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Gogo Penguin bring electro-jazz to World Cafe Live

gogo penguin
Gogo Penguin | photo by Matthew Shaver | http://www.brightloud.com/

I’m a list fan.  Top 10 lists, bottom 10 lists, doesn’t matter.  When it comes to music, outside of the annual, quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, and Bey-weekly lists, my favorite is the Mercury Prize shortlist.  It’s a prestigious list that celebrates British and Irish musicians, and it is the place where I discovered a little trio called Gogo Penguin.

When I first saw the name, the immediate thought that popped in to my head was “quirky indie rock band.”  A tried and true formula for success.  I quickly discovered that I was deliciously incorrect.  Gogo Penguin is, at their heart, a jazz band. 

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mothers at Johnny Brenda’s, Gepe at World Cafe Live, NoFX at TLA, and more…

mothers
Mothers | Photo by Kristin Karch | courtesy of the artist

Athens GA indie rockers Mothers will be back in Philly tonight to play at Johnny Brenda’s with Palm and Anomie. The band continues to tour to celebrate the release of their debut When You Walk A Long Distance, You Are Tired, which came out back in February. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Boogarins bring psychedelic rock to World Cafe Live

Boogarins | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Boogarins | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

Brazilian rock outfit Boogarins kicked off the Friday afternoon by bringing their psychedelic rock sound into World Cafe Live for this week’s Free at Noon concert. The band made an appearance in Philadelphia not too long ago during their tour with Andrew Bird, and they decided to make one more stop before heading up to Brooklyn. Their tour is in support of their second and most recent album Manual, which was released back in October 2015. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tutlie at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Philly event, Parker Gispert at MilkBoy, Tokyo Police Club at Union Transfer and more

Tutlie
Tutlie | Photo by Morgan Smith | courtesy of the artist

Bob Boilen and the NPR Music Tiny Desk team swings through Philly tonight to celebrate the city’s 130+ submissions to the national Tiny Desk Contest. Performing are three stand-out artists from the ranks, including art-pop ensemble Tutlie, singer-songwriter Joy Ike and rapper The Bul Bey (who totally knocked out a performance at Sunday night’s benefit show for Beyond the Bars). Tickets are free with RSVP, so sign up here and see you tonight!
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Lancaster songwriter Matt Wheeler experiments with solo guitar, plays downstairs at World Cafe Live 4/22

Matt Wheeler Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Matt Wheeler | photo courtesy of the artist

Matt Wheeler often performs with a backing band, but on his new EP Matt Wheeler On the Hill, the Lancaster singer-songwriter experiments with a solo acoustic sound.The record features a mix of old and new — while it begins with some reworked acoustic versions of songs that Wheeler has already recorded, the EP’s second half includes the two new tracks “Cedars” and “Lexington.” Continue reading →

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Celebrate Philly’s Tiny Desk standouts with Tutlie, The Bul Bey, Joy Ike and NPR Music at World Cafe Live

Tutlie
Tutlie | Photo by Morgan Smith | courtesy of the artist

NPR’s All Songs Considered crew is taking their popular Tiny Desk Concert series on the road, landing in Philadelphia on April 19th at World Cafe Live for an evening of live music, free Lagunitas beer and food.

Host Bob Boilen will be on hand for an evening of local acts hand-picked by WXPN and the NPR Music crew from the submission box of this year’s TDC contest; you’ll see chamber pop group Tutlie, soulful pianist/singer Joy Ike and hip hop artist The Bul Bey. The event is free, but you must reserve your spot here. Continue reading →

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Philly jazz legend Jymie Merritt is featured on NPR’s Jazz Night in America

Jymie Merritt
Jymie Merritt | photo courtesy of the artist

Longtime Philly jazz bassist Jymie Merritt was profiled on the most recent episode of NPR’s Jazz Night In America. The 89-year-old musician and composer is a legend in the world of jazz, but has always managed to remain somewhat behind the scenes — though he’s played with the likes of John Coltrane, B.B. King, and Dizzy Gillespie, Merritt has never released his own record as a bandleader.

The NPR Story, which will run this weekend and early next week, is built around a concert given by Merritt’s old band The Forerunners at World Cafe Live in January. Though Merritt is retired from playing, many of his old bandmates were on stage, and his son, Mike Merritt, took over on bass duties for the show. Continue reading →

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Watch The Cactus Blossoms’ World Cafe session on VuHaus, see them at World Cafe Live tonight

The Cactus Blossoms
The Cactus Blossoms | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

Minneapolis singer-songwriter siblings Jack Torrey and Page Burkum released a knockout debut earlier this year under their stage name, The Cactus Blossoms. The songs are a simple and endearing throwback to country-infused 50s pop, with twangy harmonies that recall The Everly Brothers. Their self-titled debut was produced by J.D. McPherson and released on January 22nd. Tonight they perform at World Cafe Live, but back in January they appeared on World Cafe with David Dye. Continue reading →