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XPN Fest Recap: David Byrne and Sylvan Esso energize bodies and stimulate minds at BB&T

David Byrne | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

About a half hour before XPNFest’s night one headlining sets began, things did not look promising. Wiggins Park had just been evacuated due to an approaching thunderstorm, ticketholders were jammed in the lobbies keeping dry from the downpour. Where was this night going to take us?

With David Byrne and Sylvan Esso as our guides, it transcended the soggy situation. Though markedly different in look, sound and style, both performances brought innovation and inspiration to the BB&T Pavilion stage; they brought big beats and danceable rhythms, they brought maximally minimal approaches to live music, they brought songs that move your body and make you think about the world around you, feeling the gravity of life in 2018 but dancing our way towards a positive future. And as the crowd felt that energy, the air around us seemed to change, calming down midway through Sylvan Esso’s set and clearing up completely for Byrne’s extravagant headliner. Continue reading →

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Watch Sylvan Esso perform new single “PARAD(w/m)E” live, see them at the XPoNential Music Festival

Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso | photo by Lindsey Kennedy and Meow Wolf | courtesy of the artist

Synthpop duo and all-around pop powerhouses Sylvan Esso released spirited single “PARAD(w/m)E” today, their first new release since 2017’s sophomore LP, What Now. Characterized by a groovable BPM (116, for those counting at home – or out on the dancefloor), crunchy low-end synth hits, and bubbly, percolating synthlines, the duo crafts a fun yet progressive pop track in terms of production. Amelia Meath’s vocals have the power to transport you to brighter warmer days, enticing the listener to “P A R A D with me.” Continue reading →

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Play It Right: Sylvan Esso at Union Transfer

Sylvan Esso | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

 

It’s hard to imagine many bands that are more just plain fun than Sylvan Esso. And last weekend during two very sold-out shows at Union Transfer, they both had fun performing and shared their magical sense of passion and humor with an adoring crowd of fans. I had been waiting to see the band again for almost two years, since first encountering them in Wisconsin at Justin Vernon’s inaugural Eaux Claires festival — and getting to see their explosive presence touring behind the just-released What Now did not, of course, disappoint. Continue reading →

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Soft Sounds: Froth LIVE, new LCD Soundsystem, Japanese Breakfast & Perfume Genius on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Froth | Photo by Jeff Fribourg, courtesy of the artist

Each week, the Indie Rock Hit Parade is allotted a mere two hours to fill your brain with new and exciting sounds. While that might seem like a short amount of time, a lot is accomplished in that span. For example, on tonight’s show (starting at 11pm ET on WXPN, shortly after Making Time RADio with Dave P), we’ll hear a new studio session, the grand return of a beloved band, and a few spotlights on newly released albums. First up, the live session: Los Angeles dream poppers Froth recently came through our studio to perform songs from their new album, Outside (briefly). If you dig walls of guitars mixed with ear-popping melodies, don’t miss this live set. Perhaps the biggest news in the music world is the resurrection of LCD Soundsystem. We’ll hear both sides of their comeback single in the mix tonight. And what would an IRHP be without an Album Spotlight or three? So much new stuff came out this week, we’ll dig into new records by Perfume Genius, Cayetana and The Black Lips in the second hour of tonight’s show. Preview a few of the new things below…

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Too Much Pleasure: New Feist, Sylvan Esso, The Black Angels on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

Feist | still from the “Pleasure” video

This week and last have seen so many new album releases that I feel it’s proper to declare tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade as Revenge of the Night of Far Too Many New Albums! Listen for a full two-hour show starting at 11pm ET on WXPN (that’s right after Land of the Lost with Robert Drake, okay?) for loads of album spotlights and scattered new tracks. We’ll dig into long-awaited new releases from Feist and Sylvan Esso, plus new albums from The Black Angels and The New Year that shouldn’t fly under your radar. Also in the mix we’ll hear new tracks from Philly experimentalists Palm and Sonic Youth legend Thurston Moore‘s latest solo effort. Preview some of the new stuff below…

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Sylvan Esso announce What Now, add Union Transfer date to tour

sylvan esso
Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Sylvan Esso began rolling out new material last September, sharing the perfectly poppy “Radio” and its b-side “Kick Jump Twist” but keeping details of their sophomore effort underwraps at the time. Today the duo revealed those details: What Now will be out on April 28th via Loma Vista Recordings, accompanied by a multi-month international tour that thankfully includes a headlining date at Union Transfer on May 20th.

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Sylvan Esso find some release in their new video for “Kick Jump Twist”

Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist
Sylvan Esso | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Electronic indie rock duo Sylvan Esso are biding their time as they work on the follow-up full-length to their wonderful self-titled debut from 2014. But if the new songs they’re working on are this good, they can take as much time as they need.

The band today released a music video for “Kick Jump Twist,” the b-side to their “Radio” 12″ single, and it features the hypnotic dancing of Gary Reagan providing an extremely physical response to the 2016 election. Continue reading →

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Sylvan Esso returns with a new song called “Radio”

Sylvan Esso | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com
Sylvan Esso | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

Sylvan Esso returns with a new song called “Radio,” their first release since their self-titled 2014 debut album. The duo is planning to release their sophomore record sometime in 2017. The new single, “Radio,” will be released on vinyl on November 18th along with “Kick Jump Twist.” Listen below. Continue reading →

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Eaux Claires Day 2: More mud, more sweat, a lot more tears

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The Eaux Claires festival in Eau Claire, WI continued (read about Day 1 here) July 18 with a much slower start, a combination of Friday’s intense heat and thundershowers through the night having broken some of the pressure.

Leaving no time to waste, staff photog Jeremy and I headed over to the dome marked “Eternity Awaits” that I described yesterday. Once inside the dome, recorded “confessions” and “Alleluias” played as a soundtrack for the experiment as the hay bales started to fill with those anxious to confess. These recorded confessions included everything from a woman sharing she was really a cat to friends admitting they deceived each other; really weird mix of stuff. I pulled the number “12” from the ticket wheel and patiently waited. Astronautalis came out from the confessional between hearing confessions in full priestly regalia, guzzling a Miller Lite and sizing up every sinner in the room with his own appearance-based evaluation – never mind what each person was actually going to confess.

Finally, my ticket was called and I approached the confessional, totally unsure of what to do once I got up there. But, just like in my Catholic upbringing, I entered one side of the confessional and Astronautalis entered the other. The walls of the small box were filled with photobooth-like mugs of others; a kneeler and a screen were also present in on the wall facing Astronautalis. Continue reading →