Rodrigo y Gabriela, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Hold Steady and more top the XPoNential Music Festival lineup

Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via
Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via

Dueling acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, eclectic New Orleans folk-blues combo Hurray for the Riff Raff, and stalwart rock n’ rollers The Hold Steady are just some of the 25 artists announced today in the full lineup of this year’s edition of the XPoNential Music Festival.

These acts will play the two stages in Wiggins Park from July 25th to July 27th of this year, alongside the festival’s headlining concerts at Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes (July 26th) and Beck, Band of Horses and The Districts (July 27th).

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Kate McCann |
Photo by Kate McCann |

The Wiggins Park bill is filled with WXPN favorites, like alt-country heroes Old 97s, Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins and Diego Garcia, all of whom are return-XPNFest-ers.

There is also an assortment of up-and-coming names like countrified Nashville singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose (featured on World Cafe’s Sense of Place: Nashville series); Bear’s Den, a UK rock trio with a flair for drama (they made a splash at the March Edition of the Communion Club Night at Underground Arts), the jazzy / folky vocal combo Lake Street Dive and the art-pop powerhouse Lucius, (who knocked our socks off at Free at Noon late last year.)

Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The greater Philadelphia scene is nicely represented as well. Bigger names like avant-garde rockers Man Man (who leaked their appearance last week), punk rock troubadour Dave Hause and reinvented folklorists Marah will mix with emerging artists Commonwealth Choir, Our Griffins, Marian Hill, The Lawsuits, Ginger Coyle and Viv and the Revival.

And adding an even more eclectic scope to the lineup is a taste of zydeco from C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and some Mississippi blues care of harmonica master James Cotton.

Three days passes for new and renewing WXPN members are available now here. Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 1st; as with previous years, three-day passes will include lawn admission to the Susquehanna Bank Center shows (seated tickets to those are on sale separately, here and here).

Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of the Wiggins Park lineup, and read the complete list of artists after the jump.

Wiggins Park
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene & Steve Gorman)
Lake Street Dive
Old 97’s
The Hold Steady
Hurray for the Riff Raff
C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band
Man Man
Nicole Atkins
Diego Garcia
James Cotton
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Dave Hause
Jeremy Messersmith
Caitlin Rose
Bear’s Den
The Lawsuits
Marian Hill
Ginger Coyle
Our Griffins
Viv and the Revival
Commonwealth Choir

Susquehanna Bank Center
Ryan Adams
Jenny Lewis
Band of Horses
The Districts


Watch Jeremy Messersmith play “Ghost” at the Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase, listen to his full set

Jeremy Messersmith participated in the Public Radio Rocks showcase at SXSW yesterday, playing songs from his most recent record Heart Murmurs.  Take a look at the video of Messersmith performing “Ghost” below, and listen back to his full set here.


SXSW Dispatch: Public Radio Rocks showcase with Damon Albarn, Lucius, Temples and more

Damon Albarn | Photo by Laura Fedele |
Damon Albarn | Photo by Laura Fedele |

Wow, what a whirlwind of an afternoon! We just wrapped up with the Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase starring Damon Albarn, Lucius, The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Jeremy Messersmith and Temples – curated in collaboration with WFUV in New York, KUTX in Austin, KXT in Dallas, The Current in Minneapolis and WXPN in Philly. Over the next several days, we’ll bring you video and full-set audio recaps of each artist’s set. For now, peruse the gallery below for an overview of the show.


Not going to SXSW? Don’t worry. WXPN is bringing SXSW to you.

Lucius - Photo by Peter Larson
Lucius | Photo by Peter Larson

This week is the SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas – something you pretty much can’t miss if you frequent the music blogosphere. But if you’re staying home in Philly and find yourself scrolling through photos and tweets about amazing concerts you can’t go to, don’t get too bummed about it: WXPN is broadcasting sets by Lucius, Damon Albarn, The Hold Steady, Wye Oak and more live from SXSW on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, David Dye will be recording and broadcasting four live Cafe sessions from the Four Seasons hotel in Austin as part of the KUTX Morning Show. On Friday, David will co-host the Public Radio Rocks the SXSW Day Stage showcase from the Austin Convention Center with four other public radio stations including WFUV (New York), The Current (Minneapolis), KUTX (Austin), and KXT (Dallas).

Below are the lineups and set times for each day.

Thursday – World Cafe/KUTX Four Seasons sessions
8 a.m. – Kins
9 a.m. – Phox
10 a.m. – Bright Light Social Hour
11 a.m. – Wye Oak

Friday – Public Radio Rock the SXSW Day Stage
1 p.m. – Lucius
2 p.m. – The Hold Steady
3 p.m. – Phantogram
4 p.m. – Jeremy Messersmith
5 p.m. – Temples
5:30p.m. – Damon Albarn

In addition, both World Cafe and The Key will be roving about SXSW all weekend; we’ll bring you daily recaps here on The Key, while you can get real-time updates over at World Cafe’s Tumblr page. Below, sample some of the musicians featured during the live broadcasts from SXSW, and check back for our SXSW coverage all week.


Damon Albarn, Phantogram, Lucius, Temples and more to play WXPN SXSW broadcast

Damon Albarn | Photo by Linda Brownlee
Damon Albarn | Photo by Linda Brownlee

For the second year in a row at next week’s SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas, WXPN along with public radio stations WFUV (New York), The Current (Minneapolis), KUTX (Austin), and KXT (Dallas), will be broadcasting and webcasting live. On Friday, March 14th, starting at 1PM, XPN will broadcast live performances from Temples, Lucius, Phantogram, Jeremy Messersmith, The Hold Steady, and Damon Albarn. The show will be held at the Austin Convention Center at the Radio Day Stage.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Commonwealth Choir at Communion Night, Mutual Benefit at Boot and Saddle, Dancetorium at International House

Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Ryan Boswell
Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Ryan Boswell

Swaggery Doylestown rock crew Commonwealth Choir are one of nine acts tapped for this month’s installment of the Communion Club Night series at Underground Arts. The band is prepping a new EP for release later this spring, meaning new songs will likely be in the cards for tonight – hopefully “Pacers,” the single they premiered at their recent Key Studio Session which you can watch below. Also on the bill are Cruiser, Modern Inventors, Caveman and more. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

Pacers by Commonwealth Choir from James Powers on Vimeo.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Rosu Lup, Jeremy Messersmith, Brethren


Photo by Doug Seymour []
Photo by Doug Seymour []
This week, Folkadelphia presented a special Philly-centric session with Rosu Lup.  The chamber folk group recorded a Kickstarter-funded EP called Currents earlier this year, complete with orchestral arrangements, at Miner Street Studio.  A small orchestra joined Rosu Lup for this Folkadelphia session; stream and download the recording below.

Monday’s My Morning Download featured a new song from Jeremy Messersmith.  The singer-songwriter was recently signed to Glassnote Records and will release his label debut in 2014.  “Tourniquet” is a new song from the Minneapolis native that you can stream and download below.

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My Morning Download: “Tourniquet” by Jeremy Messersmith

jeremymessersmith Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith has been working at his craft since the mid-2000s, paying his dues with several excellent releases, including the Dan Wilson (Semisonic) produced sophopmore album, The Silver City. With four albums to his name, Messersmith has received the requisite, well deserved accolades from NPR Music, Paste Magazine, music blogs and appeared on World Cafe. While he’s built a rabid fan base, his music is still not known to many, however that may all change with his recent signing to Glassnote Records, home to Phoenix, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Childish Gambino, Little Green Cars and more recently, Chvrches. Messersmith recently completed work on his Glassnote debut, due out in 2014, however he has a new song, “Tourniquet,” currently featured on NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing, that you can download below. It’s one of the best songs he’s written; extremely pop smart and well crafted. His angelic, confident vocals wrap around the energy of the song with warm elegance. Discover more of Messersmith’s music here. Download “Tourniquet” below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Johnny Marr to The Trocadero, Tom Odell and Jeremy Merssersmith at Johnny Brenda’s, Pattern is Movement Album Screening at PhilaMOCA for Tuesday Tune-Out

johnny marr

XPN welcomes Johnny Marr to The Trocadero tonight.  The former Smiths guitarist is currently promoting his first solo effort The Messenger.  Following the break up of The Smiths in the late 80s, Marr has worked on recordings with The Talking Heads and J. Mascis and contributed in large part to the score of Inception.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with ALAMAR can be found here.  Check out an interview The Key did with Marr here and watch him perform “Sun and Moon” at Coachella below.

U.K. singer-songwriter Tom Odell plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  Now touring in support of his 2012 debut Songs from Another Love EP and an upcoming full-length called Long Way Down, Odell got his start shlepping his keyboard to open mics night after night in Brighton before being discovered by Lily Allen.  He’ll be support by Jeremy Messersmith, who recently signed to Glassnote Records in anticipation of his new album.  Tickets and information for the 21+ can be found here.  Watch Tom Odell perform “Another Love” on Later… With Jools Holland below.

PhilaMOCA‘s Tuesday Tune-Out and the Cinedelphia Film Festival have teamed up with local experimental rock project Pattern is Movement to present the duo’s “album screening party.”  Set to scenes of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, the audience will get a full preview of Chris Ward and Andrew Thiboldeaux’s new album, as well as an inside look at the past four years of recording with a Q&A session after the screening.  Learn more about the listening party in an interview with Ward here.  The event is free – more information is available on the Facebook page here.  Watch a trailer for the event below.