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First Listen: Rodrigo y Gabriela, playing #XPNFest, stream new album, 9 Dead Alive

Photo by Jim Mimna/courtesy of the artist
Photo by Jim Mimna/courtesy of the artist

Rodrigo y Gabriela release their new album, 9 Dead Alive, on Tuesday, April 29th. The duo are part of the over 30 band lineup for WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival being held on July 25-27th on the Camden Waterfront.

Writing about the new album for NPR Music, Jasmine Garsd says:

In their newest album, 9 Dead Alive, return to their roots, reminding listeners why they fell in love with the Mexican duo in the first place. The album finds them at the peak of their musical flexibility, dexterously weaving elements of heavy metal with flamenco.

These Mexico City natives are an if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed parable. As heavy metal musicians, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero had trouble launching their careers. Making it in one of the biggest music scenes in the Spanish speaking world is as pivotal as it is nightmarish: if you break through in Mexico, you’ve made it in Latin America, but succeeding in an environment that is frequently reluctant to take risks can also be an impossible task. So they picked up to go busk in Ireland, where they perfected the guitar licks that have made them famous.

Listen to 9 Dead Alive here. Purchase tickets to the XPoNential Music Festival here.

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Stream new albums by The Afghan Whigs and The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)

Photo by Piper Ferguson
Photo by Piper Ferguson

The Afghan Whigs and The Both (Ted Leo and Aimee Mann) are performing at WXPN’s annual music industry gathering, the Non-Commvention, happening May 14-16 at World Cafe Live. Both the Whigs and The Both have new albums coming out on Tuesday, April 15th. You can stream them each in their entirety here via NPR Music.

The Afghan Whigs are releasing their first album of all new material in 16 years, Do To The Beast, Fronted by guitarist and singer Greg Dulli, and longtime Whigs’ bassist John Curley, they’re joined by the Whigs’ current core players – guitarists Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic, multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and drummer Cully Symington. While original Whigs guitarist Rick McCollum does not appear on the record, there are numerous guest appearances, including Van Hunt, Mark McGuire (Emeralds), Usher’s musical director Johnny “Natural” Najera, Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys), Clay Tarver (Bullet LaVolta, Chavez), Dave Catching (QOTSA, Eagles of Death Metal), Patrick Keeler (Raconteurs, Greenhornes), Ben Daughtrey (Squirrel Bait), and Joseph Arthur. Ann Powers of NPR Music sums up the record succinctly, and writes:

Running with the album’s cinematic feel, Do to the Beast is in many ways Dulli’s . It conjures the 1990s in flashbacks, but its voices belong to men who’ve outlived the youth they had then. Dulli uses murder metaphors in “Matamoros” and “The Lottery,” and the supernatural enters into “Lost in the Woods” and “Royal Cream.” The real reason Do to the Beast resembles this year’s television preoccupation is that it gives us the voice and vision of a solitary, brilliant man in a constant tug-of-war with evil, as he imagines it — and as it still runs, though quieter now, in his veins.

Stream The Afghan Whigs’s Do To The Beast here.

Stephen Thompson, of NPR Music, writes about The Both:

Photo by Christian Lantry
Photo by Christian Lantry

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Stream The Lone Bellow’s new album (playing The TLA on 2/12)

As we look towards bands on the verge of breaking in 2013, The Lone Bellow should be near the top of the list.  In anticipation of their debut release on January 22nd, NPR is streaming The Lone Bellow’s self-titled record in-full as a First Listen feature this week.  With the delicate ruggedness of The Swell Season and the approachability of The Lumineers, the Georgia-to-Brooklyn transplants brought the Gospel and close harmony traditions of the South up the coast with them.  And though their music is steeped in Southern musical lore, there is an element of Northern wilderness in tracks like “Tree to Grow” and “Two Sides of Lonely” that makes the album a cozy and invigorating winter listen. 

As NPR writes, “… if The Lone Bellow breaks big, which seems like a decent possibility, it’ll be with songs of survival and redemption, written out of necessity rather than opportunity.”  The Lone Bellow will perform at The TLA on February 12th for To Write Love On Her Arms’ Heavy & Light Tour; tickets and information can be found here.  Head over to NPR Music to stream The Lone Bellow and watch the video for “Two Sides Of Lonely” below.

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