JD Souther is a veritable country-rock living legend, writing songs over his impressive career for the likes of The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne. He's on tour in support of his latest album "Natural History," and will be here for an XPN Free At Noon on December 2, along with a special set by Magnolia Memoir.
After Souther relocated to Nashville, he wrote for an even greater variety of artists--India Arie, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, and Brooks & Dunn and over time has accumulated numerous awards for hit records, Grammy nominations and gold and platinum albums. He's also a successful solo artist, releasing several charting albums in the '70s and '80s. In 2008, he released his fifth solo album. Though "If the World Was You" is undeniably Souther--hearty, solid country-rock--the years of change are evident in this collection. Now he's back with a follow-up, released just this past May.
"Natural History" is retrospective and hearty, full of a mix of obscure recordings from Souther's long history, a new song, and plenty of reclamations from his past - the Eagles with 'The Sad Cafe', 'Best Of My Love' and 'New Kid In Town', and Linda Ronstadt with 'Faithless Love' are now all Souther's again. Souther described the result as "smoky and rainy", almost like "film noir", full of occasionally jazzy acoustics and his sophisticated vocals.
Don't miss JD Souther at this Free at Noon, as he brings some truly inspired country rock to the World Cafe stage. There's not a better way to start the weekend!
And, be sure to catch him for a full show on Saturday night, December 3 at Sellersville Theater.
Magnolia Memoir brings the sultry danceability of jazz to contemporary rock. Self-described as "Billie Holiday meets the Killers with a dash of the Clash," LA-based Magnolia Memoir is making waves. Vocalist and songwriter Mela Lee boasts a five-octave range and a girlishly sweet voice, which has been featured in numerous movies, television shows and commercials. With Alexander Burke as music director and keyboardist, bassist Gordon Bash, guitarist Aron Forbes and Matt Lucich on drums, the ensemble will be doing a special acoustic set opening for J.D Souther this week's Free at Noon show. They are currently touring their EP "What's A Good Girl Do?" and their debut album "The Perfect Crime" will be released on eOne Music Group in February.
From the Santa Monica Pier to Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble, with three solid years of touring under their collective belt, Angel Band has rapidly expanded their following from opening act up to headliner status. No audience has been known to have been unmoved by Angel Band's all-out stage presence, signature rootsy, bluesy Americana songs, superb back-up band and the vocals of leader and lyricist Nancy Josephson and fellow Angels Kathleen Weber and Aly Paige. Initially performing as opening act and backup singers for Josephson's husband, world-class roots musician David Bromberg at Bonnaroo, Merlefest, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and other high profile events, Angel Band has moved up to playing prestigious concert venues on their own. Voted one of the Top 10 Favorite Bands at Bonnaroo, Angel Band are clearly a group on the ascent.
Born and raised in new York City, Nancy Josephson says "I don't ever remember not singing," and was thumping on an acoustic guitar at age six. She learned to play stand-up bass and was a founding member of the all-girl bluegrass group, the Buffalo Gals. After a move to California in the mid 70's she performed with a number of well-known bluegrass and "new grass" performers, including Arlo Guthrie, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick (of the Good Ol' Persons), and The David Bromberg Big Band. She has also sung back-up with Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow, among others.
In 1980, David and Nancy moved to Chicago, where he studied violin making while Nancy sang commercial jingles, joined The Annettes as the only Caucasian in a 30-voice women's choir, raised two young children and switched to visual arts as her main creative outlet. When the city of Wilmington, Delaware asked David and Nancy to become artists in residence in 2002, Nancy initially refrained from joining the bluegrass sessions David organized there, until Bromberg started raving about a mother and sister vocal duo that might accommodate a third voice. "Mainly to satisfy David" Nancy attended the next jam and was hooked by the resultant three-part harmonies. Thus began the formation of Angel Band.
Kathleen Weber comes from a musical family in Philadelphia. She is a four-year veteran of the Angel Band and a lifelong singer; one critic exclaimed "her deep, bluesy voice seems almost out of place in her small frame." You can really hear her influences channeled: Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin and and Alison Krause, among others. Her versatility allows her to move easily between Angel Band's low down and dirty and simple, sweet songs. Aly Paige's vocals are clear, clean and powerful. Originally from Delaware, now living in Philadelphia, Aly joined the band as a novice in the Americana world, but with some roots in the world of opera. Aly belts with the best of them, and one can hear a little Etta James in her approach to the material; soulful, soaring, then close up and intimate, Aly's approach captivates and ignites the audience.
Matthew Sweet is on tour in support of the 20th Anniversary re-issue of his classic 1991 album, Girlfriend and plays World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, on Friday night October 28, and Sellersville Theatre on Thursday, November 3. He'll play XPN Free At Noon at the Queen on Friday, October 28.
Creating catchy rock/powerpop music seems to always have been an integral part of Matthew Sweet's life. Sweet was off to an early start in his musical career, self-recording several solo pieces onto four-tracks and later recording with his high-school band Specs for a battle of the bands LP. Such mild stepping stones in Sweet's life lead him straight to the heart of the 80's Athen's music scene. After settling in Athens for college, he found himself collaborating with several groups and top artist including Community Trolls with Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Oh-Ok and Buzz of Delight. By the mid-80's, Sweet landed himself a deal with Columbia Records and later A&M Records. While his poppy tunes and catchy riffs were praised, he never quite achieved mainstream status. It wasn't until the release of his third album "Girlfriend" (1991) that his expanding melodic sound broke through the boundaries of the pop aesthetic and paved the way to a more successful career. With a newfound momentum, Sweet embarked on assembling new bands, such as The Thorns (2002), and working on several new solo projects. Among his most recent work is his solo-album Modern Art. Full of yearning pop, infectious medolies, and witty wordplay, "Modern Art" proves to be another successful release for Matthew Sweet.
Formed in New York City in 1988, the Spin Doctors have been honing their unique blend of pop, funk, and progressive rock for over twenty years. Current members Chris Barron (vocals), Eric Schenkman (guitar and vocals), Aaron Comess (drums and percussion), and Mark White (bass guitar) have been releasing singles and playing one-off shows throughout the US and Europe up until the present. The unique brand of alt-rock built by the Spin Doctors, infused with elements of funk and an unmistakable flair for pop, has seemed to grow even more revered with time.
In fact, 2011 marks the twenty-year anniversary of their five-time platinum-selling debut album, "Pocket Full of Kryptonite". Fueled by the mega-hit singles, "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," the album, was a critical and commercial success. After a string of other successful releases – and more Platinum certifications – the Spin Doctors are have rereleased "Pocket Full of Kryptonite". Known for their catchy jams, clever lyrics, and laidback vibe, the Spin Doctors continue to earn the adoration of fans and critics alike. In addition to the special release, the Spin Doctors embarked on a tour with stops throughout the US. They're wrapping things up with a stop at the World Cafe this weekend.
Come check out the Spin Doctors with XPN on Friday, October 14, for another awesome Free at Noon!
And, you can hear the band perform Kryptonite live, in its entirety, Friday night, October 14, at World Cafe Live.
One of the longest-running bands to come from the first-generation British punk
movement, The Mekons have been making music since 1977. Punk at the core but not afraid to mix it up, The Mekons have dabbled in a range of other genres, from folk to reggae. But the eight members of The Mekons are still defined by their brand of post-apocalyptic cowboy punk, which has garnered them a significant amount of acclaim. Their 28th album, titled Ancient and Modern, was released just this past September--and it holds to Mekon sound, albeit some evidencing some of the Mekon's mellowing over time. But that doesn't mean it's any less charming.
True to form, the Mekons have infused Ancient and Modern with plenty of hooks and clever, thought-provoking lyrics. Group choruses abound in The Mekons' music and the band actually sound they are having fun when they play. It is this fact that makes The Mekons so appealing: in an age where being cool means acting unaffected, The Mekons are still not afraid to put everything on the table and to have fun while doing it.
Wrapping up a list of tour dates in the Midwest and Eastern US, the Mekons will be visiting World Cafe. Come see one of the longest-running, and still rocking, bands in the history of punk at XPN's Live Friday on October 7. It's free and it's undoubtedly the best way to start your weekend.
XPN Artist To Watch, Diego Garcia is on tour in support of his debut album, Laura, and plays two shows at the Tin Angel on September 21. He'll be here for a Free At Noon show Friday, September 23.
Former frontman of the indie band, Elefant, Diego Garcia went solo in 2010. His new album Laura is on many "Best of the Year 2011" lists, and is also a XPN Featured Album of the Week.
Incorporating his Latin background – his parents are both Argentinean – into his lush, delicate music, Diego Garcia’s deeply reflective music calls to mind the likes of Leonard Cohen and Morrissey. Garcia writes incredibly introspective, often-anguished lyrics, and subtly fuses the Spanish guitar with a more traditional folk sound. With lyrics that explore a range of emotional planes, Garcia is a master of subtlety: Whether it is with panicking guitar strums, twinkles of Spanish guitar, or his soft and intimate musings, Garcia is able to delicately move the listener on an emotional level. He manages to weave his sounds like a tapestry, crafting a dreamlike, confidential album that is sure to leave listeners wanting more. After all, the album is all about his wife, Laura, and signifies a new, more personal chapter in music-making for this talented artist.
Don't miss this Free at Noon--Diego Garcia's emotional web of sound can't be beat when it comes to starting off the weekend.
And be sure to listen to his live session in the World Cafe Archives, including two web extra songs - at WorldCafe.NPR.org.
Fresh off an appearance on the David Letterman Show, and just nominated by Mojo Magazine as "Best Live Band," The Jim Jones Revue play The Blockley in Philly on Friday September 16, and will surley rock, on the next XPN Free At Noon on September 16!
There's sure to be not a little fire and brimstone. If you've ever wanted to see rock'n'roll incarnated, the Jim Jones Revue is probably the closest thing to it. The five-piece garage-and-blues rock outfit from London came together in 2008, when frontman Jim Jones (a veteran of rock, creating solid songs since the '80s) met guitarist Rupert Orton at the aptly named 'Not the Same Old Blues Crap' club night. They recorded an eponymous debut in just 48 hours that year, and news of their back-to-basics sound, inspired by the likes of The Sonics and Little Richard, quickly began to spread.
Now The Jim Jones Revue is onto their second release, which is out on August 16th in the US. They've created another masterpiece of bluesy riffs and raspy vocals, all infused with endless, primal energy. The band previewed "Burning Your House Down" at London nightclub Madame Jojo's for a sold-out audience last September. Oasis singer Liam Gallagher as well as members of Grinderman and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were in attendance, and it's safe to say that the reputation of The Jim Jones Revue is growing. "Burning Your House Down" could very likely take the US by storm, just as it has across the pond.
Produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grinderman), this 11-track collection catches most of the power of The Jim Jones Revue on stage, but to get the full effect of their take-no prisoners vibe, a live performance is necessary. Thus, this week's Free at Noon is not to be missed. There's not a better way to start the weekend!
Central PA's Kingsfoil are one of Helen Leicht's recent musical discoveries on the local scene. Fronted by the charismatic Jordan Davis, the four-piece released its latest album, On Our Own Together, last June. Kingsfoil began as a duo in the early '00s; Davis and guitarist/vocalist Tristan Martin released The Almond Tree EP in 2005. Joe Cipollini was later added on drums and in 2007 Tim Warren joined the group on bass. The songs from On Our Own Together are incredibly polished and catchy bring to mind the musical likes of Coldplay and The Fray.
The band played the XPoNential Music Festival this summer. You can listen to their full set here.
The band plays The 8X10 in Baltimore with Virginia Coalition on September 16, and the Dewey Beach Music Conference 2011 the weekend of September 24-25, 2011.
This York, PA native has figured out how to capture an audience. With a distinctly memorable voice that could relax even the most uneasy mind, Alexandra shows she is not only a beautiful voice but an accomplished songwriter as well. After her first released debut, "Fashionably Late" in 2008, Alexandra embarked on a 32 date college tour in Fall 2009. Taking a small hiatus from shows to bomb a highly anticipated album "Wash Your Mouth Out", recorded in Nashville, TN with producer Dustin Burnett, the album is due out on June 24th! Dana Alexandra is making the change from solo act to a full band and is ready to start throwing a dance party at every show all while keeping her sound grounded and straight from the heart.
Dana performed at this summer's XPoNential Music Festival, as guest vocalist with Kuf Knotz. She plays Tin Angel in Philly on September 8, and the York Fair, First Stage on September 10, in York, PA.
Complete with strings, drums, guitars, and bass, Deer Tick is a self-described rock-rock-rock outfit with a little something more--a twist of alt-country and gritty blues, as demonstrated on their 2010 studio album, The Black Dirt Sessions. With their serious music and humorous on-stage banter, these five young musicians have one goal: to rock across the continent.
One of two great Live Friday artists gracing the World Cafe stage this week, The Peace Creeps are a Philly-based psychedelic rock outfit. Front man Richard Bush was originally the leader of local icons The A's, but after some label issues Bush brought together guitarist John Marchiano, drummer Jeff Pancoast and bass guitarist Roy Fisher. The Peace Creeps had gotten their start. Their debut, "Autumn of Love", brought together a number of local musiciams on a nostalgic and colorful journey through human experience.
Just about five years later, The Peace Creeps are back with their second offering. "Time Machine" is definitely an album for Bush to hold his '60s rock reverence high--one can easily here the Beatles, the Stones, and British Invasion as influences, along with more contemporary and closer inspirations such as Dr. Dog and Wilco. Yet "Time Machine" is aptly named--it's clear that this album was deeply inspired by the Era of Flower Children and their best rock. Any listener can tell that Bush means it when he sings,
"We can do anything we want to when I get my time machine together. I'll stop back and pick you up, we'll go and meet The Beatles."
And just about every listener feels the pull as keenly with the Peace Creeps on stage or through headphones. Don't miss them on the stage with Beck & Cauthen this Friday at noon.
David Beck and Paul Cauthen have both been professional musicians, going solo, for some time. Both natives of Texas, they had childhoods full of music--Beck was the son of a successful touring artist, and Cauthen was singing in church at the age of seven, learning guitar from his grandfather. Both eventually made their way to Austin, where they formed a collaboration in 2009 after a series of chance musical encounters. Today, Beth & Cauthen have just cut their studio debut, "Sons of Fathers".
Beck & Cauthen could best be described as roots rock powerhouse--with influences such as Robert Earl Keen, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Stones, the moving harmonies of this duo can be deeply country, folksy, experimental, or just plain rock-based. After secluding themselves in Doss, Texas, to perfect their finest work, Beck & Cauthen headed to the studio. Their debut was produced by Grammy winner Lloyd Maines, and it promises to be full of their signature melodies, fine instrumentation, and the feel of Texas on the road. Beck & Cauthen currently have a number of shows lined up in the Lone Star State, but they will be in Philly this weekend, so catch them at the Free at Noon! They're playing with Philly natives, The Peace Creeps. There's no better way to start the weekend--two great acts, a beer, and good company.
This week's Live Friday features a local band that's been gaining a lot of buzz, both here and across the pond. With lyrical and vocal techniques reminiscent of Petty, Springsteen, and Dylan and the blazing guitar rifts of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, Philadelphia trio The War on Drugs plays retrospective music in a progressive manner. Founding members Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile met at a party and indulged in their mutual admiration for Bob Dylan. The two would soon begin recording together. Granduceil's gritty vocals are supported by the band's dreamy ambience, inventing a masterful soundscape. With their full-length debut, "Wagonwheel Blues", the band experimented with various sounds and influences, blending noisy distortions and roots rock.
Though Kurt Vile has left the band and other line up changes have occured, The War on Drugs have been steadily building an audience--locally and abroad--in the past few years. Their latest release, "Slave Ambient", has them embarking on an extensive tour both in the States and abroad. "Slave Ambient" is a hearty dose of rock 'n' roll, with plenty of side influences. From the expertly placed synthesizers and bold electric guitars to the undercurrents of country rock and old pop ditties, "Slave Ambient" is just plain stimulating. It's been under construction for four years, recorded in Granduciel's home studio here in Philly. Don't miss this chance to hear from The War on Drugs right before the official release of their second proper album. It's the Free at Noon at World Cafe Live, and it's the best way to start off the weekend.
And, check out their performance from the 2008 XPoNential Music Festival. Listen to the full concert at NPR.org/music, recorded live in concert from WXPN at Wiggins Park in Philadelphia on July 11, 2008.
Frightened Rabbit is in town supporting Death Cab for Cutie, and plays the Mann Music Center on Friday night at 7:30pm - opening for Death Cab for Cutie. They will be here for a live "Free At Noon" show Friday, August 5.
Since their formation in 2004, Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit have been lauded for their folk-tinged introspection. Their breakthrough album, "Midnight Organ Fight," launched the band into international acclaim. Led by singer/guitarist Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit recently released "The Winter of Mixed Drinks" to critical acclaim. A grand, sweeping album, "The Winter of Mixed Drinks" finds Frightened Rabbit adding an uplifting, optimistic tone to their music that was previously not to be found. This works well for Frightened Rabbit too; their music sounds urgent and
important, while still being very soulful and emotive. Featuring intelligent wordplay, densely layered guitars, and fervent choruses, the album's themes of liberation and escape are highlighted throughout. Complete with smooth, slick production, "The Winter of Mixed Drinks" serves as a sort of bridge for these Scottish musicians from their more lo-fi, folk roots. Thanks to many years spent honing and polishing their sound, Frightened Rabbit have created an impressive, complex album worthy of all its hype.
"The Winter of Mixed Drinks" has done very well since its release, charting very high on the US and UK Independent Albums. Critics are not holding back the praise either, first calling it a contender for the Best of 2010 and often noting the 'sharp' songwriting. As best put by Dave Simpson from The Guardian, "...most of their songs – with themes of escape, freedom and reinvention – have huge impassioned choruses that are made to be shouted from the nearest available mountain." Their live performances are just as passionate.
Currently, Frightened Rabbit is touring the US, headlining as well as sharing the stage with names as big as Death Cab for Cutie. Don't miss them this Friday as the light up the stage at World Cafe--it's the Free at Noon, Scottish style! There can't be a better way to start the weekend.
Tim Robbins (yes, the Hollywood A-lister of such notable films as Shawshank Redemption and Mystic River) has a band, an album, and a record deal. He's going to be at World Cafe, giving a free performance with his superb backing band, this Friday. Don't miss the Americana stylings of this Academy Award winner--Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band know how to make the country blues come alive on stage.
Tim Robbins grew up surrounded by music. His parents met in the UCLA marching band, and his father eventually moved the family to Greenwich Village during the height of the '60s and '70s folk renaissance to pursue a career his band The Highwaymen. The result was an abiding love of blue-collar Americana for Robbins, as evidenced by the tone of The Rogues Gallery's eponymous debut. It's safe to say that Robbins draws a lot of his inspiration from country-blues and rock staples like Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, and Bob Dylan. With a stellar line up of supporting musicians like keyboardist Roger Eno, musical saw player David Coulter, multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John and vocal contributions by Joan As Policewoman, "Tim Robbins and The Rogues Gallery Band" is a solid release of mixed Appalachia. The songs are heartfelt and lovingly crafted. As Robbins described it, "I have too much respect for music to put out something that wasn't coming from a genuine place."
Don't miss out on this week's Free at Noon--Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band have a reputation for charming and also rousing live performances.
Don't miss this Friday's Free at Noon performance by Cults, one of XPN's Artist(s) to watch for July! Cults have a bit of a fairy tale beginning, and their quick rise speaks volumes about the allure of their music.
Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin have been together as a band and a couple for just about a year now, and they've commemorated with an eponymous debut. Oblivion and Follin met as students at NYU, and began to make music in their spare time. After the two posted a three-track demo on the popular indie music website Bandcamp, they began to get some serious buzz--in fact, the song "Go Outside" was labeled by Pitchfork as 'Best New Music'. Within a very short time after their initial viral success, Cults were picked up by major label Columbia and featured on NPR. It's rare that a band reaches the spotlight in so little time before actually releasing an album, but Cults did it. And going by the recent reception of their '60s pop collection, it seems like this little-band-that-could out of New York is not leaving any time soon.
"Cults" has already received another 'Best Music' label from Pitchfork for the sinister yet sweet flavor of the 11 pop-infused tracks. The sunny vocals of Follin can easily take a turn for something darker and edgier that obviously has more to do with the idea of cults. With the raspy, modern guitar riffs of Oblivion, the quick-changing pace of drum beats, and the glockenspiel-y reverb, this is a mesmerizing release--mysterious, cute, and dysfunctional all at once. Oblivion adeptly describes their music on NPR as "cautionary and romantic", taking inspiration from the "ambivalent, fascinating feelings with the concept" of a cult. Cults have successfully transcended their Internet notoriety into real life with this release, which has charted in both the UK and Canada. After adding to the lineup, Cults is touring the rest of the summer in North America and Europe. They've got stops in Portland, Los Angeles, and the UK--and of course World Cafe! They're an XPN Artist to Watch for July, and their quick rise to fame speaks volumes about their music--they're mesmerizing, whether in headphones or on a stage. But if you can, don't miss this live performance--it's sure to be a great way to start off the weekend.
The Smithereens are back with a brand new release called Smithereens 2011. They're playing our XPoNential Music Festival on Friday, July 22, 2011, and will be here for an XPN Free At Noon, Friday, July 1, 2011!
The Smithereens are rock music veterans who have earned their living with successful release after release for more than 25 years, dating all the way back to their debut album "Girls About Town" in 1980. Since that time, they have appeared all over US Billboard charts, performing concerts domestically and internationally, and even lent their signature sound to a handful of movie soundtracks. The Smithereens might be one of the only bands in history to take lifelong influences Buddy Holly and The Beatles and spin it with a heavy metal, prog-rock twinge.
Pat DiNizio started the band in New Jersey in the late 70's after placing ads for local college- and high school-aged musicians and recruiting Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros (to be replaced by Severo Jornacio in 2006) and Dennis Diken to form a solid team. They worked through the early 80's, playing largely within the New York bar scene with a variety of Brit Pop, classic oldies, and hard rock, a veritable cornucopia of the band's varied musical interests and ambitions. Finally in 1986, they had a major breakthrough with the hit single "Blood and Roses" from their debut studio album Especially For You. They signed a major label deal with Capitol and went on to release three more albums with Capitol, including 1989's highly successful Smithereens 11. In 2007, they set out to release Meet the Smithereens, an album they recorded covering the entire Meet the Beatles album.
But while their covers and compilations have filled in the last decade, this year's release "2011" marks their first set of brand new originals since 1999's "God Save the Smithereens." Decades worth of fans are ecstatic to acknowledge the band's truimphant return. And what better way to celebrate than to join us this Friday for another mid-day concert?
In addition to this Free At Noon concert, you can catch The Smithereens at this summer's XPoNential Music Festival on Friday, July 22, 2011.
Joseph Arthur's new album, Graduation Ceremony was just released. He's playing the XPoNential Music Festival in July, and he'll be here for XPN's Free At Noon this Friday, June 17.
Singer-songwriter, Joseph Arthur began singing at the age of 21, although his fondness for music and the guitar began earlier than that. Having grown up in Akron, Ohio, Arthur relocated to Atlanta where he found a thriving music scene. A masterful painter as well, Arthur fuses his two passions, designing his own cover art and sometimes using his paintings as backgrounds for his sets. The now Grammy nominated musician's career began with a slow start but with his talent, his success was always destined to be. Having been compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, and Joe Henry and having toured with Tracy Chapman, Ben Harper, and Gomez, Arthur carries on the legacy of great singer-songwriters.
Dawes was an XPN Artist To Watch in April, 2010.
They live for the stage, pouring every ounce of their work into soul-bearing live performances; and show no signs of slowing down. The L.A. quartet's blend of classic '70s folk-rock and contemporary flair made their debut "North Hills" an instant hit, quickly pushing them onto everyone's radar. The combination of Taylor Goldsmith's lyrical and powerful voice and the backing folk-pop harmonies managed to capture the nuances of sorrow and optimism all throughout an overarching thread of mature condidence. Along with instrumental backing from Griffin Goldsmith (Tayler's younger brother), Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn (who replaced original member Alex Casnoff), this was a fine-tuned recipe for early success.
Two years since their debut, they are now preparing for the release of their sophomore effort, "Nothing Is Wrong," which is bound to evoke the same sense of nostalgia and anticipation that made their debut a standout. Going for more of a Springsteen/Petty American rock and roll sound, Dawes ultimately recorded the album at Echo Park studio between touring. According to the band, "the difference between this record and [2009's North Hills] is that this one has a much more live quality, because they were learned and arranged on stage."
The 1970's marked a turbulent time in Cambodian music history, when in 1975 the Pol Pot regime took over; western-influenced music was banned, musicians killed, and many recordings eliminated. But the influence of popular artists such as Sinn Sisamouth continues to live on decades later, sparking the interest of Zac and Ethan Holzman. The brothers fell in love with vintage Cambodian pop music and after collecting old Cambodian casettes they went to work on creating a band that would incorporate such elements. Their idea materialized when Dengue Fever formed in 2001 after a chance meeting with Ch'hom Nimol,an esteemed Cambodian songstress who stems from a family of wedding singers and who moved to Long Beach from Cambodia merely a year prior. Specializing in Khmer Rock, a mix of Cambodian Khmer style and psychedelic pop-rock, Dengue Fever started out as a Camboidan pop cover band. But as the group grew into a dynamic 6-piece band featuring saxophone, bass, drums, guitar, farfisa and vocals, their style developed into an intriguing hybrid of eastern and western styles.
Since their start, Dengue Fever has released a total of four albums, showing ever-increasing growth with each release. Their third album "Venus on Earth" really launched the band forward with its solid mix of hypnotic psychedelic riffs, jazzy accents and artfully graceful Cambodian singing. Three years later, the group now presents their fourth and latest album "Cannibal Courtship," which features a shift towards more songs in English.
Okkervil River is an indie-rock band with folk influences and hailing from Austin, Texas. Formed in 1998 by high school buddies from New Hampshire, Okkervil River went through the typical garage-band phase when they self-released their first work. The band, taking their intriguing name from a Russian piece of fiction, paired with producer/engineer Brian Beattie in March of 2000. The result was the band's first full-length album, "Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See". The debut was later picked up for release by indie label Jagjaguwar in 2002, and Okkervil River has been producing numerous EPs, compilations, and albums ever since.
A critics' darling from inception, Okkervil River is keeping its numbers up. The band's recognizable lyrics and music—full of deep storytelling supported by emotional performances—combined with frontman Will Sheff's quavery, paradoxically strong voice have built Okkervil River a sturdy reputation for satisfying, emotional music. Their last release, The Stand Ins, was the band's highest-charting record, reaching 42 on Billboard 200, and critical reception wasn't half bad either. Now Okkervil River is back. I Am Very Far is their sixth release, and the Austin-based band is pushing their music to even greater limits. Out on May 10, the album includes a string and horn section. Front man Will Sheff will also no doubt be adding what he learned from producing and collaborating with Roky Erickson and The New Pornographers during the band's break.
Okkervile River is on tour in support of their brand new release, I am Very Far. They play the Trocadero in Philly Friday night, June 3.
From World Cafe Live In Philadelphia, 88.5 XPN and NPR Music present "The Philly Folk Parade". Four great Philadelphia Artists on stage including Hezekiah Jones, The Spinning Leaves, Plus Chris Kasper and the Great Unknown.
The Philly Folk Parade is a music community initiative, maintaining a 'rolling revue' of its 40 local musician members. Since most of the members are well-known within the Philadelphia area, some fans have named them the local All-Stars. It's based on an idea of empowering the community through joyous music as well as spreading the word about the great Philadelphia music environment; so far, the group has pushed along a string of performances and a tour.
This latest showcase, spread out across the month of May, features four great Philly artists: Spinning Leaves, Hezekiah Jones, Chris Kasper, and the Great Unknown. The Spinning Leaves, a traditional yet psychedelic folk duo, is comprised of Barbara Gettes and Michael Baker--organizers of the Philly Folk Parade. Hezekiah Jones is a group of artists itself, rotating with songwriter Raphael Cutrufello, creating folky tunes infused with styles like reggae. Chris Kasper is an Americana songwriter who treads in between genres and has cultivated a devoted fan base. The Great Unknown is an alt-folk outfit who take their performances seriously, hand-decorating venues and baking food for the audiences.
The end of the Philly Folk Parade's month-long Fire residency is drawing to a close--don't miss the last of this great musical revue together with XPN!
...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead has a name that unravels as epically as their music and is as lengthy as their band's history. With a career that spans over seventeen years and seven albums, their story begins in Olympia, WA, where in 1994 the band's core members Conrad Keely and Jason Reece first started playing together. After moving to Austin,TX they would form Trail of Dead. Their line-up continued to grow and in 1998 they released their self-titled debut album, capturing the ears of epic rock lovers with their wildly energetic shows. the group would shift through various labels including Trance, Merge and Interscope Records for their album releases until they created their own Richter Scale Imprint label (with Justince Records and Superball Music).
When their sixth studio album "The Century of Self" came out in 2009, they became the raved progressive rock noisemakers of our day, receiving high praise from press critics. But just when it seemed as though they had topped their well established prog-rock standing, they spent the past two years honing in on their latest epic tale "Tao of the Dead." After teaming up with famed indie producer Chris Coady, they tap into 70's rock inspiration from Pink Floyd, Yes, NEU and the like. Conceptual in nature, the album is more of an unfolding two part tale with melodic jam sessions that fit within the frame of several chapters and movements.
In support of "Tao of the Dead" they will be engaging the crowd in one of their many unpredictable live performances at this Friday's Free at Noon. Some expected highlights include new tunes, energetic switching of instrument playing and possibly some instrument destruction... you never know what they'll do next.
The band is on tour in support of the new album, kicking things off in Europe this past March on a co-headlining tour with Rival Schools and then heading out in the US at the end of April. They play First Unitarian Church on on Thursday night, May 12, and will hit the XPN Free At Noon stage at World Cafe Live on Friday May 13.
This Philly-based trio, originally formed while guitarist Tommy Siegel, pianist Ben Thornewill, and drummer Jesse Kristin were in college in Washington, D.C. – is described as whimsical, quirky, energetic indie band featuring melodic pop tunes driven by a sizzling rock momentum. Jukebox The Ghost has a unique sound, with an eclectic mix of elements from artists Ben Folds, Elvis Costello, Queen, They Might Be Giants, and The Flaming Lips. Their debut album, Let Live and Let Ghosts was described as "a sunny, piano-led explosion of pop exuberance" by the group, and their new album, Everything Under the Sun, has been popularly accepted as catchy and skillfully structured, yet wildly diverse. The band has toured extensively, most notably with Guster and will soon be on tour with The Barenaked Ladies. They played SXSW in the spring, Lollapalloza in Chicago in August, and appeared on David Letterman in early September featuring their song "Schizophrenia." As their fan base grows and excitement over the recent album release increases, it is easy to guess that this group could be the next big thing in indie rock.
Jukebox the Ghosts' latest release, Everything Under the Sun, is still full of rich pop undertones, but there's something a bit more introspective, a bit more serious, about this 11-song collection. Released this past September, the record has undeniable Brit-pop influences but also some Philly flavor; JTG relocated to the City of Brotherly Love on a whim after their first release. "The music scene here is amazing," said Siegel. "A lot of bands here, like Dr. Dog, have a heavy Beatles vibe going– I think that made us realize that it's OK for us to wear our influences on our sleeves a little bit."
"We've been keeping our eyes and ears on Jukebox The Ghost since they debuted a couple years ago." The band really nailed it on their new album, Everything Under The Sun, and has grown a lot over the last couple years.Jukebox The Ghost was chosen to be WXPN's Artist To Watch for October, 2010. ~Bruce Warren, Assistant GM of Programming for WXPN