One of the bands we’re super psyched to see this weekend at the XPoNential Music Festival is Philly’s Strand Of Oaks, fronted by singer, songwriter and guitarist Tim Showalter. Tim’s new album, HEAL, has been getting universal acclaim for its strong narrative, songs that are biographical in nature, and the albums’ stylistic nod to classic rock and postpunk. Continue reading →
Alt-country rockers Old 97′s return to town this weekend, playing WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival on Sunday, July 27th. Rhett Miller and the 97′s have a long standing history with XPN and the festival. The band first appeared at the festival in 1999, when the festival was called “Singer-Songwriter Weekend.” Always a crowd favorite, the 97′s recent release is Most Messed Up, and they made a stop at WXPN to record a session for World Cafe. Listen to their full session (interview and performance) here. Below, download a Cafe version of “Indefinitely.” Hope to see you this weekend at #XPNfest. Go here for tickets.
Los Angeles Police Department is the work of Ryan Pollie. LAPD has got a hint of Neutral Milk Hotel in the sound of this song, however, there’s also a delicate hint of Beach Boys harmonies. Former Philadelphian Ryan Pollie’s new project, Los Angeles Police Department, is releasing their self-titled debut album on September 5th on tape from Chill Mega Chill and on vinyl on Forged Artifacts. Before he moved West to chase his rock and roll dreams, Pollie was in a local band in Philly called Cereal Heroes. Below, download the catchy indie-pop song, “She Came Through (Again).”
Singer-songwriter Ginger Coyle is one of the many local bands playing the #XPNFest presented by Subaru next weekend, July 25th-27th. Ginger plays on Sunday, July 27th at Noon. Coyle is a little bit bluesy, a little bit rock and roll, a little bit jazzy and she oozes charisma. Earlier this year, Coyle and her band recorded a Key Studio Session. Listen and download the entire Key Studio Session with Ginger here, or sample “Let It Burn” from the session below.
Single day tickets and weekend passes for the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru are available here.
Rose’s Pawn Shop are a swirling vortex of rock and roots music from Los Angeles. The band releases their new album, Gravity Well, on September 9th. Blending bluegrass and folk with rock and alt-country, Rose’s debuted in 2006. While frontman Paul Givant leads the five piece through various musical styles on the new album, those styles – and influences – coalesce nicely into a unified voice on their songs. There’s a lot of very talented bands performing a similar kind of music as Rose’s Pawn Shop, yet this highly charged band manage to create their own unique sound, in large part due to the craftiness of the songwriting, their storytelling and the musical virtuosity.
Below, download the high energy “What Were You Waiting For.”
The Austin based indie dream-pop band Letting Up Despite Great Faults was founded by Mike Lee in 2006. Since then the band has released three albums, with a new record, Neon, coming out on August 12th. Letting Up make beat-driven, super catchy songs that result in jangly indie rock anthems. It’s been two years since the band’s last record, and during that time Mike Lee moved from Los Angeles to Austin which he said gave him a renewed sense of creativity. On Neon, as with their previous releases, the shimmering, shiny guitars, keyboards and drums lock in with precision and Lee continues to write joyously melodic songs. If you’re a fan of Death Cab, Passion Pit, and Ride, you should dig into Letting Up’s catalogue. You can start by download “Wrapped” below.
“Wings” is the first new song by Field Report, the Milwaukee band led by singer-songwriter Chris Porterfield. The band releases its new album, Marigolden, on October 7th on Partisan Records. The band’s sophomore release more than satisfies the longing we’ve had for more music after being so thoroughly blown away by their 2012 self-titled debut. This time around Field Reports adds more of the right rhythms, synths, flourishes of electronica and musical depth into their carefully executed “folk” rock songs. One listen to “Wings” is all you need to hear the direction Porterfield goes in, and the musical maturity is stunning. At the heart of Field Report’s songs are his voice – yearning, aching, compromised, hurt, yet optimistic – and his acoustic guitar. Like Jose Gonzalez’s Junip, who build their touched-by-electronica songs on the sound of a six string or a keyboard, “Wings” does in a similar manner. The song starts with a soft keyboard, builds in emotion with some intricate acoustic guitar playing, the click track and beats seemingly randomly kick in, and once established, the synths blend in and the song builds with suspense and tension. Porterfield is the master at the “simmer as boil.” He understands how to take a song just to the edge of capturing the emotion he wants with the music his band is performing. While Stereogum called the song “the closest Field Report has ever sounded to Radiohead,” the comparisons to a song like “Fragile” by Sting are more appropriate, in that Porterfield brings his unique storytelling craft and musical warmth into the mix, as well as his own sense of ambient “Radioheadness” on this new song.
This week is Sense of Place: Iceland week on World Cafe with David Dye. Recently the Cafe traveled to Reykjavík for sessions with several bands including Of Monsters and Men, Sin Fang, Ólafur Arnalds, and others. Check out the entire week of sessions and interviews here.
Mafama are an electro flavored indie pop band from Iceland. They’re from the town of Akureyri, located North of the more well known Reykjavík. Mafama, currently working on their debut album, are one of a number of new bands to emerge from the town.