The Key’s Year-End Mania: Michaela Majoun’s five most sonically addictive songs of 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun shares her five most sonically addictive songs of 2012.

By which I mean songs you just can’t get out of your head, not necessarily because of lyrical content or musical depth, but because of a sound that hooks you.  I suspect it has something to do with repetition and viscerally-felt clapping or drum noise and the other things noted below. There are studies about why music is addictive – read more here and here. Continue reading →


Listen to songs from WXPN’s Featured Album, The Avett Brothers’ new The Carpenter

Avett Brothers photo via

The Avett Brothers recently released their new album The Carpenter, the follow-up to their 2009 album I And Love And You. The Carpenter is our Featured Album this week. Here’s a review of the album by WXPN’s Mike Vasilikos:

Their latest is an album that continues to distance the band from their early image as a rambunctious bluegrass act and settle them into a place where craftsmanship takes center stage. Perhaps that’s where the title, The Carpenter, comes from (or maybe not) – but on this latest collection it really is about the songs. It’s something that Scott & Seth have always excelled at, but was perhaps easy to overlook because of how dynamic and engaging they are (and continue to be) in performance. The Avett’s are still as engaging as ever on The Carpenter, their approach just slightly remodeled.

To say that they’ve changed their approach is probably a fair statement, but it’s hardly a surprise. With I And Love And You, the band and producer Rick Rubin found success showcasing these guys as genuine songwriters. And while that may be the case, they’re far from subdued. These songs take flight, and tunes like “Geraldine” and “Paul Newman vs. The Demons” are reminiscent of early Avetts and still hold the potential to be barn-burners in front of a live audience. Yet what we saw on I And Love And You and even more so on The Carpenter is that there is a lot of charm to these songs. They can be bouncy and fun on a song like “I Never Knew You” and reflective and thoughtful on songs like “Through My Prayers” and “Winter in My Heart.” No matter the song, this band has such a dynamic personality infused in what they do – it just naturally shines through. The core to what The Avett Brothers have always done is write compelling songs; they accentuate that on The Carpenter. This is still the same band, just a bit more focused and really honing in on their strengths.

Listen to some of our favorite songs from the album below and watch the video they did in the tour bus at WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival this past July.


XPoNential Fest Photo Recap: Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Dr. Dog and more at Susquehanna Bank Center

Day number two of the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival wrapped up with a high-energy lineup at the Susquehanna Bank Center. On the main stage was the much-anticipated triple bill of Wilco, The Avett Brothers and Dr. Dog, and on The Key’s side stage were Dave Hause (joined on guitar by Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem) and The Bailey Hounds. Check out a full photo recap of the night in the gallery above.


Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Dr. Dog, and Counting Crows to headline the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival

The partial lineup for the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival—which will take place on July 20th-July 22nd at Wiggins Park and Susquehanna Bank Center on the Camden Waterfront—has just been announced. The headlining acts include Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Dr. Dog, and Counting Crows; you can check out the rest of the lineup below. You can get full ticket info on three-day passes, early-bird tickets, and benefits for WXPN members here.

*Wilco – The Avett Brothers – Dr. Dog – 7/21 at SBC
*Counting Crows – 7/22 at SBC
The Hold Steady
Kathleen Edwards
Diego Garcia
War On Drugs
John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders
Patterson Hood
Mike Doughty
Lee Ranaldo Band
JD Souther
The Lumineers
Good Old War
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
JD McPherson
Work Drugs
Delta Rae
City Rain
Matt Santry Band
Dana Alexandra
+ more


The First Glimpse Of G Love’s New Album

This morning G Love tweeted @glove this bit of information about his forthcoming album: “The day has finally come… I’m here to tell you my new record “Fixin’ To Die” produced by The Avett Brothers is dropping– 2/23/2011 #BLUES.” The album was recorded at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, North Carolina with Seth and Scott Avett. Now that we have a release date, we’ve also got a trailer that G made about the new record. Check it out below, then watch G Love with the Avett Brothers perform “The Fall” from this past summer’s Summer Camp 2010. Yo G. Let’s get that album over here quick! We can’t wait to hear it.


You can thank Paste Magazine for hooking G. Love up with The Avett Brothers

Paste Magazine reports that, not only did G. Love team up with The Avett Brothers for his upcoming album, but the union was all their doing:

Almost a year ago after an Avett Brothers show in Boston, Paste had the pleasure of introducing Garret Dutton (aka G. Love) to the band and then stood by like a proverbial third wheel while they hit it off. Being a lucky fly on the wall, we learned how much the Avetts were inspired by G. Love’s early career with his ability to re-imagine classic “back porch” blues in a modern style, which helped the Avett’s believe they, too, could stay true to their musical heritage…So it came as little surprise when G. love—who had been looking for potential producing partners for his new album—asked the North Carolina-based brothers to join him at Echo Mountain Recording Studio, a beautiful converted church, in Asheville.

Hey, thanks, Paste! Unfortunately, the publication’s fly-on-the-wall status didn’t help them glean any insider information about the recording session, other than “by all accounts from both camps, the recording vibe was powerful, simple and honest.” So, fans of Mr. Cold Beverage will have to wait until the as-yet-untitled album drops next spring to hear the results. In the meantime, you can check out the video below, which was shot by Avett Brothers bassist Joe Kwon earlier this year during a rehearsal at Summercamp 2010.

The Fall – The Avett Brothers feat. G. Love from Joseph Kwon on Vimeo.