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Free At Noon Flashback: Matt Cappy brings Instrument of Hope and Philly bounce to World Cafe Live

Matt Cappy | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN | dehartvisuals.com

Kicking off Friday’s Free at Noon double-header, Matt Cappy took the stage with no fewer than three trumpets. The Camden, New Jersey — or as he says, “East Philly” — native has built a impressive career as an trumpeter in the neo-soul / R&B / hip-hop scene, performing with Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, The Roots, Earth Wind and Fire, and Patti LaBelle. On Friday, he shared songs from his 2017 solo album, Church and State. Continue reading →

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Tank and the Bangas’ new album Green Balloon brings the band to new heights

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Alex Marks | courtesy of the artist

Two years after their sensational Tiny Desk win, Tank and the Bangas have returned with a new album, Green Balloon, out today via Verve Forecast. A hip-hop/soul/R&B/poetry (and more) group based in New Orleans, Tank and the Bangas have developed a sound so specific to their identity that calling them “unique” is an understatement. The group is led by Tarriona “Tank” Ball who said on Instagram that Green Balloon explores “every person I was in my life up until now” through the color green. Green balloon, green with envy, green with naiveté, and other interpretations, it’s an exciting idea to see how far the genre-combusting group can stretch the chromatic concept. Considering that many musicians write about identity, i.e. who we are, where we come from, how we are shaped by our experiences, what makes Tank and the Bangas so different? The short answer: everything. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Philadelphia Folk Festival’s initial 2019 lineup features David Crosby, Margo Price, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more

Margo Price | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN // David Crosby | photo by Anna Webber | courtesy of the artist // Preservation Hall Jazz Band | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

The 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival will return this year with an impressive and inclusive lineup. The festival will be headlined by David Crosby & Friends, Margo Price, The Mavericks, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Singer-songwriter Joan Osborne brings her songs of Bob Dylan project to the Old Pool Farm stage, with sets by Amanda Shires, Dom Flemons of Carolina Chocolate  Drops, Kaia Kater, and more in the mix.  Continue reading →

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Shamir wows with surprise album Be The Yee, Here Comes the Haw

Shamir | via shamir.bandcamp.com

Last week, Shamir dropped a new album and it’s as glittery, defiant, and explorational as anything he’s done before! The Las Vegas-born, Philly-based artist’s three previous albums include: Revelations, Room, and Resolution, all of which have received wide-spread acclaim for their inventive indie pop sound and refusal to be reigned in by genre boundaries. His latest album, Be the Yee, Here Comes the Haw, follows in this tradition.

While unconfirmed, its possible that Shamir is channeling the recent yeehaw agenda that made waves on Twitter in 2018 and whipped through the sound and aesthetics of  music industry greats like Solange, Beyonce, and Cardi B. For those who haven’t saddled up to this trend, the yeehaw agenda embraces the rich, and often invisible, history of black cowboys in the United States and pushes for defiant, powerful black musicians decked out in cowboy hats and stir-ups whose music is as adventurous as their tasseled fashion choices. While Shamir’s album only hits at yeehaw, its obvious placement in the title is enough to convince listeners that he has been reading up on this trend and implementing it in his work. But this kind of experimentation with genre isn’t new for Shamir. Maybe Shamir was the original yeehaw, hawing before we knew to yee. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Jakob Dylan, Jade Castrinos, and Cat Power preview their soundtrack to the 60s doc Echo in the Canyon

Echo in the Canyon | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

World Cafe Live has seen a lot of the 60s this month, and no show better encapsulates it than today’s performance from the artists behind the new documentary, Echo in the Canyon. The documentary covers Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon and the music produced there in the mid 1960s by artists such as the Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and more. To pay homage to this fertile musical time, contemporary musicians came together to record a soundtrack that features covers of those cutting-edge Laurel Canyon songs. Some of those artists joined us at the World Cafe Live today, including Jakob Dylan, Jade Castrinos, and Cat Power. Continue reading →

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DJ Haram fuses bounce and Middle Eastern dance music in new EP Mixed Berries

DJ Haram spins at Break Free Fest | photo by John Vettese

Philadelphia-based producer DJ Haram just released her debut EP, Mixed Berries, which mixes the energy of booty bounce with brooding electronic textures and darbuka percussion heard in Middle Eastern dance music. Or, as DJ Haram put it on Twitter, “#darbukabloodrave.”

The album features three songs, “Rotten”, “Ripe”, and “No Wave.” The songs interact with each other to create a cohesive whole — rather than three separate songs, its three songs that work together as one. Haram’s sound is part percussion, part spoken samples, part electronic club beats. It feels like she is challenging the boundaries of club music and pushing for an international sound. Continue reading →

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Agudos Clef’s new single “Nadie” experiments with the boundaries of Latin hip-hop

Agudos Clef | photo by Abbas Wiswall | facebook.com/Abbas-Wiswall-Photography-171298639642494 | courtesy of the artist

The two voices at the front of Trenton-based Latin hip-hop group Agudos Clef have stepped out with a new single, “Nadie,” fusing new and old sounds to tease their upcoming project, Morir Soñando. The group is comprised of Josue Lora and Nota G who were last featured on the Key back in 2017. Then, Lora and Nota G had released “No Soy Yo”, a song about navigating identity. “Nadie” embraces similar themes but pushes for independence, self-determination, and making your own way in the world. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: SNL’s Pete Davidson to perform at The Trocadero this weekend

via Ticketfly

With the confirmed closing of the historic Trocadero theater, many Philadelphians are wondering what final shows will grace the beloved stage. In that spirit, ir was just announced on social media that stand-up comedian Pete Davidson will perform this Saturday, April 27 at the Trocadero. Davidson is best known for his five-season run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. He has also appeared in films such as Set It Up, Big Time Adolescence, What Men Want, and The Dirt. Continue reading →

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Khemist speaks up for struggling musicians with new single “I Been On A Budget”

Khemist | photo by Brian Freeman | courtesy of the artist

Many rappers today want to tell you about their wealth — the designer clothes, the luxury cars, the endless fountains of champagne. Not Khemist. This Philadelphia-based rapper and poet just released a new single called “I Been On a Budget” that exposes the difficult life of the starving artist. The song’s composition calls back to jazz rap of the early 1990s as defined by groups such as A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets. A combination of bass, drums, and horns underscore Khemist’s verses and emphasizes that, while a musician’s struggle to make ends meet is not new, it still matters. Continue reading →

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Gary Clark Jr. brings family and blues-rock to the NPR Music Tiny Desk

Gary Clark Jr. | still from video

Blues-rock champion Gary Clark Jr. took on the NPR Tiny Desk stage this week with a dazzling, stripped back set. Behind the famous desk, Clark shared songs from his recent album, This Land, which reflect on the black experience in America after the 2016 election, as well as stories from his personal life. Clark chose to focus on the personal rather than the radical in this performance, but as NPR put it, “these songs still roared with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.” Continue reading →