Happy Record Store Day! Go out and buy some vinyl

Photo via
Photo via

Today is the 7th annual Record Store Day. It’s a day to celebrate music, specifically the independent record stores that sell it and the exclusive vinyl selections by hundreds of bands being released as an incentive to get music fans into the stores.

Before you head out, check out our guide to what’s happening locally at various record stores around the Philadelphia area.

Below, listen to some of the offerings for the day including Bleeding Rainbow’s cover of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Glynis,” Bardo Pond’s cover of Brian Eno’s “Here Comes The Warm Jets,” Django Django’s cover of The Monkees’ “Porpoise Song,” and a demo of “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden.

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Tumblr of the Moment: Emily Simpson’s #worklife aka StagePatchLady

Helping Django Django set up at the stage Union Transfer | Photo by Emily Simpson |

For concertgoers and music fans the world around, backstage has a total allure. Whether you’re giddily imagining hedonistic David Lee Roth style parties in the green room, or just an audio nerdio who relishes the tech perspective of live productions, there’s a sense of innate curiosity associated with just about everything that happens in the wings and beyond them.

For Philly’s Emily Simpson, backstage is her job; she’s a stage manager and patch tech at Union Transfer. This means she leads the bands on and offstage, works with artists and front-of-house engineers to set up their gear in the most efficient way, makes sure microphones and cables are plugged in properly and don’t clutter the performance area, cleans up spilled beer during the show, et cetera. “I’m kind of a jack of all trades,” she laughs. And her phone is always at her side, meaning she gets to shoot pictures from an angle that the general public doesn’t usually get to see.

Simpson recently collected these photos into a new Tumblr called #worklife – named for the hashtag she uses to organize the photos on her Instagram account – and it’s a lively behind-the-scenes view of one of the busiest mid-size venues in the region. She writes that the site “is designed as a way for me to curate those pictures as well as the memories attached to them.” For each photo she posts, she shares thoughts on what it depicts – whether its a short and general memory of the concert or a indepth and specific description of what we’re seeing. “I never really realized just how many stories I had associated with each show until I did this,” Simpson tells us.

As she writes on its about page, the blog is essentially “part self-serving reflection, part archiving exercise, all a little bit ridiculous.” Take a look at some of Simpson’s photos below, and follow the entire collection at Continue reading →


Watch Django Django talk about their record picks in an episode of “What’s in My Bag?” (playing Firefly Festival on June 21-23)

django Recent Free at Noon guests Django Django popped into Amoeba Records in Los Angeles recently to film a segment of the store’s “What’s in My Bag?” series.  The London-based psych / pop band picked up an eclectic mix of recordings including The Monkees’ Head, The Feelies’ Crazy Rhythms, John Fahey’s Blind Joe Death, Simple Minds’ Reel to Real Cacophony and about twenty other genre crossing releases.  Check out their episode below and listen back to Django Django’s World Cafe appearance here.  Tickets and information for June’s Firefly Festival in Dover, DE can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.


Django Django bring their futuristic desert rock to life at Union Transfer (review, photos, setlist)

Scotland’s Django Django are quite possibly one of the most creative bands making music right now. On their debut, self-titled record (which was nominated for a Mercury Prize), they combine classic desert rock and campfire songs with bloopy, electronic accents and lush vocal harmonies—for a result that sounds a little like it was composed by a futuristic robot cowboy. Friday night, the foursome brought their unique art rock to life at Union Transfer, wowing the crowd with their musicality and stage show.

Clad in matching shirts with mysterious symbols, and playing in front of a large projection screen bathed in imagery, Django Django appeared—to the unknowing observer at least—as ambassadors from a faraway planet, here to share their discoveries with Earth. Opener “Hail Bop” then could be an homage to their god—with its choral harmonies, and refrain of “Hail to the Bop”—while follower “Storm,” which followed a trajectory similar to that of atmospheric pressure before it rains—could be that same God becoming angered.

Other songs seemed more like celebrations than incantations: bouncy single “Default” inspired some serious moves from front man Vincent Neff, who proved excellent at riling the crowd AND beating his “egg box” (his words!)—while “Love’s Dart” inspired dance floor gold. Continue reading →


Photo Recap: Django Django played Free at Noon

UK-based psychedelic electropop band Django Django blew the roof off this afternoon’s Free at Noon Concert. Check out a gallery of photos from their set above, and don’t forget – tickets are still available for tonight’s show at Union Transfer. If they have one tenth of the energy tonight that they had today, it’ll be massive (though we kind of imagine they’ll actually have more).


Tonight’s Concert Picks: DeVotchKa at The Trocadero, Django Django at Union Transfer, Norwegian Arms at PhilaMOCA, Brethren at The Grape Room

devotchkaDenver’s DeVotchKa bring their chamber orchestra project to The Trocadero tonight.  After recording a live album with the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Eastern European-influenced quartet hit the road with a chamber orchestra to bring the full and intricate layers of an orchestral performance to smaller stages.  The band is also testing out new material that will be recorded as a follow-up to 2011′s 100 Lovers.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Pearl and the Beard can be found here.  Below, watch DeVotchKa perform “All the Sand in All the Sea” live at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony.

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Watch Django Django’s “Hand of Man” video (headlining Union Transfer in March)

With a spring tour on the way that brings them to Union Transfer on March 8, Django Django just released a new music video shot on the soon-to-be-discontinued Kodak black-and-white film stock at a friend’s London flat in a building that’s about to be leveled for a condo development. It’s all about saying goodbye to the past and moving ahead into the future. Watch “Hand of Man” below. For more information on the show, visit the WXPN Concert Calendar.

Django Django: Hand of Man on


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Michaela Majoun’s five most sonically addictive songs of 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun shares her five most sonically addictive songs of 2012.

By which I mean songs you just can’t get out of your head, not necessarily because of lyrical content or musical depth, but because of a sound that hooks you.  I suspect it has something to do with repetition and viscerally-felt clapping or drum noise and the other things noted below. There are studies about why music is addictive – read more here and here. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Django Django playing Union Transfer in March (hear them on World Cafe today)

Buzzing UK four-piece Django Django announced a round of winter tour dates today, including its first Philadelphia appearance. The expansive electronic / psych band will play Union Transfer on Friday, March 8. Tickets are on sale tomorrow at noon, more information is available at the venue’s website. The band’s recent World Cafe session airs on today’s show; you can tune in beginning at 2 p.m. at 88.5 FM in Philadelphia or from anywhere. Below, watch Django Django’s alluring performance of “Love’s Dart” from its Blackbox Session.


My Morning Download: “Default” by Django Django

Photo © Rex Features / Tom Oldham

Now based in London, Edinburgh-born Django Django is a four-piece band that defies musical classification. Drawing on psychedelia with a modern and creative twist (in the same way bands such as Animal Collective and the Beta Band do), Django Django is experimental and accessible. The band’s self-titled debut album is an eclectic and friendly collection of indie art-rock with excellent pop songs at the heart of their sound. Below, download “Default.”

Django Django – Default by Django Django

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company