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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Free Energy at Johnny Brenda’s, Primus at The Tower Theater, Flobots and Rone at MilkBoy

Local pop-rock outfit Free Energy play Johnny Brenda’s tonight for a show presented by Out of Town Films.  Tonight’s event is the first in what Out of Town Films hopes to be a regular event, a showcase bringing high-caliber acts to smaller, more intimate venues.  Free Energy recently announced details for their forthcoming sophomore record called Lovesigns, which will be released through the band’s own label on January 15th.  Tickets for tonight’s 21+ show are $12; the doors will open at 8:00 p.m.  Below, watch Out of Town Films’ video with Free Energy for “Hold You Close” from the summer.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Wanda Jackson at The Sellersville Theater, DRGN King at PhilaMOCA’s Tuesday Tune-Out, Daughter at Kung Fu Necktie

XPN welcomes rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson to The Sellersville Theater tonight.  Credited as being one of the first popular female rock and roll singers, Jackson paved the way for future musicians with hits including “Let’s Have a Party” and “In the Middle of a Heartbreak.”  Earlier this month Jackson released her thirty-first studio album Unfinished Business, which was produced by Justin Townes Earle.  Wanda Jackson performs tonight with Daniel Romano; tickets for the 8:00 p.m. show are $29.50 to $40, available here.  Watch the Unfinished Business preview video below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bleeding Rainbow at Johnny Brenda’s, Rush at Wells Fargo Center, Calexico at Union Transfer, John Hiatt and The Combo at McCarter Theater

The fact that their forthcoming album release date got pushed back by a few months should give you even more incentive to see Philly’s Bleeding Rainbow tonight at Johnny Brenda’s.  The punk quartet will no doubt be playing tracks from Yeah Right (which comes out on January 29th through Kanine Records) when they take the stage with Far-Out Fangtooth and Heavy Medical.  Tickets to the 21+ show are $10; doors open at 8:00 p.m. and music starts at 9:15 p.m.  Watch the video for Bleeding Rainbow’s single “Pink Ruff” below.

Bleeding Rainbow – “Pink Ruff” from stereogum on Vimeo.

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This Weekend: XPN Welcomes Justin Townes Earle with Tristen at Theatre Of The Living Arts on Saturday, May 20th

Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle released his latest album, Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now, on Bloodshot Records on March 27th. It’s the followup to 2010′s Harlem River Blues. On Saturday, May 19th, WXPN Welcomes Justin to the TLA. Tickets for the show go on sale today at 1pm. For more information and tickets click here. The title song to the album (which you can download below) has a soulful flavor, with some Stax-Volt-sounding horn arrangements and very tasty electric guitar playing. Justin Townes Earle performs with Tristen at 8 p.m. at Theatre Of The Living Arts; tickets to the all-ages show are $16. —Bruce Warren

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Tonight: XPN Welcomes Cheers Elephant at World Cafe Live, The Milk Carton Kids at Tin Angel

Cheers Elephant

Tonight, XPN Welcomes Cheers Elephant to World Cafe Live. The Philly-based psych-pop quartet will be celebrating the local release of its third album, Like Wind Blows Fire (officially due on April 24th) before heading out on the road for a handful of dates scattered throughout March. You can listen to the track “Doin’ It, Right” off Like Wind Blows Fire below. (Cheers Elephant’s Key Studio Session, which we released in January 2011, can be found here.) Meanwhile, over at Tin Angel, XPN Welcomes The Milk Carton Kids.

Cheers Elephant performs with The Extraordinaires at 8 p.m.; tickets to the all-ages show are $14–$29. The Milk Carton Kids perform at Tin Angel at 7:30 p.m.; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.

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Listen to Sharon Van Etten’s Free At Noon performance at World Cafe Live

Photo by Dusdin Condren

From NPR Music:

On her 2009 breakthrough Because I Was in LoveSharon Van Etten is the embodiment of exposed nerves; the very essence of wounded vulnerability. The albums which follow, 2010′s epic and the new Tramp, stretch muscles and viscera over those raw nerves. Even when she’s conveying disappointment, hurt or longing, Van Etten sounds more assertive and complex these days, aided by the ever-knottier contributions of guest players from The NationalWye OakBeirut and The Walkmen.

You can read the full write-up and listen to the performance in its entirety over at NPR Music.

Van Etten, who is WXPN’s Artist To Watch for February, was featured in the first episode of Shaking Through, and appears on the new Shaking Through: Selected Tracks Vol. 1 & 2 compilation alongside Twin Sister, Family Band, Snowmine, Dreamers Of The Ghetto and Hezekiah Jones. You can give it a listen below.

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This Weekend: XPN Welcomes Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater to Johnny Brenda’s, Bruce Hornsby to the Keswick Theatre

Dusdin Condren/Courtesy of the artist

XPN Welcomes Sharon Van Etten + Shearwater to Johnny Brenda’s at 9:15 p.m. Friday, February 10th; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT. You can listen to Van Etten’s new album, Tramp, via streaming audio at NPR Music.

Also Playing: XPN Welcomes Bruce Hornsby to the Keswick Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 11th; tickets to the all-ages show are $29.50–$49.50.

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Listen to Craig Finn’s Tiny Desk Concert (via NPR Music)

The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn—who, as we mentioned earlier today, will headline a double-header of XPN Welcomes shows at Milkboy Philly on Friday, March 9th—recently recorded a Tiny Desk Concert, which has just been posted to the NPR Music site. From NPR Music:

[O]n his new solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, Finn kicks himself free from the crutches of rock. It’s a sad sort of breakup record, barren and broken and informed by the wisdom of age, but his instantly recognizable speak-singing ramble remains. Finn’s starker side is, of course, nicely conducive to stripped-down arrangements behind Bob Boilen’s desk at the NPR Music offices: All these mournful, inward-facing songs (including the unreleased “Jeremiah’s Blues”) really require is Finn, his acoustic guitar and the indispensable pedal steel of Ricky Ray Jackson.

You can watch the video below; you can also read the full write-up and download the audio over at NPR Music.

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Tonight: XPN Welcomes Kathleen Edwards at World Cafe Live

Changes in an artist’s style of sound can signify many things. In Kathleen Edwards’ case, the transition from pure Americana to a softer, indie-rock-oriented feel reveals the heartache and dismay that resulted from her toll-taking divorce. Edwards’ latest album, Voyageur, is the telling of her recent split from musician and producer Colin Cripps; the album was produced by her new romantic interest, Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon. (Hence the heavy indie-rock influence.) “Change The Sheets,” the first single from “Voyageur,” is a moving and mournful song that conveys exactly what it was meant to, with Edwards’ crystal-clear vocals and dejected, almost defeated lyrics. As Edwards leaves a complicated relationship behind, she simultaneously delves head-first into a lighter, more refreshing sound. Kathleen Edwards performs with Hannah Georgas at 8 p.m. at World Café Live; tickets to the all-ages show range in price from $29 to $39. —Lisa Henderson