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Tonight’s Concert Picks: LVL Up at PhilaMOCA and Pylon Reenactment Society at Johnny Brenda’s

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

Tonight, the lo-fi Indie rockers of LVL Up will be playing at the PhilaMOCA. The four-piece outfit just released their third full length LP, Return to Love, on Sub Pop Records; read our interview with the Brooklyn band here, and let them personally guide you through their new album tonight at PhilaMOCA. For more information about the show check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the video for “The Closing Door” off their new album below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bilal at Johnny Brenda’s, Lushlife at Boot and Saddle, Lotus at The Mann Center and more

bilal
Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews

Soul / funk / rock artist and Philadelphia native Bilal headlines a show at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown tonight. In the past, he has worked with big names like Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Kimbra just to name a few. His last solo release was In Another Life, released last year. Opening up for Bilal will be the fellow Philadelphian Ursula Rucker. She is a poet, activist, and recording artist who has been performing for over seventeen years. This show featuring some of Philly’s finest is not to be missed. Tickets and more information about the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out the video for “Money Over Love” below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Julien Baker at Underground Arts, Bardo Pond at Johnny Brenda’s, Corinne Bailey Rae at Union Transfer

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

Julien Baker makes a return visit to Philadelphia for a show at Underground Arts tonight. The Memphis native brought her acclaimed Sprained Ankle debut to town earlier this year, wowing the audience with her gut wrenching but graceful songs about personal challenges and growth. Stream “Something” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show with Grayling here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The End of America at Johnny Brenda’s, Mercury Girls at Boot & Saddle, Haley Bonar at World Cafe Live

The End of America | photo by Sean Quilty
The End of America | photo by Sean Quilty

The time has come for The End of America to celebrate the release of their new LP at Johnny Brenda’s. We premiered the self-titled record last week, getting an early listen to the trio’s songs about hope and challenges written after some difficult experiences. Check out “Russian Fortune” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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Celebrate 10 years of Johnny Brenda’s with Bardo Pond, Birds of Maya, Hurry, Frances Quinlan from Hop Along and more

Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese
Hop Along onstage at Johnny Brenda’s | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

There are definitely times when I love being wrong about things. Like the first time I went to Johnny Brenda’s: in fall of 2006, right after I first began as a volunteer with WXPN. It was a Silversun Pickups show, if you can believe that – Viva Voce opened. The Fishtown pub had recently re-invented itself as a 200-cap venue and, waiting for the show to start, I went to the bar to order a beer.

This was coming off of a half dozen years of living and breathing The Khyber, mind you, so I asked for a Yeungling. “We don’t have Yeungling,” the bartender sniffed. “Um, okay, PBR?” The bartender silently pointed to a chalkboard listing the all-local craft beer menu, which I simply could not wrap my brain around. No PBR? No Yeungling? I grabbed the cheapest thing (something called Kenzinger) and went back to my friends. “Dude, no Yeungling,” I said. “This place is gonna FAIL.”

Oh, young John, you had so much to learn.

Not only did JBs not fail – and thank the gods for that – it’s thrived for the past decade at the corner of Frankford and Girard, weathering rough years in the national music industry and seismic ripples in the local concertgoing landscape. It withstood the opening of the much-heralded and exactly-the-same-size’d Boot and Saddle; both clubs do their respective things in tandem with reliably strong calendars. It’s been dogged by the change in Fishtown and persists in the face of broverflow – though, seriously, if you’re grabbing food after 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, prepare yourself a very different world than it was at the start.

Most importantly, Johnny Brenda’s has been a welcoming home for the Philadelphia music community – the “made it” stage that upstart bands of all stripes aspire to, from Meg Baird to The Bul Bey to Abi Reimold and more. It’s the scene of secret celebrations for big hometown names like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile; it’s held memorable New Years’ Eve throwdowns with A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Hop Along. And appropriately, to mark its 10 years on the Philly scene, it’s celebrating with two nights of all local music. Continue reading →

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Listen to a new song from Mary Lattimore, “The Boy Who Swallowed A Coin”

Mary Lattimore
Mary Lattimore | Photo courtesy of the artist

Longtime Philadelphia harpist Mary Lattimore is having a most excellent 2016. Though she recently departed the city for a new home on the west coast, she left us with a great batch of new music; this summer, her collaboration with Jeff Zeigler, Music Inspired by Philippe Garrel’s Le Révélateur, received some serious critical acclaim. Earlier this year, Lattmore also released her sophomore LP At The Dam via Ghostly International. Most recently, though, is this week’s new song, “The Boy Who Swallowed A Coin.”

Beyond that evocative title – which sounds it should belong to a long-lost Bergman short or something – the song is a sublime, dreamlike soundscape of the sort Lattimore does so well, this time focusing her style into a three-and-a-half-minute nugget that also finds her voice acting as another instrument in the fray. Listen below, and see Lattimore live at Johnny Brenda’s on Tuesday, August 16th with Ahleuchatistas – tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Strange Torpedo: Lucy Dacus rockets through powerful Johnny Brenda’s set

Lucy Dacus| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Lucy Dacus| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

She may not want to be funny anymore, but Lucy Dacus definitely has a sense of humor. Her return to Philly after a year may have seen the Richmond, Virginia rocker wearing no shoes, playing pick-less, and sporting jokes about the disco ball, but Dacus brought a night of both quiet simplicity and powerfully crushing rock and roll to Johnny Brenda’s on Tuesday night. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Double Decker Records anniversary fest, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band at Johnny Brenda’s, Song Dogs at Boot & Saddle

Spill
Spill | Photo courtesy of the artist

Allentown record store Double Decker Records is celebrating its 20th year and Lehigh Valley label Square of Opposition is celebrating its 15th year, so why not throw a giant, weekend-long fest to celebrate? Things kick off this evening at St Bernard’s in Bethlehem with Kids, Spill, Pete and Nate (of Snowing, Algernon Cadwallader and Dogs on Acid), and continue on Saturday and Sunday with sets from Mischief Brew, Marge, Pissed Jeans, Plow United, Soul Glo, Thin Lips, a surprise return from Snowing and so much more. Information for the full fest can be found here, with tonight’s pre-fest info available here. Watch Spill’s “Big Boss” video below.

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The Album Leaf share “Between Waves” video, announce Johnny Brenda’s show

the album leaf
The Album Leaf | photo courtesy of the artist

California electronic soundscapers The Album Leaf are gearing up for their Relapse Records debut: Between Waves will be released on August 26th, six years after the band’s last effort. A tour will follow, with leader Jimmy LaValle and his new line-up bringing the LP to Johnny Brenda’s on September 15th.

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