XPNFest Recap: Lucius perform an inspired set on the River Stage

Lucius | photo by Noah Silvestry |
Lucius | photo by Noah Silvestry |

Brooklyn art-pop outfit Lucius started off a stellar night on the River Stage with a tight set and laidback banter, backed by a setting sun reflecting off of center city across the Delaware.  Frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig wore their “Pepto Bismol, Good ‘n’ Plenty outfits” just for Philly (check them out in the photos below) and were sincerely grateful to the XPN community for supporting them over the last year as they seriously rocked the crowd.

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Listen to #xpnfest band Lucius cover Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”

Lucius at Governor's Ball | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Lucius at Governor’s Ball | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Lucius are releasing a limited edition 7″ single of “Genevieve,” featuring a cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” The band are playing the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru on Friday, July 25t at Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ. Purchase tickets here. Below, listen to the band’s near reinvention of the Tears For Fears classic.


Governor’s Ball Day Two: The Strokes, Jack White, RJD2, Spoon, and more

Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Yesterday we took our places in the crowd at New York’s Randall’s Island for day two of Governor’s Ball, catching everything from garage punk to hip-hop, electronic music and bluesy rock and roll.

Diarrhea Planet | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Diarrhea Planet | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Nashville, Tennessee noise rockers, Diarrhea Planet brought their energy, and flexibility to the stage on Saturday afternoon.

RJD2 | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
RJD2 | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Ramble John Krohn, aka Philly’s RJD2, tuned up the turn tables at Gov Ball. Today he’s spinning pop-up sets on the ferry to Randall’s Island.

Lucius | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Lucius | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The ladies of Lucius emerged on stage in their sequin dresses and alien-like sunglasses to a packed crowd bringing their indie pop energy. They are another band we can’t wait to see at XPoNential Fest next month. Continue reading →


Watch #xpnfest artist Lucius’ new lyric video for “Don’t Just Sit There”

Lucius | Photo by Noah Silvestry |
Lucius | Photo by Noah Silvestry |

Indie-pop darlings Lucius have released a new lyric video for “Don’t Just Sit There” from Wildewoman and there’s lots of doodling involved. As the same face is scribbled over and over, you can’t help but think it’s the face of a lover as they sing: “Did you find love? Have you found love again?”, yearning for them to disclose the painful details of how he/she may have moved on. With crisp and fluid harmonies, the acoustic ballad soars and rests in territory that’s fresh and inviting. Watch it below and see Lucius live at this year’s XpoNential Music Festival on July 25th at Wiggins Park. More details here.


Rodrigo y Gabriela, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Hold Steady and more top the XPoNential Music Festival lineup

Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via
Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via

Dueling acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, eclectic New Orleans folk-blues combo Hurray for the Riff Raff, and stalwart rock n’ rollers The Hold Steady are just some of the 25 artists announced today in the full lineup of this year’s edition of the XPoNential Music Festival.

These acts will play the two stages in Wiggins Park from July 25th to July 27th of this year, alongside the festival’s headlining concerts at Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes (July 26th) and Beck, Band of Horses and The Districts (July 27th).

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Kate McCann |
Photo by Kate McCann |

The Wiggins Park bill is filled with WXPN favorites, like alt-country heroes Old 97s, Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins and Diego Garcia, all of whom are return-XPNFest-ers.

There is also an assortment of up-and-coming names like countrified Nashville singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose (featured on World Cafe’s Sense of Place: Nashville series); Bear’s Den, a UK rock trio with a flair for drama (they made a splash at the March Edition of the Communion Club Night at Underground Arts), the jazzy / folky vocal combo Lake Street Dive and the art-pop powerhouse Lucius, (who knocked our socks off at Free at Noon late last year.)

Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The greater Philadelphia scene is nicely represented as well. Bigger names like avant-garde rockers Man Man (who leaked their appearance last week), punk rock troubadour Dave Hause and reinvented folklorists Marah will mix with emerging artists Commonwealth Choir, Our Griffins, Marian Hill, The Lawsuits, Ginger Coyle and Viv and the Revival.

And adding an even more eclectic scope to the lineup is a taste of zydeco from C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and some Mississippi blues care of harmonica master James Cotton.

Three days passes for new and renewing WXPN members are available now here. Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 1st; as with previous years, three-day passes will include lawn admission to the Susquehanna Bank Center shows (seated tickets to those are on sale separately, here and here).

Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of the Wiggins Park lineup, and read the complete list of artists after the jump.

Wiggins Park
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene & Steve Gorman)
Lake Street Dive
Old 97’s
The Hold Steady
Hurray for the Riff Raff
C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band
Man Man
Nicole Atkins
Diego Garcia
James Cotton
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Dave Hause
Jeremy Messersmith
Caitlin Rose
Bear’s Den
The Lawsuits
Marian Hill
Ginger Coyle
Our Griffins
Viv and the Revival
Commonwealth Choir

Susquehanna Bank Center
Ryan Adams
Jenny Lewis
Band of Horses
The Districts


Watch Lucius play “Turn It Around” and “Genevieve” at SXSW, listen to their entire set

After winning our hearts with 2013′s Wildewoman, Lucius performed for us yesterday at the Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase and broadcast at the Austin Convention Center. Watch videos of the band doing “Turn It Around” and “Genevieve” below, and listen to their set in its entirety here.

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SXSW Dispatch: Public Radio Rocks showcase with Damon Albarn, Lucius, Temples and more

Damon Albarn | Photo by Laura Fedele |
Damon Albarn | Photo by Laura Fedele |

Wow, what a whirlwind of an afternoon! We just wrapped up with the Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase starring Damon Albarn, Lucius, The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Jeremy Messersmith and Temples – curated in collaboration with WFUV in New York, KUTX in Austin, KXT in Dallas, The Current in Minneapolis and WXPN in Philly. Over the next several days, we’ll bring you video and full-set audio recaps of each artist’s set. For now, peruse the gallery below for an overview of the show.


Not going to SXSW? Don’t worry. WXPN is bringing SXSW to you.

Lucius - Photo by Peter Larson
Lucius | Photo by Peter Larson

This week is the SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas – something you pretty much can’t miss if you frequent the music blogosphere. But if you’re staying home in Philly and find yourself scrolling through photos and tweets about amazing concerts you can’t go to, don’t get too bummed about it: WXPN is broadcasting sets by Lucius, Damon Albarn, The Hold Steady, Wye Oak and more live from SXSW on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, David Dye will be recording and broadcasting four live Cafe sessions from the Four Seasons hotel in Austin as part of the KUTX Morning Show. On Friday, David will co-host the Public Radio Rocks the SXSW Day Stage showcase from the Austin Convention Center with four other public radio stations including WFUV (New York), The Current (Minneapolis), KUTX (Austin), and KXT (Dallas).

Below are the lineups and set times for each day.

Thursday – World Cafe/KUTX Four Seasons sessions
8 a.m. – Kins
9 a.m. – Phox
10 a.m. – Bright Light Social Hour
11 a.m. – Wye Oak

Friday – Public Radio Rock the SXSW Day Stage
1 p.m. – Lucius
2 p.m. – The Hold Steady
3 p.m. – Phantogram
4 p.m. – Jeremy Messersmith
5 p.m. - Temples
5:30p.m. – Damon Albarn

In addition, both World Cafe and The Key will be roving about SXSW all weekend; we’ll bring you daily recaps here on The Key, while you can get real-time updates over at World Cafe’s Tumblr page. Below, sample some of the musicians featured during the live broadcasts from SXSW, and check back for our SXSW coverage all week.


Damon Albarn, Phantogram, Lucius, Temples and more to play WXPN SXSW broadcast

Damon Albarn | Photo by Linda Brownlee
Damon Albarn | Photo by Linda Brownlee

For the second year in a row at next week’s SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas, WXPN along with public radio stations WFUV (New York), The Current (Minneapolis), KUTX (Austin), and KXT (Dallas), will be broadcasting and webcasting live. On Friday, March 14th, starting at 1PM, XPN will broadcast live performances from Temples, Lucius, Phantogram, Jeremy Messersmith, The Hold Steady, and Damon Albarn. The show will be held at the Austin Convention Center at the Radio Day Stage.


Review: The charismatic Lucius joins the World Cafe Live crowd

Lucius | Photo by Noah Silvestry |
Lucius | Photo by Noah Silvestry |

They hail from Brooklyn and they pack a punch. They paid a visit to World Cafe Live in support of their debut album, Wildewoman. They are characterized by synergy in every way: compositionally, instrumentally, sonically, vocally and even visually. They stand out in the mundane world of alternative music. They are Lucius, and they’re destined for greatness.

Lucius is the fusion of singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig backed by multi-instrumentalists Andrew Burri, Peter Lalish and Dan Molad. They each sport their own breed of charisma on top of their matching (and needless to say, fashionable) raiments. The stage is set up in near perfect symmetry: Wolfe and Laessig face each other over keyboards and percussion at center stage with Burri and Molad, each with half of a drum set, to the singers’ left and right respectively, while guitarist Lalish hovers behind the female doppelgängers. The result is striking; percussive and vocal elements arrive in equilibrium from both sides, while guitar textures and electronic sounds remain centered, making for auditory balance unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The visual, of course, is equally as impressive, Wolfe and Laessig donning matching violin-patterened dresses with ‘60s style white collars in addition to their well coordinated hair cuts and black knee socks, while the men of the group wore identical black suits and even seemed to be alike in the facial hair department.

The quintet opened their set with a stripped down cover of The Beatles’ “Free as a Brid”, showcasing in particular the Wolfe and Laessig’s perfect harmonies, which contrasted harshly with Lalish’s near abrasive yet surprisingly appropriate guitar playing. For a second song, fans were treated to “Don’t Just Sit There”, during which Wolfe and Laessig sing in unison rather than in harmony, something they’ve highlighted to be a crucial aspect of their idiosyncratic sound. Alone, they’re excellent singers; together, they’re a voice unlike anything you’ve ever heard, and it’s part of what makes Lucius so special. They then moved into a variation of “Genevieve” from their recent EP which was much more rhythmically intriguing and percussive than what is played on the recording. Wolfe and Laessig trade rhythms on the wood block and floor tom respectively, pounding out patterns in a near violent manner, while drummer Molad and fellow multi-instrumentalist Burri fill in the empty space with off-beat eccentricity.

Lucius then worked their way into “Tempest”, a popper, more synth-heavy tune that came alive mostly thanks to Lalish and Burri’s shimmering guitar playing during its introduction, plus a great deal of beautifully dynamic singing from Wolfe and Laessig. Several songs later, they performed “How Loud Your Heart Gets”, the chorus of which seemed to sound even more distilled and soulful than on the recording, if that is at all possible. “Nothing Ordinary”, another favorite of mine, was the edgy union of distorted guitar, the steady pulse of Molad’s bass drum and passionately shrill vocals that could only work if perfectly executed, and execute perfectly they did. They concluded their set with an energetic rendition of the title track of their debut album, “Wildewoman”.

For encores, Lucius opened up with “Turn it Around”, the two-one handclap tune that harkens back to the ‘60s girl-groups that inspire them. Lucius then did something nobody expected: play unplugged in the middle of the crowd as a part of a little tradition they like to call the “love circle”. They played, rather appropriately, “Two of Us on the Run”, and fans giddy with excitement took to their smartphones to document the experience, turning the crowd into an oscillating night sky full of phone screen stars. They finished the show practically how they’d started it: with a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Goodbye”.

Lucius was joined by the folk-punk group Kingsley Flood, who surprised a then small crowd with their energy and intensity, and for a majority of their tunes, I felt the level of musicianship and composition was top-notch, though certain songs felt to be slightly overkill.

Lucius represents so many things that so many other bands do not. They incorporate layers of percussion, textured sounds and most importantly, two voices acting as one that amount to something special. They’re fun-loving, charismatic people and great musicians, and one thing is for sure: Lucius is going places.

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