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A solemn but explosive set from Rosu Lup capped a solid local bill at World Cafe Live

Rosu Lup | Photo by John Vettese
Rosu Lup | Photo by John Vettese

“Life and death are opposing shores,” sang Josh Marsh to the upstairs crowd at World Cafe Live on Tuesday. “But we walk along till our feet are sore.”

Maybe it was the grey afternoon and licks of ice patching the sidewalk. Maybe it was the reminder of a ridiculously treacherous travel conditions not 36 hours before that had semis plummeting around the highway, claiming the lives of four commuters and injuring dozens more. Maybe it was my friend at the bar, moved by the headlines, talking about the preciousness of life.

In any case, the Tuesday night tour homecoming by Philly’s Rosu Lup struck a tremendous chord in that regard, imbuing tragedy with beauty in an explosive catharsis. Continue reading →

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Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker packed the house at World Cafe Live

Cracker | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Cracker | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

The middle of January in Philadelphia means its time for one of the best live one-two rock ’n’ roll punches around — Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. World Café played host to their sold-out performances Saturday and both bands were at the top of their game. Led by David Lowery, one of the foremost crusaders for fair compensation for musicians, they cruised mainly through California settings, transporting their frigid fans to sunny musical highs. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Rosu Lup, The Chairman Dances and Caroline Reese at World Cafe Live

Rosu Lup
Rosu Lup | photo courtesy of the artist

A solid triple bill of Philly music is setting up shop upstairs at World Cafe Live tonight. The symphonic, ethereal indie-folk outfit Rosu Lup is headlining the show; the project of songwriter Jonathan Stewart released its latest single, “Hem,” last week and is gradually shaping up a followup to their 2013 EP Currents. (Download their Folkadelphia session here.) Joining them are indie rock literati The Chairman Dances, whose 2014 record The Death of Samuel Miller was a conceptual narrative following the life of a single parent from the 50s through the 90s. (Read Kate Bracaglia’s interview with the band here.) Rounding out the lineup is Caroline Reese from Reading, a countrified pop songwriter with strong hooks and an engaging voice. She released her EP The Electric Year last may and also recorded a Folkadelphia session that you can download here. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to music from each of the artists below. Continue reading →

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Listen to Rosu Lup’s new single “Hem,” see them at World Cafe Live

Rosu Lup
Rosu Lup | photo courtesy of the artist

Local indie-folk band Rosu Lup released a new single this week. The track, titled “Hem,” is hauntingly beautiful and soars with spacious, flowing instrumental sections. The unique instrumentation includes both drums and electric guitar as well as cello, viola, and trumpet. It creates a dynamic texture that is complimented perfectly by the full, intense vocals. Continue reading →

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Listen to Allison Polans, Chelsea Mitchell, Brad Hinton and more cover Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell

This Saturday night, a roster of Philly folk scene regulars will converge on the World Cafe Live upstairs stage to pay tribute to Joni Mitchell. Spearheaded by singer-songwriters Alison Polans and Imani Roach, the show will feature performances by Emily Zeitlyn of The Weeds, Chelsea Sue Allen, guitarist and singer Brad Hinton, Chelsea Mitchell of Dirty Dollhouse and more. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Kicking Down Doors

In many ways, Philly-area country folk combo Kicking Down Doors got together by accident. Singer / lyricist Autumn Walden came across singer-guitarist Ernie Tokay at his Little Spiders Have Big Dreams Studio in Chester County; before they’d even known each other for a day, they’d already written a song together. The two musicians clicked so readily and had such a productive streak of writing music together that the project quickly became a functioning band; first a trio with bassist Michelle Lynn, and later a five-piece with Josh Steingard on drums and Stacy Weathers on banjo. 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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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Left & Right at The Pharmacy, Ben Kessler at World Cafe Live, The Devil Makes Three at The TLA

Left & Right
Left & Right | photo via www.facebook.com/leftandrightva

Virginia-to-Philly transplants Left & Right hit The Pharmacy tonight with The Cloth, Soul Glo and Combine. The show brings the band’s first tour (as well as the second week) of 2015 to a close, which shows just how road-focused this band is. 2014 saw the released of 5 Year Plan, which was featured in a year-long cassette series curated by Casey Wessbuch of Diarrhea Planet. Watch the video for “Low Expectations” below and get more info on tonight’s show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Johnny Showcase at World Cafe Live, Lee Mazin at The TLA, Sister City at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

Johnny Showcase
Johnny Showcase | photo via Facebook

Johnny Showcase brings his Lefty Lucy Cabaret to World Cafe Live upstairs tonight. The absurdist funk-pop-disco eight-piece will release its new record The Octopus this spring after hosting a successful Kickstarter campaign. The LP comes three years after the groups debut Love Is the Message, which they revisited last summer for the video “Hit It From the Back.” Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Timur and the Dime Museum can be found here. Watch the band perform “The Octopus” live at Johnny Brenda’s below.

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Thief Steal Me a Peach at Kung Fu Necktie

Photo by Kirra Kimbrell | via facebook.com/tsmap

Speaking of the appropriateness of titles, Thief, Steal Me a Peach took its name from a 1993 7″ by emo icons Sunny Day Real Estate, and you can totally hear it. The Philadelphia band released its Anxious Math EP just about two years ago, so we’re due for some new material. Tonight they play Kung Fu Necktie; tickets and more information can be found here. Continue reading →