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Listen to Connor Barwin’s guest DJ set on WXPN’s Top Five at 5

Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Next month, Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin brings his Make The World Better campaign to Union Transfer for his second annual benefit concert, this year featuring Mac DeMarco, Marian Hill and The Suffers. Last year’s benefit was able to raise $170,000 to refurbish Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker with new playground equipment, a basketball court, a garden and more. This year, the goal is to do the same to Smith Playground, a 7-acre park in South Philadelphia, and last night Barwin joined Dan Reed on the air for a Top Five at 5 guest DJ set to preview the show. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Matt Pond PA at Union Transfer, Israel Nash at Kable House, The Left Banke at Sellersville Theater

Matt Pond / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Matt Pond / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Acoustic indie favorites Matt Pond PA play Union Transfer tonight to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their album Several Arrows Later. Released at the point when the Philadelphia / New York City outfit was beginning to emerge beyond the basements and bars where they built their fan base, it sounded like an arrival, with songs that crossed over into a bigger pop sound. Listen to “Halloween” below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Three more reasons to love Dave Hause

Dave Hause. Source: hitthefloor.com
Dave Hause. Source: hitthefloor.com

Dave Hause has a lot on his plate right now, but that’s nothing new.

A native Philly singer-songwriter who has played in multiple area punk and hardcore bands, Hause is an expert at being in multiple places at once.

To bring you up to speed in case you’re not familiar, Hause got his start in short-lived punk acts The Curse and Paint it Black, but eventually hit gold when he formed The Loved Ones with former Kid Dynamite member Michael “Spider” Cotterman and drummer Mike Sneeringer (formerly of Trial By Fire and Purling Hiss, currently in Strand of Oaks). Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Palma Violets at Johnny Brenda’s, Hound at Boot and Saddle, Sonnder at Union Transfer

Palma Violets | photo via facebook.com/PalmaViolets
Palma Violets | photo via facebook.com/PalmaViolets
Rowdy Brit rockets Palma Violets return to Philly tonight with a new album in tow. Danger in the Club is raw, yet anthemic, and should translate well to the band’s trademark high-energy live show. Check out the title track below and get information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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One Big Neighborhood Party: Hop Along celebrates Painted Shut at Union Transfer

Hop Along | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Hop Along | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

The last week has been full of excitement for Hop Along‘s new album Painted Shut, released Tuesday on Saddle Creek. It’s the Philly band’s third full-length album, but in a way, it was almost like its debut to a wider audience. On Saturday night, Hop Along headlined for a packed house at Union Transfer which, with local openers Thin Lips and Clique in tow, felt like one big neighborhood party. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Radiator Hospital and more at L.O.T.S. Festival, Hop Along at Union Transfer, Nik Greeley at MilkBoy and more

Radiator Hospital | Photo by John Hanson | via Radiator Hospital’s Facebook
Okay, yes, obviously with our week full of coverage of Hop Along’s new album Painted Shut, we think you should go to the Hop Along show tonight. But you know what? The first Love on the Streets Festival to benefit the Paine’s Skate Park Funk is a daytime concert, and the music is just as great, making it the perfect pre-party. West Philly folky punk faves Radiator Hospital headline, along with pop anthem machine W.C. Lindsay, buzzing emo four-piece Clique (who open for Hop Along later tonight) and the hard-hitting Dogs On Acid (featuring Joe Reinhart of Hop Along). Earlier in the day there are performances by EDM-leaning artists Moon Bounce, Jack Deezl and Mister Sampson, plus skate and circus arts demos. It’s gonna be a great time; more information here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pissed Jeans at Johnny Brenda’s, Paper Hearts at Tin Angel, Tigers Jaw at Union Transfer and more

Pissed Jeans | Photo by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com
Pissed Jeans | Photo by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com

We last heard from Philly noise-punk four-piece Pissed Jeans last summer when their self-released debut Shallow got a reissue on their label, Sub Pop Records. Before that, their last record of new material was the awesomely hard-hitting Honeys, released in 2013, meaning we’re probably due for a new round of ragers from these dudes. Hopefully tonight’s headlining show at Johnny Brenda’s will bring with it some new material; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jason Vieaux and the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble at World Cafe Live, Oddisee at Johnny Brenda’s, San Fermin at Union Transfer and more…

Jason Vieaux
Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble

LiveConnections completes this season of ClassicAlive with Jason Vieaux and the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble at World Cafe Live. The concert will bridge Western classical and Eastern traditional music with the world premiere of a composition by Philadelphian Kinan Abou-afach. Vieaux is a Grammy Award winning guitarist who received this year’s Best Classical Instrumental Solo nod for his 2014 LP Play. The musicians in Al-Bustan Takht have received the Pew Fellowship in the Arts to support their collaborative, educational programs. Tickets and information can be found here. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Wander an artful maze of memory in Hop Along’s “Powerful Man” video

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A scene from Hop Along’s “Powerful Man” video

Most people know Frances Quinlan as a singer and songwriter, the powerful voice behind Philly’s Hop Along. But visual art was actually her first calling; she founded the band almost ten years ago as a freshman studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Most of her album art is the work of her own hand, with no shortage of ambition either. At the Get Disowned album release party in the basement of the First Unitarian Church, Quinlan decorated the stage with dozens of larger-than-life-sized leaves from the album cover, and then handed dozens more out to the audience. (It was June and the basement was sweltering, so they made good handheld fans, as well as mementos for the fans.) And the intricate, beautiful still life on the cover of Painted Shut is her work as well.

The new music video for “Powerful Man” might be Quinlan’s most complex and rewarding fusion of art and music. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: The Key’s review of Painted Shut by Hop Along

Painted Shut cover art
Painted Shut cover art

It’s Tuesday, meaning we’re at the part in our occasional Unlocked series where the person writing the series shares their review of the album we’re featuring. Thing is, we pretty much all love Hop Along and Painted Shut. So for today’s installment, we bring you our first-ever Key Staff collaborative album review. Enjoy!

Philly greats Hop Along have been hanging out in the shadows for quite some time. Although the band has been putting out exceptional music for the better part of a decade, they have kept a relatively low profile until now. Their new album Painted Shut, released this week on revered indie label Saddle Creek, introduces Hop Along to the masses. The album reads like a collection of short stories, leaving the metaphor and ambiguity of 2012’s Get Disowned behind and spinning narratives that pull you in like a great book.

The track “Horseshoe Crabs” exemplifies this beautifully. The song’s haunting melody perfectly accompanies the lyrics of loss illustrated through the lens of childhood memories about summertime adventures. Frontwoman Frances Quinlan reflects on memory throughout the album, memories that are pivotal to her – “Powerful Man” describes her fear and failure to intervene when, as a teenager, she saw a young child being abused by his father – but in some cases, the memories may not be the way others involved remember the situation.

Take “Waitress”: Quinlan blows up a frustrating, awkward scene in her head upon seeing somebody walk into her restaurant – “your friend looked over from the bar, she must have known who I was / the worst possible version of what I’d done” – but in reality, the people she’s waiting on may not have given the moment a second thought – “call you enemy because I’m afraid of what you could call me.” It definitely reflects that normal anxiety and overthinking self-consciousness that we are all prone to from time to time. Continue reading →