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This Saturday at The Fire: The SunDrop All-Day Block Party featuring Illinois, ill Fated Natives, Ben Kessler and more…

SunDrop Festival

The SunDrop Music and Arts Festival’s All-Day Block Party will be held this Saturday, June 4th at The Fire. Picky about your music tastes? Not to worry, the more than eight hours of music will bring a lot to the table, from synth-pop to hard rock to hip-hop and everything in between. And if you’re on a tight budget, once again do not fret — this block party won’t cost a dime. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jacob Snider at World Cafe Live, The Lighthouse and the Whaler at Johnny Brenda’s, Communion Philly with Darla at MilkBoy and more

Photo by Doug Seymour via facebook.com
Photo by Doug Seymour via facebook.com

XPN favorite Jacob Snider is a singer-songwriter whose music is both rich and full while remaining uniquely intimate. Tonight Jacob will be at World Café Live in support of Brooklyn-based Jean Rohe beginning at 8 p.m. For more information on the show head over the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Illinois head to the beach in new video for “Summer”

summer
Illinois | photo courtesy of the artist

For most people, summer is the most nostalgic season. Memories of beach trips with friends, vacations with family, sleep-away camp, melting popsicles, lemonade stands, first loves and late nights on the boardwalk occupy special places in our hearts, representing a time of year when anything is possible. Illinois capture those feelings perfectly in the new video for their song “Summer,” taken from February’s Shine LP.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Brielle at Winterfest, Illinois at Johnny Brenda’s, PhillyBloco at Ardmore Music Hall

Brielle
Brielle | Photo by Reji B. | rejibphotography.com

North Philly’s Brielle performs at the final edition of The Key’s Fireside Sessions at Winterfest tonight. The North Philly singer-songwriter just recorded a Key Studio Session with a full band, giving full-treatment to songs from her recent effort The Rough Break-Up. A horn section, keys and jazzy arrangements give the R&B / hip hop songs a feeling of sonic exploration while her lyrics are emotionally exploratory. Listen to “Wait, Stop. GO!” below and get more information about the free show  with Paper Hearts here.

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Illinois has a free new song and it pretty much sounds like everything 1998

Illinois | photo via illinoistheband.com
Illinois | photo via illinoistheband.com

Bucks County musical institution Illinois is not always the easiest crew of dudes to keep tabs on. The twangy scruffy indie rock band first made waves in 2007 with its second EP What the Hell Do I Know, which yielded some TV placement and buzz around the song “Nosebleed.” The band appeared on XPN’s Free at Noon stage, released the creatively-conceived (if confusingly-executed) flash drive album The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe in 2009 and played a rousing set at that summer’s XPoNential Music Festival marina stage. Then the momentum sort of halted and the band fell into the ether for a little while, playing Philly rarely and instead tinkering away in their Churchville studio. Outside of their hometown base in lower Bucks, not too many people knew about Illinois’ 2011 album Lemonade Stand, and I’m pretty certain there was an outtakes / rarities comp in there as well at one point.

Earlier this year, the band ramped up activity in it’s social media zone, releasing regular teaser snippets of a new project, and today emerging with a free download of a finished track called “Queen Flea” (hat-tip to our brothers and sisters in Philly music coverage over at The Deli for alerting us to its existence). The song is a pumped-up anthem reminiscent of an era where polished production mixed well with a quirky sensibility – think Space, Cake, White Town, etc. The late 90s alt-radio rock aesthetic is huge on this song: singer Chris Archibald’s nervous, nervy vocals, the booming drums at a lackadasical tempo, the wikki-wikki turntable sound effects on the chorus. Illinois very much sticks true to their roots here, both in terms of sound and substance – Archibald’s lyrics are dark as ever as he contemplates faking his own death.

Get a free download of “Queen Flea” below; the band says it will be on its next album, but release date and title are still TBD.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rodrigo Y Gabriela at The Electric Factory, Illinois at Hard Rock Cafe, Joey Sweeney, Judson Claiborne, and Lewis & Clarke at Ortlieb’s, The Mighty Paradocs at Kung Fu Necktie

04.12-Rodrigo-y-Gabriela-@-Chicago-TheaterHailing from Mexico, Rodrigo Y Gabriela makes for an incredible acoustic duo, playing an acoustic fusion of flamenco, metal, folk, rock and so much more. Gaining popularity in Ireland, the duo has since received wide critical acclaim for their prodigious musical skills.  Last winter, they released their fourth studio album, Area 52, which included a Cuban orchestra.  Tonight, the group plays The Electric Factory.  Click here for ticket info and get a taste of the two musicians’ guitar skills below.

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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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Before the Bridge Music Festival celebrates local music on 10/13

Now in its third year, Before the Bridge Festival returns to Collingswood, NJ on Saturday, October 13th for a day full of free music, local food and of course fun.  The festival promotes the local music scene in and around Collingswood, NJ – a.k.a. the towns you pass through before crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia.  This year’s line-up has reached a record number of performers and includes local musicans JJL (Jay Laughlin’s new project), Sweatheart, Goodnight Lights, Prowler, Heyward Howkins, BelgradeMonko and She Hates Me.  Out-of-town acts include Gunfight! and headliners Illinois.  The festival will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. between Haddon Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue.  The event is free; go here for more information.  Below, watch Heyward Howkins perform “The Hale & the Harty” outdoors in South Jersey and grab a free download of a song from Illinois’ new album Lemonade Stand after the jump.

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