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Tonight’s Concert Picks: S.T.S. at MilkBoy, OhBree at Kung Fu Necktie, Polyphonic Spree at Prince Music Theater

STS
Sugar Tongue Slim | photo via stsisgold.bandcamp.com

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Pretty Greens at North Star Bar, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Chameleon Club, The Warhawks at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

The Pretty Greens
The Pretty Greens | photo by Jason Blake | http://www.jason-blake.com

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.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Roof Doctor

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tiani Victoria at the TLA, Tutlie at Kung Fu Necktie and Rat Fist at Space 1026

Photo via King Astro of Batcave Radio
Photo via King Astro of Batcave Radio

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.

The Key Studio Session: Tiani Victoria “Marinate” from Bob Sweeney on Vimeo.

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Getting to Know Royal Shoals: A Philly surf-rock trio guided by rock vibes and good times

Royal Shoals: Jamie Wilson, Matt Lyons, Greg Pavlovcak
Royal Shoals: Jamie Wilson, Matt Lyons, Greg Pavlovcak

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.”

royal art star
Royal Shoals at this year’s Art Star Craft Bazaar (photo via Facebook)

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: A.M. Mills at Ortliebs, Dawn Hiatt at Tin Angel, The Warhawks at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

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.

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Hit the garage with The Warhawks in their “Just Let Me” video; see them at Kung Fu Necktie on 5/9

The Warhawks | Photo by Kate Kell
The Warhawks | Photo by Kate Kell

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.

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What’s happening at Kung Fu Necktie? “Changes” announced in how shows are booked

Eternal Summers onstage at Kung Fu Necktie | Photo by John Vettese

A Facebook post this morning announced that Fishtown venue Kung Fu Necktie is “making some changes” and will move in “a different direction as far as booking the club goes.” The small club underneath the El opened its doors in late 2008 and was initially booked in part by R5 Productions under the guidance of Steven Ward James. But James left around 2010, and the club has gone through a string of promoters since then, most recently Bonfire (who also handles Underground Arts and North Star). In the past year, the venue has booked simultaneous shows on the downstairs stage as well as a renovated upstairs gallery space, sometimes doing upwards to three shows or DJ events per night – a programming policy that’s generated some degree of flack from the music community.

According to the announcement (which you can read in full after the jump), the club is “running more as a collective from here on out, with the hopes of each show being slightly more micro-managed.” They say the venue will be open to independent promoters, with “a few in-house facilitators” offering guidance.

We’ve reached out to some of the stakeholders and will update you as we find out more. For now, read KFN’s announcement below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: M.I.A. at Tower Theater, Gliss at Kung Fu Necktie, Woods at Boot and Saddle, and more

Photo via facebook.com/miauk
Photo via facebook.com/miauk

Tonight, M.I.A. graces the Tower Theater stage and fans (old and new) should, as always, expect a little bit of everything from the singer-songwriter’s genre-bending music. On her latest album Matangi, it’s clear that her sound is still a hybrid of electronic, pop, hip-hop and world music. Best known for her 2007 platinum hit “Paper Planes”, M.I.A. isn’t a traditional singer or rapper; she’s crafted a style that’s somewhere in between and it’s infectious. Watch “Y.A.L.A.” below and get tickets here

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Edison will premiere new line-up and new songs at Kung Fu Necktie on 4/27

Michael James Murray of Edison | photo by Colin Kerrigan
Michael James Murray of Edison | photo by Colin Kerrigan

At the start of 2013 a band called Edison drifted into Philly with a debut EP called Living Room and a handful of shows.  Founded by locals Michael James Murray and Alexander Savoth, the duo crafted roaming soundscapes that incorporated string sections with quietly jazzy drums and large-room production that still kept things intimate with closely placed vocals.

Following several months of solo work by Murray and Savoth that coincided with a new approach to Edison, the band is back with an expanded line-up and new material, ready to hit the stage again at Kung Fu Necktie on Sunday, April 27th.  Chris Giraldi joins on drums and Bennet Daniels (Neighborhood Choir, Hippy Johnny) takes control of the bass, bringing new perspectives and possibilities to a band that already reached aural moments of Air and Radiohead.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Marc Neibauer and HLEP can be found here.  Listen back to last year’s EP below.