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Elvis Costello & The Imposters show off their funky swagger on “Mr. and Mrs. Hush”

Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello | photo by Stephen Done | courtesy of the artist

In preparation for their upcoming summer tour, Elvis Costello & The Imposters shared a new video for “Mr. and Mrs. Hush,” a track off their recent album Look NowRolling Stone describes “Mr. and Mrs. Hush” as a “punchy soul-kissed tune,” and its funky swagger is matched with the colorful, psychedelic animation in the new lyric video. Watch, and sing along, below. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Elvis Costello and Blondie celebrate the past while looking to the future

Elvis Costello | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

When an artist has been making music for over four decades, there are a couple common routes they can take with they live shows. One: stick to the tried-and-true, deliver a crowd-pleasing hit-parade, dial down the surprises or spontaneity. Two: write immersive new records and focus only on them, jettison the career-making singles that they’re tired of playing and don’t feel connected to anymore anyway.

Or they could find a third option in between phoned-in and alienating. On Saturday, two elite members of the post-punk / new wave vanguard, Elvis Costello and Blondie, did just that, headlining night two of the XPoNential Music Festival with sets that played equally to the casual listeners and the die-hards. Continue reading →

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And now, your full #XPNFest lineup: Elvis Costello, Blondie, Guster, J.S. Ondara, Lucy Dacus, and much more

clockwise from left: Elvis Costello, Guster, J.S. Ondara, Lucy Dacus, Blondie | photos courtesy of the artists

“When is the XPoNential lineup coming?” seems to be the question of the year over here at XPN HQ, and today we finally have a good answer for you: the full lineup is here. Right now.

We got a teaser of the 2019 XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru last week when we announced our Friday night headlinersHozier and Japanese Breakfast — along with the Wiggins Park lineup for that day, from Foxtrot and the Get Down to Dawes.

Today, the full lineup is here, capped by a headlining double-header on Saturday, July 27th with Elvis Costello & The Imposters and Blondie at BB&T Pavilion. Sunday’s concert will take place entirely at Wiggins Park, and will feature festival-closing sets from Kathleen Edwards, Guster, and The Amy Ray Band. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Cat Power, Elvis Costello, Matthew Dear, Half Waif, Richard Swift, Spiritualized and more

Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

This past Saturday was my 36th birthday, and, as it happens, this is my 36th Now Hear This column.  (I’ve been secretly keeping track: the first fifteen installments ran weekly over at Philly Voice during the fall of 2016; the monthly columns for The Key started in February 2017).  Thirty-six feels like a significant year – more so than 35 in many ways (especially considering what’s been happening to the institution of the presidency).  It’s divisible by more numbers, even if five isn’t one of them.  As one friend pointed out, it means I’m now old enough to vote twice! And, more notably, it means that I’ve been a quote-unquote “adult” for fully half of my life; that the time since I left my parents’ house now equals the time that I lived there.

So it’s afforded a nice opportunity to reflect back on the time around my 18th year – an age perhaps less overtly mythologized in song than sixteen or seventeen, but probably even more transformative in real (contemporary) life – which in my case was also the era of Y2K.  I’d reckon that nobody felt the cultural and historical shift from the 20th to the 21st century, from the 1990s to the still-nameless-after-all-these-years 2000s, more acutely than those of us for whom it paralleled the end of high school and the start of what-comes-next; i.e. me and my fellow circa-1982 babies: the oldest, truest millennials.  Conveniently, just two days before my birthday, September Now Hear This boy-toy Troye Sivan joined up with plasticwave popgenius (and certified ‘90s bitchCharli XCX to drop a video memorializing and celebrating the pop culture of that period – specifically 1999, although the references span roughly 1997-2000 – when, as many have mentioned, its creators were still in single digits, if not diapers.  It represents exactly, and in exquisitely realized detail, the “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered (late) ‘90s” that I have been ambivalently anticipating for quite some time now.

Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Elvis Costello will make two area appearances in November

Elvis Costello | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Legendary rock ‘n roller Elvis Costello and his band The Imposters have some news of the tour and album variety. They haven’t shared too many details about the new music just yet, but we know that there is a new record on the horizon, and according to a press release more information is coming “very shortly.” It will be Costello’s first album for Concord Records and his 25th solo full-length overall. Costello’s last release was 2013’s Wise Up Ghost, in collaboration with The Roots. Continue reading →

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Imperial Ail: Elvis Costello takes The Tower back to the Bedroom

Elvis Costello | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

On our way to the Tower Theater on Friday night, to witness Elvis Costello and the Imposters’ latest thunderous return, I explained the name of the band’s current tour – Imperial Bedroom and Other Chambers – and one of my companions asked: “is that a Donald and Melania reference?” It’s a fair question. And perhaps something of a missed opportunity. Costello, who once planned to title an album Emotional Fascism, and later (to give just one example) penned a lovely, Irish-tinged waltz about defiling Margaret Thatcher’s grave (long before her actual death), could easily have offered us a bounty of pointed, tuneful political cynicism. Indeed, as he quipped early in the show, his oeuvre is littered with topical-sounding titles which he might have presented as “badly satirical,” from “Waiting for the End of the World” to “American Gangster Time” to “Brilliant Mistake.” (The last of those, incidentally, opens with a line whose dismal relevance even its author probably never foresaw: “He thought he was the king of America.”)

But no. This performance had its twisted gaze aimed at the unsavory past, not the unspeakable present. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Full Bush, Josh Ritter, Christine and the Queens, Kaia Kater and more

Christine and the Queens
Christine and the Queens | photo by Jamie Morgan | courtesy of the artist

While there’s not much doing on Halloween itself, that’s fine — it’ll just give you more time and space to roam your neighborhood as a free agent looking for parties, collecting candy, or collecting candy with your kids if you’re at that point in your life. The rest of the week, though: JAM. PACKED. Here are 18 concerts to see in the next seven days in and around Philadelphia, from tonight’s punk rock mischief night gigs at Johnny Brenda’s and Ortlieb’s, to indie rock, soul and trance all round the region on Sunday. Continue reading →