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The Black Keys “Go” to therapy

The Black Keys | photo by Alysse Gafkjen | courtesy of the artist

If you know the The Black Keys, you probably know that they were on an indefinite hiatus for a long while. That lasted roughly five years, until they began releasing singles from Let’s Rock, their ninth album due on June 28 via Nonesuch Records.

The first song to be released from the upcoming LP was “Lo/Hi” in early March. Then came “Eagle Birds” in April. Just last week, The Black Keys released the track “Go”, along with a humorous music video. Since the duo of singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney hasn’t created anything together since 2014’s Turn Blue, it was natural for people to speculate that the duo were involved in some sort of feud and, as we know, rumors spread easily. There were no real hard feelings between the artists. They took time apart to pursue solo endeavors and to catch a break from the toll that constant touring can take. But instead of countering the rumors that they supposedly hate each other, Auerbach and Carney leaned into the idea and used it for the storyline of their new music video. Continue reading →

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NJ rockers The Dead Flowers are amped up and introspective on two new singles

 

The Dead Flowers | photo by Becca Carroll | courtesy of the artist

The Dead Flowers are a five-piece rock band from New Brunswick, NJ who have released three songs so far this year, the most recent two being “What I’m Lookin’ For” and “So Damn Easy”. Their sound is dynamic, leaning garage-rock-ish on the surface, but also on the softer indie side at times. Continue reading →

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Whitney extends their U.S. tour to include Philly, but where’s LP2?

Whitney | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Whitney | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Whitney is comprised of songwriting duo Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich. In 2016, they released their debut album Light Upon the Lake, which was a critical and commercial hit. Now it’s three years later and we’re still without a sophomore effort from the band. Last week they announced an extension of their U.S. tour, including a Philly date in the fall, but LP number two is nowhere to be heard. Continue reading →

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Watch Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise perform with Play On, Philly! students

Kuf Knotz, Christine Elise, and the Play On Philly students | photo courtesy of the artist

Here at WXPN, we know how powerful music can be, and we’re psyched to talk about a program that feels the same way. Play On, Philly! is an organization that provides underserved children in Philadelphia with a musical education experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The group has made it their mission to inspire K-12 students and help develop their personal skills through the learning of orchestral instruments, all from their instructional sites at three different schools throughout the city. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Jay Farrar is cool, calm, and soulful on the NPR Music stage

Jay Farrar | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

Jay Farrar‘s soulful folk sound graced the NPR Music stage Friday afternoon for the last day of NonCOMM. While he softly strummed his acoustic guitar, his Son Volt bandmate Mark Spencer backed him up on electric. He harmonized with Farrar on a few songs; their vocals joined beautifully together for the chorus of “Devil May Care.” Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Mattiel shakes the PRX stage with unreleased tracks

Mattiel | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Mattiel‘s five-song set shook the PRX stage on Thursday night, giving their audience a taste of Satis Factory, their upcoming June release. Lead singer Mattiel Brown was backed by a four-piece band that really knows how to rock. Their set began with “Rescue You”, a track that has yet to be released. Brown wasted no time getting started; her energy was immediately through the roof as she commanded the crowd’s attention with soulful yelps.

The group’s set was dynamic in tempo but consistently vivacious. The unreleased “Heck Fire” was carried by a heavy bass line that I could feel deep in my bones. Things slowed down slightly for “Millionare” but the energy remained high. The set concluded with “Keep the Change”, the first single that Mattiel released with ATO Records. The band was very much in sync with one another, making for a tight performance. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM recap: Josh Ritter’s musical storytelling proves captivating on the NPR Music stage

Josh Ritter | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

Having just released his 11th album Fever Breaks, Josh Ritter delivered a dynamic set to his audience with a blend of new and old music. Beginning with “Idaho” from 2006’s The Animal Years, the first two songs of his set were old-school Ritter. His soft vocals paired beautifully with his acoustic strumming. By tune number three, however, Ritter kicked it up a notch and strapped on his electric guitar for “Old Black Magic,” the lead single from his newest album. His band, known as The Royal City Band, didn’t miss a beat in supporting their leader.

Ritter sincerely thanked the audience after every song, and we could tell by the smile on his face that it was genuine. He took a moment to say how much his fans’ support has meant to him over the years, and then got right back into the music. He swapped guitars from acoustic to electric throughout the set, and his band followed. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Júníus Meyvant’s solid, soulful set kicks off day two

Junius Meyvant | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

“Tight” is the first word that comes to mind when describing this set by Júníus Meyvant , a soulful Iceland six-piece with outstanding musicianship and six members that melded together flawlessly, leaving every song feeling full and intricate. Júníus Meyvant’s latest release is Across the Borders (named after their journey from Iceland), and they played several songs from the album on the NPR Music stage to kick off day two of NonCOMM.

The set started off strong with “High Alert.” I was immediately captivated by the skill of the drummer who was enhancing the tune with tasteful rolls and pops. He continued this throughout the entire performance, effortlessly switching from sticks to mallets to a tambourine — I honestly couldn’t look away. Continue reading →