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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Stef Chura

Stef Chura | Photo by Makena Duffy for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is an artist who is a mainstay of the Detroit music scene. Stef Chura began gigging around Michigan about a decade ago, and turned the tragic death of a friend into motivation to take her music into the studio. The resulting album, 2017’s Messes, caught the attention of celebrated label Saddle Creek, who signed Chura and reissued her debut the following year. Matching her relentless touring schedule, Chura quickly teamed up with Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo to write and record her next album, which materialized earlier this year. Midnight contains some of Chura’s most potent material yet, and she brought her full touring band (guitarist Clara Salyer, bassist Chad Stocker and drummer Ryan Clancy) to our studio to rip through a trio of new songs.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Operators

Operators | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band that began life as a spin-off of a spin-off. In 2012, Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs guitarist Dan Boeckner and New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown teamed up with Spoon’s Britt Daniel for a (as of this moment) one-off album as Divine Fits. After returning to their respective projects, Boeckner and Brown reunited a few years later, joined by keyboardist Devojka, to form Operators. Fusing rich electronic textures with hard-hitting guitar rock, Operators released their second full-length, Radiant Dawn, earlier this year. They stopped by our studios before a show at Johnny Brenda’s to perform a few cuts.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Filthy Friends

Filthy Friends | Photo by Makena Duffy for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band whose members represent a multiple generations’ worth of music history. Led by Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Filthy Friends essentially formed around just that: a collection of longtime friends who love making music together. Joining Tucker and Buck are bassist Scott McCaughey, guitarist Kurt Bloch and drummer Linda Pitmon; each of whom have also played in various iterations of The Minus 5. While on tour in support of their second album, Emerald Valley, Filthy Friends (and tourmates Dressy Bessy) stopped by our studio to effortlessly charge through a set of new songs.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Diane Coffee

Diane Coffee | Photo by Eric Schuman for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is the latest incarnation of an ever-evolving project. Diane Coffee began as the solo vehicle for Shaun Fleming, former voice actor and, at the time, drummer for West Coast psych-pop outfit Foxygen. What started with Fleming’s bare-bones home recordings gradually became an expansive live show boasting a full band and, on occasions like their memorable 2016 XPNFest appearance, costume changes. The Spring 2019 release of the third Diane Coffee album, Internet Arms, arrives after Fleming’s departure from Foxygen as well as a stint portraying King Herod in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. The full Diane Coffee band visited our studio for a thrilling performance.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Mike Krol

Mike Krol | Photo by Emily De Hart for XPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a real character. Los Angeles singer Mike Krol draws from his roots in graphic design to make punchy, electrifying power-punk. Over the course of four albums (the latest of which, Power Chords, was released at the beginning of this year on Merge), Krol has concocted blown-out anthems of heartbreak and joy. Before a show at Boot and Saddle earlier this year, Krol brought his band, bassist Allison Crutchfield (also of Swearin’, Waxahatchee and p.s. eliot), guitarists Graham Hunt and Sean Lango, and drummer Brian Granillo, to our studio to rip through a bunch of songs from Power Chords.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: hand habits

hand habits | Photo by John Vettese for XPN

This Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session marks the return to our studio of two old friends and the spotlight turn of a third. Meg Duffy began their project hand habits in 2012 with a series of independently released EPs. Not too long into their career as a guitarist-for-hire, Duffy became the not-so-secret weapon in Kevin Morby’s touring band (in fact, the first time I met Duffy was after Morby’s Free at Noon concert in 2017). Earlier this year, Duffy released their second full-length as hand habits, placeholder, and returned to our studio to play some of the new songs with bassist Keven Lareau and drummer John Andrews (both of whom are members of Quilt and previously appeared in last year’s IRHP session with Cut Worms).

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Listen to Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz guest host the Indie Rock Hit Parade

DJ Sad13 aka Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz | Photo by Eric Schuman

In just over six years of hosting the Indie Rock Hit Parade, I’ve had plenty of guests on the show. Usually it’s a live in-studio performance or a fun-filled DJ visit from Jon Wurster. After all this time, though, there’s one thing I’ve never had, and that’s a vacation. This past week, while I was in San Francisco, I left my beloved Friday show in the capable hands of the Hit Parade’s first-ever guest host, DJ Sad13 aka Sadie Dupuis.

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: The Monochrome Set

The Monochrome Set | Photo by Eric Schuman for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band that, without exaggeration, is the most influential group we’ve ever had on the show. Formed in 1978, The Monochrome Set would quickly become one of the most celebrated bands of the UK’s post-punk era. Influencing everyone from The Smiths to Pulp to the Arctic Monkeys, The Monochrome Set’s witty wordplay and irresistible melodies are still plenty vibrant 40 years on. After a few brief breaks in the ’80s and ’90s, The Monochrome Set have returned to their prolific ways, recently releasing their fifth post-reunion album, Maisieworld. Two founding members remain in the band today, singer/guitarist Bid and bassist Andy Warren. They’re joined by drummer Mike Urban and keyboardist John Paul Moran, both of whom have played in the band at various points since the ’90s. While on a rare US tour, The Monochrome Set stopped by our studios to perform a few of their favorites. Continue reading →

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Helado Negro

Helado Negro | Photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade is an artist who is no stranger to our performance space. Roberto Carlos Lange has been releasing music as Helado Negro for just over a decade and, in that time, has become a reliable source for intimate, expressive music. Combining sweeping electronics with rhythms gleaned from Floridian hip-hop and his own Ecuadorian heritage, Helado Negro’s latest album is This is How You Smile. The new songs expand on the socially- and culturally-minded lyrics of his last album, 2016’s Private Energy. For that album, Helado Negro performed a memorable World Cafe session accompanied by a string quartet (including IRHP session veteran Renata Zeiguer on violin) and a pair of tinsel-clad dancers. While on tour with Beirut earlier this year, Lange returned to our studio with two of the versatile musicians who appear on his new album: Angela Morris and Nathaniel Morgan. Both provide synth and saxophone parts on the record, and they reprise their instrument-hopping roles here. Continue reading →

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Potty Mouth

Potty Mouth | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band whose new album is a long-awaited (and much welcome) return. Formed in Northampton, Massachusetts nearly a decade ago, Potty Mouth stormed onto the scene with their debut album, Hell Bent, in 2013. While touring that record, they visited our studios for what is still regarded as one of the loudest World Cafe sessions ever recorded. Six years on, Potty Mouth have just released the full-length followup to Hell Bent, SNAFU. Borrowing a military parlance for its not entirely tongue-in-cheek title, SNAFU represents the determination of Potty Mouth’s members to persist in the face of personal and professional challenges. Guitarist Abby Weems, bassist Ally Einbender, drummer Victoria Mandanas and touring guitarist Kate Meizner returned to our studio on the eve of SNAFU‘s release to charge through a set of new songs. And this time they might have been even louder. Continue reading →