WXPN welcomes Matt Pond and more to the RiverCity Festival

Matt Pond
Matt Pond | Photo by Michelle Montgomery

Local favorite singer-songwriter Matt Pond – a former Philadelphian based in New York – will headline the seventh annual RiverCity Festival taking place at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown on Saturday, October 11th.  The free festival, situated along the river off of Delaware Avenue, is stocked with a stellar line-up of local bands, vendors and a 5k run.

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XPNFest Recap: The Lawsuits bring breezy harmonies to the River Stage

The Lawsuits | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |
The Lawsuits | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |
From the fertile Bucks County musical community, The Lawsuits brought a set of breezy country harmonies crossed with revved-up rock and roll to the River Stage on the third day of this year’s XPoNential Music Festival. The band released its debut LP Cool Cool Cool in October, and the set drew largely from it, from the buoyant charm of opening track “Anybody’s Girl” to the ultra-catchy honkey-tonk jammer “Onion.” Non-album single “Love is Weight” made the set as well, and singer Vanessa Winters positively slayed her vocal leads on “Long Drive Home” and “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t.” Continue reading →


XPoNential Artist Spotlight: The Lawsuits keep busy with studio work and prepping new material

The Lawsuits | photo by Brett Henrikson
The Lawsuits | photo by Brett Henrikson

This past October, the Lawsuits released their pop/folk full-length debut Cool Cool Cool and kept busy by working on the production side of things with their now-labelmates on the new American Diamond Recordings. Aside from a small handful of local appearances, the five-piece has been checking out other parts of the Northeast and already writing new material that just may be ready for the public soon.

According to lead singer Brian Dale Allen Strouse, “ADR is a collection of good friends.” And with that kind of sentiment, the Lawsuits are currently waiting for just the right time to take the center spotlight again, rather just toeing it, while ADR is still rolling out Ron Gallo’s solo debut, Ronny. “We’re going to take our time with regards to releasing material on American Diamond to ensure that each release is given the appropriate resources, and ample attention. The Lawsuits are very close to being done with new material and are eager to release it.”

Strouse goes on to say that the band is currently working on getting some new songs, “stage ready,” and that one or two may find work its way onto a setlist of one of their XPoNential Music Festival set this Sunday. As a matter of fact, festivals are the only way you’ll likely catch the Lawsuits for the rest of this summer, as they don’t have an extensive tour planned at this time. They played the bulk of their club tour dates this past fall right after the release of Cool Cool Cool in the New York, Boston and Newport locales before going on a three-week fun from Connecticut to Washington D.C. in February and March.

Just before that, Strouse and drummer Josh Friedman held the reigns on the Levee Drivers‘ recent EP, Speakin’ Bourbon Coated Blues. Strouse took care of engineering, while Friedman mixed and mastered it the three-song effort. And by the sounds of it, Friedman, who just mastered Ronny, and Strouse keep themselves quite busy in their audio production work and have several projects coming down the pipe.

“Josh and I have been working together for over a year now, starting with the Levee Drivers EP,” he says. “We’re currently involved with producing new projects for The Gallerist, Dirty Dollhouse, Kalob Griffin Band and Mat Burke. Joe is currently producing a new project for Satellite Hearts.”

The Lawsuits play Xpontential Festival, Sunday, July 27 at 12:30 p.m. More details here.


Premiere: #XPNfest artist The Lawsuits debut new video, “Dreaming #26″

The Lawsuits | photo via
The Lawsuits | photo by Caitlin McCann

The Lawsuits are one of ten Philly local bands performing at the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru. “Dreaming #26″ is from The Lawsuits’ 2013 release, Cool Cool Cool. Filmed & edited by Caitlin McCann at Hotbox, “Dreaming #26,” has a breezy, floating, and yes – dreamy – quality to it. The Lawsuits play Sunday, July 27th at 12:30 on the River Stage.

Watch “Dreaming #26″ below.

The Lawsuits – Dreaming #26 (official music video) from Dog Days Films on Vimeo.


American Diamond Recordings celebrates their first show at Boot & Saddle

The Lawsuits | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
The Lawsuits | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Togetherness and unity were certainly in the air pre-Independence Day when American Diamond Recordings hosted their first showcase at Boot & Saddle. The new Philly record label comprised of five local bands celebrated their out-coming with performances from each group, including The Levee Drivers, T.J. Kong & The Atomic Bomb, Ron Gallo, The Lawsuits, and a special set by a band who went by the moniker Eight Legged Prawn. The show was also a celebration of Marley McNamara’s birthday, and most figured out that Eight Legged Prawn was actually one of the bands she manages, The Districts.

It was easy to tell that these artists performing don’t just make music together, they are family.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: F’ed Up at Morgan’s Pier, The Lawsuits at Pastorius Park and Sage Francis at Union Transfer

Photo via

Aggressive Canadian punk band Fucked Up will be at Morgan’s Pier tonight.  The Toronto-based band just released their fourth album, Glass Boys, and just wrapped a European tour.  This will be an awesome show to see outside and not to mention it’s FREE!  The show is 21+ and starts at 9pm.  More info here.

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PREMIERE: A solo TJ Kong performance of “I Hate My Truck” launches American Diamond’s new Porta Sessions series

tj kong

Awesome news!  The guys at American Diamond, the new label featuring prominent Philly musicians such as Ron Gallo from Toy Soldiers, have gotten together to launch a new video series, entitled Porta Sessions.  The first video features Dan Bruskewicz of TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb playing a new acoustic song called “I Hate My Truck,” and it’s filmed by none other than Brian Strouse, frontman of another American Diamond band, The Lawsuits.  The song is folksy, bluesy, rough and instantly gets stuck in your head with it’s raw sound.  We’re psyched to premiere the Porta Session for you below, but brace yourself, because this video is the first of many.  Also, be sure to check out TJ Kong at Boot & Saddle tomorrow night, opening for Ladybird and the Modern Inventors. Ticket information is right here.


Ron Gallo and friends start new label American Diamond Recordings

Photo by Ron Gallo | Instagram @rongallo
Photo by Ron Gallo | Instagram @rongallo

Ron Gallo, front man of local Americana blues band Toy Soldiers and city-wide collaborator, has announced the launch of a new local label called American Diamond Recordings.  Named for the intersection of American and Diamond Streets where the label is based (in a former studio of Dr. Dog, no less), the label brings Gallo together with a collective of friends and compatriots to put a focus on the wealth of roots and rock music being created right here in Philadelphia.  From the label:

Decades ago the industry folk fled Philly to seek prosperity in the three corners of the music business NYC, LA, and Nashville.  But American Diamond Recordings and For the Record Management are planning on changing that and making Philly a force to be reckoned with in the world of music.  We sure as hell have the goods to do so.

The initial line-up of acts on American Diamond Recordings include Gallo himself, Toy Soldiers, The Lawsuits, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb and Levee Drivers.  The label’s first official release will be Gallo’s debut solo outing Ronny, expected June 24th.  There will be a free release show on June 26th at Spruce Street Harbor with The Lawsuits and Up the Chain to celebrate; more information can be found here.


Watch videos of The Lawsuits and Gretchen Lohse performing at April’s Communion Showcase

The Lawsuits | Photo by Bob Sweeney

Earlier this month at the Communion Showcase, local videographer Bob Sweeney captured footage of The Lawsuits performing “Anybody’s Girl / 25w A19 120v Blues” and Gretchen Lohse singing “Spider at the Gate.”  Using both HD digital and Super 8 cameras (with the extra camera assistance of Mike Southerton), Sweeney translated the classic / modern crossover of both acts’ sounds into black and white clips that are alluring and subtly mind-bending.  The Lawsuits, who released their debut LP Cool Cool Cool last year, will make an appearance at this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival alongside Our Griffins, Diego Garcia, Beck and more.  Tickets and three-day passes are now available here.  Check out Sweeney’s videos below and get information about May’s showcase here.

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Rodrigo y Gabriela, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Hold Steady and more top the XPoNential Music Festival lineup

Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via
Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via

Dueling acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, eclectic New Orleans folk-blues combo Hurray for the Riff Raff, and stalwart rock n’ rollers The Hold Steady are just some of the 25 artists announced today in the full lineup of this year’s edition of the XPoNential Music Festival.

These acts will play the two stages in Wiggins Park from July 25th to July 27th of this year, alongside the festival’s headlining concerts at Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes (July 26th) and Beck, Band of Horses and The Districts (July 27th).

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Kate McCann |
Photo by Kate McCann |

The Wiggins Park bill is filled with WXPN favorites, like alt-country heroes Old 97s, Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins and Diego Garcia, all of whom are return-XPNFest-ers.

There is also an assortment of up-and-coming names like countrified Nashville singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose (featured on World Cafe’s Sense of Place: Nashville series); Bear’s Den, a UK rock trio with a flair for drama (they made a splash at the March Edition of the Communion Club Night at Underground Arts), the jazzy / folky vocal combo Lake Street Dive and the art-pop powerhouse Lucius, (who knocked our socks off at Free at Noon late last year.)

Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The greater Philadelphia scene is nicely represented as well. Bigger names like avant-garde rockers Man Man (who leaked their appearance last week), punk rock troubadour Dave Hause and reinvented folklorists Marah will mix with emerging artists Commonwealth Choir, Our Griffins, Marian Hill, The Lawsuits, Ginger Coyle and Viv and the Revival.

And adding an even more eclectic scope to the lineup is a taste of zydeco from C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and some Mississippi blues care of harmonica master James Cotton.

Three days passes for new and renewing WXPN members are available now here. Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 1st; as with previous years, three-day passes will include lawn admission to the Susquehanna Bank Center shows (seated tickets to those are on sale separately, here and here).

Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of the Wiggins Park lineup, and read the complete list of artists after the jump.

Wiggins Park
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene & Steve Gorman)
Lake Street Dive
Old 97’s
The Hold Steady
Hurray for the Riff Raff
C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band
Man Man
Nicole Atkins
Diego Garcia
James Cotton
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Dave Hause
Jeremy Messersmith
Caitlin Rose
Bear’s Den
The Lawsuits
Marian Hill
Ginger Coyle
Our Griffins
Viv and the Revival
Commonwealth Choir

Susquehanna Bank Center
Ryan Adams
Jenny Lewis
Band of Horses
The Districts