Tycho chill out with Epoch and visuals at the Electric Factory

Tycho | photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

Music’s purpose is to express and modulate emotions. We use it to soothe, psych up, woo, enrage, sadden and cheer each other, or ourselves. It’s a gift that we share.

For Scott Hansen, a San Francisco based artist and musician, he started to share his gift in 2001 through the form of a once small project called Tycho. Fast forward fifteen years and his musical expression turned into the Grammy-nominated album, Epoch, released in 2016. Whether it’s through the outlet of his visual work under ISO50 or the audible landscape of Tycho, Hansen has carefully led the growth of a bedroom side project into a fully live band that not only captures their audience’s attention, but also their imagination.

It’s no surprise as to why Epoch was nominated. With its electronic beauty, the album glides from dreamland to nostalgia while keeping a progressive beat to carry the listener along its journey. An ambient music that for me, evokes strong visual representations, and this is where Hansen’s ability to conjure images of peaceful and serene atmospheres, not only in his musical endeavors, but in the visual work surrounding the musical performance is what truly sets Tycho apart.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bilal at Johnny Brenda’s, Lushlife at Boot and Saddle, Lotus at The Mann Center and more

Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews

Soul / funk / rock artist and Philadelphia native Bilal headlines a show at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown tonight. In the past, he has worked with big names like Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Kimbra just to name a few. His last solo release was In Another Life, released last year. Opening up for Bilal will be the fellow Philadelphian Ursula Rucker. She is a poet, activist, and recording artist who has been performing for over seventeen years. This show featuring some of Philly’s finest is not to be missed. Tickets and more information about the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out the video for “Money Over Love” below. Continue reading →


Hear Woods play live, discover new tUnE-yArDs, Parquet Courts and Tycho on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Woods | Photo courtesy of the artist

So here’s the deal. The Indie Rock Hit Parade is taking next Friday off to make room for the incredible live performances of the 14th annual NonCOMMvention (which you should totally listen to). So join us tonight for an explosive two-hour show starting at 10pm on XPN. We’ve got a brand new session to premiere featuring the Brooklyn psych-folk collective Woods, and a new album from tUnE-yArDs to dig into. Also lots of fresh tracks from across the musical spectrum, including (but not at all limited to) the following:

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Tycho’s sound-craft shines at Union Transfer

Tycho | Photo be Matthew Shaver |
Tycho | Photo by Matthew Shaver |

As I write this article for WXPN I second guess the need to remind readers that radio is not dead, and despite the over saturation of information that the internet has to give us, there is still much to learn from people who dedicate their lives to music. More than just a Facebook status update or a tweet could ever offer.

So, I rewind to 2010, and one of the finest DJ mixes ever. James Zabiela (lovingly referred to as the British J.Z.) contributed to the fantastic BBC Radio 1 series: The Essential Mix. Early in James’ set, expertly shaped and crafted by a love for the movie Moon, there is a show stopping moment when soft synths, rolling snares, and gentle kicks formed together in to an epic, life changing (for me) breakbeat epic. The song: “Past Is Prologue.” The artist: Tycho.

It’s hard to describe music like that to a lot of people. Harder, sometimes, to describe it live. To express the pure joy at the subtle changes in the beat you thought you knew front to back. To express the difference from hearing the blissful synth waves, guitar licks, and drum kicks go from a cheap pair of headphones, to a solid home theater system, to massive dance floor speakers in a club. To sit with people who really, truly appreciate the sound being crafted live in front of them.

Tycho is just one arm of Scott Hansen’s art collective. The other portion, known as ISO50, also figures prominently in to the live act. As Tycho the band puts out wave after wave of chilled out, melodic breakbeats, washing the crowd over with euphoria (organically or not), ISO50 gives them the visual components to match. It’s hard to say for sure that they played all of the hits, if only because everybody has a different idea of what their favorite style of Tycho song is. For me personally they hit all of the high notes with an epically reworked beginning to “Dive”, the masterful “Hours”, “Past Is Prologue” and it’s scattershot drums, as well as the newest hits in the repertoire: the new classic “Awake,” and the pop-infused gleefulness “Montanta.” On the screen behind the band, the 70’s tinted artwork of ISO50 ebbed and flowed across a massive canvas. It is truly something meant to be experienced rather than attended.


Weekend Picks: Tycho at The Rotunda, White Birds at Kung Fu Necktie, Augustana at TLA, Snowmine at Johnny Brenda’s


Scott Hansen is an artist with a vision. Before he debuted on the music scene as electronic composer Tycho, Hansen was known by his graphic design pseudonym, ISO50. As ISO50, Hansen produces intricate, often illusionary water color pieces—images that make an appealing first impression and grow more complex when scrutinized. His songs sound about the same. Hansen’s 2002 EP, Science Of Patterns, and the 2004 album Sunrise Projector hinted at his musical ideas, but it wasn’t until his 2011 album, Dive, that Tycho seemed to communicate in music what ISO50 did in visual art. Not surprisingly, Tycho’s current tour features a video component, which Hansen appropriately debuted on the ISO50 blog. Hansen will be playing both his music and visual art tonight in a show that’s certain to be sunny and synesthetic. Tycho performs with Beacon at 8:30 p.m.; tickets to the all-ages show are $5–$15. —Naomi Shavin

Since forming from the remains of Drink Up Buttercup, the members of White Birds have been quick to separate themselves from their former endeavor. Where Drink Up was fast and frantic, White Birds is slow and mellow. The band’s self-titled EP demonstrated just how much the members have evolved, with a dreamy tone and echoing harmonies. White Birds’ new album, When Women Played Drums, expands the fuzzy pop sound; the album comes out February 14th, but you can pre-order it now on Bandcamp. White Birds be joined at Kung Fu Necktie by Univox, whose Key Studio Session we posted earlier this weekWhite Birds performs with Univox and Tutlie at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Nicole Soll

Snowmine front man Grayson Sanders has received praise for his mellow and melodious voice, with many noting similarities to both Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The Brooklyn-based indie pop band’s debut album “Laminate Pet Animal” is obviously a tribute to all things natural and lullaby-esque, what with the use of odd instruments (including arbitrary household items, such as dish brushes and brooms) that help create a cultured sound. The band was featured as Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through artist for the month of November, and brings its Fleet Foxes-caliber potential to Johnny Brenda’s for the Philadelphia Bandcamp Hunter showcase. Snowmine performs with Gracie and Tours at Johnny Brenda’s at 9:15 p.m; tickets to the 21+ show are $5. —Lisa Henderson

Augustana had a rough 2011. The San Diego-based quartet was dropped from its label, Epic, following disappointing sales of its third album, had to cancel a summer tour with Jack’s Mannequin, and lost several of the original band members. But just as rumors of the band breaking up surfaced, lead singer Dan Layus announced he and the remaining members would continue making music under the name Augustana. Dan Lamoureux, who had previously played keyboard with the band, returned on drums, and Augustana released dates for a short winter tour. Despite the changes in the band, Augustana’s rock sound remains the same, and their set will feature both new music and hits off previous albums, such as “Boston” and “Sweet and Low.” Augustana performs with Graffiti6 at 8 pm at Theatre Of Living Arts; tickets to the show are $17. —Nicole Soll

Also Playing: Arctic Splash + DJ Deejay at PYT (10 p.m., free)

Brown Recluse + Acres Of Diamonds, Instamatic at Milkboy Philly (9:30 p.m., 21+, $8–$10); Jedi Mind Tricks + Diabolic, B. Lynch at Union Transfer (8:30 p.m., all ages, $18–$20); Jack’s Mannequin + Jukebox The Ghost, Allen Stone at Theatre Of Living Arts (7 p.m., $30.50); SOJA + The Movement, Fear Nuttin Band at Electric Factory (8 p.m., $25.95)

Rock To The Future Benefit featuring Polar Ice Cap + The Danger O’s, Fast Car, Jampa! at World Cafe Live (7 p.m., all ages, $7)