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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Common at The TLA, Pompo & The Community College Rejects at Kung Fu Necktie

Common | via twitter.com/common
The cover of Common’s Nobody’s Smiling | via twitter.com/common

After a brief hiatus, Chicago rapper Common re-emerged this year with his tenth studio album, Nobody’s Smiling. Released on Def Jam Records in July, it was a timely artistic statement, as the album deals with the high crime rate in his hometown that hit a peak this summer, with guest collaborations from Jhené Aiko, Big Sean, Vince Staples and more. Tonight Common headlines the TLA in Philly; tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to “Kingdon” featuring Vince Staples. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Young Chris at The TLA, The Gallerist at Bourbon and Branch, Divers at World Cafe Live at The Queen

Young Chris | photo via hiphopsince1987.com
Young Chris | photo via hiphopsince1987.com

Philly rapper Young Chris headlines the TLA tonight. Emerging on the scene 12 years ago as an affiliate of Beanie Siegel and Freeway’s State Property collective, he branched out on his own, first as part of Young Gunz and then as a solo artist. When it comes to mixtapes, this dude is prolific, releasing on average two per year since 2007 (and embarking on the ambitious 30 Days / 30 Verses project in 2009). After a couple years of dropping random freestyle clips, Chris re-emerged this spring with the Philly-centric Gunna Season mixtape, which was praised by Stereogum: “the Philly veteran…just raps. And it’s great because he’s great at it.” Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; below, watch Young Chris’ video for “I’m Alive.” Continue reading →

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UK dance-pop sensation Charli XCX takes The TLA by storm

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Charli XCX | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

On Friday night, the TLA welcomed electronic pop artist, Charli XCX. The 22 year old English singer-songwriter released her debut album, True Romance in April 2013 but her biggest claim to success was from “I Love It,” the song she wrote and was performed by Icona Pop. “I Love It” became a #1 hit single in the UK and topped the charts in North America. Friday night, she performed backed by a band and group of dancers, some in Go-Go attire, others dressed like Catholic school girls. Continue reading →

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DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist celebrate Afrika Bambaata and the art of turntablism at The TLA

DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

In the most basic description of the term ‘DJ’ it is possible to narrow down the term to 3 categories. There is the DJ that just plays music, only presses play or plugs in the iPod or hits shuffle on the laptop. This, unfortunately, is by and large the view of the DJ in far too many circles. Second is the DJ that works the crowd, they have an understanding of music that runs deep and knows how to play to their target audience, and in turn deepen that appreciation, and build relationships. Thirdly, there is the DJ that can play an audience not the music they came to hear, but the music the DJ wants to play, and present it in such a way as to give said audience an appreciation of something that might otherwise be outside of their comfort zone. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dead Milkmen at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Lorde at the Mann Center, and Bob Mould at the TLA

The Dead Milkmen
Photo via deadmilkmen.com

The City of Brotherly Love’s satirical punk-rock band Dead Milkmen headline a fundraiser at Laurel Hill Cemetery tonight; the band joked on its Facebook that the last time it played in a cemetery, the result was the “Big Time Operator” video. Formed in 1983 at Temple University, the Milkmen found success on college radio with their debut album, Big Lizard in My Backyard. Their songs ranged from tunes with nonsensical spoken intros like “Bitchin’ Camaro,” to “Takin Retards to the Zoo”, a less-than-50-second punk-joke song. Goofy lyrics dripping with a Philly accent spread their success internationally with “Punk Rock Girl,” the hit off of their sophomore album Beelzebubba, which landed with a sturdy spot on MTV’s video rotation. After reuniting in 2008 under the pseudonym Les Enfants Du Prague, the band decided to become an active group once again and set to record album The King in Yellow, which dropped March 2011. They have since released four singles including “Welcome to Undertown”, and “Big Words Make the Baby Jesus Cry”. Tickets and information on the show can be found at here. Below, watch the music video to “Punk Rock Girl.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tiani Victoria at the TLA, Tutlie at Kung Fu Necktie and Rat Fist at Space 1026

Photo via King Astro of Batcave Radio
Photo via King Astro of Batcave Radio

Philly born and bred Tiani Victoria performs at the Theater of Living Arts tonight, not long after her XPN Studio Session this past week. Her vocal skills have made her an up and coming Philly performer you should look out for; check out some video from the session below, and get ticketing info for the all ages $29 concert here.

The Key Studio Session: Tiani Victoria “Marinate” from Bob Sweeney on Vimeo.

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Trombone Shorty returns to the TLA August 30th

Trombone Shorty | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Trombone Shorty | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Trombone Shorty and the Orleans’ Avenue, led by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, is known for their energetic performances. The nickname comes from the fact that Andrews has been playing trombone from an early age, when the trombone was bigger than him. In a 2009 session with the World Cafe, Andrews described the catchy fusion of funk, hip-hop and jazz as “supafunkrock”.

Last year, the band released Say That to Say This and have been touring in support of the new album. Compared to previous albums, Backatown and For True, the album has much more of a live-performance vibe, especially on the title track. Andrews was just in town a few weeks ago as a part of the live recording of Home at the Kimmel with Jeff Bradshaw.

Watch the band’s incredible performance of “Fire and Brimstone” at this year’s Coachella Festival below. Get more information for their upcoming show at the TLA August 30th here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cub Sport / Communion Philly at Underground Arts, Mobb Deep at TLA, Prism Quartet at World Cafe Live and more

CubSportAustrailian indie-pop outfit Cub Sport will play this month’s Communion Club Night at Underground Arts for their very first show in Philadelphia. This tour is the first US/Canada run for the band who self-released their Paradise EP last year. Their sound is super energetic and poppy at times (see “Paradise”) and more mellow and subdued at others (see “Shuffle”) but it’s all done in a dewy dream pop context that’s pretty hard to resist at both ends of the spectrum. Watch “Paradise” below and get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Chuck Ragan at The TLA, Baths at Union Transfer and Ryan Montbleau at Tin Angel

Photo via chuckraganmusic.com
Photo via chuckraganmusic.com

Tonight at the TLA, singer-songwriter/guitarist Chuck Ragan will celebrate his new record Til Midnight. Despite the hard edge and grit of his earlier work – both solo and with Hot Water Music -  there’s no shortage of love songs or intimacy on his latest effort. Watch “Something May Catch Fire” (which definitely has a Springsteen vibe) below and get tickets here.

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Tonght’s Concert Picks: Marsha Ambrosius with GoGo Morrow at the TLA, Lydia at Union Transfer, Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle at ArtsQuest Center

Photo via marshaambrosiusmusic.com
Photo via marshaambrosiusmusic.com

Sophisticated R&B songstress Marsha Ambrosius welcomes local fans aboard her Friends & Lovers Tour tonight at the TLA. Hailing from the UK (via Philly), she stepped away from Floetry to pursue a solo career and released her debut album Late Nights & Early Mornings back in 2011. As a true R&B vocalist, the beauty of Ambrosius’ approach lies in her ability to command a stage with no frills or gimmicks, just her voice. Up-and-coming local favorite GoGo Morrow, who has toured alongside Brandy, Lauryn Hill, and Common, is set to support with her urban jams. Watch “Without You” below and get tickets here.

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