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Banks entrances a sold-out Union Transfer crowd

Banks | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Banks | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Up and coming alternative R&B artist BANKS returned to Philadelphia on Saturday night at Union Transfer as part of her Goddess Tour. Despite the fact that her debut album, Goddess, was only released earlier this month, BANKS already has an impressive following drawing a sold-out crowd for an emotional set of evocative, heartbroken songs. With a two-piece backing playing a mix of drums, keyboard, guitar, and electronic effects, her minimal yet soulful performance entranced the crowd throughout the night. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: RJD2 / Sugar Tongue Slim at Underground Arts, Banks at Union Transfer, Dark Blue at Boot and Saddle and (much) more

RJD2 | Photo via Philly.com
RJD2 | Photo via Philly.com

DJ and electronic dance artist RJD2 headlines the Jump Philly-curated Sound Select show tonight at Underground Arts with Sugar Tongue Slim and Marian Hill. After gaining popularity for his song “Ghostwriter” from 2002′s Deadringer, RJD2 has continued to catch people’s attention with his jazzy, throwback mixes. Many might know his song “A Beautiful Mine,” which was featured as the theme song for AMC’s hit show Mad Men. Infused with samples from big band music and jazz standards, his songs takes from the old and mixes it in a fresh, current style. The artist has most recently been working with rappers on his latest album, More Is than Isn’t, including Philly’s Sugar Tongue Slim, who will be sharing the stage tonight. STS has become one of the top hip hop artists in Philadelphia and continues to maintain his presence in the music scene here. For more information on tonight’s show, check out the XPN Concert Calendar and watch RJD2′s music video for “1976″ below. Continue reading →

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WXPN Welcomes BANKS back to Philly in the Fall, will play Union Transfer

Photo of BANKS at Underground Arts by Cameron Pollack
Photo of BANKS at Underground Arts by Cameron Pollack

After her recent performance at Underground Arts earlier this month, we’re excited to announce that BANKS will return to Philadelphia on September 27th to play Union Transfer. Fresh off excellent sets at Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo, the sultry songstress will continue her tour throughout the summer just in time for her album, Goddess, to be released on September 9th. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Listen to her most recent single “Drowning” below.

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Governor’s Ball Day 3: Banks, Earl Sweatshirt, James Blake, The Head and The Heart and more

Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Yesterday wrapped up our third day exploring Randall’s Island and the sights and sounds of this year’s Governors Ball Music Festival.

Skaters | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Skaters | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

New York City rock band Skaters turned up the heat on an already scorching Sunday afternoon.

Earl Sweatshirt | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Earl Sweatshirt | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Rapper Earl Sweatshirt emerged on stage decked out in beachwear while fans sang along to the lyrics from his latest album, Doris. Continue reading →

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BANKS brings her addictive material and incredible stage presence to Underground Arts

Banks | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Banks | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Hot off an expansive USA & UK tour with The Weeknd, and anticipating the release of her debut album Goddess this September, LA Alt-R&B songwriter BANKS stopped by Underground Arts this past Saturday. BANKS first hit my radar last October, when she stopped in Philly with The Weeknd and Anna Lunoe at the Susquehanna Bank Center. I bought her London EP, and marveled at the instrumentation, songwriting, and sheer expansiveness of her sound, despite the fact that she hadn’t even put out a full-length album. I have admired BANKS from that point forward, and her music has stayed on my rotation since.

When I discovered I was able to cover her Underground Arts show, I was under the impression that I would receive the same BANKS that I had been listening to for the past nine months: unique, intricate R&B songwriting and excellent Erykah Badu-esque vocals. While I certainly got both of these things this past Saturday, what I received in addendum was an incredible display of stage presence, especially from an R&B singer, powerhouse vocals during every chorus, and a two-piece backing band doing the job of at least 4 band members. Highlights from the evening included the chorus of “Brain,” in which BANKS belted her heart out to the crowd and the crowd belted right back, her refreshing cover of Aaliyah’s 1998 hit “Are You That Somebody?,” and her amped up version of “Drowning,” a a track off her upcoming September debut.

At the end of the night, I left Underground Arts certainly impressed, but also hopeful for BANKS’ future; if she continues on the trajectory she’s currently on, she is extremely well-poised to take her place among the ranks of songwriters such as Lana Del Rey, Sky Ferreira, and Lorde, and potentially surpass them, both in songwriting and vocal talent. Having been nominated both for BBC’s Sound of 2014 and for MTV’s Brand New award prior to dropping a full-length album, I certainly think we’ll be seeing a good deal more of BANKS in the future.

Joining BANKS was seapunk producer/curator Jerome LOL, who treated early birds to an ethereal set of indie electronica laced with equal parts deep house, syncopated 808 percussion, and expansive vocoder synthesizer.

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Watch Banks’ dark new video for single ‘Drowning’

Photo via facebook.com/hernameisbanks
Photo via facebook.com/hernameisbanks

We know Banks’ music as slow, emotional, R&B that has captured our attention from tracks such as “Before I Ever Met You” and “Warm Water.”  A few weeks ago she introduced us to her single “Drowning” and now comes a video to accompany it.  We watch as she slinks around a dark room filled with lights and mirrors while staring at her own reflection.  Her debut album will be out September 9 and she headlines a sold-out show at Underground Arts on Saturday; watch the video for “Drowning” below via Stereogum.

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Hauntingly brilliant singer-songwriter Banks drops remix to “Brain”, plays Underground Arts 6/7

Photo via facebook.com/hernameisbanks
Photo via facebook.com/hernameisbanks

Hailing from California, Banks‘ music is everything but sunny. But that doesn’t mean it’s not pleasant to listen to. On the hazy, sweet-voiced R&B spectrum she can be situated between Jhene Aiko and Jessy Lanza; grittier than the former but less electronic than the latter. The Fei-Fei’s Feided remix of “Brain” resonates in all the same ways as the Shlohmo-produced original, as all the essential parts remain intact with just the addition of some electro sheen weaved on top of it’s already-brilliant stitching. Check it out below and get tickets to her show at Underground Arts on June 7th here.