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Watch Of Monsters and Men play an exclusive acoustic “Silouhettes” for World Cafe (plus other videos from Iceland!)

Of Monsters and Men recording for World Cafe in their practice space | Photo by John Vettese
Of Monsters and Men recording for World Cafe in their practice space | Photo by John Vettese

All this week, WXPN’s World Cafe has explored the music of Iceland in its Sense of Place series, and it culminated today with a video of poppy indie rock collective Of Monsters and Men performing an acoustic version of their song “Silhouettes” in their practice space in a remote location just outside of Reykjavik.

Originally appearing on the Hunger Games soundtrack, the song was performed live for the first time here, and the contemplative acoustic reinvention was a treat to hear. The performance was recorded on the fly by World Cafe producer Kimberly Junod after a red-eye flight and an early morning bike tour on the streets of Reykjavik; I shot video under similar conditions, while XPN digital content manager Rich McKie edited the final product together safely ensconced back here in Philly.

We’re pretty psyched about the final product, and you can check it out below.

This was just one of a series of videos featured this week from the Cafe’s travels in Iceland. After the jump, check out performances by haunting folk ensemble Árstíðir, ambient / classical composer Ólafur Arnalds and bright electronic pop outfit Sin Fang. Continue reading →

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The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Steve Gunn Trio, W.C. Lindsay, Disclosure and more)

Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Relive the weekend’s live music with reviews and photos of The National, Father John Misty, Devendra Banhart, The Bailey Hounds and Of Monsters and Men [link]

The Steve Gunn Trio recorded a Key Studio Session while on tour with Kurt Vile [link]

War on Drugs bassist and Nightlands frontman Dave Hartley returns to The Top of The Key with a look at basketball nicknames [link]

New Jersey’s Aspiga premiered a new song called “Direction” from an upcoming 7″ split [link]

Take an in-depth look at Break It Up‘s debut self-titled LP, featured this week on Unlocked [link]

Stream the exclusive premiere of W.C. Lindsay‘s super fun Tree EP [link]

WXPN announced the daily line-up for this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival [link]

We have a Gotta Hear Song from Disclosure and a Gotta Watch Video of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell this week [link and link]

PhilaMOCA announced their second annual ERASERHOOD FOREVER celebration of David Lynch and the venue’s Callowhill neighborhood [link]

Last Good Tooth teamed up with Folkadelphia for this week’s live session [link]

Sigur Ros, Kate Nash and Neko Case announced Philly shows for the fall

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Of Monsters and Men bring theatricality and fun to Festival Pier (photos, review)

Of Monsters and Men | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Of Monsters and Men | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

All photos by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

With summer in the air, Of Monsters and Men serenaded a sold-out crowd at Festival Pier on Saturday night. Opening the show playing behind a curtain, this Icelandic group showed how well it rocks theatricality. The Monsters turned the drab parking lot of a venue into a sea of men and women swaying, clapping, and singing along to their well crafted pop throughout the evening. And rather than making the set about their smash masterwork “Little Talks,” which the crowd ate up with every sing-along line, Of Monsters and Men followed it with “Lake House” and the spectacle of a colorful confetti explosion. Ending the encore with the ballad “Yellow Light” at first seemed an odd choice, but it sucked the crowd more and more with its mini-epic nature, climaxing with another rain of confetti, sending the seven-piece and a sated crowd off in a haze of dreamlike wonderment.

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Just Announced: Of Monsters and Men to play the Tower Theatre in November

Icelandic folk-pop outfit Of Monsters and Men return to the Philadelphia area on November 24th for a show at the Tower Theatre.  The band’s debut album My Head is an Animal came out earlier this year following the international success of their foot-stomping single “Little Talks”.  Presale tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am and are available through Of Monsters and Men’s store.  General sale tickets will be available on September 22nd through Ticketmaster.  Watch the mythical, cinematic video for “Little Talks” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Of Monsters And Men at Theatre Of Living Arts

In most indie-rock circles within the U.S., the notion of gaining artistic and commercial success through a “Battle Of The Bands” competition is beyond laughable. Such contests are the realm of leather-clad rock-star wannabes who perform derivative bar-rock, foolishly hoping to catch the attention of a record contract-wielding music executive. Over in Reykjavík, Iceland—home to the annual Músíktilraunir music competition—however, the whole practice is apparently much more respectable. So much so, in fact, that when Of Monsters And Men won the competition in 2010, it actually did lead to a record deal in early 2011, which led to the release of the band’s debut album, My Head Is An Animal. The single off that album, “Little Talks,” then became a No. 1 hit in Iceland, and eventually earned the indie-folk/pop sextet a deal with Universal Music Group stateside. Last month, Of Monsters And Men kicked off its first U.S. tour with a handful of dates at SXSW in Austin, TX; tonight, the band brings its sing-along choruses, bright harmonies, and storytelling lyrics to Theatre Of Living Arts for the second of two sold-out performances. Of Monsters and Men performs with Lay Low at 7 p.m. at Theatre Of Living Arts; tickets to the all-ages show are SOLD OUT.

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Of Monsters and Men playing TLA on Tuesday, April 3rd


WXPN’s first Artist To Watch for 2012 is the Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men. They make their Philadelphia debut at the TLA on Tuesday, April 3rd. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 3rd at Noon. Opening the show in Philly is another Iceland band, Lay Low. Below, listen to a song from Lay Low’s charming new album, and “Love Love Love” from Of Monsters And Men’s new EP, Into The Woods.