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Listen to Strand Of Oaks cover Gillian Welch on XPN’s Like A Version segment

Strand Of Oaks | Photo by Eric Schuman
Strand Of Oaks | Photo by Eric Schuman

Strand Of Oaks, the project of Philly mainstay Timothy Showalter, is about to release a new album on Tuesday. It’s called Heal and it’s one of this year’s must-listen records (in fact, you can and should do that right here). Tim came by the XPN studio for Dan Reed’s weekly Like A Version segment to cover Gillian Welch’s “Time (The Revelator),” a song that is notably more delicate than his own recent music. Showalter admits that, following the recording and production of Heal, he needed to ease his ears with sounds that were a bit gentler than the heavy percussion and searing guitars that had surrounded him. The resulting cover is both characteristically intense and lovingly reverent.

Listen to the performance and interview below and catch Strand Of Oaks at our Free at Noon Concert next Friday and at Boot and Saddle on September 19th.

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Listen to London Grammar’s “Wonderland” mix (playing Underground Arts Monday night)

londongrammar2 XPN’s October Artist To Watch London Grammar made a mix for Wonderland Magazine, that you can listen to below. They make their Philadelphia debut this Monday night, October 7th at Underground Arts. Go here for tickets. The band just released its debut album, If You Wait. It’s a mesmerizing collection of down to midtempo ambient, electronica featuring Hannah Reid’s exquisite lead vocals.

Tracklist:
01 London Grammar – Strong (Fracture Remix)
02 Bobby Tank – Vorpheum (Original Mix)
03 Moderat – Rusty Nails
04 The Presets – Its Cool (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Remix)
05 Jon Hopkins – Abandon Window
06 London Grammar – Strong
07 Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal
08 Cyril Hahn – Perfect Form
09 Moderat – Versions
10 Maya Jane Coles – Everything feat. Karin Park (Original Mix)
11 Bicep – You feat. Ejeca
12 Jon Hopkins – Breathe This Air

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First Listen: Stream XPN Artist To Watch Haim’s new album, Days Are Gone

haim Our Artist To Watch this month is the Los Angeles based band of sisters Haim. They release their debut album, Days Are Gone, next Tuesday, September 30th. You can listen to their debut now, in its entirety here via NPR Music. Ann Powers of NPR writes:

HAIM’s thoughtful, playful music is good for the radio, good for rock, and good for music lovers of all ages who need to carve out a little space to dream. Diving into so many different musical wellsprings, HAIM discovered its specific superpower: the ability to channel influences most listeners recognize within a fresh, personal sound. It’s easy to play the game of references on Days Are Gone. “Honey & I” re-imagines Fleetwood Mac as a duo with just Lindsey and Christine; “The Wire” throws its Shania Twain guitar riff against a wall built by The Bangles. The wonderfully moody “My Song 5″ imagines a perfect union of Nirvana and TLC. “Running If You Call My Name” runs up that hill in the Kate Bush and finds Tom Petty free-falling on the other side. And so on, until the jukebox is exhausted.

Listen to Days Are Gone here.
Purchase the album here.


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My Morning Download: “Workin’ Woman Blues” by XPN Artist To Watch Valerie June

valerie june Valerie June is WXPN’s Artist To Watch for the month of July. Her debut album, Pushin’ Against A Stone is out on August 13; she performs at the Tin Angel on Thursday, August 15. Combining blues, gospel, folk, R&B, bluegrass and Southern soul, June makes the most of the niches, highlighted by her confident voice. Like the Alabama Shakes and Laura Mvula, Valerie draws on the past to create something new, fresh and exciting. Below, download “Workin’ Woman Blues” from Valerie’s forthcoming album via NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Interview: Road warriors Kopecky Family Band talks tour, strange instruments and Star Wars

The Nashville sextet Kopecky Family Band managed to give their new LP Kids Raising Kids the rises and falls of a masterful mixtape.  The band – this month’s WXPN Artist to Watch – doesn’t write songs, it evokes emotion.  It captures the weightlessness of new love and the enveloping lows of loss with the same poignancy.  Kopecky Family Band have been touring pretty intensely for the better part of the last five years, and recently, with the release of their LP, are opening a lot more eyes and ears to their enlightened music and celebratory live show. We caught up with Guitarist and Singer Gabe Simon on their way back from a quick jaunt in Canada to talk about writing on the road, the future of Star Wars, and why coming home is like nothing else.

The Key: Do you have any favorite cities to play on tour?

Gabe Simon: I really like playing Chicago; it is sort of like our second home.  We also just played Phoenix, and it was a lot of fun, I love playing Phoenix, and I would love to keep playing Phoenix even though it is kind of far away. It is a great place to play.  Really cool music people and Arizona is absolutely beautiful.  There is also this place outside of San Francisco that is probably my favorite place I have every played. I like Philadelphia too, I am not trying to hate.

TK: We are looking forward to you coming back.

GS: We are really looking forward to it too.  The people are really cool and open and accepting.  We have had a really good experience there, being taken in by the city, so we really appreciate that.

TK: Do you write music on the road? 

GS: This trip we’ve been doing a lot of writing.  We have been really enjoying the Northwestern influences.  This is kind of the part of the country that you tend to write a lot of sad songs for.  We don’t usually do a huge amout [of writing] on the road, but this trip we’ve been doing a bunch of writing and it has been really fun.

TK: Do you have a certain place in the country where it is easier to write?

GS: You know, I am actually more of a weather guy.  It depends more on what is going on vibe wise.  Cause the weather changes the way your body feels and affects the way you write a song.  You write based on how you are feeling.  I feel cold, so I am writing what I think cold feels like, or rain, or what heat feels like. Continue reading →

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Jukebox The Ghost is this month’s WXPN Artist To Watch

Jukebox The GhostJukebox The Ghost, our favorite originally-from-D.C.-then-moved-to-Philadelphia-and-now-mostly-lives-in-New-York-but-can-still-call-Philly-home-because-one-band-member-lives-here piano pop trio is this month’s WXPN Artist To Watch. Sure, you’d need a pretty good telescope to keep your eyes on two-thirds of the band—but, honestly, we probably would have picked them even if they had all moved to Canada. You can read the band’s bio and some words of high praise over at the mother ship.

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