When an artist describes his new single as a mix of T. Rex, Big Star, Heart, and David Gilmorem, it provokes quite a bit of head scratching. How…why? However, a few seconds into Philly four-piece Josh Olmstead Band‘s new single “Fun Again,” and you can tell they took the oddest assortment of inspirations and turned them into a catchy power-pop anthem. Continue reading →
Philadelphia’s newest electric soul-pop group Vita and the Woolf head to Ortlieb’s tonight for their EP release show. Frontwoman Jen Pague is expected to impress the crowd with her dynamic vocal range on tracks such as the passionate “Mary” and the circus-inspired “Slipping Hills,” both tunes off of their Fang Song EP, released on Tuesday. The eight-track record is result of Prague’s dedicated two years of writing. For tickets and more information head over to the XPN Concert Calender. Below, check out the eerie video for “Mary”, or click here to revisit their incredible Key Studio Session. Continue reading →
Portland bluegrass six-piece Black Prairie is set to take the stage tonight at Tin Angel. Though initially formed with the intention of being a casual side project for Decemberists members Jenny Conlee, Chris Funk, Jon Neufeld, Nate Query, Annalisa Tornfelt, and John Moen, the band shifted gears and made their music a primary focus. After finding success with Feast of the Hunter’s Moon and A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart (both peaking at number four on the US Bluegrass charts) they released fourth album Fortune this April. Below, watch the music video for “Let It Out.” Tickets and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calender. Continue reading →
We were already a fan of outside-the-box Philly rapper S.T.S. (AKA Sugar Tongue Slim), and then this summer he took his artistic scope to a prolific new level – and with it, our enthusiasm was amped even further. First, there was his weekly “In The Lab” series of remixes, collaborations and other audio ephemera he’s been releasing on pretty much a weekly basis since June. His latest – “How Philly Use To Sound” – features cuts from DJ Jazzy Jeff, alongside verses from up and coming rappers Dayne Jordan and Son Little, celebrating the jazz and soul roots of the city: “this was a renaissance town / full of seekers who found / a soul song in they heart / a sort of hip to their hop / a certain je ne sais quoi / a touch of jazz in the park / a saxophone in the dark.” Slim and his collaborators paint a vivid picture here, and especially so on We Can Talk Politics and World Affairs, the incredible EP he dropped this summer that’s equally parts hard-hitting beats, high-energy rock and thought provoking rhymes unpacking a bevy of social issues from religion to racial profiling. Tonight Slim headlines MilkBoy on a stacked bill that also features Hezekiah, The Bul Bey and more. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to “How Philly Use To Sound.” Continue reading →
Local punk trio The Pretty Greens play North Star Bar tonight. The self-described feminist art-garage pop-punk outfit released an EP called Jealous Waves earlier this year, reaching out to melodic surf punk to create a Best-Coast-with-a-mission vibe. Watch the band play the title track to the EP live below. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.
If you just went by Roof Doctor‘s irreverent personalities, their tongue-deep-in-cheek social media presence (Twitter handle: @roof_deezy), the fact that they once tried to start a beef with Conor Oberst, you’d have no reason to take them seriously. But consider their chops and multi-instrumental prowess. Chet Williams has a knack for juggling sax, keyboard, percussion, bass and vocals; Kevin Paschall delivers intricate rhythmic accompaniment from behind the drumkit (I’m still wrapping my brain around the beat at the beginning of “Bulldog,” which they played in their Key Studio Session); Mark Harper reigns in everything that’s going on and arranges it into ultra catchy tunes. These dudes are so serious. Continue reading →
Philly born and bred Tiani Victoria performs at the Theater of Living Arts tonight, not long after her XPN Studio Session this past week. Her vocal skills have made her an up and coming Philly performer you should look out for; check out some video from the session below, and get ticketing info for the all ages $29 concert here.
It’s a funny business, being in a band these days. In some ways, it’s the same as it always was: friends, hanging out in basements or someone’s garage, writing jams and probably shooting the shit. But then there are all the other things that go along with being in a band these days: tweeting and maintaining Facebook accounts, sending out press releases, cramming into the van together and playing DIY spots across the country, fueled by Taco Bell and the dream of “making it”—or at least scoring enough blog buzz to live off your tunes.
Royal Shoals do things old skool. The trio of Jamie Wilson, Matt Lyons, and Greg Pavlovcak have been playing in bands most of their lives; a sampling of recent projects includes The Ropers, Saturday People, Public Record, and Motor. They’re not interested in spending their summers tucked into a van eating tacos (“I get upset when I don’t have the right type of peanut butter,” says Wilson)—and they’re definitely not doing this to score blog buzz.
“We’ve liberated ourselves from the burden of success a long time ago,” says Wilson with a grin from the bar at Fishtown’s Cedar Point.
No, Royal Shoals are doing this for the same reason they’ve always been doing this: to have fun, and play some tunes.
“In the beginning, it was really meant as a fun excuse to hang out and mess around,” says Lyons, who’s known Wilson for years from growing up around Wilmington, DE. “We never had big goals.”
Over the past five years, the band’s been slowly incubating, playing shows and recording sporadically. This Thursday, they’ll celebrate the release of their sophomore EP, Hotel, with a release party at Kung Fu Necktie. Throughout the years, they’ve won fans as respected as The Walkmen’s Peter Bauer (who they played with last March) and The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel (who, they tell me excitedly, bought a shirt). They’ve also turned on dozens to breezy summer pop jams with a surprising amount of bite—all while maintaining a low-key attitude that prioritizes fun over fame.
“In the beginning we were just going to be a band in the summer,” says Wilson. “The loose rule was we would only play shows outside, preferably on docks and such. The point of the band was just to have fun.” Continue reading →
Philly singer-songwriter A.M. Mills celebrated Record Store Day at AKA Music and tonight he plays at Ortlieb’s. Last month, he released a stellar track titled “Wreckin’ My World” which has a ’70s California-rock ballad feel to it (think Tom Petty). It’s simple, melodic and feels good all around. Check it out below and get tickets here.
Gloucester City rockers The Warhawks are self-releasing their latest EP, Exodus, and celebrating this Friday May 9th at Kung Fu Necktie. The set finds the band traveling loud and dark paths with their sound, which was pretty heavy stuff to begin with. Whereas before our point of reference was heavy arena rockers Kings of Leon, the new stuff sounds notably rawer and more punk. The video for “Just Let Me,” released a couple months back, has a definite Buzzcocks by-way-of Queens of the Stone Age vibe to it. The clip shows the band going HAM in a garage with an American flag draped from a wall behind their drumkit – the feverish intensity is pretty much in line with the band we’ve seen rock out at venues from Johnny Brenda’s to the backyard party they crashed at SXSW a few years back. Check out the video below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.