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Vacationer, as chill as ever, conquers lands unknown at Haddon Lake Park

Vacationer | photo by Joseph Bloss
Vacationer at Haddon Lake Park | photo by Joseph Bloss

Although I had never seen Vacationer perform live before Wednesday night, I am no stranger to their ultra chill summer tunes. “The Wild Life” has been my absolute jam for a couple of years now, and I can vibe with just about any song that comes from Philly music mainstay Kenny Vasoli and his friends in Vacationer.

But my familiarity with the headline act at Wednesday’s installment of the Sundown Music Series at Haddon Lake Park actually made me an outlier. Sure, I’m no Vacationer superfan (there were a few in attendance, however), but compared to maybe 60 percent of the audience, you would have thought I was. A decent chunk of the crowd seemed to be on the older side, most likely loyal patrons who attend each installment of the concert series run by Camden County. For example, I overheard the gentleman sitting next to me that he attends public series like this all over the state. Even the event’s host, who said he’s been on the job for 13 or 14 years now, revealed he wasn’t familiar with Vacationer until sound check that evening. These observations are not to fault the audience, but rather commend the performer. Continue reading →

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Still need New Year’s Eve plans? Here are eight more concerts to see.

The Lawsuits | Photo by Caitlin McCann
The Lawsuits | Photo by Caitlin McCann

It’s crunch time, procrastinators. New Year’s Eve is tonight, and you need plans. Thankfully, there are a lot of options in the world of live music. Tickets are still available for almost everything on our initial roundup of gigs – only the Nothing show at Boot and Saddle is sold out. And hey, a solid handful of concerts have been announced over the past month too! If you want to make music part of your celebration, but want to dig a little deeper than the cover band / tribute band universe, read on. Continue reading →

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10 artists playing Firefly you shouldn’t miss

Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

The Firefly Music Festival starts this Thursday and goes through Sunday. Over 100 bands spread out on six stages will seek love and admiration from audiences crammed into Dover, Delaware. We’re psyched for the headliners – Sir Paul McCartney, The Killers, Morrissey, The Killers, and Snoop (as long as he brings the hits and stays clear of that new album). We’re equally excited to see Run The Jewels, Hozier, DJ Mustard, Sylvan Esso, Citizen Cope, and Spoon. The bill is stacked with the requisite one hit alt-rock newbies (um…) that the crowds likely won’t pay attention to until the band plays “the hit.” But below the headliners and mid-level artists playing, there’s a lot of gems.

Here are ten artists playing Firefly that you shouldn’t miss. Continue reading →

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Suburban Living’s Wesley Bunch talks to us about his April residency at Bourbon & Branch

Suburban Living | Via Facebook.com/suburbanliving
Suburban Living | Via Facebook.com/suburbanliving

About eight months ago, Wesley Bunch packed his bags in Virginia Beach and headed to Philly, only knowing a handful of people in the area. Performing under the moniker Suburban Living, Bunch left behind his hometown, but quickly connected with prominent local talent, landing him his first Philly show alongside CRUISR and Dream Safari.

“It’s been a total whirlwind,” Bunch said. “I’ve really fallen in love with the city and everything it has to offer.”

Suburban Living’s standout dream pop sound has us feeling lucky to have Bunch around. And with an upcoming residency at Bourbon & Branch, Suburban Living will play alongside local artists throughout April.

“The city is full of awesome musicians,” Bunch said. “I feel super lucky being able to curate all these upcoming shows.”

Here’s a rundown of each week’s lineup, with snippets of Bunch’s commentary on why he picked these openers. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John the Conqueror at MilkBoy, Selwyn Birchwood at World Cafe Live, Vacationer at Bourbon and Branch

John the Conqueror | photo via facebook.com/JohntheConquerorBand
John the Conqueror | photo via facebook.com/JohntheConquerorBand

Philly blues-rock power trio John the Conqueror is back with a new lineup and a handful of new songs tonight at MilkBoy. The band released a well-received LP, The Good Life, in early 2014, and had a successful European run as well as a stint across the U.S. Late last year, founding drummer Michael Gardner parted ways with the band and new stick-man Mark Eichenberger stepped in; tonight is his debut show with the band. Bonus fun: as JTC gears up for its next record and round of touring, it is refreshing its merch catalog – meaning JTC tees will be given away for free at tonight’s show. Tickets and information can be fond at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Pop’s Not Dead: Bleachers blow up Union Transfer on Thanksgiving Eve

photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

“POP’S NOT DEAD.” You’ve probably seen spray paint stencils boldly proclaiming this sentiment around our city, recently. Some days I kinda wish it were dead, though. If you know me, or have read my articles, you probably know that I’m not too excited about the Top 40 / pop music scene. But after a few recent experiences, I’m starting to come around. Experiencing Bleachers blow up Union Transfer on Thanksgiving Eve was one of those events which give me hope for pop. Continue reading →

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Before the Rain: Made In America day two grooves with Grimes, Danny Brown, Vacationer (and two songs from Spoon)

Grimes | Photo by John Vettese
Grimes at Made in America | Photo by John Vettese

Let’s go back for a moment. Before the torrential downpour, before the lightning and thunder, before Spoon got cut off after a rousing “Don’t You Evah” two songs into their first time on the Made In America stage. The second day of Jay Z’s Philly megafestival (now in its third year and first time with a bicoastal setup) offered a lively assortment of groovy summertime pop, roof-raising EDM, badass rap and solid rock and roll. Continue reading →

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Five must-see artists at Made In America

Photo via facebook.com/actuallygrimes
Photo via facebook.com/actuallygrimes

As the Made In America fast approaches this weekend, one might feel a bit overwhelmed with the enormous amount of musical options to check out. Don’t feel stressed – we’re here to help! Here are our pics for five must-see performances this weekend, whether you’re catching the festival in person or streaming it on the MIA website. These artists are sure to keep the crowd buzzing well after their set ends. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Vacationer, Busses, Tiani Victoria

Vacay

With mixing already under way, Philly’s Vacationer tossed two last minute tracks on to their debut LP Relief, which we featured this week on Unlocked.  “In the Grass” is influenced by LCD Soundsystem, with a clear danceability paired with the band’s signature “nu-hula” vibe.  Stream and download the track below, and check out the full Unlocked profile here.

Folkadelphia welcomed musician and songwriter Marissa Nadler in for a mega-session, recorded over two visits in November of last year and this past March.  Joined by cellist and singer Janel Leppin, Nadler’s session pulls tracks from her latest July LP.  Take a listen and download the songs below.

Tiani Victoria brought a powerful and fun rap performance into the studio for this week’s Key Studio session.  She’ll release a debut full-length called Hard Candy later this summer, and has a steady stream of singles posted on her Soundcloud page.  Check out “Marinate” below and get the full set here.

Grammy Award winning cajun trio The Band Courtbouillon brought their Louisiana roots sound to Norristown’s Holy Saviour Club last night for what was sure to be an incredibly fun show.  If you missed it, you can still grab a free download of the band’s song “Mamou Two Step” below.

Fishtown’s Busses have released the first single off of their forthcoming record, which they have been working on for that last two years.  The instrumental breaks in “Overload” sound like an expansive movie score, channeling Other Lives with a cinematic rock that has hints of Americana.  Stream and download the song below.

 

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Unlocked: The daily grind of a Vacationer

Vacationer  | Photo by Beth Ann Downey
Vacationer | Photo by Beth Ann Downey

Vacationer makes music meant to alleviate stress and forget troubles.

If they can help the rest of us do this, than the band members must lead pretty relaxing lives, right? Well, not really.

Kenny Vasoli (bass, vocals), Matt Young (vibraphone), Greg Altman (guitar), Michael Mullin (keyboard) and Ryan Zimmaro (drums) have a lot in common outside of the music they make together. They drink copious amounts of coffee, avidly bike ride and make a TON of music in projects other than Vacationer.

And they work, a lot.

Read summaries of each of the band members’ daily lives below, and see how they balance musical and career success with plenty of chill time.

Photo By Abi Reimold | AbiReimoldPhoto.com
Matt Young of Vacationer | Photo By Abi Reimold | AbiReimoldPhoto.com

Matt Young: “My days are usually pretty simple. I wake up, I have coffee, and then I basically have a home studio in Brooklyn, New York, so I write music all day. Some days I have good days, and I write a couple songs. Some days I have bad days where I can’t really write anything.

So I write in the morning, then usually around 2 p.m. I go and bike like 15 miles. I’ll go down to Prospect Park and bike around the thing like 15 times. Then I’ll come back and write more songs. Then I cook dinner, write more, and maybe watch an episode of something or listen some records. Then I go to sleep and do the same thing the next day.

That’s pretty much it, though, I just write music all day. … I do it in my pajamas. I have a pair of slippers that I literally wear more than any other pair of shoes. I think it’s important to have a regimented schedule, and it’s kind of maddening because I’m in my house a lot. But my studio is a totally separate space in the front, and then the back is where I live. But yeah, I’m basically there all the time unless I’m on tour or out playing shows. I’m writing for Vacationer and Body Language. I have another project called Seafloor that’s just beats, and I have a new solo project that I’m working on. I also work on random commercial sound design and rebranding, and that’s basically it.” Continue reading →