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The Districts’ Rob Grote has released a new solo single to benefit The Yellowhammer Fund

The Districts | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Earlier this week, Rob Grote of The Districts released a new single called “Glitter”, through his solo project, Goat Mumbles. According to the Goat Mumbles Bandcamp page, all proceeds generated by the new track will go to The Yellowhammer Fund “to help those in need of abortions in Alabama.” Continue reading →

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Common is coming to Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Germantown for a talk and book signing

Common | photo courtesy of the artist

Let Love Have the Last Word is the new memoir by Common — Grammy Award-winning, Academy Award-Winning, and Golden Globe Award-winning musician, writer, actor, and activist. The Chicago-based hip hop artist, born Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn, will be traveling the United States on a book tour throughout the summer, and the tour includes a June 1st talk and book signing at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Germantown.

In the memoir, Common opens up about his relationship with his daughter, abuse he experienced as a child, and the value of conversation in the process of emotional healing. He has said that he hopes his book and his presentations will help “create a space” for people who have experienced similar traumas “to be able to share that — that’s part of the healing.” The memoir also touches on his faith and his experiences with romantic love. Continue reading →

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Victory Boyd, Batalá Philadelphia will play ACLU cultural celebration at 23rd Street Armory this week

Victory Boyd | photo courtesy of the artist

The American Civil Liberties Union has been celebrating the hundredth anniversary of its founding throughout the spring with a nationwide tour featuring presentations, performances and community activities. The tour, which the organization describes as “a multi-city exhibition on your rights and freedoms,” began in Austin in March and will visit a total of fourteen cities — it arrives in Philadelphia today. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Andrew Bird dazzles with trio arrangements of “My Finest Work Yet”

Andrew Bird | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

Andrew Bird put on a dazzling display of musicianship and personality on the NPR Music stage Thursday night. The veteran folk-rock multi-instrumentalist played a crisp set featuring four selections from his new LP My Finest Work Yet, all beautifully executed with the accompaniment of bass guitarist Alan Hampton and guitarist/vocalist Madison Cunningham — Bird added that Cunningham, who also performs as a singer-songwriter, has an “outstanding” full-length record of her own coming out in August. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Lula Wiles’ roots music is honest, original and brilliant

Lula Wiles | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Contemporary roots trio Lula Wiles shined brilliantly on Thursday night. The young band, consisting of Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke and Mali Obomsawin — joined by Eli Cohen on drums — brought a passionate mix of bluegrass, country rock and folk music to the PRX Stage in front of a full house.

Obomsawin, Buckland and Burke studied at Berklee College of Music together, (Cohen was at New England Conservatory) and the band is currently based in Boston. All four members of the group grew up in Maine, and they met while taking lessons at Maine Fiddle Camp, “which I know is, like, disgustingly adorable,” Buckland remarked during the show. All three singers are also songwriters and instrumentalists, and they displayed impressive group chemistry in several different instrumentations throughout their performance. The trio has always sounded stellar in a traditional bluegrass format — like fiddle, guitar and upright bass — but they added new dimensions to their set when they chose to break out of that format and explore other sounds. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Strand of Oaks open their hearts late Wednesday night

Strand Of Oaks | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Strand of Oaks were full-hearted and full of laughs as they closed out Wednesday night on the PRX stage. The Philadelphia-based guitar rockers and longtime WXPN favorites opened their hearts for the NonCOMM crowd during a sparkling set consisting mostly of material from their stellar new album Eraserland, which came out in March. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Adia Victoria enchants on the NPR Music stage

Adia Victoria | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Nashville’s Adia Victoria brought her striking combination of blues, pop rock and R&B to the NPR Music Stage Wednesday evening at #NonCOMM. Her voice was smooth and enchanting as ever and her songs were structured like mainstream R&B hits, but in her most memorable moments Victoria turned away from the traditional styles of blues and soul, and turned instead toward something more macabre– like the moody trip-pop of Lorde and Billie Eilish. This darker sound, with stronger electropop influences, sets her new album, Silences, apart from her 2016 debut, Beyond the Bloodhounds. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Y La Bamba call for honesty and empathy at the end of the night

Y La Bamba | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Y La Bamba brought their potent mix of indie-punk, música mexicana and raw emotional storytelling to the PRX stage to close out Tuesday night in inspiring fashion. Throughout the Portland band’s career, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza has channeled into their performances the energies of her Mexican-American heritage and her many frustrations with American culture. A mission statement by Mendoza on the band’s Facebook page declares, “BEING A CHICANA, MEXICAN AMERICAN HAS BEEN AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A STRENGTHENING JOURNEY. I AM LEARNING HOW TO CELEBRATE MY BEAUTY, HISTORY, BE AND HEAL FROM WITHIN IT.”

Mendoza, who is the daughter of immigrants from Michoacán, ripped furiously at the strings of her guitar as she sang and rapped in Spanish and English, railing against misogyny, patriarchy, and white ignorance. Her mission statement explains, “I WRITE IN SPANISH BECAUSE IT WANTS TO BE SUNG, I WRITE IN ENGLISH BECAUSE IT WANTS TO BE SAID.”

Y La Bamba were at their most intense last night when Mendoza rapped in unison with keyboardist Julia Mendiolea, including on their fiery opener, “Paloma Negra” — in English, “Black Pigeon.” This track served as a B-side for the title track from their 2019 album Mujeres, Mendoza’s meditation on womanhood and self-love. Continue reading →

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NON-COMM Recap: Morrissey brings theatrics and bombast on opening night

Morrissey | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Morrissey was as cynical, self-obsessed and self-assured as ever at NonCOMM on Tuesday night. “I have to warn you before I begin,” he offered slyly as he took center stage. “I have never in my life been this close to another human being. So If I don’t do something illegal, I will do something extremely… enjoyable.”

The World Cafe crowd responded with a roar, and the band burst into a rowdy rendition of “Alma Matters” from Morrissey’s 1997 album Maladjusted. His croon was grave and full-throated, and the band matched his machismo with pounding drums and several wailing guitar solos early in the set. Morrissey strutted across the stage, full of pomp and in his element; he danced with his microphone stand, clapped along to the band, and took every opportunity to denounce his critics, including in song. “So, the choice I have made may seem strange to you. But who asked you anyway? It’s my life to wreck, my own way,” began his opening number. Continue reading →