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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Union Transfer, Ms. Lauryn Hill at BB&T, Bastille at The Fillmore, plus more

Ted Leo | photo courtesy of the artist

Ted Leo is back and bringing his trusty crew, the Pharmacists, with him to Union Transfer tonight. This past week, Leo smashed his seven year hiatus with the new record, The Hanging Tree, which was funded through the generosity of his fans via a successful Kickstarter campaign. Watch his latest video for “Can’t Go Back,” below, then find info on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band guide with guitars on their psychedelic sonic journey

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

I wonder how many guitar strings Chris Forsyth goes through in a year — or a month, or even a day. Because in just the forty-five minute span of today’s Free at Noon performance — or should I say, jam-fest — we lost more than a couple of brave string souls in the name of sweet, sweet music.

After the always-lovely Helen Leicht welcomed the Philly guitarist and his crew, The Solar Motel Band, on stage, hers would be the last voice the crowd would hear for the coming ten minutes. Instead, guitar gladly took its place.

Because, really, there’s no need for words when you can shred instead. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: NPR Music and World Cafe bring The National to Philly, performing entire new album LIVE

The National | photo by Graham Macindoe | courtesy of the artist

Over the last two months, excitement for The National’s new album, Sleep Well Beast, has been building as they’ve released three singles and performed a handful of new songs in Paris during a live-streamed Pitchfork concert. Now, WXPN’s World Cafe and NPR Music have just announced a LIVE First Listen performance, happening three days before the album drops, from right here in Philly on September 5th! Continue reading →

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Neurosis and Converge brought a metal masterclass to Union Transfer

Neurosis | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

30 years in to the career, Neurosis has lost none of their edge. They have the swagger and confidence of people who have been in the game for as long as they have, but their stage presence is void of pretension. While many credit them as one of the forefathers of what could simply be called “post-metal” they make no claim to any throne other than the one of being able to reign down hell with the urgency of molasses pouring from a jar — which is as fine a description as any of their Union Transfer gig on Monday night. Continue reading →

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Prep your hearts, people. Pinegrove’s coming back to town.

XPoNential Music Festival | photo by Joe Del Tufo | deltufophotography.com

I’m going to run you through a sad little timeline, folks. It’s a devastating tale of woe involving me, Pinegrove, and the lack of my presence at their shows. Like I said, sadness.

I admit I am far late in the Pinegrove cult game, and for that I am sorry. However, I found myself entrenched in it over the later half of this year. I had coveted tickets to their epic show at First Unitarian Church, and even had a chance to watch their live session for World Cafe. But alas, both times were thwarted. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Julien Baker to perform at Union Transfer with Half Waif in October

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

The first time I heard Julien Baker was just about a year ago, and by a happy chance it was at the perfect combination of a live show in a small venue when she toured with British dark folk trio Daughter last summer – I’ve been a fan ever since. The Memphis singer-songwriter brings her voice and guitar on stage and leaves her entire soul, baring all and sparing nothing throughout the set that is both so wrenchingly personal and relatable at the same time. Continue reading →

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After the storm, Waxahatchee debuts Out Of The Storm at Union Transfer

Waxahatchee | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

On Friday night, after an immense storm descended upon Philadelphia, a tour for the ages opened up on Spring Garden street.

Waxahatchee sent their fourth album, Out In The Storm, out into the world, and, both live and on the record, itʼs very simply Katie Crutchfield at her best. Earlier in the day, she played a short set at XPN’s Free at Noon concert, and both performances were raw, and emotive, pulling us deep into her own experiences and machinations, ones that many of us can relate amply to.

Songs like “Recite Remorse,” the live setʼs opener, and “Sparks Fly,” a deeper cut on the record, beg to be sang angrily in the car with the windows down, and before too long, theyʼll be sung back at Crutchfield at live shows too. Continue reading →

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Ted Leo announces new album and Union Transfer show; shares “You’re Like Me”

Ted Leo | via Consequence of Sound

Ted Leo is back, and this time, he’s flying solo. Switching things up from serving as frontman for Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, and as the other half of The Both with Aimee Man, Leo has announced an album titled The Hanged Man, which will be available on September 8th via him, Kickstarter, and his generous fans.

Yep, you heard me — no label here. Leo evaded corporate music land by entirely funding The Hanged Man through a Kickstarter campaign back in February. Now we’re seeing the fruition of those efforts with the first single off the album, “You’re Like Me.” Continue reading →