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Cool Intentions: Islands, Speedy Ortiz & James Blake on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Islands | Photo by Christian Faustus, courtesy of the artist
Islands | Photo by Christian Faustus, courtesy of the artist

The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN (right after What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese, of course!). Tonight’s show is a special one, thanks in part to a very unique Album Spotlight I’ve got lined up. When we last heard from our friend Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn, he was out doing a solo thing that resulted in a seriously groovy IRHP session. He also hinted that his next project would be recording and releasing TWO new albums with his main band, Islands. Those two albums, Taste and Should I Remain Here At Sea?, are both out today, and we’ll hear selections from each on tonight’s show. There are also plenty of new singles to get to, namely ones from fellow IRHP Session vets Speedy Ortiz, UK electro-soulster James Blake and the monumental return of The Stone Roses. Check out a few of those below:

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Fools Gold: Bleached, Black Mountain & Operators on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Bleached | Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins, courtesy of the artist
Bleached | Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins, courtesy of the artist

Don’t be some kind of April Fool: Listen to the Indie Rock Hit Parade, tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN! You might have noticed that something like a metric TON of new albums came out today. We’ll throw the spotlight on not one but TWO new releases: Welcome The Worms by L.A. garage-punks Bleached and IV by Vancouver’s riff-monsters Black Mountain. As if that weren’t enough for you (which it isn’t, let’s be honest), we’ll hear new tracks from Yeasayer, Operators, Car Seat Headrest and more! Check out a few of the things you’ll hear in the mix below…

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Cannonball: New DIIV, Parquet Courts & Twin Peaks on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

DIIV | Photo by Chiaro Tiso (Courtesy of Captured Tracks)
DIIV | Photo by Chiaro Tiso (Courtesy of Captured Tracks)

The Indie Rock Hit Parade comes at you TONIGHT at 11pm ET on 88.5 WXPN! Get your swimmies on because we’ll be spotlighting the dreamy new album from NYC’s DIIV, called Is The Is Are. It’s a masterful experiment in modern showgaze. We’ve also got new tracks from Parquet Courts, Chicago’s Twin Peaks and Winnipeg’s Living Hour in the big mix. Preview some of those down below…

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Run it: Spotlight on Chairlift plus new Islands and Deep Sea Diver on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade

Chairlift | photo courtesy of the artist
Chairlift | photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade is all laced up and ready to go, right after this month’s Land of the Lost with Robert Drake on WXPN! Listen in starting at 11pm ET for a full two-hour show that’s full of premieres and a few surprises, too. We’ll spotlight Moth, the new third album from Chairlift in the second hour of the show and we’ll hear songs from TWO new albums that our friends Islands will release in the Spring. Be on watch for those and more:

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Nick Diamonds

Nick Diamonds | Photo by John Vettese
Nick Diamonds | Photo by John Vettese

Our latest Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is with a very prolific artist who’s one of our favorites. These days, Nick Diamonds (or Nick Thorburn, whichever) keeps busy as the lead singer and songwriter of Islands, though his work in The Unicorns, Mister Heavenly as well as a side hustle soundtracking films and podcasts has garnered similar acclaim. On his latest outing, Diamonds is joined by Islands keyboardist Evan Gordon for a duo arrangement that’s anything but sparse. While live performances on the tour behind Diamonds’ new solo album, City Of Quartz, flirt with a near industrial vibe, our session is effervescent and charming.

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Come Alive: Eternal Summers LIVE, Nick Diamonds and Jamie xx on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Eternal Summers | Photo by Brett Winter Lemon
Eternal Summers | Photo by Brett Winter Lemon

It’s been about a year since our friends Eternal Summers released an album, so that must mean it’s time for them to release another album! We’ll be joined yet again by the Roanoke trio on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade, as they play songs from their newly released LP, Gold And Stone, live in our studio. Tonight’s full two-hour show also features a spotlight on City Of Quartz, the new solo album from Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn (Islands, The Unicorns). Plus a few of these selections in the mix:

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Free download: Islands share a new song, “Aloe Hills Are Blooming”

Photo via Facebook.
Photo via Facebook.

Coming off of playing Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Montreal indie rockers Islands recently announced a Fall tour. Sadly, there’s no date in Philly yet, however they’ve shared a “bonus” song from their 2013 album, Ski Mask. Below, download “Aloe Hills Are Blooming.” Let’s hope they add a stop in Philly during their September tour.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Noah and the Whale at the TLA, Birdie Busch at Ortlieb’s, Islands at Johnny Brenda’s and more

Noah-and-the-Whale-LAST-NIGHT-ON-EARTH-photos-1009x1024
English rockers Noah and the Whale will rock the TLA stage tonight. The band released its fourth album, Heart of Nowhere, last month via Caroline Records (it came out in the UK back in May). Their melodic alt-rock anthems are memorable and easy to enjoy. Get a taste of what to expect at tonight’s show below and get tickets here.

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Preview tonight’s all-new Indie Rock Hit Parade! (and listen back to the most recent episode)

Islands
Islands

The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns from its holiday tonight at 10pm on WXPN! We might have taken the week off to enjoy this year’s XPoNential Music Festival, but the wheels of the music world kept a-turning, leaving us with lots of great new tracks to premier tonight. Check out a few of the songs you might hear in the mix tonight:

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Show Recap: Islands’ Free At Noon performance at World Cafe Live (February 24th)

If you didn’t know the story behind A Sleep & A Forgetting, last Friday’s Free At Noon show might have left you wondering, “What happened to Islands?” The answer is that front man Nick Thorburn broke up with his long time partner, moved from New York to LA and, heartbroken, started writing the album on Valentine’s Day of last year. Released a year later, (on Valentine’s Day, appropriately) A Sleep & A Forgetting is a mellow, beach-rock handling of heartbreak and the moving-on process. And crying. Lots and lots of crying.

It seems that most songs on the album discuss crying, from opening tracks “In A Dream It Seemed Real” (“Even in the dream I cried”) and “This Is Not A Song” (“Feels a crime to be crying for this long”) to “No Crying” (no explanation necessary) and “Lonely Love” (“I heard you cry, cry”). A few songs talk about sorrow without outright discussing tears, including a tribute to Buddy Holly’s widow titled “Oh Maria,” and “Can’t Feel My Face,” which begins, “I miss my wife / I miss my best friend / Every night / I miss my home.” To top it off, the album was co-produced by Rob Schnapf, who famously worked with Elliott Smith. From content to context, this album should be depressing. Thankfully, Thorburn’s pop-rock weirdness wasn’t lost when he “lost [his] love”—a line from “Can’t Feel My Face.” The album, for all its sorrow, is an enjoyable listen and perhaps one of Thorburn’s best albums to date.

Though Thorburn has openly stated that this confessional album was inspired by his break-up, he remains as unpredictable as ever. Across the many bands and projects he’s written for—which include The Unicorns, Human Highway, Mister Heavenly, solo work under the name Nick Diamonds, guest work on Les Savy Fav’s Let’s Stay Friends, and Islands—Thorburn never uses the same style twice. Even within a single project, such as Islands, his sound varies enormously from album to album and from song to song. If listeners expected a Thorburn break-up album to be morose, then they expected him to be conventional, which is possibly the only thing he hasn’t tried yet.

A Sleep & A Forgetting has low moments, but they are balanced out by the buoyancy of the album’s delivery, a sound the group describes as “doom wop.” The result is reminiscent of The Kooks’ first album or of The Drums. It’s sad Beach Boys with a sprinkle of electronic experimentation and flourishes of jazz. Another surprising result of the beach-rock/break-up combo is the consistency across A Sleep & A Forgetting. Unlike Islands’ previous disparate albums, at 37 minutes, this is a short full-length composed of 11 brief songs: a record where every track adds to the story that it tells. A Sleep & A Forgetting is a tragic story, but it sounds fresh rather than raw, teeming with life instead of harping on the death of a relationship. A testament to the album’s duality is the way Thorburn performed it– dancing and shaking a tambourine during, of all songs, “Can’t Feel My Face.” His moves seemed a bit forced, but we’ll give him time. After all, Valentine’s Day was only a couple of weeks ago. –Naomi Shavin

Set list:

1. In A Dream It Seemed Real
2. Lonely Love
3. Cold Again
4. This Is Not A Song
5. Hallways
6. No Crying
7. Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby
8. Can’t Feel My Face

Encore:
1. Switched On
2. Heartbeat