Mir Fontane got a story to tell

Mir Fontane | photo by Angel Rodriguez | courtesy of artist

Hot 97 personality Ebro once tweeted that an MC must be able to move the crowd, have the ability to not just rhyme but to play with words, show different rhyme patterns and cadences with his style and be able to tell a cohesive story. The fourth criteria is something the New Jersey MC, Mir Fontane, has studied since he became interested in making music.

From his first project He So Crazy to the recent release of his brand new album Who’s Watching The Kids 2, his ability to tell stories about his hometown of Camden is what has allowed him to catch ears as well as rock any crowd that’s in front of him. The art of storytelling is what got songs like “Steph Curry” Wanni Wag” &and “Space Jam” to all have over 100k plays on SoundCloud, to win a Philly Hip Hop Award in 2016 for Tri-State Artists of the Year, to gain attention from 300 Music Ent. and to acquire 10 million streams on Apple Music as an independent artist.

I recently got the chance to talk to Mir Fontane about his journey as a storyteller as he prepares to rock another crowd at the TLA this Thursday with assistance from fellow Camden MC Franky Hill. Continue reading →


Lizzo raises her voice in song and on social issues at uplifting TLA set


Lizzo | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

A sermon. A therapy session. A protest. An evening of self-love. What do all of those things have in common? Lizzo offered all of that and more to her fans during her Saturday night performance at the TLA.

As fans, covered in glitter, sequins, and pastel wigs filtered into the South St. venue they were flanked by multiple signs stating that the Lizzo show was “100% sold out,” the sentiment mirroring Lizzo’s song “Truth Hurts” where she decrees that is “100% that bitch.” According to Lizzo, this was a far cry from her first show in Philly where only about 100 people who showed up. Continue reading →


Listen to Nothing cover Grouper’s “Heavy Water / I’d Rather Be Sleeping” from new outtakes compilation

Nothing | photo by Nick Sayers | courtesy of the artist

Longtime listeners of Philly’s Nothing will know that, noisy as this four-piece can be, frontman Domenic Palermo has a serious soft spot for spectral ambient music. So it should surprise no one that, in the process of recording last year’s excellent Dance on the Blacktop, they laid down a smoky, swirling cover of “Heavy Water / I’d Rather Be Sleeping” by millennial ambient luminary Grouper — aka Pacific Northwest artist Liz Harris — from their 2008 album Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill.   Continue reading →


Just Announced: Big Boi brings Dungeon Family Reunion Tour to The Fillmore in April

Big Boi | photo via Facebook

Even if you’re just a casual listener to southern rap icons OutKast, you know the significance of the Dungeon Family clique — the scene of peers in the ATL hip-hop community that collaborated with one another as rappers and producers and general ambassadors for the scene. (If you’re not familiar, check out the 2016 doc The Art of Organized Noize to get up to speed.)

Though OutKast’s creative partners Big Boi and Andre3000 found the most mainstream success out of the Dungeon Family, its various other players remain acclaimed and beloved in the hip-hop world, and this spring Big Boy is leading a short Dungeon Family Reunion tour that begins at Chicago’s House of Blues and comes to The Fillmore Philly on April 24th. Continue reading →


Just Announced: DMX will celebrate two decades of It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot at TLA in April

DMX’s It’s Dark and Hell is Hot | via Discogs

Last May, the debut album from New York rapper DMX turned 20 years old, and this spring he’s taking It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot on the road for a celebratory tour at the tail end of its anniversary year. The run of dates brings him to the TLA on Saturday, April 6th; tickets go on sale this Friday, February 8th, at 10 a.m., more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

The album is known for the club banger “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” which still packs floors 20 years later, and which is a perfect example of hip-hop’s transition from the boom-bap turntablist sound of the genre’s 80s and early 90s days to the sampler-oriented sound of the late 90s and aughties.   Continue reading →


Phosphorescent returns with “New Birth in New England,” new album C’est La Vie, TLA gig

Phosphorescent | photo courtesy of the artist

Singer and songwriter Matthew Houck has been somewhat off the grid for the past four or so years, ever since the release and extensive touring of his musical project Phosphorescent‘s sixth LP Muchacho. That silence ends today with “New Birth In New England,” a song reflective of what’s been going on in his life during that time period — finding love, having children, and leaving New York City.

The sunny, upbeat tune with a bit of an Afropop flare is the lead single from Phosphorescent’s seventh LP, C’est La Vie, due out on October 5th via Dead Oceans Records.   Continue reading →


Anthony Green’s Avalon tour reminds us that we’re all in the same spot

Anthony Green | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN |

On Saturday night, Anthony Green and his powerhouse of a band celebrated 10 years of Avalon at The TLA, along with Good Old War and new project Found Wild. For anyone who knows the closeness that Green, Keith Goodwin, Dan Schwartz, Tim Arnold, and Circa Survive member Brendan Ekstrom share, then you know that this tour is truly special. Though these guys frequently back Green on his solo ventures, Avalon is pivotal. It marks the beginning of an incredible decade of music and friendship that followed, and it showed onstage. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Kelela will headline the TLA next month

Kelela | photo by Daniel Sannwald | courtesy of the artist

R&B / electropop singer and songwriter Kelela impressed us twice last year: first with an early afternoon appearance at the Made In America Festival, and later with the release of Take Me Apart, one of our Top 15 Albums of 2017.

Of the record, our Rob Huff wrote:

A masterclass in tension and release, it cuts to the feeling of finally knowing what you want, in love and in life, and not being willing to wait for it anymore. And it expresses that with a determination and vulnerability that feels anthemic.

This week, Kelela announced a run of Winter tour dates with The xx in New Zealand, and a handful of stateside engagements upon her return — and one of those includes a February 27 gig at the TLA on South Street. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: mewithoutYou at TLA; Slaughter Beach, Dog at the First Unitarian Church

mewithoutYou | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN |

In recent years, Upper Darby art punk favorites mewithoutYou have toured in celebration of every milestone they’ve hit — this time it’s the 15th anniversary of [A–>B] Life, and they’ve hit the road to play the album in its entirety. Tonight’s stop at the TLA also includes a performance from Pianos Become The Teeth. Last time mewithoutYou played a show in town was for the 15th anniversary of Brother, Sister — read The Key’s review here. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Amine delivers his Tour For You to the TLA

Portland, Oregon’s Amine has had quite a year. He dropped a multi platinum single with “Caroline”, performed on huge talk shows and festival stages, did songs with people like Nelly, Charlie Wilson and Kehlani, and was picked as a XXL Freshman. Yet on my way to his Philly stop on the “Tour For You” (a play off the title of his excellent debut album Good For You ), my young Uber driver still had no idea who he was by name. It wasn’t until he asked me to play a song by him (I picked “Caroline” of course) that the driver began singing along to the melody, exclaiming “oh, I know this, it’s always on the radio!”. He also enjoyed the other songs from the album he heard, because it’s a dope, fun project. But when people know your big song but not your name, it’s a sign you might have bought a one way ticket to One Hit Wonderville. After seeing Amine’s live show, which grew my appreciation for his work even more, I can only hope that won’t be the case for him. Continue reading →