2nd Street Festival announces its 2012 lineup (includes Man Man, The Great Unknown, Blayer Pointdujour )

The annual 2nd Street Festival returns to Northern Liberties on August 5th, bringing with it a hefty and eclectic lineup ranging from Man Man‘s freaky art-rock to Blayer PointduJour and the Rockers Galore‘s body-moving kompa, and The Great Unknown‘s classic Americana.

The music portion of the day-long festival – which will also showcase local arts, crafts, and food vendors – takes place on the stage of the Piazza at Schmidt‘s, and is presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia Folksong Society. The initial lineup announced today includes:

Man Man
The Great Unknown
The Spinning Leaves
Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore
Chris Kasper
The Kalob Griffin Band
The Doublewides
KC Jones
Norman Taylor
Mikey Jr.
DJ Matt Beck

Watch our Key Studio Video session with Blayer PointduJour and the Rockers Galore below.

Key Studio Sessions #2 – Blayer PointduJour & Rockers Galore from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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Listen: The Great Unknown release a new album, So Strange And Loud

The Great Unknown have released a new album, So Strange And Loud. You can listen to and buy the album here. The band rips a page or two from the classic Americana songwriting books of The Band, Dawes, The Avett Brothers and Wilco, yet the members of The Great Unknown put their own warm and unique spin on it. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Last winter we recorded So Strange and Loud in a beautiful circular three story cabin in the woods of Mystic, Connecticut.

In true DIY form, we turned the cabin into our studio using only an old 8 track reel to reel, a handful of well placed microphones, & an infinitely patient engineer.

The character of the location and the time we spent living together is all reflected in these songs.

This is the album that we’ve been working towards for the last five years and are proud to now share it with you.



Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival coming to The Fire in February

Photo of Adrien Reju by Shervin Lainez

XPN Welcomes this year’s Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival, February 14th through the 19th at The Fire in Northern Liberties. The festival begins with an evening of duets from locals including the musical pairings of Adirien Reju with Chris Kasper, Denison Witmer with Lauryn Peacock, and three other musical couplings. Additional bands playing throughout the festival include Arrah And The Ferns, Band Name, Conversations With Enemies, Ron Gallo, The Great Unknown, and more. A complete lineup schedule and ticket information is here. Below, sample some tunes from a few of the performing acts.

Arrah and the Ferns – Wake Up by Arrah and the Ferns

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MilkBoy Coffee’s Center City location opened this week, live shows start next month (including plenty of local acts)

MilkBoy Coffee’s third location opened earlier this week at 1100 Chestnut Street. The coffee shop, bar, and music venue joins the franchise’s two Main Line locations in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr. Like its sister sites, MilkBoy Philly will serve coffee as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, with many vegetarian options available. The Center City spot is the first to hold a liquor license, and will feature a full bar on each of its two floors. The top floor will feature a 200-person standing room 21+ music venue, for which eight shows have already been announced. One highlight is sure to include a September 29th show with local Eastern European brass band-inspired collective West Philadelphia Orchestra and recent 2nd Street Festival performers, Philly band The Great Unknown. Other local acts with scheduled shows include Gang, Black Landlord, Meeting in the Aisle, and Man Like Machine.

Ticket prices for the concerts are cheap, ranging from $8 – $13.50, so be sure to check out the new venue and support some local music while you’re at it.

Preliminary MilkBoy Philly show calendar:

9/17: Gang w/ Hank & Cupcakes and Pink Skull
9/21: Jim Ward
9/24: Black Landlord
9/28: We Are Augustines
9/29: West Philadelphia Orchestra w/ The Great Unknown
9/30: Meeting in the Aisle (Radiohead Tribute Band) w/ Man Like Machine
10/6: Toubab Krewe w/ Gongo Junction
10/20: Lisa Hannigan

MilkBoy Philly is located at 1100 Chestnut Street. Its hours of operation are from 6am – 11pm. Tickets to all upcoming shows can be found here.

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The Great Unknown releases youth collaboration/benefit album

In fall 2010, Philly-based band The Great Unknown headlined a five-city tour for the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES, a program that allows musicians to collaborate with youth in under-resourced neighborhoods. Each stop on the tour included three days of collaborative songwriting and recording between students and the band. The band worked with students from elementary and middle schools in Washington DC, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New York City and Boston. Five of the resulting original songs appear on The Great Unknown’s new album Other Voices, Other Rooms, which features lyrics written entirely by America SCORES students. The EP will be made available tomorrow, July 19th, for a price of your choosing. The Great Unknown will be donating all proceeds to the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES. Click here to pre-order the full album. Below, listen to a couple songs from the record.

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Recap: Philly Folk Parade at World Cafe Live (+ full audio of the performances)

The Spinning Leaves

The Philly Folk Parade took over the World Cafe Live stage earlier this afternoon for a special edition of XPN’s Free At Noon concert series. The lineup featured four groups from the local folk music collective, including The Great Unknown, Chris Kasper, Hezekiah Jones, and The Spinning Leaves. Though the artists were technically slated to perform just two songs apiece, members from each group joined one another throughout the entire show, keeping the stage alive and packed with up to 15 performers at once.

Alt-folk quartet The Great Unknown opened the show, backed by at least eight other members of the Philly Folk Parade. A prevailing first impression was simply how young and happy the assemblage was, and their energy was instantly felt throughout the room. They featured resonant electric violin and guitar on their second song, “We’ve Got Secrets,” which also included harmonies from all 12 musicians on stage.

Next up was Chris Kasper and his band. After an endearing opening song in which Kasper and fiddler Kiley Ryan harmonized “ooohs” and “aaahs,” the group fell into a serious folk groove for “Baltimore Street.” Members of the band remained on stage as they were joined by the next act, recent Shaking Through artist Hezekiah Jones. The stage was again filled, with even more members now playing harmonica, upright bass, and electric lap steel guitar. Their song “Cannonball” was a slower tune, held together tightly by incredible harmonica and electric guitar and fiddle solos.

Philly Folk Parade co-founders The Spinning Leaves were the last to perform, and by this time the stage was completely full of people singing and dancing. They began their set by leading the eager crowd in claps and stomps, and their positive energy was again infectious. The combination of their modern folk harmonies with traditional harmonica and electric guitar was unexpected and rich. All four groups from The Philly Folk Parade were a joy to watch. As long as these artists are around, there should be no doubt that folk music is alive and well in Philadelphia. —Claire Fishkow

You can listen to the full performance here (via NPR Music).

Set List:

The Great Unknown
1. Water Again
2. We’ve Got Secrets

Chris Kasper
1.  Miss Augustine
2. Baltimore Street

Hezekiah Jones
1. Iowa Alligator
2. Cannonball (I’ve Got A Little Room)

The Spinning Leaves
1. Two Eggs
2. Bridges For Free

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