This time last week, I was traveling home from Austin after a jam-packed three days of nonstop music at SXSW 2015. Many who make the trek to the annual industry rodeo do it with an eye on discovering new artists. That certainly fits in the mix when I’m down there – and the sets I caught by California rapper Boogie and Indiana singer-songwriter Elephant Micah were impressive – but my primary focus is catching up with Philadelphians at the festival to see how they fared. Continue reading →
Even though I’ve seen The Districts five or six times in the past year, Saturday night was something else entirely. Anyone who’s seen them—whether it was at the Church or XPNFest or somebody’s basement or warehouse—knows that they put on one hell of a show. But where The Districts strength has previously seemed to flow from an introspective fount, the very sold-out release show for A Flourish and A Spoil on Saturday night at Union Transfer seemed powered by a limitless well of incredible proportions. Continue reading →
For those of you who don’t know about NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, you may want to head over to their site and root through their enormous and equally impressive archive. Their 15-minute videos feature live performances from artists of all genres held in the quaint offices of NPR at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk.
Ranging from big names like Adele and Alt-J to up-and-coming artists such as Angel Olsen and Rubblebucket, viewers are able to watch the artists perform in the intimate setting, giving the performances a stripped-down, no B.S. vibe. While these videos are ultra fun to watch (perhaps continuously, one after another…), NPR kept things interesting this winter by kicking off a contest to feature a new artist in their series.
Based entirely off of video submissions from all over the United States, an artist will be chosen to perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. as well as snag a slot in the big Lagunitas Couchtrippin’ showcase in Austin, Texas. Philadelphia, brimming with the amazing musical talent that it is, seems to have jumped at this opportunity. Continue reading →
Created to explore the music, past and present, and the storied legacy of the City of Brotherly Love, the 4th Annual Philly Sings Philly event returns to The Fire during the month of November. Across four Tuesdays, local musicians will pay homage to their idols, adding a personal touch to their favorite songs by Philly-born artists. Each week is curated by a different local music organization. Continue reading →
Brooklyn-born MC Nas will be taking the stage at The Keswick tonight. After the release of his debut album Illmatic in 1994, which has been consistently referenced as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, the famous rapper quickly emerged into the hip hop game. He continued to rise to fame after making his second album, It Was Written, which went platinum twice in one month. Nas has also reached out to work with other artists including Damien Marley, whom he collaborated on an album with and donated earnings to charity in Africa. To find more information on tonight’s show, visit the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out Nas’ video for his song “Daughters” below. Continue reading →
Local favorite singer-songwriter Matt Pond – a former Philadelphian based in New York – will headline the seventh annual RiverCity Festival taking place at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown on Saturday, October 11th. The free festival, situated along the river off of Delaware Avenue, is stocked with a stellar line-up of local bands, vendors and a 5k run.
Norristown’s weekend Walla Fest is back for its fourth year with a stacked line-up of local music including Pine Barons and Vita and the Wolf. Pine Barons recently went up to Lafayette Hill’s Kettle Pot Tracks studio to record an On the Hill Session, which you can check out here. Meanwhile, Vita and Wolf have released two singles on their Bandcamp – listen to “Mary” below. More information for the festival, which takes place at the Centre Theater in Norristown today and tomorrow, can be found here.
American metal/ prog-rock band Mastadon will bring their crushing sound and screaming vocals to the Electric Factory tonight. With a new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, due out June 24 via Reprise Records, there should be plenty of new material for the show. Get tickets to the event here. Watch “High Road” below.
Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James Powers, Ryan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.