The Decemberists’ rich and earthy folk music always lingers with a sense of the past, but it was their recent offshoot project, Offa Rex, that quite literally time travelled back to the way olden days by solely performing traditional English folk songs with guest singer, Olivia Chaney. Now, the band is time traveling again — only this time, to the future.
With the release of their new single “Severed,” we hear the results of working with new producer, John Congelton (St. Vincent, Lana Del Ray, The Districts) for a unique mix of prog and garage rock sounds that morphs into a futuristic, space-y kind of folk breed. Listen to the single below. Continue reading →
Peter Frampton rocked Philly with his performance last week at the Mann Center. Along with his own tunes, Frampton treated the crowd to a cover of Soundgarden’s hit, “Black Hole Sun,” which he dedicated to the band’s late frontman, Chris Cornell.
Before the song, Frampton takes the time to formally tribute the cover to Cornell and the singer’s wife and children. He then dives into his unique, heartfelt take on the track. Beginning as purely instrumental, Frampton fuses his trademark guitar-driven, talkbox vocals about four minutes in before sending it off with an epic guitar solo. Continue reading →
(Sandy) Alex G’sRocket is a mighty fine, complex collection of some of his most eclectic, genre-crashing gems to date. One of these standout beauties is the dreamlike ballad “Sportstar,” in which frontman Giannascoli warps his voice with otherworldly auto-tune amidst a thick atmospheric soundscape of gauzy guitars and echoing piano. Aaron Maine’s NY-based synth-pop project, Porches, recently remixed the surreal tune, providing a clarified, breezy companion
Stripping away layers of vocal processing, Porches’ remix of the song summons the deeper and tad demonic Alex G monotone that we all know and love, while spicing it up with a hint of electro-steel drum, island music vibes. Continue reading →
Icelandic rock royalty Sigur Ros are gracing us with their presence at the Mann Center tonight. Get swept away in their myriad of hits — whether in Icelandic or the band-created musical language of Hopelandic (like c’mon, how cool is that)– for an atmospheric, open-air performance of dynamic, otherworldly soundscapes. Find more info on tickets at the XPN Concert Calendar, and listen to “Festival,” a.k.a. one of the most beautiful songs to ever exist, below. Continue reading →
The sign of an extraordinary musician is their ability to bring their music alive during performances. It isn’t about sounding exactly like their albums, but enhancing the songs we hear on the radio and on record into an experience not only for listening, but for seeing and feeling as well.
Milky Chance brought this energy and sound to Philadelphia’s Mann Center Skyline Stage last night. Their calm yet catchy sound reached new heights, between its electronic aspect, magnified bass and added harmonica solos – the live show was an experience that cannot be achieved through simply listening to the album. Not only was their sound volumized, but the concert was visually exciting as well. The lighting was everywhere from several minutes of darkness at the beginning of the show to swirling psychedelic lights on the trees surrounding the stage. Continue reading →
This year, Sam Beam of long running indie folk project Iron & Wine got together with Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses to produce Sing Into My Mouth, a record of covers from Talking Heads’ “Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)” to Pete Seeger’s “Coyote, My Little Brother.” Tonight, they headline Union Transfer; tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
There is not a shred of doubt in my mind: John Legend, formerly John Stephens, is 100% deserving of the name he now calls his own. His career now spans fifteen years, five of which have been unsigned. His climb to a record deal featured collaborations with Lauryn Hill on her track “Everything Is Everything” during college, backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” in 2003, and an eventual meet-up and collaboration with Kanye West throughout the early 2000’s. His career has never stopped climbing since, churning out Grammy award winning, chart-topping tunes with every album release.
Legend’s “homecoming” show to The Mann on Saturday showcased Legend at the peak of his popularity and his songwriting ability. Continue reading →
There’s probably no indie rock group surrounded by more enigma than Neutral Milk Hotel. Their second record, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, is considered by many to be one of those elusive perfect albums. I’m not quite sure about perfect (maybe it’s just that I have a minor beef with “King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 2”, but not 3), but it’s certainly a record unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. To add to the intrigue, the band’s auteur, Jeff Mangum, played white rabbit in a magic trick and, for all intents and purposes, disappeared from the public eye a year after Aeroplane‘s release. After a decade of near hermitage, Mangum started playing shows, and has just recently reunited the original Aeroplane lineup for a reunion tour. Even though he’s no longer in mysterious hiding, he refuses to give an interview, record a followup record, or even be photographed. I guess it’s a case of wanting the music to speak for itself, but the world may never really know. So just as with any great indie rock show, music geeks, hipsters and fans of beards alike made their way out to The Mann Center on a beautiful midsummer evening to hear the most mystifying act in music. Continue reading →
For the past few albums, Philly rock and roll faves Dr. Dog have staged their hometown shows at the Electric Factory, usually selling the place out and more recently on back-to-back nights. While they’ve really begun to own that room and, as I observed in the winter, craft a friendly and familial atmosphere in what is pretty much a big warehouse, the question lingered in the air: when is the band going to take the next step?
Today, we got that answer: as it’s B-Room tour wraps around the country on another leg, Dr. Dog will headline the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, September 14th, a setting that couldn’t be more perfect. The capacity is just slightly bigger than the Factory, so it may not be a huge jump, but playing the Skyline is a great gateway to playing the Mann proper – and I can’t wait to see the boys rock (and pack) that house. And also, watching a show in open-air setting in the grove on a breezy late summer Saturday night with the city lights twinkling behind you and Dr. Dog in front of you could not possibly be a more Philly concert. Maybe if the Phanatic showed up again, or The Roots were there, but you get what I’m saying – this is going to be a treat.
Also a treat are the openers: Canadian impresario Mac DeMarco, who cunningly bridges the worlds of lo-fi drum-machine indie / weirdo rock (think Ariel Pink, Animal Collective) with the energy and in-yo-face attitude of mainstream party rock (Andrew W.K.), as well as Jersey’s The Front Bottoms, whose high energy poppy folk-punk is completely infectious and endearing (check out their new Rose EP or their recent Indie Rock Hit Parade session to see). Arrive early, stay late. UPDATE: Holy smokes the first opener is actually amazing Philly art punks Hop Along according to the flyer on Dr. Dog’s Twitter. Freaking out over here.
This week Lorde announced that she will begin a North American tour beginning in September. Her first stop will be in Philadelphia at the Mann Center on September 5th. Tickets go on sale Friday June 6th via MannCenter.org. The New Zealand singer-songwriter / pop star made her Philly debut back in March when she headlined a sold-out show at The Tower Theater; see Noah Silvestry’s photo and review of the performance here, and check out Lorde’s BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend performance below.