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Listen to Abi Reimold’s “Vessel,” watch it performed on a rooftop

elliott smith
Abi Reimold | photo by Haley Richter | haleyrichterphoto.com | courtesy of the artist

Philly singer and songwriter Abi Reimold releases her debut LP Wriggling next week on Sad Cactus Records, and it’s an intense, emotional and engaging collection of songs that vary from the loudest louds to the the queietest quiets. She’ll give a taste of the record to folks who get there early to tonight’s Julien Baker show at Boot & Saddle – and we definitely encourage you to be one of those folks. Since Reimold performs solo tonght, the song “Vessel” from the album will give you a solid idea what to expect.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Three Man Cannon at Boot and Saddle, Groovy Movies at Ortlieb’s, Howlish at Bourbon and Branch

Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

The Lame-O Records Rock Residency at Boot & Saddle continues tonight with a headlining gig from Three Man Cannon. In many ways, these dudes are the glue that holds the Philly DIY scene together. Not only do these guys rock their own blend of howling and heavy guitar-rock, their Matt Schimelfenig is an ace producer who has worked with a bunch of awesome local folks – Cayetana, The Menzingers, Petal – and even heavy hitters like The War on Drugs. Joining them tonight are Sun Organ and lowercase roses. Listen to last year’s Will I Know You EP below and get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Julien Baker pulls no punches on Sprained Ankle

Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

The Sprained Ankle in the title of Julien Baker’s debut record happens to be purely metaphorical.  But that’s a rare and merciful exception among the litany of pain, both physical and psychological, that the Memphis-based songwriter catalogues across the album’s 34 minutes: from wrapping a car around a streetlamp to the jitters of withdrawal, to the wrenching agony of heartbreak, to the empty, gnawing tedium of days spent in a hospital bed.  It’s harrowing stuff; an impressionistic but unflinching annal of addiction, self-loathing and spiritual crisis – and perhaps all the more striking given Baker’s young age: she’s twenty now but was closer to eighteen when she wrote these songs. Continue reading →

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Listen to Abi Reimold’s “Sugar,” see her open for Julien Baker at Boot and Saddle

elliott smith
Abi Reimold | photo by Haley Richter | haleyrichterphoto.com | courtesy of the artist

We’ve been following Philly singer and songwriter Abi Reimold for a while now – ever since she worked for us a photography intern a few years back – and just like her images exhibit a remarkable depth and sensitivity, so does her music.

Reimold is releasing her debut full-length, Wriggling, this month via Sad Cactus records, and recently got the Artist to Watch treatment from Stereogum. In that story, she admitted that the album was written and recorded in late 2014, but she sat on it for a while because of the subject matter. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Son Step embraces the unknown on “Mai Lai Wah”

Son Step | Photo by Matthew Roberts
Son Step | Photo by Matthew Roberts

Grooved-up Philly experimental four-piece Son Step returns this winter with an LP called Natural Majique, and today the band teases it with the release of a new two-song single. You can listen to our premiere of the “Mai Lai Wah” single below, and indeed, the title song does take its name from the Race Street restaurant with the rad neon in the windows.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Steady Hands at Boot and Saddle, RFA at The Fire

Steady Hands | Photo by Jessica Flynn | sugaryear.com | via facebook.com/steadyhandsphilly
Steady Hands | Photo by Jessica Flynn | sugaryear.com | via facebook.com/steadyhandsphilly

Sean Huber steps out from behind the drumkit and to the microphone in Steady Hands, the folk-punk outfit he’s been fronting when percussive duties with Modern Baseball don’t have him traveling around the world. This year, Steady Hands released the very lively and revved up Tropical Depression EP – a feisty set that reminds me a lot of fellow Philadelphians Mischief Brew in the way it sonically holds The Germs and Op Ivy in equal esteem as The Pogues and Billy Bragg. Tonight, the band headlines Boot and Saddle for the final night of Weathervane Music’s December residency, and rumor has it one lucky ticket holder will win an autographed vinyl copy of MoBo’s You’re Gonna Miss It All LP. More information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to the title track to Tropical Depressionbelow. Continue reading →

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Dark Blue goes full Delco on new single “Delco Runts”

Dark Blue | Photo courtesy of the artist
Dark Blue | Photo courtesy of the artist

Philly punks Dark Blue are back in action this winter now that drummer Mike Sneeringer has a bit of time off from his Strand of Oaks duties. The band, which also features singer-guitarist and songwriter John Sharkey III of Clockcleaner and Andy Nelson of Paint it Black, is releasing a new single on January 15th via 12XU Records. (That’s the Austin indie imprint founded by Matador Records’ Gerard Colsoy.)

The song, “Delco Runts,” is heavy on atmospheric guitar strums and Sharkey’s booming, brooding vocal delivery, setting the tone perfectly for his observational study of the bleakness of the burbs, specifically Delaware County: “Your brother was killed on the Sharon Hill line / crushed on the tracks, now your mom’s doing time.”  Continue reading →

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Exit Interview: Ron Gallo on packing up for Nashville

Ron Gallo | Photo courtesy of the artist
Ron Gallo | Photo courtesy of the artist

I first met Ron Gallo in 2008 when his then-duo Toy Soldiers was making a lot of noise on the Temple house show scene. The band consisted of him backed by drummer Mike Baurer, and their rough-hewn bluesy grit and taut minimalism – best exemplified by a set of demos posted on their MySpace page called It Is What It Is. Is It What It Is? – reminded me a hell of a lot of The Black Keys. Carney and Auerbach were still a duo at that point too. Things change, bands evolve, the big wheel keeps on turning.

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Watch Strand of Oaks cover Smashing Pumpkins and Ryan Adams at Boot and Saddle

Strand of Oaks at Boot and Saddle | Photo by John Vettese
Strand of Oaks at Boot and Saddle | Photo by John Vettese

If you did a YouTube search on Strand Of Oaks prior to 2013, you were likely to see a lot of videos of a lone Tim Showalter on stage or in a studio, chatty and engaging, wearing a guitar and possibly performing a cover. This was how Oaks got its start prior to expanding to full band status with the release of Dark Shores, and this was the Oaks we saw at Boot and Saddle this weekend for Showalter’s final shows in support of 2014’s HEAL.

For night one of the sold-out two night stand, Showalter played his breakout record in its entirety, backed by singer-songwriter Jason Anderson (of the band Tracks) on Rhodes keyboard, and introduced a few new Oaks cuts to the crowd.

Night two, however, was a  bit looser. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Petal

When Scranton’s Kiley Lotz founded Petal in 2012, she didn’t have a lot of expectations attached to it. A lot of her close friends from were musicians, playing in bands like The Menzingers and Captain We’re Sinking. Surrounded by such a fertile DIY community, a bit of inspiration seeped off, but Lotz wasn’t making music for anybody but herself.

She recorded the EP Scout with Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins of Tigers Jaw, she self-released it online and then something happened. People really dug what they heard. The EP was reissued on Run for Cover Records in 2013 and Petal began emerging on the show scene, all while Lotz pursued a parallel career in theater that had her living in New York City for a while.

These days she calls Fishtown home, and has a fantastic new set of songs to enhance the Petal catalog. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head