they sing “Keep it simple, keep it true, keep it simple, keep it you.”

The band has been playing all around Philly, and will play next at Ardmore Music Hall on August 2nd, which will no doubt be an incredible fun experience. Listen to their Somewhere South below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Owls and Hop Along at Union Transfer, The GTVs at Ardmore Music Hall

owls
Owls | photo via facebook.com/owlsbandchicago

Indie four-piece Owls are hitting Union Transfer tonight in support of their long-awaited second album, Two. The band, who gained popularity in the early aughts with the release of their eponymous debut album, overcame two different break-ups, but the group’s reunion in 2012 brought forth a full-scale rework of the band’s best qualities. With no disregard to the musicianship that won fans over from the band’s first album, Two brings out an easier listening component but asks for a more dedicated listener lyrically. The band’s growth is sure to bring delight to old fans and new listeners alike, and with a dynamite opener like Philly’s Hop Along this’ll be a show you’ll hear friends raving about the rest of the week. Find ticket information here and check out “I’m Surprised…” from Two.

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The Key Studio Sessions: PhillyBloco

When we were going over the setlist for their Key Studio Session, PhillyBloco leader Michael Stevens pointed out that none of the songs from the set were their own; “We’re strictly a cover band,” he told me, but just looking around the room, I knew that this was a dramatic understatement.

For the past six years, the 20-piece ensemble modeled after the bloco Brazilian-dance tradition has been rallying audiences at venues from the TLA to World Cafe Live, getting a tremendous rep particularly for their annual New Year’s Eve throwdown at the latter venue. The band takes songs originally performed by some familiar names (Galactic, James Brown) along with lesser known artists from around the world (Jorge Ben Jor, Clara Nunes) and spins them in their own arrangements that blend samba, funk and rock sounds. When I say “lesser known,” though, I (unfortunately) mean lesser known to North American ears. But that’s part of the band’s mission, as our Sameer Rao pointed out in his New Year’s profile interview with Stevens and the band:

For the probable majority of their audiences, PhillyBloco might be their first exposure to this rich musical tradition. They needn’t be concerned, since samba’s percussive base sits comfortably alongside the reggae, New Orleans second line, and funk that PhillyBloco also incorporates into their music. They’ll recognize songs from folks like James Brown, and hopefully this unique spin will get them interested in digging further into something unfamiliar.

Call them musical ambassadors. Or just call them an incredibly tight band. As you can see from the photos in the gallery above, their numbers are huge, but they were remarkably efficient. Along with their regular sound engineer Craig Kaufmann, who did a remarkable job mixing this session, the band settled in our studio and plowed through a feisty set with ease and energy. The songs you hear below, in their original format, were done by (in order) Daniela Mercury, Galactic, Nunes, Jor and Skank, and PhillyBloco has more jams just like them in their repertoire. Listen to the set. Turn up your headphones. Dance around your desk if it suits ya. And consider taking in the full-on PhillyBloco experience at one of their upcoming gigs: Ardmore Music Hall this Friday the 13th of June, or over at World Cafe Live on the 9th of August.

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Unlocked: Download “The End Is Nearer Than We Know” by Ataloft

Ataloft | Photo via Facebook
Ataloft | Photo via Facebook

For almost 17 years, Darren Schlappich and Mike Lavdanski have performed in the Reading-rooted Americana outfit Frog Holler, a band that has developed a loyal following regionally and beyond through engaging live shows and expressive albums that crystalized the the five-piece’s energy as performers into a handy plastic disc.

For these musicians, the new Ataloft came about kind of in reverse. A casual recording project with Bruce Siekmann of Amoeba Audio in Reading clicked in ways the players didn’t expect, and what everybody thought was a one-off collaboration spawned a full album, and a new band.

Though Schlappich regards the two groups as “first cousins,” by working outside of the Frog Holler label, he was able to explore sounds and sonic territories he might never have before. The resulting self-titled album is at once reminiscent of Brian Wilson and John Brion in its lush arrangements, ethereal orchestrations and big sounds – but tips the cap to the roots of these musicians with little florishes, like the banjo we hear on the moving album opener “The End Is Nearer Than We Know.”

We’re exploring the album all week long on Unlocked, The Key’s regular spotlight on new and significant releases from Philadelphia-area artists. Tomorrow we’ll bring you a record review, we’ll spotlight a video on Wednesday, sit down with Schlappich on Thursday, and more. To start things off, download “The End Is Nearer Than We Know” below, and just imagine how haunting it will sound when the band performs it at their Philly album release party May 3rd at Ardmore Music Hall.

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Up The Chain perfects a cover of The Lawsuits’ “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t”

Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney
Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney

Up The Chain (aka Reed Kendall) channeled his inner balladeer in a sweet and simple rendition of The Lawsuits’ “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t” recorded for Root Down in the Shadow‘s Cover Club series. This is just one of many forms the song has taken. Originally a solo tune written and recorded by frontman Brian Dale Strouse, it became a full band affair and was featured on the Lawsuits’ album Cool Cool Cool with Vanessa Winters on vocals. Kendall’s version resonates in a quietly somber way that’s just enough to draw you in and keep you listening. Check it out below and get tickets to Up The Chain’s April 26th show at Ardmore Music Hall here.