By

Listen to Strand Of Oaks cover Gillian Welch on XPN’s Like A Version segment

Strand Of Oaks | Photo by Eric Schuman
Strand Of Oaks | Photo by Eric Schuman

Strand Of Oaks, the project of Philly mainstay Timothy Showalter, is about to release a new album on Tuesday. It’s called Heal and it’s one of this year’s must-listen records (in fact, you can and should do that right here). Tim came by the XPN studio for Dan Reed’s weekly Like A Version segment to cover Gillian Welch’s “Time (The Revelator),” a song that is notably more delicate than his own recent music. Showalter admits that, following the recording and production of Heal, he needed to ease his ears with sounds that were a bit gentler than the heavy percussion and searing guitars that had surrounded him. The resulting cover is both characteristically intense and lovingly reverent.

Listen to the performance and interview below and catch Strand Of Oaks at our Free at Noon Concert next Friday and at Boot and Saddle on September 19th.

Tags: , , , , , ,

By

Yes in Philly in the Seventies

Art by Roger Dean http://www.rogerdean.com/
Art by Roger Dean http://www.rogerdean.com/

Today is the 12 hour Prog Rock Marathon on WXPN hosted by Dan Reed and his returning guest, local prog rock expert Biff Kennedy. From Noon to 5 they will be upstairs at World Cafe Live, welcoming special guests and spinning classic prog-rock; King Crimson, Can, Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and of course, some Yes.

Philly has always loved its Yes, prog-rockers who are still at it – during this summer’s Yestival tour, John DiLIberto called them “dinosaurs that have been reborn.” Introduced to many radio listeners in Philly by Ed Sciaky on WMMR back in the early Seventies, Yes performed in Philly regularly, playing the Spectrum 12 times from 1971 to 1979. While they often played two nights in a row here, they once played twice on the same day, including a matinee show, on February 16th, 1974 during the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour.

In June, 1979 the band performed three nights in a row, “in the round,” on a rotating stage, and the show on June 21st was recorded and released on DVD. The band at the time included Jon Anderson, Steve Howe (guitar), Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Chris Squire (bass), and Alan White (drums). Below, watch a couple of songs from that performance – “Starship Trooper,” and “Siberian Khatru” – followed by a recording of a complete show during the Relayer tour from the Spectrum on July 22nd, 1977.

Continue reading →

Tags: , ,

By

A few thoughts on Lou Reed from WXPN’s Dan Reed

Lou-ReedI just heard that Lou Reed passed away. There is going to be a lot said and written about him in the coming days, and much of it will probably more eloquently describe his legacy than I’ll be able to do here. That being said, on a personal level, Reed’s contributions to my life were enormous. I met him once, interviewed him on one other occasion, so I can’t say I knew him. But I KNEW him, you know? Just like many of you did. For those of you whose knowledge of his work doesn’t go much beyond “Walk On The Wild Side”, I urge to you to take this sad occasion to delve deeper into the large and varied catalog of his music. He was one of the most important and confrontational artists in the history of rock & roll.

It’s hard to believe how strange of an album that first Velvet Underground album was (The Velvet Underground And Nico, 1967). Released in the spring before “The Summer Of Love”, that record presented the underside of the hippy dream, rife with drugs, prostitutes, and general bleakness. It predated punk nihilism by a decade. Reed wrote or co-wrote all the songs. Fueled by the artful anarchy of his mentor Andy Warhol, Reed joyfully wrote and sang about all the unmentionables that New York City had to offer. His singing voice was unlike anything else… a monotone that oozed detachment and cool.

It was his solo career, however, that cemented his place in music history. From his David Bowie-produced hit album Transformer (that included “Walk On The Wild Side”, the funniest and most subversive song ever to hit the top 20) to his 1975 album of nothing but noise and hiss (Metal Machine Music) to his wonderful nod to his beloved home (the New York album, 1989) and beyond, Lou Reed challenged, changed, and confounded his fans and foes. I can remember buying his album Street Hassle in high school. I brought it home, put it on the turntable, listened all the way through, and just knew that I could never hear music the same ever again. It was scary and funny, often at the same time. I went back from there… the incredible sadness of the story and characters of Berlin; the druggy swagger of Coney Island Baby; his criminally underrated debut album.

And there’s this interview that I just saw for the first time a week or so ago… it’s from 1974 at the Sydney, Australia airport. I think it’s hilarious.

Back in ’06 we had the “885 Greatest Artists” countdown, and we all had to come up with our top 10’s.  As much of a Stones fan as I am, as much as I adored The Clash, and Neil Young, and My Bloody Valentine, and Nirvana, Lou Reed was my choice for my favorite rock & roll artist of all time.  I think he always will be, because he changed the way I think about music, and what you can say with your own individual talents.  Plus, he was cool as hell.  R.I.P., Uncle Lou…

Tags: ,

By

Listen to Rob Grote from The Districts get interviewed on the air by WXPN’s Dan Reed

DistrictsNow that The Districts wrapped up their summer tour with Pine Barons and settled in their new house in Philly, frontman Rob Grote took some time out yesterday afternoon to visit WXPN studios for an interview live on the air with afternoon host Dan Reed. They talked about playing live, the weirdness of getting courted by labels and a certain burrito shop in Lancaster that got the band its start. Listen to the interview in its entirety below.

The Districts’ next two shows are somewhat vague, according to Songkick: one is simply listed as “The Districts House Party” on September 14th (as Grote mentions, all four bandmates now share a house in Philly) and another is at “Vintage bookstore in Lancaster” on September 15th, and both feature Nashville bands Clear Plastic Masks and Ranch Ghost. But as we also hear in the interview, the band is currently recording its sophomore album with Bill Moriarty at Waking Studio in East Falls. Can’t wait to hear the results.

Tags: , , , ,

By

Happy Record Release Day to Free Energy! Singer Paul Sprangers to appear on WXPN tomorrow with Dan Reed

Photo by John Vettese
Congrats to Philly rock and roll heroes Free Energy on the release of their second full-length, Love Sign, which is in stores today. Tomorrow, singer Paul Sprangers – who you see rocking the Morgan’s Pier crowd above – will appear on WXPN with Dan Reed for an interview and to guest host the Top Five at Five. Paul’s theme for the set is “love” – of course. Tune in at 88.5 FM in the Philly area or XPN.org from anywhere else! Below, listen to “Dance All Night” from Love Sign.

Tags: , ,