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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sun Ra Arkestra at Johnny Brenda’s, Foals at Electric Factory, Frank Turner at World Cafe Live at The Queen

Sun Ra Arkestra
Sun Ra Arkestra at Johnny Brendas | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

For the second year in a row, the Sun Ra Arkestra will celebrate Halloween at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Under the leadership of multi-instrumentalist Marshall Allen, the spirit of enigmatic founder Sun Ra lives on through the Arkestra’s galactic funk and soul performance. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here; watch the band’s Tiny Desk Concert below.

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Courtney Barnett perform on Colbert, Blondie and The Pixies added to NYC Bowie Tribute Shows, & Foals is taking a break

The Key
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

She may have missed out on the Best New Artist of the Year Grammy but Courtney Barnett is a hit with nearly anyone who’s seen or heard her music. Check out Courtney’s live-performance of “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” on last night’s  Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Continue reading →

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Foals engage in “not recommended behavior”, conquer Union Transfer

Foals | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com
Foals | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com

I’ve given the title “best show of 2015” in my head to four shows so far this year, each one being eclipsed by the subsequent. In what will hopefully be the last of such eclipsings this year, Foals played the best set of music I’ve seen this year, and definitely one of the best I’ve ever seen.

I walked into the room at Union Transfer a bit concerned; compared to what I had heard the crowd at Terminal 5 was like the night prior, the room seemed alarmingly empty, especially for a sold out show. I had heard tell of frontman Yannis Philippakis’ on-stage / off-balcony antics, and was a little concerned at the feasibility of some of his reported stunts. Those fears were quickly dispelled as the crowd filled between set changes. The show started with “Snake Oil”, a jam whose choruses and breakdowns harken back to their Krautrock influences, and immediately got the crowd banging heads. Already, Yannis was breaking a sweat, bouncing all over the stage, accenting his guitar playing complete with a dizzying amount of spinning. Continue reading →

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10 concerts you don’t want to miss in December

The Arcs | Photo credit: Richard Swift
The Arcs | Photo by Richard Swift | via facebook.com/TheArcsMusic

December may the busiest month of the year so we apologize ahead of time for adding to the already packed schedule. We suggest you maybe skip that 12th family party or perhaps wait for that blockbuster movie to come on demand and instead make time for these ten shows that you are just not going to want to miss. Tickets and information on all of these shows can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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WXPN’s Gotta hear Song of the Week: “A Knife In The Ocean” by Foals

Foals | Credit: Neil Krug
Foals | Credit: Neil Krug

From Oxford, England, the indie rock band Foals are one of the UK’s most popular bands. While they’ve got their share of fans in the States, they’ve struggled however, to build the huge following they’ve truly deserved. That’s all about to change with the release of their fantastic new album, What Went Down on August 28th. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: FOALS at Theatre Of Living Arts

FOALS

FOALS is a hard band to place, dangling somewhere between the indie-music world and the mainstream. Pitchfork compares the reverbed vocals to Jim James’ from My Morning Jacket; The Guardian compares the poppy melodies to Coldplay. The band members, meanwhile, cite Steve Reich and Gwen Stefani. FOALS definitely has a big sound, from the epic build-ups in songs such as “Spanish Sahara” to the heavy-handed production on both of the band’s albums. And the band members frequently talk about making danceable music. But there’s some intelligence in there as well: FOALS started as a math-rock group and—though that aspect has been compromised over the years—the influence remains. The glitchy guitar parts and use of noise add spice to its otherwise straightforward sound. The indie/mainstream divide may also be continental; both of the English group’s albums charted in the top 10 in the UK, but failed to chart in the States. FOALS performs with Freelance Whales and The Naked And Famous at 9 p.m. at Theatre Of Living Arts; tickets to the show are $23. —Dave Simpson

Also playing: J. Roddy Walston And The Business + Toy Soldiers, The Features at North Star Bar (8 p.m., 21+, $10)