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NonCOMM Recap: The Growlers make magic happen

The Growlers | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Among the many things that I love about NonCOMM each year is the tangible sense of magic in the air that’s just everywhere. From the joy of seeing old friends and favorite bands play to the joy of discovering a slamming new act, it’s all there. No band better captured that raw feeling of mystery and cautious optimism than The Growlers. Playing upstairs to an absolutely packed room, the SoCal-based band mixed elements of pulp noir and classic Americana to make NonCOMM magic come true. Continue reading →

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The Growlers head up an all-out dance party at Union Transfer

The Growlers | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
The Growlers | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

On Monday night, Orange County psych-surf band The Growlers made a stop at Philly’s Union Transfer as a part of their fall tour. They were joined by the Australian triio The Babe Rainbow, which was ollowed by an entertaining (and shirtless) set by DJ Johnny Basil. Both preceding acts laid the ground work for what would be an all out dance party when The Growlers took the stage. The beach-goth brethren had the crowd in the palms of their hands and even on stage though the constant circulation of crowd-surfing and stage diving. Playing dance heavy jams like “One Million Lovers” and “Going Gets Tough,” concert goers doubtless had sore legs and fond memories of the show the next morning. Check out a gallery of photos from the night below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Growlers at Union Transfer; Luna at The Trocadero

The Growlers | Photo courtesy of the artist
The Growlers | Photo courtesy of the artist

The last time the Growlers were in town, they sold out Johnny Brenda’s. Tonight, they’re playing at Union Transfer, and it is sure to be a fun show. The “beach goth” five-piece, who is known for blending surf guitar reverb with ’80s post-punk, released their fifth studio album, Chinese Fountain, last month. Get tickets and more info on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Toy Soldiers & Hezekiah Jones at the Queen, Lushlife at Milkboy Philly, Alec Gross at Abington Art Center, The Growlers/Mountjoy at Johnny Brenda’s


Philadelphian roots rockers Toy Soldiers and folk collective Hezekiah Jones were both recently featured during the Pastorius Park Summer Concert series. Tonight they come together at World Cafe Live at the Queen for a performance of rockin’ tunes and Americana classics. Also playing will be The Fleeting Ends (who we missed at XPO Fest) and Jordan Hull. This all ages show starts at 8 PM, tickets are $13 in advanced and $16 day of show.

South Philly native Lushlife will bring his beat-making swagger with him to Milkboy Philly tonight. Having made a stellar name for himself over the past year, Lushlife blends experimental production and live rapping together into one nuanced sound. Also performing is funky psychedelic duo THEESATISFACTION and indie electronic artist Mast. This show is 21+, doors open at 8 PM. Go here for tickets.

Bucks County native Alec Gross has been making a name for himself in the New York City singer-songwriter scene, but he returns to the region tonight for a show at the Abington Arts Center. The lushly-arranged songs on his album Strip the Lanterns are both introspective and anthemic, recalling Josh Ritter and Bruce Springsteen – you can grab a download of his single “If You Don’t Mind (Baby Go Ahead)” below. The Abington Art Center is located at 515 Meetinghouse Road in Jenkintown. Admission to the all ages show is $5 and music begins at 7 p.m.

A band from California who calls themselves The Growlers will be playing tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. The group experiments with different sounds ranging from psychedelic to classic rock to hip hop. Also playing will be Philadelphia psych rock boys, Mountjoy who just released their Naked Lake EP. To purchase tickets to this 21+ show go here. Doors open at 8PM.

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The Week Ahead: Childish Gambino, David Byrne, Thin Lips, The McCrary Sisters and more

Childish Gambino’s This Is America | still from video

We hope you’ve got your schedule cleared, because the next seven days are seriously busy on the live music front. Kicking off tonight with Childish Gambino’s long-awaited headliner at Wells Fargo Center, and running through the return of punk legends The Vibrators on Monday, here are 23 concerts you can see in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Wowzers! Check out the 2017 NON-COMMvention performance lineup

Photo by John Vettese

WXPN’s NON-COMMvention, the station’s annual music-industry centered conference, announced their nightly performance roster for their 17th iteration. Apart from becoming a hub for the industries’ best, the conference always brings some damn good performers. Brace yourselves: This three-day event is jam-packed with performances from The Pixies, Blondie, Real Estate, Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Districts, and a whole lot more.

NON-COMM 2017 takes place May 17th through May 19th; check out the full day-by-day lineup below. Tickets to these performances are only open to XPN Members, so head over to the pledge page to become a member and get access to this incredible show — and get acquainted with the artists in the playlist below.

Non-Comm performances will be broadcast live on WXPN with video webcasts on VuHaus.

Continue reading →

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This Weekend’s Picks: Nat Baldwin, The Fiery Furnaces, Young Widows, Sisters 3, Cage The Elephant, Sleigh Bells

Nat Baldwin

FRIDAY, MAY 6
Right now, it’s cool for bands to dabble in basketball, but Nat Baldwin doesn’t dabble in it. He turned down a basketball scholarship to study music, and his last record, Most Valuable Player, featured a picture of his MVP trophy from a junior-high-school basketball tournament. Baldwin is most well-known as the bassist for The Dirty Projectors, but he’s been putting out solo work since before he worked with the band. The solo effort consists of Baldwin—often without any back-up—playing the upright bass and singing. His use of melisma (several notes sung over one textual syllable) and erratic falsetto makes him sound, on first listen, strikingly like Dirty Projectors front man Dave Longstreth. But It’s a weak comparison. One obvious difference is the stripped-down acoustic feel of Baldwin’s music; another is his use of drama. Baldwin recently released a new single, “Weights”, from his forthcoming album People Changes (which features a shirtless Baldwin holding a basketball on the cover). By itself, the song might seem too slow or lacking direction. But, in the accompanying video (shot on a Brooklyn basketball court), the slow strings have a deliberate tension, as if there was a competition in Baldwin and his bass. Nat Baldwin perform with Nick Millevoi and Bronze Float at 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are $10. —Dave Simpson

Also playing: Young Widows + My Disco, Gods And Queens at Johnny Brenda’s (8 p.m., 21+, $10); The Fiery Furnaces at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $20); Jukebox The Ghost + Wakey Wakey, Pretty & Nice at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $12-$13)

SATURDAY, MAY 7
Cage The Elephant + The Shackeltons at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., SOLD OUT); The Sisters 3 (record-release show) + Honey Watts, On The Water, DJ Slow Poke at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Denison Witmer + The Oxygen Ponies, Poison Tree at World Cafe Live (7 p.m., $20); D’Amore + Hot Bagels, Best Friends at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10)

SUNDAY, MAY 8
Jerry Blavat’s Mother’s Day Musical Spectacular featuring Frankie Avalon, Jay Black, Kenny Vance & The Planotones, The Tymes, The Orlons at The Kimmel Center (7:30 p.m., $41-$100); Sleigh Bells + CSS, Mr. Dream, Wet Witch at The Trocadero (8 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); The Growlers + Adam And Dave’s Bloodline, Uncle Bad Touch at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)