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Brockhampton is joined by Jazmine Sullivan and serpentwithfeet on The Tonight Show for an emotional performance of “Tonya”

Brockhampton
Brockhampton | photo by Ashlan Grey | courtesy of the artist

Not too long ago, the internet’s first boy band Brockhampton announced their short break due to the allegations of Ameer Van’s physical and emotional abuse towards two women. On Wednesday, Brockhampton returned to the spotlight making an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. They debuted a new song titled “Tonya” from the upcoming album the best years of our lives via Question Everything/RCA Records. Their performance, featuring Philadelphia R&B icon Jazmine Sullivan, New York one-of a kind experimental pop artist serpentwithfeet, and Youtube sensation pop singer Ryan Beatty, really hits ya. I’ve been a huge fan of Jazmine Sullivan since 2008 and seeing her performance with those rich and silky vocals put me in the grave. It’s 2008 and she’s still killin’ the game. Continue reading →

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Tending soil with serpentwithfeet

serpentwithfeet
serpentwithfeet | photo by Ash Kingston | courtesy of the artist

Experimental pop-star serpentwithfeet is an artist who knows how to power clash, both sonically and emotionally. His music is at once vulnerable and volcanic as influences from the baroque to the Björk collide with each other. On stage, his presence is imposing yet inviting. His debut full length soil, out now on Secretly Canadian and Tri Angle Records, finds him wearing these occasionally messy dualities like finely tailored couture as he sings about the comforts and complexities of queer love. It’s somehow more expansive than his 2016 EP Blisters and more incisive.

He’ll be realizing these narratives on stage at Johnny Brenda’s in Philly next week. It’ll be a semi-homecoming for serpentwithfeet (born Josiah Wise), as he attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia before ultimately moving to New York. To prepare for his return, I had the chance to chat him up about what motivates his creative output, how and when to exorcise one’s inner should, and what parts of Philly he always remembers to visit when he’s back in town… Continue reading →

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With Cornucopia, Björk thrillingly celebrates our future rather than her past

Björk at “Cornucopia” | photo by Santiago Felipe | via facebook.com/bjork

On “Future Forever” Björk promises to “build a musical scaffolding.” With Cornucopia, her meticulous and magnificent new staged concert at New York’s The Shed, she does exactly that. 

While the audience settles, bird songs and sweet jungle sounds loop. This creates a unique nature-like atmosphere inside The Shed’s industrial interior. After the lights dim, The Hamrahlíð Choir, an Icelandic children’s choir, appears in front of the stage. They preform a darling set, including a cover of Björk’s own “Cosmology.” Once they walk off, an animated video for “Family” is projected onto the curtains of dangling strings that guard the stage. As a glowing purple and yellow Björk fills the frame, the curtains thin out, revealing a stage made of mushroom-like platforms. Finally, singing the gibberish that opens “The Gate”, Björk arrives.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Directors’ Cut — The XPN video team picks its favorite performances of the year

Jupiter and Okwess | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, World Cafe videographers John Groome and Galea McGregor share their top performances of the year.

Two of the hardest working people at WXPN are easily Galea McGregor and John Groome, our two in-house videographers who document practically everything that happens at the station. Free at Noon concerts, World Cafe sessions, NonCOMM, the XPoNential Music Festival — they see and hear just about ever performance that happens in our little world, and they are arguably the most qualified to say what the best performances of the year are. Here are their picks. Continue reading →

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Sharon Van Etten and an orchestra covered LCD Soundsystem’s “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” for the BBC

Sharon Van Etten | still from video

When she’s not working on her hotly-anticipated new record, singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten is making select performances around the globe, and this month she appeared in the BBC Proms concert series for a revue-style show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The theme was “New York: Sound of a City,” and featured a variety of artists from NYC — Hercules and Love Affair, serpentwithfeet, Nifty Scott — performing backed by the Heritage Orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley. For Van Etten’s performance, she covered the LCD Soundsystem ballad “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” from 2006’s Sound of Silver. Watch the video below, and check out other videos from the concert here.   Continue reading →

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The Skeleton Key: June is jumping with Kids of the Black Hole film series, Harmony Woods on the river, theremins in Laurel Hill cemetery, and Philly Still F’n Shreds fest

Out of the Blue screens at International House’s Kids of the Black Hole series this month

I am an unapologetic cheerleader for summer. There’s water ice, hang outs down the shore, you can ride your bike everywhere, and most importantly there are outside shows! I mean, say what you will about the beauty of West Philly in winter – and it really is quite nice, don’t get me wrong – but given the choice between sledding down the rock-strewn hills of Clark Park on a ripped pizza box I just found in a trash or sitting around and watching a bunch of bands play while eating ice cream during the annual music festival there, I know where I’ll be. Continue reading →