Just Announced: The Tallest Man On Earth flies to The Fillmore in June

The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack |
The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack |

Almost a year after the last time he was in Philly for NonCOMM and a night at The Tower, WXPN will welcome The Tallest Man On Earth‘s return to play The Fillmore on June 11th.

TTMOE, the folk-rock group lead by Kristian Matsson, is touring to continue the celebration of Dark Bird Is Home, his fourth record, which was the first to feature Matsson backed by a full band. This will be the first time the band will be playing at the newly opened venue, which is sure to be a night of both introspection and folk-rock abound. Continue reading →


Recap: The Tallest Man on Earth brings his full band to Philly at NonCOMM

The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack |
The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack |

I could go on for hours about everything The Tallest Man On Earth has done for me individually. Almost every long road trip I’ve been on since 2010 has featured at least one of his albums; The Wild Hunt I can say for certain has been spun at least 75 times by myself alone, and Shallow Grave is certainly up there in my personal rotation as well. When I realized I was going to get to hear a new album and one of the first live performances with a full band all in one week, I (admittedly) temporarily lost the ability to function.

The album itself stays true to where The Tallest Man came from; the album has no shortage of stretches with only him and his guitar, letting his lyrics and his capo-ed, unorthodoxly-tuned guitar do the talking. Continue reading →


The Tallest Man on Earth will headline the Tower Theater with a full band

The Tallest Man on Earth | via
The Tallest Man on Earth | via

Kristian Matsson, otherwise known as The Tallest Man on Earth, has just announced an extensive upcoming tour, in which he will grace the Tower Theater come May 16, a few days after the release of his upcoming album Dark Bird Is Home. This is the latest release since 2012’s There’s No Leaving NowTickets will go on sale on Friday, Feb. 27.

Comparable to the likes of Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, the Swedish singer-songwriter has given us a taste of the upcoming album with “Sagres,” a notably more involved track than his earlier, acoustic-centric material. Continue reading →


Watch Strand of Oaks back-up The Tallest Man on Earth on “There’s No Leaving Now” for Moog Sound Lab

 tallest man on earth

A self-proclaimed “life long lover of all things synth,” Philly-based Strand of Oaks‘ Tim Showalter and bandmate Chris Ward (also of Pattern is Movement) helped The Tallest Man on Earth re-imagine the title track to his 2012 LP There’s No Leaving Now for Moog Sound Lab.  The two projects were on tour together last summer, with Showalter supporting his own 2012 release Dark Shores.  With a plethora of Moog gear at their disposable, the collaborators turn the pensive, piano-based song into a warpy, chillwave stunner.  Watch the video below and check-out the list of Moog equipment they employed here.


The Key’s Year-End Mania: David Dye’s five most surprising (in a good way!) World Cafe interviews 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, World Cafe host David Dye tells us about his five most surprising interviews of the year.

This does not mean the “best” necessarily. Tune in starting Dec 26 for the eight best World Cafe interview segments (two per day).  These are five interviews that exceeded my expectations.  People who ended up being a lot of fun to talk with or were much more forthcoming than I expected.

1. Nils Lofgren – What a storyteller.  From early days showing up at The Childe Harold in DC to meet Neil Young to how he was asked to become part of The E Street Band, Nils had fascinating stories to tell. Listen to the interview here (via the WXPN media player).

2. Bassnectar – Not knowing a whole lot about the Dubstep and EDM world it was fascinating to have a guide like Lorin Ashton who performs as Bassnectar. He took us through building a track up to the all important “Drop” when sonic joy ensues. Very open and intelligent guy. Listen to the interview here.

3. Lana Del Ray – After seeing her unsettling performance on Saturday Night Live I thought maybe she was all about the hype.  Not so. She was surprisingly  down to earth and had a real sense of her strengths and who she was.  Really good stripped down performances and she even gave us one for our Live at The World Cafe CD. Listen to the interview here.

4. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Swedish alternative singer-songwriter Kristian Mattson is one of my favorite new artists. I had also heard that he disliked interviews. So I really prepared and he told people afterward how much he loved our conversation.  A lot of that made it into the edit we aired. Listen to the interview here.

5. Dwight Yoakam – I had no idea how smart the country star/actor is.  He took off on my questions and talked for over an hour, about half of which made it onto the show. Once again he was eager to talk about his early life and influences. Listen to the interview here.


From Across The Pond: Photos and video of The Walkmen and more from Pitchfork Music Festival Paris

Our contributing writer / photographer Rachel Barrish is studying in Rome this fall, and this past weekend took the opportunity to head north for the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris. From Rachel:

I was in attendance on Friday evening with featured performances from Tallest Man on Earth, The Walkmen, Wild Nothing, Animal Collective, and more. The festival took place at the Grand Hall de Vilette, a large auditorium fit with two stages on either end. The room was filled with people excited and eager to catch their next favorite act.

Check out her photos in the gallery above, and watch a video of Tallest Man on Earth playing “Revelation Blues” below.


Review: The Tallest Man on Earth and Strand of Oaks at Union Transfer

Last night’s double-header bill at a sold-out Union Transfer was a study in musicians doing more with less.

Kristian Matsson, the title character in The Tallest Man on Earth is about as minimal a performer as one can get, bringing himself and an acoustic guitar onto the venue’s cavernous stage, which was empty except for a chair, a microphone and a Yamaha piano sitting off to the side. There was so much open space  that it would dwarf even…well, you can complete that thought for yourself.

But Matsson was undaunted, belting out songs in his husky voice – think Tom Waits or Bruce Springsteen, were they a tenor – and working the crowd with admirable charisma and charm.

His music is hooky and infectious, particularly “1904” from his 2012 album There’s No Leaving Now, which had the whole hall joyously singing along. (Later in the set, “King of Spain” from 2010’s The Wild Hunt had a similar effect). Continue reading →


Listen to a Spotify playlist from Strand of Oaks’ Tim Showalter (playing Union Transfer tonight)

On the heels of releasing his latest full-length record, Dark Shores, Strand of Oaks plays Philadelphia tonight, opening up for recent Free at Noon highlight The Tallest Man on Earth. Knowing Oaks’ main man Tim Showalter to be a fellow with broad-ranging and exquisite taste in music, we asked him to make us a Spotify playlist to provide a snapshot of where he was while working on his new record. Interestingly, he talked about how focused on his craft he becomes in the album-writing zone that finding new music becomes secondary to making new music. From Showalter:

My approach to music listening is pretty boring. Especially when I started making records, my appetite for discovery really subsided. My manager Ryan sends me new records that I always love and my friend Morgan is huge source for tunes. It really feels like I’m some recluse that people are sending little bits of the outside world too. If you ask my wife what I listen to it would be probably be youtube demo videos of synthesizers and guitar pedals. With that said I will try and combine a list that feels somewhat relevant to where my life has been in the past year or so. Some of these songs influenced what became Dark Shores. Actually, the two songs (Active Child, Future Islands) we’re big influences in me NOT making a Dark Shores a synth album. They made such beautiful albums that I really didn’t want to compete. I was also considering making a pure Pumpkins list but spotify seems pretty weak on deep cuts…

You can listen to Showalter’s mix in the player below. Strand of Oaks plays with The Tallest Man on Earth at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street, tonight at 8 p.m. The all-ages show is sold out.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Charli XCX, The Happy Together Tour, and Tallest Man on Earth

British experimental pop star Charli XCX sinks into the sky wrapping herself up in fuzzy overtures and synthetic instrumentals. She sprung to stardom around 2010 after writing and playing songs for years. Her dad used to be a show promoter, booking the likes of Bob Marley and Siouxsie and the Banshees, which fed her desire to go out and perform. But over this past year she has perfected her craft by making electronic pop tunes while simultaneously speaking in a danceable language that everyone can understand. Just a reminder that our giveaway is still going on to win a pair of tickets to tonight’s show. All you have to do is make sure you follow @TheKeyXPN on twitter and tweet at us before noon to win. Simple, no? If you don’t win, you can still check her out tonight at North Star Bar for $12-14, the event is all ages. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Before you get too excited for ten days of free music at Musikfest in Bethlehem next weekend, check out a pre-event hosted by Musikfest Cafe; The Happy Together Tour 2012 at ArtsQuest Center at Steel Stacks. The tour has been traveling around the country playing old school classic jams from the 60’s and 70’s. Some of the greatest songs of all time came from these bands including songs such as “Happy Together”, “I’m a Believer”, “Young Girl”, and “Kind of a Drag”. Featured bands in the tour are: The Turtles ft. Flo & Eddie, The Grass Roots, Micky Dolenz (of The Monkees), The Buckinghams, and Gary Pucket & The Union Gap. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7. You can grab theater or balcony tickets here.

Finally, The Tallest Man on Earth is playing a sold out show tonight at Union Transfer. He played our free at noon this past Friday, you can listen to the performance here.