Keeping rock n’ roll alive with The Strypes at Union Transfer

The Strypes | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Since their inception, people have told me time and time again that rock ’n roll is in no way dead, and The Strypes were the principal thing keeping it alive.

Saying I was skeptical doesn’t cut it; I was in no way convinced that an Irish four piece consisting of guys the exact same age as me could save rock n’ roll in the way people told me they were. This past Wednesday, I got to see for myself, and I can safely report that rock is in no way dead, and The Strypes are why. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: DJ Cash Money at Rittenhouse Square, The Strypes at Union Transfer, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and more…

DJ Cash Money
DJ Cash Money | photo courtesy of the artist

DJ Cash Money opens this week’s free concert at Rittenhouse Square, presented by Philly Weekly.  The legendary turntable master started his DJ career in Philadelphia in the eighties, coming up alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff.  He’s credited with creating a number of DJ techniques, including the “Pee Wee Herman” scratch and the “Babuggamas” scratch.  Check out his moves tonight, along with Pablo Batista and Worldtown Sound System – more information can be found here.

Continue reading →


5 Indie Rock shows you can’t miss this summer

Photo via
Photo via

Indie rock is a diverse field and hard to specify, other than, you know, it’s indie rock. Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to highlight the variety of indie rock shows playing in Philly through July and August. Included are new local artists, like Vita and the Woolf as well as great classics, like Neutral Milk Hotel. The genres run through American folk, punk, and blues.

1. OK Fest August 1st and 2nd at Golden Tea House and Nacho House

OK Fest is possibly one of the coolest festivals this summer, at least in terms of indie punk. Presented by Philly’s Golden Tea House, the festival is all ages, has tickets at extremely low prices ($8 to $12) and a truly amazing lineup. Highlights for the first day include are locals Amanda X, Radiator Hospital, who released their newest LP Touch Song this month, Cayetana who did a great Key Studio Session, a phenomenal Shaking Through Session and talked about singing to a label on NPR. On August 2nd, the awesomeness continues with Speedy Ortiz who released their Real Hair EP in February and Swearin’ who did a fun Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session. Listen to Speedy Ortiz’s “American Horror” from Real Hair below.

2. Vita and the Woolf July 15th at Ortlieb’s

Vita, of the talented new duo of Vita and the Woolf is playing at Ortlieb’s July 15th. Featuring the soaring vocals of Jennifer Pague and the beats by Joey Anderson, the band has an EP Fang Song on the way. They recently played at Walla Fest. Their light though somewhat melancholy music draws comparisons to Florence and the Machine as well as Arcade Fire. Let their music sweep you into a great night of music, along with Thunderhank and I Am Love. Listen to “Mary” from Fang Song below. And if you miss this show, Vita & The Woolf will be performing for the EP release party on September 20th at Ortlieb’s.

3. The Strypes August 20th Union Transfer

Irish rock band, The Strypes, have been getting a lot of attention both for their music as well as their youth. Only 15 to 17 years old, they’ve been on tour with the Arctic Monkeys and played in a slew of huge festivals like Glastonbury and SXSW. In March, the group released their first full length, Snapshot. The music is a classic high tempo rock and roll, infused in R & B and the blues. The group makes the classic genre their own, by playing with reckless abandon and high energy. In other words, it’s the perfect show to end summer. Watch the video for “Mystery Man” below.

The Strypes – Mystery Man from Finn Keenan on Vimeo.

4. Sun Kil Moon July 23rd at Union Transfer

Sun Kil Moon, the moniker of Mark Kozelek, makes a reflective, moody combination of acoustic guitar and intimate lyrics. Earlier this year, Sun Kil Moon released a beautiful, harrowing album Benji. The album chronicles the life of Benji, a country man, and his many sorrows. In many ways, it’s the most personal and intimate album Sun Kil Moon has released. Recently, he’s pairing up with Volcano Choir (Bon Iver’s side project) for a release for Project Carousel Restoration. The performance should be a welcome respite from the relentless summer energy. Listen to the ballad of “Carissa” below.

5.  Neutral Milk Hotel July 21st at The Mann

Despite having broken nearly 16 years ago, no new music, and imminent retirement, Neutral Milk Hotel continues to tour. In fact, they extended their tour due to the overwhelming public response, including two sold-out shows in Philly last year. Recently, Jeff Mangum was featured in a fun, candid feature about getting signed onto Merge Records. As a bonus, the band also released a free download of “Song Against Sex” from On Avery Island. Grab your tickets while there still available and settle in for a nostalgic, beautiful night. Listen to “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1” from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea below.

Find more details about these shows (and many others) at the XPN Concert Calender.


The Strypes: Ready to take over rock and roll

Photo by Dana Distortion |
Photo by Dana Distortion |

The Strypes are a four piece rock and roll band from Ireland that include Ross Farrelly (lead vocals/harmonica), Josh McClorey (lead guitar/vocals), Pete O’Hanlon (bass guitar/harmonica) and Evan Walsh (drums). Several weeks ago, at this year’s SXSW music conference, the band played five shows to feverish crowds hungry to hear their R&B influenced rock and roll for the first time in the States. The band’s music consists of three minute retro rock and roll songs (with a little bit of blues and R&B flavor) in the tradition of The Jam and early Who. While the lads from Ireland aren’t inventing anything new, they’re convincing and fresh, write melody filled tunes, and play with a sense of confident swagger, reckless abandon, and fun. The Strypes recently released their debut album, Snapshot, a high energy 14 song collection of three chord classics.

Below, download “Blue Collar Jane” via NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation.