Prolific singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur headlines the Sellersville Theater for a perfect midweek pick-me-up. With 14 full-lenths and eleven EPs in his repertoire, Arthur is taking a look back into his long and storied career to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Redemption’s Son, his third album that was released in 2002. He is currently on a limited tour to perform Redemption’s Son in its entirety. Available June 23rd, the album will also be rereleased with nine previously unheard bonus tracks. For tickets and show information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Brooklyn outfit DIIV have spent 2016 making a resurgence after releasing their sophomore effort Is The Is Are in February, their first album since 2012’s debut. They’ll bring the shoegazy rock songs to Underground Arts tonight for a show with Moon King. Watch “Mire (Grant’s Song)” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.
The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns tonight tonight TONIGHT! Listen in at 11pm ET (or better yet, keep on listening after What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese) for a brand new two-hour show In the mix is our latest IRHP Live Session featuring the Philly/Wilmington garage combo Scantron! The band features more than a few members of Low Cut Connie and Satellite Hearts, and they’ll play a bunch of rip-roaring new songs live in our studio. In the second hour, our Weekly Album Spotlight shines on Hit Reset, the new album from The Julie Ruin. At the core of this band is Kathleen Hanna and Kathi Wilcox, who were previously members of the iconic punk band Bikini Kill. We’ll also get to new tracks from Dev Hynes a.k.a. Blood Orange, Cerise (produced by Joseph Arthur), Jenny Lewis‘ new band N.A.F. and more! Check out a few of those below…
Philly rapper Bahamadia released her debut record Kollage way back in 1996. Tonight, she celebrates the album’s 20th anniversary with a performance at Johnny Brenda’s. Nostalgic fans of 90s hip-hop won’t want to miss out on this. Grab tickets via the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Wednesday night marked the fourth time I’ve seen Joseph Arthur live. Each experience has been a different Arthur iteration – from upwards of four on stage to this solo appearance. He knows how to make playing guitar look like the most gorgeous act on the planet while also understanding the value of a syllable. At Tin Angel this week it was less about the showmanship and more about the lyrics of not only him but also Lou Reed. And for about 90 minutes, Arthur showed why he is a nugget of rock gold.
Straddling a stool and having lyric sheets abound (this was the first show he was doing all but one of the Reed songs live), Arthur played the folk poet part well. He frontloaded the show with Reed covers, opening with five of them. It may seem odd but it worked; Arthur frames the intimacy with the familiar unfamiliar of covers and then takes the audience on a walk with his wild side. How apt it was that he opened with “Walk On the Wild Side.” With Arthur condensing a song so well known for the backing vocals into one of just him alone showed off his vocal and music abilities. The changing emphasis of lyrics and tone made the songs his own. And to jump from “Wild Side” to “Heroin” exemplified Reed’s brilliant breadth and Arthur’s understanding of a great setlist.
If the applause was oddly lukewarm for the Reed covers, the crowd, which seemed to be mostly made up of fervent Arthur aficionados, let loose when he broke into his catalog. Drawing mostly from his brilliant 2013 record The Ballad of Boogie Christ, he showed how he excels at understanding the quirks and eccentricities of the world, especially on the stream-of-consciousness “I Miss the Zoo.” And when Arthur did pause, like when lyrics escaped him on the title track of Boogie Christ, he was charmingly self-deprecating.
Rain did not keep away a three-quarters full room from Arthur, who even popped out chestnuts like “Tattoo” from his second album Come to Where I’m From and “You’re So True,” which is strangely from the Shrek 2 soundtrack. The acoustics of Tin Angel carried Arthur’s voice, guitar, and occasional harmonica from front to the very back. And this is just like Arthur, a musician who can appeal to the fan and the newbie with his rarified sense of humanity in the bustling 21st century. He sees the value in playfully interacting with giants of culture – Christ and Lou Reed – and bringing them back to down to Earth for us all to admire.
Melbourne, Australia alt-pop duo Big Scary bring their electronic infused, moody yet catchy sounds to Boot and Saddle tonight. With vocals reminiscent of Bon Iver, and an blend of keys, electric guitar and synthesized beats, Big Scary create melodic sounds in a swaying atmosphere that touches on both happy and sad emotions in an intricate way. Get tickets for the Boot and Saddle show here. Watch “Luck Now” below.
XPN favorite Joseph Arthur delivered a musically and visually rich set at The Sellersville Theater last Thursday night. Joined on bass and backup harmonies by R.E.M. vet Mike Mills, Arthur played largely from this year’s LP The Ballad of Boogie Christ, and painted an abstract portrait on a canvas propped up on the side of the stage. Local sound loop songwriter Angela Sheik opened the show; see pictures of her set and Arthur’s in the gallery below, and check out video of Arthur after the jump.
Indie-pop duo Cults will take to the TLA stage tonight. The New York natives released their sophomore album Static in October on Columbia Records and it has impressed fans and critics. Bullet Magazine recently included “So Far” from the new record on their “Indisputable, Definitive Best 53 Songs of 2013” list. Get tickets to the show here and watch them perform “Always Forever” from their WFUV Session below.
On the heels of the 20th anniversary of the first release, Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams comes Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven on Vanguard Records. The last edition in the series since was Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, a collection dedicated to Vic Chestnutt, in 1996. SWIII: Pennies from Heaven features 13 new recordings of songs by an all-star cast that includes Ben Harper, Jackson Browne, Shelby Lynne, Victoria Williams, She & Him, Eleni Mandell, Ron Sexsmith, k.d. lang, Rickie Lee Jones, Joseph Arthur and more. The cover art is by pop art legend Peter Max.
Sweet Relief is a non-profit charity that maintains a fund that professional musicians can draw from when in need of medical care or financial needs. It started after musician and singer Victoria Williams was diagnosed with MS in 1993 and had no way to pay for her medical expenses. Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven is an excellent collection of covers. Some of the highlights include Ron Sexsmith’s gorgeous take on the title song, Joseph Arthur’s reading of “If I Needed You,” Ben Harper’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” and “Don’t Let Us Be Sick” by Jackson Browne. Working on the project, Brown said:
“Musicians are always among the first to give their energy and talent to help other people in times of emergency, though they are very often without health insurance themselves, and need our support when they fall prey to illness and hardship. Sweet Relief has been helping musicians for years, and has helped some whom I am very much indebted to for enriching my life. I am very happy to take part in this CD project, and for the chance to support Sweet Relief’s very soulful work.”
Stream Sweet Relief III in its entirety and watch a couple videos from the recording sessions below.
Purchase Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven here.
Last Friday, July 12, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur performed at WXPN’s Free At Noon. You can listen to the full show here. Joe’s eight song set included material from his recent album, The Ballad of Boogie Christ, including “I Used To Know How To Walk On Water,” that you can watch below.