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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bondage and Discipline at Kung Fu Necktie, TacocaT at Golden Tea House, River City Extension at Boot and Saddle and more

Photo by Jon Stars | photo courtesy of facebook.com/bondageanddisciplinemusic
Photo by Jon Stars | photo courtesy of facebook.com/bondageanddisciplinemusic

Philly raucous rock outfit The National Rifle was moving in a decidedly 80s electronic direction on their last album, Almost Endless, and three of the bandmates have rechristened themselves with a evocative new name – Bondage and Discipline – and continue to chase that sound further. The band plays it debut headlining set tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. Download “Only Your Love” below and get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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The resilience of River City Extension: how the Jersey folk rock band didn’t let change keep them from ‘Deliverance’

River City Extension | Photo by Sean O’Kane Photography
River City Extension | Photo by Sean O’Kane Photography

Fans know River City Extension as a boisterously loud and energetic folk rock group that has toured with up to eight people at a time. Despite the pop sensibilities many folk bands have adopted, this New Jersey crew remained tough at the core, only softening its edge with flourishes of strings and harmonies. This balance helped the band gain equal appeal from the Bonnaroo audience as it did from the one you would find at Warped Tour.

Fronted by guitarist and vocalist Joe Michelini, River City Extension released its somewhat dark, somewhat quirky and introspective sophomore album, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger, in 2012 to measurable acclaim. It was the follow-up to the band 2010debut, The Unmistakable Man.

But a lot has changed since those days. Members have came and left, and now the band has slimmed down to just three core members who all reside in their hometown of Toms River. Losing so many musicians brought Michelini to a crossroads, where he and the remaining members made the hard decision to continue on, even though they had no idea where they were headed.

“We sat down and we were like, ‘Ok, nobody knows who our band is, really,’” Michelini says modestly during a recent phone interview. “So, we can make any kind of music we want now. We decided to just work with the people that were willing to be in the band and did want to make music for the rest of their lives – people who had already jumped off the cliff and weren’t looking back, like us.”

Michelini, guitarist John Muccino and keyboard player Patrick O’Brien will showcase the band’s new direction when River City Extension plays Boot & Saddle at 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 28th with openers Wild Rompit and Cranston Dean. Attendees will hear songs from the first two RCE records, as well as their first ever cover song and new tracks off the forthcoming album Deliverance, which the band will sequester itself in a house in the Poconos for 18 days in late April to start recording.

After the crazy, scary journey he’s been on with River City Extension since forming the group in 2007, Michelini says he’s excited to bring the new line-up to Philly, the city he “grew up going to.”

“Philly is the only city that I want to go to around here,” he says. “I’ve always loved it there. We had our first ever album release show in Philly. We’re so excited to play, and we have so many friends there. If the band ever leaves Toms River, it will only ever go to Philadelphia. There’s only one road between Toms River and Philly, and that warms my heart a little bit.”

Guitarist Muccino even had the “wild idea” to make an animated video to promote the show. He wrote the script, did the voiceover, then passed that along to Philly-based animator Joe Shefski to bring the illustrations to life. The video is just one of the many examples of the DIY ethics the band employs, sticking to them despite how hard it is to keep a career in the music industry or the arts in general.

“Everyone just seems to be going on and on, especially since South by Southwest, about how it’s impossible and now it’s all run by brands, etcetera, etcetera,” Michelini says of the industry. “I guess I just have to not be too worried about it. The industry will change as it will, but I want to make music. I know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Despite River City Extension’s history, Michelini said the songs he’s written with the new line-up over the past year and a half have been some of the most important to him. Continue reading →

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River City Extension will headline Boot & Saddle 3/28 with Wild Rompit and Cranston Dean

River City Extension | Photo by Sean O’Kane Photography

This week, Jersey-based indie rock crew River City Extension announced a show at Boot & Saddle, which is sure to get a little rowdy. When I saw this band at The Note in West Chester, three of the members came down and joined the clapping and hollering crowd, wielding their guitars and drums. Originally from Toms River, River City Extension makes catchy, high-energy folk-infused indie rock in the vein of Titus Andronicus. Listen to their 2012 album Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger below. Get tickets to the show on 3/28 with Wild Rompit and Cranston Dean via the venue’s website here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kopecky Family Band at TLA, Jose James at World Cafe Live, Luscious Jackson at Union Transfer, and more

Kopecky Family Band | via Facebook

The Nashville natives of Kopecky Family Band will be headlining the TLA tonight, just one stop on a tour that is taking them around North America for the remainder of the year. Their full indie sound is created with the use of keyboards, horns, and cello in addition to the basic band set up. Their somewhat recent releaseKids Raising Kids, opens with the spunky lyrics “Oh! my wandering eyes / nothing’s gonna take me by surprise!” that are delivered in harmony over bluesy riffs and slowly marching drums. Sure to be an upbeat performance, get out to see Kopecky Family band, especially since they’ll be supported by California-bound locals Cheers Elephant. Find tickets to the show here, and pick up their album here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Heyward Howkins at Ortlieb’s, Northern Valentine at Random Tea Room, River City Extension at TLA

howkins-2Folk singer/songwriter Heyward Howkins plays Ortlieb’s Lounge tonight. Howkins released a single in December 2012, entitled “Praline Country“, as well as his debut full length The Hale & Hearty in June 2012. Go here to watch a video of Hawkins playing his song “Flimsy Stock”. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Break It Up, Dreambook and Taggart can be found here. Below, enjoy the music video for “Sugar Sand Stitched Lip” off of Howkins’ album The Hale & Hearty.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Up Up Down Down with Hop Along at Union Transfer, XPN Welcomes The City of Love Festival to Underground Arts, River City Extension at Fed Live, XPN Welcomes Bruce Hornsby to the Scottish Rite Auditorium, XPN Welcomes Morrissey to the House of Blues Atlantic City

South Jersey’s Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start reunite for a show at Union Transfer tonight.  Ten years ago the math rock / shoegazing-punk outfit released And Nothing is #1 – tonight, they will be playing the record from start to finish, appeasing fans who have patiently waited for the band to resurface after 2007′s Worst Band Name Ever.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show with A Great Big Pile of Leaves and Hop Along can be found here. Read yesterday’s interview with Steve Poponi of Up Up Down Down here.  Below, stream “By Surprise” from And Nothing is #1.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti at Union Transfer, The Dude Hates Cancer! benefit at Johnny Brenda’s, Lotus at FDR Park, River City Extension at The Blockley, Void Vision at Pageant: Soloveev Gallery


Experimental weird-pop visionary Ariel Pink released his sophomore record Mature Themes in August, following up his 2010 4AD breakout Before Today.  Pink has become infamous for his paradoxical anti-pop approach to music, creating mind-bending sounds that have been described as masterful by his peers.  Pink and his Haunted Graffiti band play Union Transfer tonight, along with the Greek mythology-inspired Phèdre.  The event is all ages and doors open at 8:00. Tickets are $18, available here.  Watch Pink’s video for the single “Only in My Dreams” below.

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