Desert rock legends Queens of the Stone Age return to play the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center tonight. Last year, the veteran rockers played a fantastic show at Made in America. The group just released their latest LP …Like Clockwork. Bassist Josh Homme recently appeared in an episode of Portlandia. The band also released an action-filled, drunken adventure for “Smooth Sailing”. Watch the video below. Get more information about the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Americana indie-folk band New Sweden will be at World Cafe Live tonight at The Queen. The five-piece band, which just played the Firefly Music Festival in its home state of Delaware, has a robust, scratchy sound that makes it a folk powerhouse. New Sweden is set to release its latest album, Fabric Room, in four days, but is available for streaming now. Check out the song, “Burdened Days” off the new album and go to the XPN Concert Calendar for more information and tickets.
Wilmington folk-rock favorites, New Sweden are playing the the World Cafe this Friday, July 11th, and at Tellus 360 in Lancaster on Saturday, July 12th as part of their Fabric Room EP release party, out July 15th.
After forming in 2009, the band has won the Tri-State Indie Awards three years running and played at impressive venues, including a set at Firefly this summer. In early 2012, they recorded a Key Studio Session with songs from their 2011 full length the Mountain. Since then, New Sweden has become a five piece with the addition of an electric guitar and keys. Last month, XPN premiered Fabric Room. Hailed by Paste as a “countrified Bright Eyes with a twinge of punk,” New Sweden’s latest EP strikes the right balance between indie and folk.
Wilmington band New Sweden is back with its latest EP, Fabric Room. With its unruly, foot-stomping sound, New Sweden is a folk powerhouse, but its not just folk that can be heard in the new EP — there’s a little bit of everything that lands the band in limbo between genres. There is an essence of Dr. Dog to it, some of The Avett Brothers and maybe a little Dawes, as well, but even with these influences in toe, the band definitely doesn’t have problem finding its own voice. The sound is robust and rugged — distinct in its own way.
“It was certain that things had to change after going from a six piece to a five piece (we parted ways with our violinist),” frontman Will Dobies said. “Because of this, we were able to introduce new lead instruments: the electric guitar and keys seemed to do the trick. We are a rowdy bunch with a soft side.”
Fabric Room is set to be released July 15, but is available one week early here through the band’s pre-sale store. Each EP purchase comes with a free download of the new single, “Eighty Seven” and every purchase from the pre-sale will automatically enter you into a drawing for a free pair of Firefly Music Festival day passes for Saturday, June 21 when New Sweden will be playing at the festival. See New Sweden in Philly on June 26 at Johnny Brenda’s and listen to our premiere of Fabric Room below.
The Key’s Week of Folk is our series of interviews, reviews, artist spotlights, playlistings and general ephemera to get you ready for the 52nd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, happening August 16th to August 18th at Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville. This installment highlights a handful of artists we didn’t even were realize were playing – so it’s possible you didn’t know either.
On Monday we talked about what a daunting task navigating a festival lineup can be. Between sheer volume of names, late lineup additions and lag time between initial announcements and the actual show, I find myself at festivals – any festival – saying at least once “oh, woah, they’re playing!” (Confession: it even happens at our own XPoNential Music Festival.)
For this installment of The Key’s Week of Folk, we’ll highlight a handful of don’t-miss you-almost-missed-thems, beginning with the one and only Ursula Rucker. Her’s is a name that Roots aficionados should know well; the Philadelphia poet first came to prominence closing the group’s first several albums with spoken word pieces (and appearing throughout the mix on 2003′s Phrenology). Sometimes tender, sometimes shocking, but always marked by beauty and eloquence, Rucker’s collaborations with The Roots – as well as with Bahamadia and King Britt – ultimately paved the way for a solo career that notably includes 2001′s Super Sista, 2006′s Ma’at Mama and most recently, 2011′s She Said. Along with writing, Rucker is an educator and activist, and recently has been combining her words with the stylish guitar of fellow Philadelphian Tim Motzer. The two will perform together at the Cultural Tent on August 16th at 7 p.m. Below, watch a video of Rucker and Motzer on the 1k Sessions, and listen to Rucker’s contribution to The Roots’ Things Fall Apart, “Return to Innocence Lost.”
XPN welcomes California band Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) to The Blockley tonight. SIgned to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, ALO create a laidback, jammy brand of surf rock / pop that has bound them to other Johnson-fan favorites Donavon Frankenreiter, Matt Costa and G. Love. In 2012 ALO released their seventh studio album Sounds Like This. Tickets and information for tonight’s 18+ show with Ryan Montbleau Band can be found here. Watch an acoustic performance of “Storms & Hurricanes” from the new album below.
Denison Witmer celebrates his album release at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The self-titled record is Witmer’s ninth and most personal effort since the start of his career fifteen years ago. Recorded at his Brooklyn studio The Honey Jar (co-run by Philly native Devin Greenwood), the Lancaster-born musician called in friends Sufjan Stevens and Greenwood for creative collaboration, though the stories told on the album’s ten tracks are purely Witmer’s. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Soporus can be found here. Below, stream and download “Asa,” a song named for Witmer’s young son.
New Sweden head down to Phoenixville for a show at Steel City Coffeehouse. The Wilmington five-piece enthralled a Saturday morning audience at the 2011 Noncommvention with their rootsy, robust folk rock and they’ve been climbing the proverbial ladder ever since. With two Tri-State Indie awards on the shelf and a buzzy appearance at SXSW earlier this year, the local band hasn’t slowed down one bit after the release of their debut LP The Mountain. Tickets and information for tonight’s show with The Turnips can be found here. Watch New Sweden perform “Frying Pan” below.
The Hooters and Good Old War play a hometown show at The Electric Factory tonight. An institution in the Philadelphia musical cannon, The Hooters got their start in the 80s with hits like “All You Zombies” and “And We Danced.” In recent years, members of the band have sparked their own projects, with drummer David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket and vocalist / keyboardist Rob Hyman’s Elm Street Studios in Conshohocken. Good Old War, a trio that is becoming a local institution in their own right, returns to the stage in support of 2012′s Come Back As Rain while working on material for a new album. Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here. Below, watch The Hooters’ video for “And We Danced” followed by Good Old War’s “Amazing Eyes.”
On hand we’ve got Wilmington folk-rock powerhouse New Sweden (pictured), alums of the Key Studio Sessions (download their appearance here) and two-time winners of Tri-State Indie’s Delaware Indie Band of the Year award. I caught their recently revamped lineup at South by Southwest last month, and their live set is smokin’ as ever. Expect some new material, a modest amount of fiddle and ample hooting and hollering from these folks.
Also on the bill is vocal force of nature Ali Wadsworth. You’ve seen her collaborate with many players in the roots scene – her old band Unlikely Cowboy, Toy Soldiers, Good Old War, Fantasy Square Garden, Aaron & the Spell and the list goes on – but her forthcoming solo debut is something just about all of those folks are anticipating. It is being recorded with prominent Philly producer Bill Moriarty, features Wadsworth singing music written by many of her friends in the scene, and is sure to be great.
Last but certainly not least is Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra. Aside from his day gig running the city news and culture blog Philebrity, Sweeney has made a formidable return to the stage this year – he first performed as a teenager in the 90s, and went on to front The Trouble With Sweeney and others until about 2006. After a hiatus of about a half-dozen years, he began to make moves with his rock outfit Arctic Splash (including a Christmas Key Session), threw a 40th birthday celebration that reunited all of his old bands, and now is gearing up to release Long Hair, a long-in-the-works solo album exploring the more introspective side of his songwriting. For this show, Sweeney will perform with The Long Hair Arkestra, a band about whom we don’t know a ton, but we’re psyched to hear them play all the same.
The concert takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lenfest Plaza at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 North Broad Street. Admission is free, but space is limited, so RSVP now at the XPN website.
Below, watch an acoustic performance of New Sweden’s “Mama,” watch Ali Wadsworth covering Beck’s “Eyes that Say I Love You” at the Song Reader show, and watch a trailer for Sweeney’s “Long Hair”