Tonight’s Concert Picks: Alvvays at Boot and Saddle, Drums Like Machine Guns at Kung Fu Necktie, Johnny Marr at Union Transfer

Alvvays | photo via
Alvvays | photo via

Toronto dream-pop five-piece Alvvays (pronounced “always”) returns to Philadelphia tonight for a headlining show at Boot and Saddle. The band released its self-titled debut LP on Polyvinyl records earlier this year, and its a delightful set of indie-pop anthems reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub, Black Tambourine and My Bloody Valentine. Check out the uber-catchy “Marry Me, Archie” below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Our Griffins, Made in America Festival, Kate Faust)


Our Griffins‘ Michael Boyd LP is the focus of this week’s Unlocked series [link]

XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun highlights the best Fall arts events with her 30 Days of Philly Arts daily feature [link]

Watch Younger Me‘s warpy summer video for “Swimming Pool” [link]

This year’s 215 Festival is set for Oct. 17-20, with a preview night to be held at Port Richmond Books on Sep. 13 [link]

Christopher Paul Stelling stopped by for a Folkadelphia Session [link]

Get to know Ohio’s The Sidekicks, summer tourmates of Hop Along and masters of punk disguise [link]

Revisit this week’s Key Studio Session with musical chameleon Kate Faust [link]

Fitz and the Tantrums announce new Philly show at the Electric Factory on 11/1 [link]

New England’s Magic Man premiered a new song called “Every Day” off of their upcoming You Are Here EP [link]

Get a full recap of Labor Day Weekend’s Made in America Festival with videos, photos and reviews [link]

Listen to XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week, “The It-Switch” by Johnny Marr [link]

Get a free download of Luray‘s “The Wilder” off of the singer-songwriter’s debut LP [link]


XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “The It-Switch” by Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr | Photo by Chris Sikich |

This week’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week is “The It-Switch,” a recent b-side from British rocker Johnny Marr. Best known as a founding member of 80s rock icons The Smiths, Marr has over the years done stints with The The, Modest Mouse and The Cribs, as well as collaborating with New Order’s Bernard Sumner on the late 80s pop project Electronic.

This February, Marr released his debut solo album, The Messenger, and a subsequent spring tour brought him to The Trocadero in April; read Nikki Volpicelli’s interview with Marr here, and check out a photo recap of the concert here.

Now, with the release of a digital single and 7″ for “New Town Velocity,” comes the flipside “The It-Switch,” which you can stream below and hear featured on XPN all week long. The song’s addictive handclap beat recalls “Train In Vain” by The Clash, but layers of guitar enter in a classic anthemic Britpop mode as Marr sings about finding escape from the stresses of day to day life – hop on the metro, switch on the it-switch. Let’s go.


Photo recap: Johnny Marr in concert at The Trocadero

Johnny Marr played the Trocadero last night. Our photographer Chris Sikich was there to capture the moment. Below, check out a couple of fan videos of Marr performing a cover of “I Fought The Law,” and “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.” Check out Chris’s website here.


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.


The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Bad Braids, Pattern is Movement, Johnny Marr)

richie havens

Legendary folk musician Richie Havens is remembered for his soulful voice and historic set at Woodstock [link]

Mike Kinsella of Owen previewed new material in this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]

In celebration of Earth Day, The Key took a look back at Philadelphia’s Earth Week in 1970 [link]

Suzie Brown, Cheers Elephant and more to play the 65th Annual Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert Series in Chestnut Hill [link]

Ryan Tennis brings his nine-piece band to XPN for a Key Studio Session [link]

Make Music Philly brings DIY concerts to the streets on June 21st [link]

Johnny Marr gives advice and talks about his new solo album in an interview with Nikki Volpicelli [link]

Get a look inside Pattern is Movement‘s recording process with an “album screening” at PhilaMOCA [link]

Bad Braids‘ upcoming Supreme Parallel is featured in this week’s Unlocked series [link]

Download “I Had Love” from Chicago’s Fort Frances [link]

Kennett Square’s Friday Nights Under the Stars announces their line-up with New Sweden, Ryan Tennis and more [link]


An Interview with Johnny Marr (playing the Trocadero on Tuesday, April 30)


“The best advice I’ve been able to give is that [learning guitar] is a little like swimming. Just dive into it and splash around and be kind of crappy for a few minutes and don’t worry about being too noisy or out of time. You will get there a lot quicker [as opposed to] treating the guitar like an egg. That approach is too fragile, just dive in and be really raucous and rowdy and you will get there a lot quicker.”

That’s Johnny Marr’s advice. Performing next Tuesday, April 30th at the Trocadero, the 49-year-old guitar god is responsible for co-founding the pivotal rock outfit The Smiths, where he shared songwriting duties and played lead guitar. Since the group disbanded in 1987, he’s worked on countless projects with notable artists including the Talking Heads, Modest Mouse, J. Mascis and the Cribs. The “rock god” title is no joke, either. Earlier this year, NME magazine presented him with the “Godlike Genius Award” for his contribution to the world of music, so you should you should pretty much listen to any advice he wants to give you.

Marr played a show the night before our phone conversation at Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon, where the Manchester native relocated with his wife and two kids after coming to the Northwest city to work on Modest Mouse’s 2007 album, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. Today, he’s touring in support of The Messenger, his first full-length solo record in his over 30 year career, which was released this past February. He says an independent project was never part of his bucket list, but he had an idea for a sound and he wanted to “see if it was poetic enough to make into songs.”

It worked. Marr says he’s been able to perform 11 of the 12 songs from the album during live shows, which is “a very good sign. It means the songs are doing what I wanted [them to do] when I wrote them.” The record is a true affirmation of his lifetime of experience, and obviously influenced by his collaborative history.

“I think working with so many different people has, in a way, shown me what it is that I bring to a situation and then I bring the best of it to my own stuff. I have a sense now of why Beck asked me to play with him or what the Talking Heads wanted me to do with them and I kind of employ myself to do that in my own records.”

Continue reading →