Tonight’s Concert Picks: Colin Stetson at First Unitarian Church, Jukebox the Ghost at World Cafe Live, The xx at World Cafe Live at the Queen and more

He’s played with Bon Iver and Arcade Fire, but you probably won’t recognize him by name. The multi-talented saxaphonist Colin Stetson who’s played with the two has released a record of his own called New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light back in May and is still promoting it. Check him out tonight at First Unitarian Church. Tonight’s show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $15.

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Photo Recap: The xx and Austra at The Electric Factory

UK downbeat electronic group The xx played for a sold-out crowd at The Electric Factory last night, making up for a rescheduled date from back in October. The band played songs from its 2012 album coexist, as well as its 2009 self-titled debut, and was preceded by an opening set from Toronto synth pop artist Austra. Check out a recap of the evening in the photo gallery above.


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Michaela Majoun’s five most sonically addictive songs 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, XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun shares her five most sonically addictive songs of 2012.

By which I mean songs you just can’t get out of your head, not necessarily because of lyrical content or musical depth, but because of a sound that hooks you.  I suspect it has something to do with repetition and viscerally-felt clapping or drum noise and the other things noted below. There are studies about why music is addictive – read more here and here. Continue reading →


Stream The xx’s Coexist via NPR Music (playing the Electric Factory on Oct. 29)

The downbeat electronic three-piece The xx releases Coexist, the followup to its 2009 self-titled debut, next Tuesday September 11, with a U.S. tour following that brings it to the Electric Factory on Monday October 29. Today, NPR Music premiered the album on its First Listen series. NPR’s Stephen Thompson had this to say:

The London band invests these 11 songs with real, bruised emotion, whether Romy Madley Croft is exposing her lovesick nerves in “Angels” or she and Oliver Sim are exuding wounded regret in “Sunset.” In “Missing”… Sim brings his ache to the front of the mix, singing, “My heart is beating in a different way” as Croft’s voice swirls behind him.

In the months and years to come, Coexist‘s songs are bound to be reworked, chopped to bits and remixed around ever more insistent dance beats. So now is a perfect chance to soak them up in their purest form: delicately crafted so that every softly ringing note, and every aching second of dead air, hits like a cymbal crash.

Dig into the icy textures and breathtaking minimalism of Coexist here; tickets are available for the Electric Factory show here.


Watch a video for “Angels” by The XX (playing The Electric Factory on October 29th)

After receiving massive praise for their debut album in 2009, The XX are back for seconds. Their sophomore album, Coexist, will be released September 11, 2012 on Young Turks. The group consists of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie Smith who left high school at only seventeen years old to go on tour. The British indie pop group relishes in their moody rock music created through the soulful vocals of Croft and Sim. Similar  to their first release, Coexist whispers intimately thrilling melodies throughout the entire album. The trio will be playing at the Electric Factory on October 29th, tickets go on sale this Saturday and more information to come. Below, listen to the song “Angels” from the new album


Tonight’s Concert Pick: The xx, Warpaint, and Zola Jesus at Merriam Theater

The xxThe sparse simplicity of The xx‘s critically acclaimed debut, 2009’s xx, belies the kind of songwriting effort it takes to write such a consistently engaging album. Unlike some of the band’s London-based, indie-rock contemporaries (such as previous tour mates The Big Pink)—which hit audiences over the head with bombastic hooks—The xx lures listeners in with a laid-back subtlety that is no less effective despite being significantly more economical. It’s an even more impressive feat given the fact that the album is self-produced; there’s no big-name producer or other outside influence telling keyboardist Jamie Smith, guitarist Romy Madley Croft, and bassist Oliver Sim how their songs should be packaged—because the trio already knows what makes their reverb-heavy, minimal pop work. (It involves a lot of back-and-forth male/female vocal exchanges.) The xx performs with experimental rock quartet Warpaint and lo-fi goth chanteuse Zola Jesus at 8 p.m. at Merriam Theater; tickets are $28.50.