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
This week's free at noon performance features the renowned Duncan Sheik, a multiple award winning singer-songwriter and Broadway composer, who from the start of his career was a top Billboard charter. After releasing his self-titled debut album in 1996 on Atlantic Records, his smashing single "Barely Breathing" brought Sheik into the songwriting spotlight and the album was certified Gold. Despite his incredibly strong start, Sheik continued to take each of his subsequent albums to new territories of sound, content and structure. Expanding from pop elements to orchestral arrangements and important social concerns, his sound exponentially matured with time. So while Shiek's occasional returns to pop territory brought him back into mainstream popularity, his additional projects as a composer exposed his talent for putting together elaborate works.
While continuing to produce albums, Sheik also forayed into the world of Broadway plays. Teaming up with Stephen Sater, he composed music for the Grammy and Tony award winning musical Spring Awakening, for which he won awards for Best Orchestration and Best Original Score. His success as a composer lives on, but to many fans, the announcement of his upcoming release comes as a pleasant surprise. Following 2009's Whisper House, his sixth full length album to date, he plans on releasing an album full of synth-pop 80's covers. Due for release on June 7, the album is aptly called Covers 80's and explores takes on classic tunes from Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure and more. Featuring some additions from folk vocal sweethearts Rachael Yamagata and Holly Brook, the covers are undeniable Sheik and personal.
Duncan's new album, Covers 80's will be out in June. He'll play a full show at World Cafe Live in Philly on June 12.
From hipsters to housewives, there is something universally appealing about The Low Anthem's traditional ly rooted yet innovative style. The Rhode Island-based group's organic, sincere and markedly pleasant tunes have landed them as the quintessential Americana group of the year. Their sound is highly distinguishable, with husky vocals and poetically crafted lyrics supported by a foundation of rich harmonies, heavy blues guitar, upright bass, drums and clarinet. Citing Tom Waits, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan as their main influences, The Low Anthem produce their folksy, layered sound with a tenacity for the natural--they have been known to forego PA systems and amplification in order to blend with their surroundings. "If there's a new definition of Americana, The Low Anthem have created it" (Bruce Warren- XPN).
Since the release of The Low Anthem's first self-titled album, they have undergone many positive changes, incorporating a growing dose of raw minimalist rock sound. The new edge was a great feature on their third and critically acclaimed record, "Oh My god, Charlie Darwin," an album that captured the deapth and beauty of folk Americana. Now, the follow up to Oh My God, Charlie Darwin shakes off some of thir their past wimsy and taps into something that is much more visceral and melancholic. Aptly called "Smart Flesh," the recent release sounds humanly organic, though as it treads on misty layers of sound that in turn sound moodily haunting, it is evident that they use their words and their music to dig deeper than anything superficially skin deep.
This is a band that must be experienced, here's your opportunity to catch them live!
The Low Anthem is on tour in support of their new album Smart Flesh. They play the Electric Factory in Philly with Iron & Wine On Thursday, April 21, and will play Live Friday Free At Noon from the Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Center, as part of Philadelphia International Festival Of The Arts on April 22.
With her early works teaming with folk and jug band styles, Eilen Jewell has since explored everything from country gospel, blues, R&B and even 60's inspired garage rock.
Her story begins as early as age 7, when the singer-songwriter became increasingly fascinated by classical music. Picking up her first guitar at 14, she went straight to writing songs and performing them at local farmers' markets and bars. Now in her early 30's, she has become far more than just a local talent. After she released her official debut Boundary County in 2006, Jewell was instantly compared to the likes of Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch, a comparison that holds true due to her emotional voice and heartpouring writing style. Today, she is a national favorite.
Since her last album, Eilen Jewell went to a small cabin in Idaho where, enclosed in isolation, she crafted a particularly moody and somber upcoming album. Calling the album, and in essence herself, Queen of the Minor Key, she wears her somber mood with utmost pride. And with the help of various guests for her backup band, her goal to make this record "even more real, more heartfelt, than the one before it," has become a reality. The album is set for release this coming June, and we are glad to have her welcome the stage for this week's XPN Free at Noon performance, live from the Kimmel Center Plaza and Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts on April 15, 2011.
Long Beach, California's Cold War Kids are on tour in support of their new album, Mine Is Yours, and they play the Trocadero this Friday night. Listen live at 12noon Friday, March 25, 20011!
Citing a diverse collection of influences--from Bob Dylan to Billie Holiday to the Velvet Underground--California's Cold War Kids have an all-encompassing sound. Embracing old-school blues and backwoods country rock, their style still holds a solid yet unique indie-rock label. Don't miss this Friday's performance at noon--fresh off a new release and on tour, the foursome is ready to start the weekend off right.
The outfit, oft described as "skinny-jeaned Christian rockers, was formed in 2004 and is comprised of Nathan Willett (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Matt Maust (bass), Jonnie Russell (guitar, vocals, percussion) and Matt Aveiro (drums). After recording some demos in the Los Angeles area, Cold War Kids released a number of buzz-building EPs before their official studio LP, the critically acclaimed "Robbers and Cowards". With Willet's Jeff Buckley-ish, wailing vocals, the constantly vibrant lyrics, and a bluesy yet rocking style, Cold War Kids have quickly built a reputation for innovation among fans and critics alike. Their sophomore effort, "Loyalty to Loyalty", was slower and more introspective compared to preview releases, but no less dynamic.
And now the band has just hit the spotlight with "Mine is Yours", an 11-track collection of what could be their most mainstream release yet--and that's not necessarily a bad thing. They've added "a slice of pop" to their soul-punk mix, as Drowned in Sound put it. "Mine is Yours" has thus far charted in the US, UK, and Australia as a result. Released January 2011, this third LP of Cold War Kids is energetic and efficient, just like their performances on stage.
Unfortunately The Secret Sisters have canceled their performance for the March 18 XPN Free At Noon. The bill instead will be a set by local musicians Andrew Lipke & Hezekiah Jones.
Local musicians, Andrew Lipke and Raphael Cutrufello of Hezekiah Jones will perform with a band of some of Philly’s finest musicians. Hezekiah Jones have a new album called Have You Seen Our New Fort?. The album was produced by Lipke, and they just recorded a session for Shaking Through - XPN’s and Weathervane Music’s online emerging artist audio and video initiative. Raphael and Andrew will share the stage performing a mix of old and new songs.
Born in South Africa, Andrew Lipke has literally and figuratively come a long way to where his music thrives today. After moving to the U.S. in 1987, Lipke eventually migrated to Philly to pursue a career in music composition at The University of the Arts. Having always played music, (he started piano at the tender age of five) Lipke has played in multiple bands, one being Philly fans' favorite, Metagroove. In 2008, Lipke was chosen by WXPN as one of seven local artists to be featured in the WXPN and Minneapolis Music Exchange, where his music was featured prominently on both radio stations. In 2009 Andrew Lipke & the prospects played the XPoNential Music festival presented by Subaru. His next record The Plague is almost finished and will be out this fall.
Hezekiah Jones is a collection of Philadelphia-area artists based around the songwriting of Raphael Cutrufello. They have released one full-length album, Hezekiah Says You're A-Ok, and two EPs, Come to Our Pool Party, and Bread of Teeth, all on Yer Bird Records. The band is made up of a large and revolving cast of players. Recently Hezekiah Jones were selected to be the April artist in the WXPN and Weathervane music Shaking Through series. Andrew Lipke performs on the track as well.Website: www.yerbird.com/hezekiah-jones-albums/
Sonny Landreth is "probably the most underestimated musician on the planet and also probably one of the most advanced." With his innovative slide guitar technique and decades of solid musical experience, singer-songwriter/guitarist Landreth is a musician worthy of the title.
From the 1970s to present day, Landreth has been a collaborator, and a soloist in numerous projects that built him more and more respect. On his tenth album, From The Reach, the Louisiana based musician is joined by an all-star ensemble including Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Dr. John, and Jimmy Buffet. Making an album with a crew of his favorite musicians was a long-awaited objective for Landreth, who wrote each song on the disc with specific artists in mind. The result is an in-depth back and forth conversation of guitar riffs and trading of verses on this collection of blues, rock, and zydeco influenced tunes.
Sonny Landreth is in town to play Havana in New Hope with special guest Eryn Shewell, on Saturday, April 2, and comes back to World Cafe Live at the Queen, with Suzie Brown, for a full show, on Sunday, April 3.
Nicole Atkins taught herself to play the guitar at the age of 13 after chancing upon one in her attic. The Neptune, New Jersey native and former XPN Artist to Watch had already mastered the piano (at age 9), and had an early appreciation for iconic artists like Johnny Cash and Robert Plant. Those early influences drove her into New York City's anti-folk scene in the mid '00s, where she found like-minded musicians and a growing audience. A bidding war resulted in her signing with Columbia Records (who she has since severed ties with), who released her debut, Neptune City. A long-awaited follow up, Mondo Amore, is now available.
British singer-songwriter Bobby Long has been writing his keenly-crafted songs since taking up the guitar at age 16. After relocating from his native Wessex, he became a fixture at open-mic nights around London while attending university there. Among his companions on the circuit were fellow musicians Marcus Foster and Robert Pattinson, the former with whom he co-wrote a song that the latter would sing in the popular tween movie "Twilight." Long's intensely personal songs resonate with audiences (not surprisingly, he credits Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith and Leonard Cohen as key influences), expanding his fan base exponentially during the massive six-month 2009 Dangerous Summer tour that comprised some 100 shows in cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Of his first recordings, the 10-song Dirty Pond Songs CD was recorded in his London bedroom and featured chart topping singles such as "Left to Lie." Eventually climbing to no.8 on the Folk charts, his initial efforts were met with great international success. And in 2010, Long took to the studio to put together his first studio album "A winter Tale," which was released at the start of February. Working with Grammy award winner Liam Watson, the album marks the beginnings of a promising career.
Lucky for us, he's playing a full show (at World Cafe Live on Friday night. Expect plenty of female swooning.
Due to area construction, the entrance to the Free at Noon parking garage has relocated to Chestnut and 32nd Street. Please also be aware that the flat rate for Free at Noon concert parking is now $7. Parking will be available beginning at 11 am and is valid until 2 pm. So when you’re approaching the garage on Chestnut Street, keep your eye out for a volunteer with a WXPN sign and we’ll take it from there!
James Hunter's breakthrough was a long time coming, but no one's doubting his talent now. He began sharing his R&B talent with the world at various pubs and clubs in London, in the late '80s and early '90s. His soulful musings caught the ear of Van Morrison, and the two began a mutually beneficial musical friendship.
Hunter toured in the US with Morrison, and slowly began to build up a fan base. In 2006, his first solo release in the US, "People Gonna Talk", was hailed as a masterful mixture of R&B, early soul, and early rock. Nominated for a Grammy and solidifying his reputation, the crooner wrote and released "The Hard Way" in the following couple of years. Reactions were again solidly enthusiastic for Hunter's talent, truth, and great genre-mixing. Perhaps the Boston Globe reviewer put it best: "There's not a false moment here, and the short, pointed songs - all beautifully arranged - evoke classic '50s and '60s R&B without coming across as pale imitations."
Don't miss James Hunter this Friday at the World Cafe. He's taking some time from his busy US tour schedule to double-head with the wonderful Charlie Hunter. It's going to be one great show. As Van Morrison has said, "James Hunter is one of the best voices, and best kept secrets, in British R'n'B and Soul. Check him out."
James Hunter and his band will play a full show at World Cafe Live on Tuesday, March 1
With a total of 17 albums to his name, Charlie Hunter reveals time and time again that his level of musicianship is unparalleled. Coming into prominence in the early 1990's, this jazz multi-instrumentalist is both incredibly swift with technique and open to the sponteneity of improvisation. Piecing together songs with his custom-made seven and eight-string guitars, bass, and drums, his songs are calculated and full of geniune expertise. His understanding of musical frameworks is impressive, but while many other jazz artists are tempted to demonstrate their versatily with ostentatious solos that veer away from the general structure of song, he prefers to stay enmeshed within the weavings of complicated arrangements. As a multi-instrumentalist he really understands how the different pieces tie together to create a sense of pure joy and soulful emotion. For these reasons combined, Hunter has collaborated with some of the top jazz musicians around, including the co-founded jazz fusion group Garage A Trois.
What is also unique about Hunter is his love for early blues and jazz, which has notably inspired his recent work. Such love and admiration for early works is no more apparent than on his album Public Domain, which as the name suggests, contains a series of jazzed up old-time songs that have outlived copyright and entered the public domain. Using just a few mics and amps, the album was recorded in just a few hours and has a very intimate, freshly cut sound that plays with elements of blues, funk, and jazz.
Charlie Hunter plays a full show this Friday night at World Cafe Live. Pick up his new CD at Amazon.com.NPR.org/Music.
Visit NPR Music to hear the concert.
Born on the outskirst of Philadelphia to a family of ten siblings, Kurt Vile exudes a positively warming grasp of classic rock and modern form and is often marked by a jumble of influences from Leonard Cohen and My Bloody Valentine to Animal Collective. Gathering inspiration from classic-rock stations and friends, Vile gets "inspiration from people around me and just all kinds of music." Most attest to the freshness of his work, his ability to transform an old sound with just the right touch of modern and experimental, but it is also his admirable worth ethic that has garnered noteworthy praise.
Vile began songwriting and recording when his father bought him a banjo at 14 and soon after began releasing home-recorded albums. Tapping into what soon became a passion, he switched to guitar and began playing as many shows as possible. But the doors never quite opened until the former forklift truck driver left the job and started to seriously gig. His growing popularity was many years in the coming, but his sound soon caught the ears of big labels who were scrambling to sign him. As the label war ensued, Vile hopped around a bit, releasing several albums along the way. "Constant Hitmaker" launched Vile into the sphere of wide recognition with the hit "Freeway," and his subsequent albums eventually pushed his career into the arms of Matador records.
Following "Childish Prodigy" (2009), Vile is now joined by his band the Violators on the upcoming album "Smoke Ring For My Halo." And if you are a Kurt Vile fan as we are, then you won't want to miss this Free At Noon!