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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Norwegian Arms at Underground Arts, July Talk at Boot & Saddle

norwegian arms
Norwegian Arms | photo via Facebook

Norwegian Arms is back in town for the Northern Liberties Winter Festival at Underground Arts. The formerly-Philadelphia based outlet for Brendan Mullvihill released Girard Freeloader earlier this month, an electro-pop ode to friends and the street he called home for several years. Tickets for the 21+ show with Suburban Living, Sonnder, and Shots Called can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: July Talk at Boot and Saddle and The Wind + The Wave at World Cafe Live

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

The Toronto-based July Talk rely on the back and forth between their two main vocalists Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay to create unique alt-blues that screams of the summer sound their name denotes. The band brings their high-energy live performance to Boot & Saddle tonight with San Diego’s Little Hurricane beginning at 8 p.m. For more details on the show click here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: July Talk at Boot and Saddle, Something Like A Monument at Ortlieb’s, Leon Chavis and Koray Broussard at World Cafe Live and more

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Canadian art-rockers July Talk will make a return visit to Philly tonight, headlining a show Boot and Saddle. An acclaimed band in the Toronto scene since they formed in 2012, the band released its self-titled debut LP in 2013, which is finally getting its U.S. release this March via Island Records. The meeting of co-frontpersons Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay blend the aggressive and the ethereal into catchy rock and roll, a catchy blend that cuts through particularly strongly on “Guns and Ammunition.” Check out the music video for that song below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Fleeting Ends at MilkBoy, July Talk at the First Unitarian Church, Parker Millsap at Ardmore Music Hall and more

The Fleeting Ends
The Fleeting Ends | photo by Emily Morgan | www.emilymorganphotography.com

Philly alt-pop power trio The Fleeting Ends are gearing up to release their first new music since 2013’s Our Eyes are Peeled. Their new Can’t Say No EP is due out November 25th, and its very catchy title track is already in rotation on XPN; you can check out the cover art and read the lyrics over at the band’s Facebook page, and keep your eyes peeled (ba-dum-bum) for a new music video really soon. The band is in residence all month at MilkBoy, and will have physical copies of Can’t Say No available on the final day, November 26th. But you don’t need to wait to hear the new songs; go to tonight’s installment of their residency and you’ll hear a mix of old and new in their setlist. Below, check out “I’m Like That” from their last album and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Eight artists that surprised us at SXSW

Kelis | Photo by John Vettese
Kelis | Photo by John Vettese

It’s been almost a week since the four-day nonstop multisensory rush that was the 2014 editon of Austin’s annual South by Southwest music conference, which has given me just about enough time to catch up on sleep, edit my way through thousands of photos and sort out my thoughts about the experience. Here are eight artists that grabbed my attention at this year’s SXSW, beginning with the woman you see above.

Kelis – The transformation of the onetime “Milkshake” hitmaker didn’t take me as unawares as it may have taken other festival-goers. A few years back, I caught her on tour with Robyn at The Trocadero, and saw that she’d moved on from her bubblegum dance days to a sleek and more sophisticated electropop sound. But still, this was impressive – her backing band was a dozen members strong, it had a sharp horn section and a disco-funk sound to die for, and the singer had enough awareness of nostalgia’s power that she dropped “Milkshake” in the final third of her late-night Friday set at the Hype Hotel. Which was totally fun, but it would have been a powerful performance without. Her sixth album, Food, was produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio and is out April 18th on Ninja Tune Records.

Feathers | Photo by John Vettese
Feathers | Photo by John Vettese

Feathers – These Austin locals just got off a European tour opening for Depeche Mode, and their sound sits nicely alongside the 80s icons’ dark synth-dance tones. I caught them Saturday at the goth-leaning Red River club Elysium, and frontwoman Anastasia Dimou freaking owned the packed room. While their sound is decidedly hard-hitting, she has the presence and command of a pop singer – or, say, an alt-pop singer a la Emily Haines of Metric. Even when the power momentarily cut out, Dimou kept singing a cappella and off mic. Their Only One EP dropped in January.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: July Talk at MilkBoy, Dark Blue at PhilaMOCA, Caroline Smith at Boot and Saddle

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Toronto-based rock four-piece July Talk makes it’s Philly debut tonight at MilkBoy. Channeling the gravel-voiced aggression of Tom Waits and the haunting tones of Denali, front-duo Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay lead a dynamic band that is equal parts raw and mystical. Watch a World Cafe performance of “Don’t Call Home” below. Get tickets and and info on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Toronto’s July Talk make their Philly debut at Milkboy 3/4

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

In support of their new self-titled LP, July Talk are headed out on tour in March and will play at MilkBoy. In a parallel universe, dueling vocalists Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay must have been in a punk or metal band, but in context with his Canadian bandmates’ contributions, it’s clear that the “Americana mixed with indie-rock” classification of their sound is actually fitting. Watch a performance of “Paper Girl” from NPR’s World Cafe, and listen to their entire session and interview below. Get tickets to their March 4th show at Milkboy here.

World Cafe Sense of Place Toronto: July Talk performs “Paper Girl” at Revolution Recording from WXPN FM on Vimeo.