Moses Sumney brings beautifully resonating set to The Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN |

There’s something heavenly entrancing about the work of Moses Sumney. It’s a quality that seems to connect his listeners with more than just music — his choir-like vocals juxtaposed with his interactive, experimental loops and multi-instrumental tracks, along with his emotional and intimate lyrics, lead to an all-encompassing, physical, and seemingly spiritual experience.

Sumney is on the tail end of his US Tour, headlining for the first time, and debuting his new album Aromanticism. Fans jam-packed the basement in First Unitarian Church last night in anticipation of his set. He played a myriad of songs off the album such as “Doomed,” “Quarrel,” and “Make Out in My Car,” as well as a cover of Bjork’s 1994 song “Come to Me.” Continue reading →


Now Hear This: New Songs from Cold Specks, Moses Sumney, Cults, Susanne Sundfør, Laura Baird, Eamon and Mavis Staples

Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

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

October is the coolest month – musically speaking.  There are more (and, pound for pound, bigger) new releases flying around these days than any other time of year.  It’s dizzying.  And correspondingly, of course, there are also many many artists touring through town, now and in the coming weeks.  It’s left me with little choice but to offer an, umm, especially generous baker’s dozen by way of my monthly recap below.  So come feast your ears! 

Among other things, last month saw a considerable number of comebacks, of varying magnitudes – returns to action, artistic reinvigorations, etc – from artists all across the spectrum.  I’ve highlighted a good number of them below, along with a smaller, select handful of shining newcomer – most of whom turn out to be not entirely that new, after all.

The biggest (unintentional) theme for this month, a through-line linking all of these widely ranging selections, is the power of the voice.  The playlist below features a striking array of voices – extraordinary voices and commonplace voices, singly or in multiple, highly processed or unadorned.  And whether or not I call attention to to it in my write-up, each and every cut here offers something memorable in terms of its vocal dimension; a certain quality of the voice (or voices) at hand, or of the way that voice are used.  Let it be a reminder for us all, to keep on using our voices. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Listen to Moses Sumney’s heavenly new track, “Quarrel,” see him at the Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

If there is a heaven, or any kind of future otherworld, I’m pretty sure Moses Sumney’s gorgeous and comforting voice is what carries you into this next life. Particularly his new track, “Quarrel,” which you can listen to below.

Every little bit of this song’s epic, lush soundscape is fluid — as a myriad of sounds and textures meld and flow into one another with unbelievable ease. It’s a beautiful sonic journey that embarks with Sumney’s ethereal falsettos as your peaceful guide. Then before you know it, you’re traveling to different musical dimensions at a warp speed that also somehow feels like forever. Just trust me — I have not a clue how — but it does. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Bon Iver will bring new songs to the Wells Fargo Center this fall

Bon Iver | photo by Graham Tolbert & Crystal Quinn | courtesy of the artist

Bon Iver just shared two new tracks, “Hey, Ma” and “U (Man Like),” the project’s first new recordings in three years. The new songs feature contributions from Bruce Hornsby, Moses Sumney, Jenn Wasner, Elsa Jensen, Psymun, Phil Cook and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, among others, and both are accompanied by a video. Bon Iver has also extended their North American tour into the fall, and will headline the Wells Fargo Center on October 10. Feist will open the show. Continue reading →


James Blake assumes many forms at The Fillmore

James Blake | photo by Isaiah Spicer for WXPN |

James Blake has come a long way since he first introduced himself to the world through a series of gorgeously glitchy EPs back the start of the decade. From there, we’ve seen him undergo subtle but significant evolution. That early glitchiness gave way to dubstep-infused piano balladry, Mercury Prize-winning R&B, and elegant experimental soul, all anchored by Blake’s smooth, syrupy vocals.

This year’s Assume Form saw him adopting a different kind of shift, abandoning his trademark interiority in favor of collaboration and songs about romantic contentment. I’d dare say it’s the happiest collection of songs he’s put his name to yet. That happiness was both obvious and contagious at last Friday’s show at The Fillmore. Attendees were treated a generous, joyous selection of songs from his career, one that both properly showcased his new album and infused his past highlights with its positive vibes. Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Vita and the Woolf, Brockhampton, Brandee Younger, G. Love and more

Brockhampton | photo by Ashlan Grey | courtesy of the artist

This week we get something of a break in the live music landscape on Sunday, when there are pretty much zero shows of note and a couple cancellations due to the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl. There are more than enough options the rest of the week to keep you entertained, though. From two double headers packing the house (Brockhampton at TLA, G. Love at The Fillmore) to solid showings from local faves (Vita and the Woolf tonight, T.J. Kong on Friday), you’ve got no excuse for staying in. Continue reading →


Experimental harpist Brandee Younger will kick off Ars Nova’s 2018 season at Johnny Brenda’s

Brandee Younger | photo by Jatiphoto | via

Opening for local experimental jazz / rock band Desertion Trio (on their album release party night, nonetheless), New York’s Brandee Younger is certain to deliver a cordial opening set to kick off the celebration this February. Having performed with modern legends ranging from Lauryn Hill to Common, The Roots to Ravi Coltrane, and more recently appearing on NPR’s Tiny Desk series with Moses Sumney, it is clear that Younger has established herself as one of the best harpists in the modern Jazz and R&B scenes – but this wasn’t always her scene. Continue reading →


Free At Noon Flashback: Nick Hakim, soul machine, introduces himself to World Cafe Live

Nick Hakim | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

Sensual funkiness: a combination of words I’d never expect to throw together but that fully encapsulates the sound of Nick Hakim and his four-piece backing band during today’s Free At Noon performance. The New York-based artist released his debut full-length Green Twins in May and wrapped up a US headlining tour in Seattle on Tuesday, and beginning next week he can be found opening for Fleet Foxes during the European leg of their Crack-Up tour. Continue reading →