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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via facebook.com/AgainstMe

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Here Comes Your Man: New Pixies, Sam Evian & S U R V I V E on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Pixies | Photo by Travis Shinn, courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s the night, friends. Final Friday of September, time for Land of the Lost with Robert Drake and, immediately following that, the Indie Rock Hit Parade! The IRHP action starts at 11pm ET on WXPN, and there’s a glut of new releases to showcase. Perhaps the most perfect new record to play on this particular night is Head Carrier, the much-anticipated sixth album from Boston legends the Pixies. There’s been plenty of talk about the changes that the band has gone through since reuniting over a decade ago, but it’s hard to argue with the instantly recognizable (not to mention instantly likable) sounds on this new one. We’ll hear a few tracks on this week’s IRHP Album Spotlight. Also in the mix from this week’s laundry list of new albums will be tracks from the cosmic solo debut from Celestial Shore’s Sam Evian, the haunting synthesizers of Austin’s S U R V I V E (whose members provided the score to the hit series Stranger Things), and a revisit of tracks from La Sera‘s Spring 2016 release on a new EP. Preview some of that sruff below…

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: LVL Up at PhilaMOCA and Pylon Reenactment Society at Johnny Brenda’s

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

Tonight, the lo-fi Indie rockers of LVL Up will be playing at the PhilaMOCA. The four-piece outfit just released their third full length LP, Return to Love, on Sub Pop Records; read our interview with the Brooklyn band here, and let them personally guide you through their new album tonight at PhilaMOCA. For more information about the show check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the video for “The Closing Door” off their new album below. Continue reading →

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INTERVIEW: Brooklyn indie darlings LVL UP on making their most fully realized album, Return to Love

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

I’ll refrain from making the obvious joke here, and just say this: LVL UP‘s new album Return to Love sounds massive.

After five years and a couple of releases circling the grittier home-recorded periphery of the indie rock universe, the band goes full in on it’s third long player, released today on Sub Pop Records. Fuzzed out punk gives way to pristine pop, and you’ll hear hints of Neutral Milk Hotel and Pavement as much as you will Nada Surf and Fountains of Wayne. In short, it’s their most fully realized album on the sonic front, and talking to singer-guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton, the guys are remarkably level-headed (ugggggggh, #dadjokes) and earnest about their craft.

I caught up with them via phone from Benton’s apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was a hot August day and the band was laying low; they didn’t have anything on the calendar until a music video shoot the following week and a gig at Hopscotch fest in early September. Below, read our conversation about recording, running a label, and how their band and business lives intersect. Continue reading →

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Wye Oh Wye: Flock of Dimes, LVL UP and Beach Slang on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Flock of Dimes | Photo by Paley Fairman, courtesy of the artist
Flock of Dimes | Photo by Paley Fairman, courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade has just the thing for you. That is, if the thing you need happens to be a wide variety of brand new music tunes. Listen in at 11pm ET on WXPN for a full two-hour show that, among other things, will feature TWO spotlights on newly released albums. First up is If You See Me, Say Hello, the debut album from Flock Of Dimes. Flock Of Dimes is the on again-off again solo project of Jann Wasner, better known as one half of Wye Oak. We’ll also hear tracks from the Sub Pop debut of NY’s wooly guitar crushers LVL UP. The band has been making retro-minded and forward-thinking music for several years, and Return To Love is easily their best record yet. Also in the mix, new things from Philly punks Beach Slang, eclectic shoegazers Slothrust and jangle purveyors EZTV. Preview some of those below…

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Weather Radio: Pylon LIVE plus Peel Sessions & new Sad13 and Teenage Fanclub on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Pylon at the Mad Hatter, 1983 | Courtesy of Bob Hay

The Indie Rock Hit Parade comes to you tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN! That’s right after a special all-Peel Sessions edition of Land Of The Lost with Robert Drake, and the Hit Parade is going to act as the perfect chaser. More specifically, we’ll be featuring a few more Peel Session recordings from Sonic Youth and Belle & Sebastian. There’s also this week’s Album Spotlight, where we’ll dig into a newly released archival recording of Athens, GA indie pioneers Pylon. Recorded in December 1983 at the Mad Hatter club in Athens, Pylon Live captures what would be the band’s final performance. Also in the mix are brand new tracks from Scottish jangle vets Teenage Fanclub, Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis’ new solo bumper as Sad13, and the Sub Pop debut of NY guitar-kickers LVL UP! Check out some of those below:

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Listen to a fuzzy new LVL UP track “Hidden Driver,” catch them at PhilaMOCA in September

LVL Up | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
LVL UP | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

New York lo-fi indie rockers LVL UP, a year removed from a gig here in Philly at Union Transfer, shared a new song Tuesday titled “Hidden Driver.” The single is the second to be released off the forthcoming album Return to Love — the band’s third LP overall, but first with Sub Pop Records.

“Hidden Driver” seems to be a title nodding to a higher power. Continue reading →

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A good night for punk in its many forms: LVL UP, Palehound, and more at Union Transfer

LVL Up | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
LVL Up | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Friday night’s bill at Union Transfer offered attendees a variety of punk acts, each with a distinct flavor.

The show began with Boston’s Palehound, who were celebrating their record release of debut full-length Dry Food. Singer Ellen Kempner brought a quiet energy with her band’s captivating brand of bedroom rock, playing tracks from Dry Food and 2013 EP Bent Nail. It was also encouraging to hear Kempner end her set by assuring audience members to come find her during the show if they felt at all uncomfortable with anyone’s behavior. Nice to see an artist making conscious efforts to keep the show as safe a space as possible. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: LVL UP at Union Transfer, Ortolan at Boot and Saddle, Failure / Hum at Electric Factory, and more

LVL UP | Photo via artist's Facebook
LVL UP | Photo via artist’s Facebook

Purchase, NY’s LVL UP open for Basement with Palehound and Adventures at Union Transfer this evening. The band most recently released EP Three Songs after the success of third full-length Hoodwink’d. Though they have not hit the “mainstream,” LVL UP excel in the quieter spaces of the music world – a must-see live act. Get tickets for the show here. Continue reading →