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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Diarrhea Planet at Underground Arts, Freeway and Friends at The Trocadero, Givers at Boot and Saddle and more

Diarrhea Planet | Photo by John Vettese
Diarrhea Planet | Photo by John Vettese

In case you couldn’t tell from their name, Diarrhea Planet, are a punk six-piece that enjoy having a good time and also don’t quite care about the rules. We covered their show at Underground Arts earlier this year, and let’s just say we were impressed. Their ’70s inspired sounds cuts through the noise and brings you something you should really see for yourself, and tonight you can, as they return to Underground Arts for a show with the playfully named Music Band and Hound. For more information on the show head to the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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GIVERS deliver moodier pop approach on New Kingdom

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

From a band whose beginnings came from evacuating the path of a hurricane, I found it a little ironic that GIVERS’ latest album, New Kingdom, carries the drama of an impending storm. Moody and synth-heavy, this second effort from the Louisiana indie pop outfit is a stark departure from 2011’s In Light.

While the band circulated from festival to festival this year, I caught a few minutes at Eaux Claires in Jul speak to Tiffany Lamson (percussion, vocals), Taylor Guarsico (guitar, vocals) and Josh LeBlanc (bass) a little bit about New Kingdom.

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Givers return with the euphoric “Record High, Record Low”

Givers | Photo via facebook.com/giversmusic
Givers | Photo via facebook.com/giversmusic

Louisiana art-pop five-piece Givers is releasing its eagerly anticipated sophomore album New Kingdom on November 13th via Glassnote Records, and late last week rolled out an energetic and euphoric new single called “Record High, Record Low.” It’s got a racing drumbeat that propels intertwining string and synthesizer arrangements, as well as an ecstatic lead vocal by Tiffany Lamson. Check it out below, and give a listen to the band’s other teaser track from New Kingdom – the nervy duet “Bermuda” – over at YouTube. The band returns to Philadelphia on Friday, November 20th for a gig at Boot and Saddle; get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Eaux Claires Day 2: More mud, more sweat, a lot more tears

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The Eaux Claires festival in Eau Claire, WI continued (read about Day 1 here) July 18 with a much slower start, a combination of Friday’s intense heat and thundershowers through the night having broken some of the pressure.

Leaving no time to waste, staff photog Jeremy and I headed over to the dome marked “Eternity Awaits” that I described yesterday. Once inside the dome, recorded “confessions” and “Alleluias” played as a soundtrack for the experiment as the hay bales started to fill with those anxious to confess. These recorded confessions included everything from a woman sharing she was really a cat to friends admitting they deceived each other; really weird mix of stuff. I pulled the number “12” from the ticket wheel and patiently waited. Astronautalis came out from the confessional between hearing confessions in full priestly regalia, guzzling a Miller Lite and sizing up every sinner in the room with his own appearance-based evaluation – never mind what each person was actually going to confess.

Finally, my ticket was called and I approached the confessional, totally unsure of what to do once I got up there. But, just like in my Catholic upbringing, I entered one side of the confessional and Astronautalis entered the other. The walls of the small box were filled with photobooth-like mugs of others; a kneeler and a screen were also present in on the wall facing Astronautalis. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Shonen Knife, Givers, Freedy Johnston, Pomegranates

Sure, it’s a bummer that both nights of Sigur Ros are sold out. But are you gonna go cry about it? No. You’re gonna rock, because it’s Sunday and that’s what it’s all about.

First off, you can fill that Icelandic gap with some Japanese pop-rock goodness from girl group legends Shonen Knife, playing with Chicago rockers White Mystery at the Levitt Pavilion Steelstacks in Bethlehem, PA. Through years of performing and several changes in line-up, the group has maintained and perfected a poppy DIY aesthete that is at once shiny and grungy. If ever there was pop-punk worth listening to, this is it. The show starts at 9 and tickets are available at the door. Below, watch the video for “Pop Tune,” the title track from Shonen Knife’s latest album.

Or if you’re not so hype on the rock tunes, try Louisiana art-folk outfit Givers. They’re playing Union Transfer with Jersey electro post-rock group Delicate Steve, who just released Positive Force, their sophomore album. The show starts at 8:30, with tickets available for $15 here. Below, watch Givers perform their song “Atlantic” from their new album In Light.

Singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston will play a show tonight at World Cafe Live. He’ll bring out the chill acoustic tunes to whisk you away. The show starts at 8pm, and tickets are available for $16 presale here. Below, watch the video for Johnston’s 1994 song, “Bad Reputation.”

Finally, if all you’re looking for is a really good time, look no further than MilkBoy Philly where Cincinnati’s resident nice guys Pomegranates will bring out their feel-good indie art rock sounds for real. And it’s going to be great. They’re touring on the heels of their latest release, Heaven, and will take the stage along with fellow indie rockers Kitten and locals Prowler. Tickets to the 21+ show are available for $10 here; show starts at 8pm. Below, stream “Pass Away,” from Pomegranates’ new album Heaven.

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Listen to the CSS remix of Givers’ “Up Up Up” (CSS performs at Union Transfer on Oct. 21st)

The Key favorites Givers get a fun, electro-pop treatment from Brazilian group CSS in this remix of their summer breakout single “Up Up Up.” The remix takes the already dynamic song to an impossibly danceable level. CSS, or Cansei de Ser Sexy, literally translates to mean “got tired of being sexy,” but there’s definitely nothing sleepy about this track (via Stereogum).

If you want to get down with CSS (they’re a crazy live act, so yes, you do), they’ll be playing Union Transfer on October 21st. Tickets are $15 and are available here.

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Photo Recap: XPoNential Music Festival Day 2 (Booker T. And The M.G.’s, Ted Leo, Keb’ Mo’, Dar Williams, Givers)

For photos (and audio + video) of local artists performing at this year’s XPoNential Music Festival—including Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Jukebox The Ghost, Sun Airway, Matt Duke, Kuf Knotz, Nicos Gun, and more—take a look at our Local Spotlight posts.

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XPoNential Music Festival Artist Interview: Givers’ Taylor Guarisco

Louisiana indie-pop quintet Givers has had a whirlwind breakout year thus far, signing to Glassnote Records, performing at SXSW and Bonnaroo, and releasing their debut LP In Light. Many types of listeners have found themselves drawn to the group’s infectious energy and dynamic sound, which draws upon alluring influences including afrobeat vibes and interesting percussion lines throughout. In anticipation of the band’s performance at the XPoNential Music Festival this Saturday (July 23rd), lead vocalist and guitarist Taylor Guarisco spoke with The Key about touring with his Dirty Projectors, what he wants listeners to take away from the group’s music, and the infinite possibilities for their next album.

The Key: How did the band first start playing together? I know, originally, you were all doing some different things, with different types of groups.

Taylor Guarisco: We came together in a very natural way, like “Hey, what’s up?” We just saw each other play with other bands and became friends, and eventually started playing in all these bands together. I was in a band with Josh [LeBlanc]; he played trumpet, and I played bass. Kirby [Campbell] started drums for that band. Then, you know, a few weeks later I was playing in a different band with Tiffany [Lamson]; she was playing drums, I was playing bass, and Nick played keyboards…We all just played in all these bands. Seven or eight bands total that more than one of us were affiliated with. So we just got to know each other through all these different bands, so that’s how the story goes.

TK: When did Givers first perform together?

TG: One night, Tiff got a call from a friend, and this little cafe/bar in Lafayette had a band cancel, so they were looking for some people to fill a spot. Tiff called me and we called everybody and got everyone to show up and bring their instruments. It was just a night that we made up all this stuff, and it felt really good. Tiff and I made up all these lyrics and improvised vocal melodies, and we recorded a bunch of ideas for songs. That’s where we got “Up Up Up” from, that first night we jammed and recorded it, as well as two other songs that we still play.

TK: When was that?

TG: I need a cue card or something to write down these dates. Everyone asks us the dates, but the past few years have been a crazy blur. I don’t know if it was 2009 or 2008.

TK: The band recently signed to Glassnote, which is a pretty big label. Has anything about your creative process changed since you signed with them?

TG: You know, no. The reason they signed us was because they value and appreciate our approach. They respect that, whatever we did to make the first album. They signed us after the album was done. They signed us after hearing our final product. They just liked it enough to sign it…It’s like, they respect our process and they haven’t changed anything. But the other side of it is that the way we create is always changing. There’s no one way that these songs were created. It’s something that’s always unfolding and it’s never stagnant, which is a really awesome thing to have.

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Keb’ Mo’ playing a special solo acoustic set at the XPoNential Music Festival on Saturday July 23rd


Keb’ Mo’ has been added to the lineup for the XPoNential Music Festival the weekend of July 22nd-24th. Keb’ will be playing a special solo acoustic show on the River Stage on Saturday, July 23rd. Keb’ will be playing a full band show at at Longwood Gardens on September 17th, however you’ll be able to see him on the bill that day at XPo Fest with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, Booker T, Sun Airway, Dar Williams, Artist To Watch Givers, Hezekiah Jones & Andrew Lipke, and David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket. Keb’ has a new album called The Promise coming out on August 2nd. Tickets to the festival can be purchased here.