Classic rock meets power pop with this performance by Free Energy at the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio. “Girls Want Rock” comes from the band’s latest album Love Sign, and is performed in an intimate space, but by the look and sound of the vid you’d think they were in a back alley in Brooklyn somewhere (which, incidentally, is where Rubber Tracks Studio is located).
The song perfectly embodies the band’s fusion of classic rock with new school pop, taking guitar solos straight out of early ’80s Van Halen, and their video for the Converse series is as playful, colorful and fun as the music they make. Watch the video for the Ready, Set series below.
Toy Soldiers celebrated the release of their full-length The Maybe Boys with a Key Studio Session. For their encore session (they first visited the WXPN studios in 2010) the rootsy blues rock band recorded a few songs from the new record, as well as an unreleased track called “Street Sweeper.” Stream and download “Heart in a Mousetrap” below and get the full set here.
West Chester’s Ben Smith has released a new EP called Ravine Road. The singer-songwriter recorded it himself in his home studio, using vintage equipment he picked up at the estate sale of his seventh-grade teacher. Listen to the title track below and get a name-your-own-price download here.
Here’s a cover we totally approve of. Below, download Free Energy’s cover of “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne. It’s a pretty straight forward reading of the song, but as good a song as it is – and in the hands of Free Energy – they totally nail it. Originally on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack in 1982, it was Browne’s highest charting single of his career and his last too ten song, reaching #7 on the Billboard charts. Nothing says great song like a tasty pop hook and some nice 80′s production. Download the song below, and check out a performance of the song by Jackson.
Philly pop-rock five-piece Free Energy took the stage at maybe not the most opportune moment during Non-COMM. The Lone Bellow had just wrapped up a tremendous set upstairs, and much of the industry crowd was still smoozing with that band; others had skipped the festival entirely to catch their flight home. So to put it politely, there was plenty of room to dance in World Cafe Live’s downstairs when they opened their set with “Electric Fever.” But true to the slogan on his t-shirt, attitude was everything to frontman Paul Sprangers, and he rocked the crowd of about 75 like it was an arena of 7,500. The band’s trademark boisterous performance raged out into the hall and up the stairs, beckoning Non-COMMers inside. And as the band played on, the room filled up nicely. Listen to the audio from the set here (via the WXPN media player).
This Wednesday, May 15 through Friday night May 17, the 13th annual Non-COMM industry and music conference is being hosted at WXPN. Many of the bands performing over the three days will be broadcast and webcast on XPN. Below is the schedule (subject to change).
Wednesday, May 15
7 – 7:25 p.m. Gabriel Kelley
7:30 – 8:10 p.m. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell (video webcast)
8:10 – 8:35 p.m. John Murry
8:40 – 9:20 p.m. Tom Tom Club (video webcast)
9:25 – 9:55 p.m. Kurt Vile
10:00 – 10 :45 p.m. Phoenix (Phoenix will NOT be broadcasted live)
10:50 – 11:20 p.m. Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside
Thursday, May 16
12:00 p.m. – A Special Mississippi Blues Project Free At Noon 12 featuring
the Homemade Jamz Blues Band and Super Chikan and The Fighting Cocks (video webcast)
7 – 7:20 p.m. Mount Moriah
7:25 – 7:55 p.m. Mavis Staples (video webcast)
8 – 8:20 p.m. Wild Belle
8:25 – 9:05 p.m. Tom Jones (video webcast)
9:10 – 9:40 p.m. The Last Bison
9:45 – 10:15 p.m. José James
10:20 – 10:55 p.m. David Wax Museum
11 – 11:45 p.m. Robert Randolph
11:50 -12:20 a.m. Foxygen
Friday, May 17
12 – 1:00 p.m. Free At Noon Concert: The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Bobby Long
7 – 7:25 p.m. Wild Feathers
7:30 -8 p.m. Laura Mvula
8:05 – 8:35 p.m. The Lone Bellow
8:40 – 9:10 p.m. Free Energy
9:15 – 9:45 p.m. Kopecky Family Band
9:50 – 10:30 p.m. The Olms featuring Pete Yorn
10:35 – 11:05 p.m. Marie Miller
11:10 – 12:00 a.m. The Relatives
Post-punk quartet Parquet Courts headline an eclectic line-up at PhilaMOCA tonight. Back in Philadelphia for the third time this year, Parquet Courts continue to tour in support of their debut full-length Light Up Gold, which just got a proper label release through indie label What’s Your Rupture. Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, Amanda X and Household can be found here. Watch Parquet Courts perform “Master of My Craft” and “Borrowed Time” live on WNYC below.
One of the stand-out bands at March’s SXSW, Sir Sly make their way to Philadelphia tonight for a show at Johnny Brenda’s. With an EP plus a few more tracks released, the band has quickly made it clear that they will operate in the realm of expansive, catchy pop hooks. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with JMSN and The Last Royals can be found here. Watch a new video for “Found You Out” below and download “Gold” here.
Local Brazilian band Alo Brasil plays Underground Arts tonight. More than just a performing band, Alo Brasil features an interactive live show influenced by African rhythms like samba, maracatu and more. Though often accompanied by costumed dancers, for their recurring “Underground Sessions” Alo Brasil has a refreshed line-up of musicians. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here, or on the Facebook event page here. Watch a promo video for Alo Brasil below.
Below, listen to a B-Side, “Love Sign,” by Free Energy. The band plays North Star Bar on Saturday, May 4th and are also going out on the road with The Darkness. Free Energy performed at WXPN’s Free At Noon on February 8th; listen to the show here.