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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hardwork Movement at Boot and Saddle, The Bigness and Liz De Lise at Ortlieb’s, Diet Cig at The Chameleon Club

Hardwork Movement
Hardwork Movement | Photo by Zack Garlitos | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia born alternative hip-hop group Hardwork Movement is sure to draw a crowd tonight at South Philly’s Boot and Saddle. The group promotes the importance of togetherness and striving for uniqueness. Hardwork Movement draws increasingly larger crowds each show they play, from venues like Kung Fu Necktie to Spruce Street Harbor Park. With fellow hip-hop inspired openers Ill Doots and TubaFresh, this is not a gig to miss. Get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Cinema and Community: Steve Gunn talks playing solo to benefit the Lansdowne Theater

steve gunn
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of Matador Records

When psych rock guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn was growing up in Delaware County, the Lansdowne Theater was something of an anchor. It’s where he went to the movies as a child. Down the street is the telephone company where his mother worked for 40 years. Across the way is Todero’s Music, where he took guitar lessons.

“The theater closed in ’87, and it’s right on Lansdowne Ave, which is really the main thoroughfare of the town,” remembers Gun. “So when the 90s came around, things seemed a bit more muted, a lot of the older businesses started leaving. And things kind of changed.”

Lansdowne Theater | photo via lansdownetheater.org

At the time it was shuttered, the Lansdowne Theater had been operating for 60 years — a classic, single-screen movie house with brightly colored seats and ceilings and ornate architectural flourishes. The sort that thrived all across the country in the earlier part of the 20th century. The sort that then began universally disappearing and falling into disrepair with the advent of the multiplex age.

The catalyst in this particular theater’s demise was actually an electrical fire in a neighboring businesses that spread up the block — it happened during a screening of Beverly Hills Cop II, and the 100 patrons had to be evacuated — but repairing and reopening the space at that time was not an option. That same year, it received a designation on the national register of historic places, but sat dormant until about 2007, when a local nonprofit began raising money for the restoration. When Gunn caught wind of the project, he says he was super excited.

One of his best friends from childhood, visual artist Anthony Campuzano, helped connect him with the group campaigning for the restoration — Campuzano’s father is the mayor of Lansdowne — and through them, he coordinated a photo shoot for his most recent LP Eyes on the Lines inside the old theater. He also organized a benefit gig, and this Saturday night, Gunn will perform a solo set in the lobby, with proceeds benefiting the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation. Continue reading →

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Steve Gunn is playing a solo set at Lansdowne Theater; listen to his World Cafe session

steve gunn
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of Matador Records

In his recent interview on World Cafe with David Dye, psych-folk guitar maestro Steve Gunn reminisces at length about growing up in the Philadelphia region, getting his musical start locally in the same circles as Kurt Vile, and how – even though he’s lived in New York for close to a decade – the Delaware Valley will always be home to him.

What better way to solidify that bond than a benefit gig in his actual hometown of Lansdowne – the most awesome DelCo borough just beyond West Philly – to support the restoration of the Historic Lansdowne Theater?
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Love On The Streets Festival at Paines Park, Steve Gunn at Union Transfer, John Carpenter at Keswick Theatre

Creepoid
Creepoid | Photo by Chris Sikich for WXPN | sikichphotography.com

Love on the Streets Festival is back for its second year today with a super packed schedule of awesome performances, food and drinks, a flea market and more, all right here at Paines Park. The event features the likes of Creepoid, Steady Hands (which features Sean Huber and Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball), Mercury Girls, Amanda X, Vicky Speedboat, Hurry, Endless Taile, Weller and RFA on the XPN Mad Dragon Stage. More info can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar and check out songs off of Creepoid’s 2015 Cemetery Highrise Slum below. Continue reading →

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Interview: Philly native Steve Gunn talks Kurt Vile, Wawa, and new record Eyes on the Lines on Matador Records

steve gunn
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of Matador Records

For almost as long as I’ve been listening to music, Steve Gunn has been making it. The Lansdowne native first picked up a bass at age 13, and a guitar one year later. Since then, he’s morphed into one of the great—if underrated—American guitarists, capable of evoking a world of emotions, most of them breezy and warm, with a few nimble finger picks.

Over the past two-and-a-half decades, Gunn has done (nearly) it all. He started off playing hardcore punk in the Philly burbs, before discovering folk, alt-country, and classical Indian and Moroccan tunes. He played with the late finger-picking master Jack Rose, released two records with famed drummer John Truscinski, and even logged some time in Kurt Vile’s band, The Violators—all of which undoubtedly shaped his writing today. Since 2007, he’s released more than a dozen splits and solo records and has toured across the globe, sharing stages with the likes of Wilco, Vile, members of Sonic Youth, and more.

Early last year, he signed to Matador Records, who released his latest effort, Eyes on the Lines, this June. A dreamy, wandering record that seems made for road trips and Sunday mornings, Lines is arguably his best record yet, and his ticket to greater exposure. Continue reading →

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Masterpiece: Big Thief LIVE plus new Wye Oak, of Montreal & Todd Terje on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Big Thief | Photo by Sasha Arutyunova, courtesy of the artist
Big Thief | Photo by Sasha Arutyunova, courtesy of the artist

We’ve got a very special treat for you on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade! Listen in starting at 11pm ET on WXPN (that’s right after What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese, you know) for a full two-hour show that’ll kick off with a phenomenal live performance. The New York band Big Thief recently played an opening slot for Nada Surf at World Cafe Live Philadelphia, and we were there to record it all! Hear Big Thief play songs from their newly released debut Masterpiece LIVE on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade! Also in the mix are new tracks from Baltimore’s Wye Oak, Norwegian DJ Todd Terje and Nashville sludge-popsters Diarrhea Planet. Check out a few of the new things below…

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Golden Broad: Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson (and her dad Alan) guest DJ, plus new Steve Gunn & Weaves on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Abbi and Alan Jacobson | Photo by Richard Chaitt, courtesy of Golden Slipper
Abbi and Alan Jacobson | Photo by Richard Chaitt, courtesy of Golden Slipper

Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade is a pretty special one, so make sure you’re tuned in at 11pm ET on WXPN (not too long after Making Time RADio with Dave P, you know?). On this week’s full two-hour show, we’ll be joined by a pair of guest DJs: co-creator and star of Comedy Central’s Broad City, Abbi Jacobson, and her dad Alan! The pair chat about their connection to Philly and, in particular, to the Golden Slipper organization. They’ll also play a few of their own favorite songs from Courtney Barnett, Tom Waits and Arcade Fire’s Will Butler. Also on tonight’s show, a spotlight on the newly released album from Steve Gunn. The former Kurt Vile sideman just released Eyes On The Lines, the latest in an evolving string of solo records. And be on the lookout for new tunes from Weaves, Big Thief and Wild Beasts in the mix, too…

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Steve Gunn announces new LP, faces bear in “Conditions Wild”

steve gunn
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of Matador Records

A deluge of announcements have come from the Steve Gunn camp this morning. First, the news that the Lansdowne, PA native / current Brooklyn resident’s new record Eyes on the Lines will be out via Matador on June 3rd. Then,  a video shard by NPR for album cut “Conditions Wild” that matches Gunn opposite a bear. And finally, a record release show at Union Transfer on July 9th that will be his biggest local headlining slot to date.

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Listen to Steve Gunn join Cian Nugent on “Year of the Snake”

Before bringing this year’s Night Fiction to Philadelphia last week for a mesmerizing performance at Boot & Saddle, Irish guitarist Cian Nugent met up with Lansdowne, PA native Steve Gunn at New York’s Union Pool. NYC Taper was there to capture their collaboration on the slow-burning “Year of the Snake,” calling it the show’s “piece de resistance” and noting the intuitive chemistry between the frequent tour mates. The song eases in with tranquil, desert-psych fingerpicking before subtly shifting into a Rolling Stones-esque rock tune, an apt display of both Nugent and Gunn’s wide range of influences.

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