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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beyond The Bars Fundraiser ft The Districts at World Cafe Live, No Brainer Benefit ft Avi Wisnia at Dave and Buster’s

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Tonight, a terrific lineup of Philly artists bands together to support Beyond The Bars at World Cafe Live. The organization, which provides musical instruments and lessons to incarcerated youth in Philadelphia, has been around since early 2015, and has found supporters in The Districts, Frances Quinlan from Hop Along, Queen of Jeans, The Bul Bey, Ben Arnold, and Milton. Raj Haldar of Lushlife will be DJing inbetween sets. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Districts side project Straw Hats release self-titled debut EP of fuzzed-out punk

Straw Hats
Straw Hats | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Lititz young bloods The Districts have been slowly but surely taking over the world with their bombastic and thought-provoking rock and roll, but they’ve been taking the classic route to get there: gather buzz, sign to a prominent label (Fat Possum), release a great record via said label, tour extensively and eventually share a festival stage with The Rolling Stones.

Their side project Straw Hats gives some members of the band the chance to take a more DIY route. By mixing up instrumental roles (Districts frontman Rob Grote on drums, drummer Braden Lawrence on frontman duty), the bandmates reinvent themselves while proving their musical prowess at the same time.

With the addition of friend Breshon Martzell on bass and vocals, Straw Hats make old-school, cram-down-your-throat punk with the production quality of a couple of angry kids banging on metal in a junkyard Continue reading →

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The Districts, Frances Quinlan, and more to play Beyond The Bars benefit at World Cafe Live

 

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Well this is happening: The Districts, Frances Quinlan, Ben Arnold, and Milton will be performing at World Cafe Live on Sunday, April 17th at World Cafe Live to support Beyond The Bars. In addition, Lushlife‘s Raj Haldar will be DJing in between sets.

Beyond The Bars is a program that benefits music education for incarcerated youth in Philadelphia. Their programs consist of providing instruments and music lessons to “empower young men and women as they navigate the criminal justice system.” Beyond The Bars was founded by Matthew Kerr, Eric Ammon, Brian Thomas, and Christopher Thornton. The organization has been gaining momentum and was recently featured on WHYY. Continue reading →

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WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival initial lineup announced

XPNFest2016-FINAL_Stinson
WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is happening July 22nd, 23rd, and 24th at the Camden Waterfront with shows at Wiggins Park and the BB&T Pavilion.

Tickets go on sale Friday at Noon, however you can reserve tickets by becoming a new or renewing WXPN member at $25 a month. You will receive a pair of 3-Day Go Everywhere Passes that includes LAWN ADMISSION to Ryan Adams/Kurt Vile on Friday, July 22, Alabama Shakes/Gary Clark Jr on Saturday, July 23, and Brandi Carlile/Old Crow Medicine Show on Sunday, July 24. Continue reading →

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Load-In to Load-Out: The Districts pack it in for a celebratory Electric Factory gig

Photo by John Vettese
The Districts’ guitar cases line the Electric Factory stage | Photo by John Vettese

It’s a special occasion the first time a Philly artist headlines the cavernous Callowhill venue The Electric Factory. We’ve seen it with Dr. Dog, we’ve seen it with The Wonder Years.

When you step out on that stage, and you know in your head that it’s the same room you crowded into so you could watch your favorite bands as a teenage kid – maybe you took the subway downtown from your neighborhood, perhaps you drove in from the surrounding burbs and grabbed sketchy street parking, nervously hoping that your car would be there when you return, or you waited on Spring Garden Street for your parents to pick you up at the end of the night. It’s that place, only now you’ve got this view you never had before, not of the stage but from it, looking out at an enormous room. And it’s packed. And it occurs to you that these people are there to see you…

I’ve heard it described as humbling. I’ve heard it described as exhilarating. You can call it some serious circle of life stuff. And it’s something that Philadelphia by-way-of Lititz rockers The Districts experienced back in November as they wrapped a year of heavy international touring in support of their acclaimed debut LP A Flourish and a Spoil with their biggest headlining hometown show, and one of their biggest shows ever.    Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year End-Mania: Ten videos not to miss on VuHaus

Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese
Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, XPN Program director Bruce Warren recaps ten favorite WXPN videos from VuHaus.

We’ve put together a playlist of some of the best performances on VuHaus, a new music video website featuring videos from public radio stations around the country. Alongside XPN, contributors include WFUV in New York, KCRW in Los Angeles, KUTX in Austin, Oregon Public Radio, Mountain Stage, World Cafe and others.

Continue reading →