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Warped Tour Camden Orientation: 10 bands you need to see

The Kenneths from the UK will appear at the Philadelphia stop of the Warped Tour this year | via facebook.com/WarpedTour

‘Tis the Warped Tour season once more, where alternative acts from all across the world converge and kids wear all black in 90-degree weather. As always, the lineup is massive, and it includes bands from as far as the UK and Australia to as close as right here in Philadelphia.

For those of you who are new to Warped Tour, you might have no clue who to make time to see. Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of standout performers that will be at the Philly-area stop this year this Friday. And even if you’re a seasoned Warped Tour-goer, you might want to pay attention – you don’t want to miss these artists. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tess Emma, Cheerleader and more at Tri-State Indie Music Awards, Koji at The Fire, Davon at Kung Fu Necktie

Tri-State Indie
Tess Emma | photo via Facebook

The 4th Annual Tri-State Indie Music Awards take over World Cafe Live tonight. Performances by local musicians like Tess Emma, Cheerleader, Satellite Hearts and more will accompany the award presentations. Check out a full list of nominated acts here and listen to Tess Emma’s latest EP below. Tickets and information for the event can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beano at Bourbon and Branch, Koji at the First Unitarian Church

Beano| Photo by John Vettese
Beano| Photo by John Vettese

Suave Philly R&B crooner Beano headlines Bourbon and Branch tonight. Known initially as a side-man on Chill Moody’s albums and live shows, Beano has come into his own this year, dropping the ultra-catchy single “Let It Go” and playing sets that mix up party rockin’ jams and expressive, sensitive soul. Get tickets and information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sunset Recorder at Silk City, Hugh Masekela at Sellersville Theater, Koji at First Unitarian Church and more

Courtesy of facebook.com/sunsetrecorder
Courtesy of facebook.com/sunsetrecorder
Rarely is there a band whose sound fits their name like a glove. Sunset Recorder, with its fun, semi-psychedelic, low-fi sound, is set to bring its quirkiness to Silk City tonight. Just a year ago, the band celebrated the release of their debut LP, Hot Lava, and they’re still showing off. Tonight’s show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $9.

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Koji Releases heartfelt EP Matters, recorded with Will Yip at Studio 4

Back in 2011, acoustic singer/songwriter Andrew Koji Shiraki entered Studio 4 with Will Yip to record some initial demos that are finally coming to light. As Koji traveled and toured with numerous artists like Into it. Over it. and Slingshot Dakota, Yip fleshed out these pieces into what we hear on Matters – another release of his punk-influenced acoustic rock that addresses deep topics.

Opening with “Hemlock,” Koji explores the changing of the seasons and himself. With comforting riffs, Koji passionately sings “I don’t know what this new season will bring…I’m a different man that I was one year before.” He continues his travels through his mind in the next song, “Like We Do,” where we hear him come to the realization that they can move on. Going through the turmoil of of an unfixable relationship, Koji completes this track by yearning for an answer, which he softly, and somewhat somberly, answers himself: “We will be fine after this / but the only question now is where are we to go?”

Throughout the entire EP, we hear pleasant riffs that accompany the ideas explored in the lyrics. While there are tough topics, Koji does a fantastic job of keeping the mood upbeat and though provoking. This is most well done in “Matters (of the Heart and Mind),” where he longs for more answers, saying “I want to know and I don’t  / Who decides these things / matters of the heart and mind?” This song, and a few others, incorporate violins to create desperate yet hopeful feeling. Koji’s voice is astounding, unique, and leads you though each song in storytelling fashion.

Exploring issues isn’t surprising to hear from Koji, as he has shown a love for traveling everywhere. While his music leads him around the world, it is obvious that he is much more relateable when he travels within himself for lyrical inspiration. Matters is evidence that it is possible to make in-depth music with only a guitar, a voice, and something worth singing about.

Stream the EP below, or download it for $2 via bandcamp.

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Koji announces new EP Matters to be released 11/12

After releasing his debut full length album Crooked In My Mind this past April and playing with bands like Balance and Composure and Title Fight, Koji‘s pop-punk-inspired acoustic tunes have been gaining popularity worldwide. Currently on tour in Europe, and soon to be in Russia, this Philadelphia local is taking his one man performance around the world. His next release will be a four song EP entitled Matters, which will be out November 12th. The EP was originally recorded in 2011 at Studio 4 with Will Yip, who has since mixed and mastered the heartfelt and stripped down tunes. Watch a live video of “Like We Do” (from Matters) below. Pick up the album digitally from Bandcamp once it is released, or order it on cassette (limited to 200) from The Native Sound.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Geoff Rickly at The Barbary, Broken Anchor at MilkBoy

Geoff-Rickly-7306Not long after his mysterious new project United Nations came to town, Geoff Rickly performs a set at The Barbary tonight.  Dubbed “The Acoustic Basement Tour,” the lead singer of Thursday invited his friends Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife / I Am The Avalanche), A Loss For Words, Koji and Brian Marquis (Therefore I Am)  to hit the road following last summer’s Warped Tour.  Rickly’s solo work and expansion into other projects follows the 2011 announcement by Thursday that the New Jersey rock band would go on hiatus.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Watch Rickly perform Thursday’s “Understanding in a Car Crash” live at Gunners Run in Philadelphia below.

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