215 Festival music lineup includes Dean & Britta, The Spinto Band, Lushlife, Light Heat and more

Literary arts showcase The 215 Festival is making its grand return to Philadelphia this year, and the announcement today reveals an all-around exciting lineup, especially in the musical realm. New Eraserhood venue Underground Arts is ground zero, and The West Philadelphia Orchestra throws a “Ladies Night Balkan Dance Party” on opening night, November 1. The following night, John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders performs – this time featuring members of The Spinto Band, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Dean & Britta. Lushlife and Light Heat play the Bibliodiscotheque Dance Party on Nov. 3, and John Hodgeman closes out the festival on the 4th. No word on whether humorist Hodgeman’s performance will be musical or not, but perhaps one of his TBA guests will bring instruments with them. Check out the entire lineup here.


Read John Wesley Harding’s review of Neil Young’s memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, in the Wall Street Journal

This weekend, witty folk / rock songwriter (and recent adopted Philadelphian) John Wesley Harding reviewed Neil Young‘s new memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, in the Wall Street Journal. Writing under his offstage name, Wesley Stace, he observes that Young’s book follows in step with Bob Dylan’s Chronicles and Patti Smith’s Just Kids – both of which were free of co-authors, both of which capture a specific moment in music history. However, this book has a unique slant:

But Neil Young—Californian hippie, Canadian folkie refusenik, Godfather of Grunge—isn’t so easily sold. “Waging Heavy Peace” will likely find most of its readers among his audience, the “Rusties.” That is a shame, because the book is terrific: modest, honest, funny and frequently moving—an antidote. “Waging Heavy Peace” is typical, in structure and tone, of a man who has seemed at times to be consistent only in inconsistency, both in his artistic output and in his views: a songwriter who once scrapped album after album and now releases everything, a guitarist who creates unearthly random noise yet is annoyed by minor mistakes on the recording of “Like a Hurricane.”

You can read Wes’ entire review here. Find out more about Waging Heavy Peace here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Instamatic at North Star Bar, The Tweeds at MilkBoy Philly, Patrick Watson at World Cafe Live, Strawbs w/ John Wesley Harding at Sellersville Theater

Tonight Philly synth pop band Instamatic will be bringing their electronic vibes to the North Star Bar for a melding of contemporary electo music with Chicago indie electronica band Gemini Club and Philly electro band The Bad Doctors. The 21+ show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are available here for $10. Below, check out Instamatic’s new remix EP.

Philly psychedelic dream pop band The Tweeds are set to play MilkBoy Philly tonight with local bands The Gazettes, We Are Fauna, and Forest Fools. Doors for the 21+ show open at 8 p.m. and the show kicks off at 9 p.m. Tickets are available here for $10. Listen to The Tweeds’ latest release in the player below.

Montreal singer-songwriter Patrick Watson and his eponymous band will be playing a show tonight downstairs at World Cafe Live. The show also features fellow Canadian folk rock band Great Lake Swimmers. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $16 to $22 and are available for purchase here. Below watch the music video for Patrick Watson’s song “Into Giants” from the band’s latest album Adventures in Your Own Backyard.

Finally, WXPN welcomes English rock band Strawbs, who formed back in 1964, to the Sellersville Theater tonight for a show with English folk singer John Wesley Harding. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are available here for $25.


Watch John Wesley Harding’s video collaboration with Megan Reilly (playing Sellersville Theater in September)

John Wesley Harding brought his comedy / music variety show, The Cabinet of Wonders, to our XPoNential Fest a couple weeks ago, incorporating storytelling and poetic interactions among himself and different musicians. The Cabinet series has been playing on various NPR stations, including WXPN, but it is hardly Harding’s only creative outlet. He recently collaborated with singer/songwriter Megan Reilly on “Old Man and the Bird,” where total of 1,100 photos were taken to create a stop-motion video which you can watch below. Harding will perform at The Sellersville Theater with Strawbs on September 6, you can buy tickets here. Listen to The Cabinet of Wonders’ XPo Fest set here.


XPoNential Fest: John Wesley Harding’s Cabin of Wonders (photos, audio, setlist)

On Sunday, a new twist for the XPO Fest included a comedy/musical variety show hosted by John Wesley Harding entitled “John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders”. Harding curated, hosted, and performed during the set renouncing stories, live poetry, and sing-a-long’s. For each show, he handpicks different artists to collaborate together to perform weird, out of the ordinary pieces. This performance featured guests, Megan Reilly, Rhett Miller, and others. To learn more about the show go to NPR’s website. Check out the photo gallery above and listen to the entire set here (via the XPN media player). Continue reading →


John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet Of Wonders radio show debuting on WXPN Tuesdays at 8PM

John Wesley Harding is adding something new to his already impressive resume – radio show host. Starting next Tuesday, May 29th at 8 p.m, Wes’s Cabinet Of Wonders radio show will be broadcasted on WXPN. The show, distributed by NPR and hosted by Harding, brings together musicians, writers and comedians in a live setting. The shows were recorded live at the City Winery in New York and will also be available as a podcast. The first show features appearances by Josh Ritter, Edie Brickell, the Punch Brothers, Sarah Vowell and Eugene Mirman and Haley Tanner. In other Cabinet of Wonder news, Wes is putting together a special edition of the show for WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival. Go here to buy tickets and for more information about the festival.


XPN Welcomes Fountains Of Wayne at Union Transfer, John Wesley Harding at Tin Angel, Rodrigo y Gabriela at Tower Theatre

Fountains Of Wayne performs with James Iha at 8:30 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all ages show are $27.50-$30)

John Wesley Harding performs with Megan Reilly at 7:30 p.m. at Tin Angel; tickets to the 21+ show are $18.

Rodrigo y Gabriela performs with C.U.B.A. and Brett Dennen at 8 p.m. at Tower Theatre; tickets to the all-ages show are $35-$49.50.


Tonight around town: The 5th Annual Silver Ages Holiday Spectacular, Pissed Jeans, New Sweden

The Silver Ages

Tonight at the The Philadelphia Ethical Society the Silver Ages perform with Meg Baird, John Wesley Harding, and Mary Lattimore for “The 5th Annual Silver Ages Holiday Spectacular” at 8 p.m; tickets to the show are $13. Under the guidance of Charlie Hall, expect some sonic seasonings of choral group harmonies, classic popular tunes and other musical surprises. For more information about the show go here

Also tonight: Pissed Jeans performs with Blues Control and Veiled at 9:15 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10–$12; Negative Department + The Only Ghost in Town, Pray For Polanski, Sure Juror at The Level Room (8 p.m., 21+, $8); New Sweden + KeN, Lettuce Prey at Milkboy Philly (9:30 p.m., 21+, $8–$10);


Tomorrow night: XPN Welcomes John Wesley Harding and The King Charles Trio to World Cafe Live

Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, November 15th), XPN Welcomes John Wesley Harding to World Cafe Live with The King Charles Trio and The Minus Five. John has a new album that he recorded in Portland called The Sound Of His Own Voice, which was released on October 11th. The album was produced by Harding and Scott McCaughey (The Minus Five, The Baseball Project, R.E.M.) and features the King Charles Trio, (John Moen, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee and Nate Query of The Decemberists), Peter Buck of R.E.M. and McCaughey. All of them are currently out on the road with Harding and will be performing tomorrow evening. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, listen to a couple songs from John’s recent album.

John Wesley Harding – “Sing Your Own Song” by Yep Roc Music Group

John Wesley Harding – “There’s A Starbucks (Where The Starbucks Used To Be)” by Yep Roc Music Group


Download a new John Wesley Harding song, “There’s A Starbucks (Where The Starbucks Used To Be)”

 Singer-songwriter, novelist, Cabinet Of Wonders member, and Philadelphia resident John Wesley Harding has a new album coming out on October 11th called The Sound Of His Own Voice on Yep Roc Records. A new song called “There’s A Starbucks (Where The Starbucks Used To Be)” is included on a digital music sampler now available from Utne Reader here; you can also download it below. Harding performs at World Cafe Live on November 15th and is touring with a band that includes Jenny Conlee-Drizos, Chris Funk, John Moen, and Nate Query from The Decemberists as well as Scott McCaughey of The Minus Five. Ticket information for that show is here.