Artist to Watch

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe ®

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XPN2 - XPoNential Radio

24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

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World Cafe Archives

Join David Dye as he navigates the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

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Folk music radio streaming on the web; Americana, Roots Music, recordings, and stories from folk's best.

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Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Canadian Rockers The Sheepdogs were winners of Rolling Stone Magazine's "Choose the Cover" Competition in 2011! They play Johnny Brendas in Philly on September 20, and will be our guest for a special XPN Free At Noon at The Porch (30th Street Amtrak Station) in University City on September 7!

The Sheepdogs - Canadian boogie rock revivalists Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs was formed back in 2006 in their hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Between 2007 and 2011 the band independently released three full-length albums before appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone in August 2011 after winning the magazine’s "Choose the Cover" competition. The Sheepdogs were the first unsigned band to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and, after gaining recognition, the band was signed to the Warner Music Canada label and Atlantic Records. The band has garnered critical success in Canada, winning awards such as "Favorite New Artist," "Favorite Indie Album," and "Favorite New Album" at the CASBY Awards in 2011, "Rock Album of the Year" at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards, and "Rock Album of the Year," "Best New Group" and "Single of the Year" at the 2012 Juno Awards. The band just released the song "The Way it Is" in July as the first single for their new album. The self-titled album, which was produced by The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney, is set to release on September 4, just in time for their XPN Free at Noon performance at The Porch (30th Street Station) in University City on September 7.



Website: thesheepdogs.com
Facebook: facebook.com/thesheepdogs
Recent Release: The Sheepdogs
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Label: Warner Music Canada
Hometown: Saskatchewan, Canada

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Ryan Shaw Ryan Shaw has a new album out, "Real Love." He plays the Mt. Airy Night Market on August 16th, and will be joining us for a Free At Noon Show on August 10.

Gospel and soul music has been a key part of Ryan Shaw's life from birth. The Decatur, Georgia native was born into a deeply faithful southern Pentecostal family. He began singing in church regularly at the young age of five; joining his four brothers in a family group. Shaw's musical upbringing was strictly religious – secular pop music was not part of the picture.

Shaw has thus far released two albums and has been nominated at the Grammys twice for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Shaw's powerful music showcases a blend of traditional gospel melodies and arrangements – musical elements he feels are neglected in black music today – with some more contemporary lyrical content. Shaw's most recent studio album, Real Love, was released on May 15 of this year on Dynotone Records. The album's title is quite apt; Shaw tackles the topic of love in all its forms with his exalted tenor and deep palpable emotion.

Shaw left college after successfully landing apart in the gospel musical A Good Man is Hard to Find (Part II). He later helped Tyler Perry's musical I Know I've Been Changed become a massive hit, performing sold-out shows at the Beacon in New York. After spending some more time in New York gaining exposure to other forms of music, Shaw joined the classic soul and doo-wop act The Fabulous Soul Shakers in 2004. By 2006 word of his talents reached the ear of the in-demand session percussionist Jimmy Bralower, who recorded a 4 track demo with Shaw. Columbia signed Shaw soon after. Since then Shaw has gone on to be called a "massive talent" by Billboard and open for Van Halen. The seemingly strange choice was a good one – Shaw more than proved his mettle in front of massive audiences.

Website: thisisryanshaw.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/ThisIsRyanShaw
Recent Release: Real Love
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Label: Dynotone Records
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


James McMurtry Texas songwriter, James McMurtry is back in town for a show this Friday night at the Tin Angel and will be here at 12noon for an XPN Free At Noon!

Folk rock Americana musician James McMurtry has been accoladed for his expressive lyrics over a 23 year professional career. Each of his songs tells an incredibly rich story that speaks with truth and emotion to his listeners. McMurtry receives less praise for his guitar work, which only stands to show just how influential his lyrics are – the man is phenomenal on the electric guitar.

McMurtry's career got a jump start due to a lucky confluence of circumstances in 1987. First, at a friend's behest, McMurtry entered and ended up winning the New Folk songwriter competition. McMurtry's father is the acclaimed author Larry McMurtry. When John Mellencamp got involved in a project written by McMurtry's father, it gave the artist a chance to get a demo tape in Mellencamp's hands. Mellencamp clearly saw McMurtry's talent from that tape; he co-produced McMurtry's debut album, Too Long in Wasteland.

McMurtry has gone on to release ten more studio albums. The latest is Live Europe, a 2009 release featuring tracks from the artist's first European tour and tremendous live show. McMurtry most successful studio effort is Childish Things, which won the 2006 Americana Music Awards Album of the Year. The song We Can't Make it Here on that album won Song of the Year. McMurtry keeps himself busy. He plays a Wednesday night show whenever he is in Austin at the Continental Club with the Heartless Bastards. McMurtry plays the Tin Angel on Friday night August 3, before heading to Birchmere in Alexandria on August 4, and Rams' Head Tavern on August 5.

Website: jamesmcmurtry.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/JamesMcMurtry
Recent Release: Childish Things
Release Date: 2011
Label: LIGHTNING ROD REC.

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


The Tallest Man On Earth is playing Union Transfer on Monday July 30



Tallest Man on Earth Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is the epitome of a modern-day troubadour. With his crooning voice and folksy acoustic tunes he could easily be compared to a stripped-down Bob Dylan. Matsson recently released his third full-length album under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth. The album, There's No Leaving Now, is the follow-up to 2010's The Wild Hunt and, for fans of his previous work, the latest release does not disappoint.

However simple his formula may seem, The Tallest Man on Earth is much more than just a man with a guitar. Matsson's intricately crafted finger picking, thoughtful lyrics, and big voice give his work height far greater than is average stature—making the name Tallest Man on Earth quite fitting.

In support of his new album, There's No Leaving Now, released June 12 on Dead Oceans, Matsson announced a few tour dates this summer, starting in Sweden, then the U.S. and the U.K., and finishing up in Belgium. In addition to the July 27 XPN Free At Noon, he's playing the 930 Club in DC on July 26, and the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on July 29, and Union Transfer at on Monday, July 30.

Website: thetallestmanonearth.se/
Facebook: facebook.com/thetallestmanonearthofficial
Recent Release: There's No Leaving Now
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Label: Dead Oceans
Hometown: Dalarna, Sweden

Tallest Man on Earth Wanderlust is a band of Philadelphian musicians you may remember from way-back-when in the '90s. The band saw recognition for the track 'I Walked' off of their studio debut Prize, which was recorded in 1995 with RCA. After a long break, in which the band members have moved as far from Philly as California, Wanderlust is back with a new in-studio live album. The record, called Record Time, is available as an online stream for now.

Wanderlust is - Scot Sax on lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion Rob Bonfiglio on harmonies, lead guitar, lead vocals, keys, bass and drums. Mark Getten on bass and Jim Cavanaugh on drums.


Scott Sax, who has worked on Grammy winning pop songwriting teams, is an important part of the XPN family. He has collaborated with Sharon Little and played with her on tour with Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. He also played last year's XPoNential Music Festival with Queen Electric, another project of his. The play the North Star Bar on Friday night, July 27.

Website: wanderlustfans.com/site/
MySpace: myspace.com/wanderlustfans
Recent Release: Record Time
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Alberta Cross As it turns out, Americans don't have a monopoly on Americana. Not in music, at least. Born in New York City bar from the minds of native Londoner Terry Wolfers and Brit-Swede Petter Ericson Stakee, Alberta Cross took the matter of American roots music into their own hands and -- God Save the Queen -- made something great. Their folky, bluesy, old-school rock sound emulates the firm foundations laid by genre greats such as The Band and Neil Young. From gritty rock n' roll numbers like "ATX" from their last album, 2009's Broken Side of Time, to the slow and sincere "Low Man" from 2007's The Thief & The Heartbreaker, Alberta Cross' proven versatility has garnered them a spot in the hearts of alt-country.

Alberta Cross has toured extensively, selling out venues across America and Europe. Now settled in Brooklyn, the band is set for the July 17 release of their their new album, Songs of Patience. They play Johnny Brenda's in Philly on Wednesday, July 11 and Rock N Roll Hotel in D.C. on July 12, before hitting Cincinnati, Nashville, St. Louis and more this summer!

Website: albertacross.net/
Facebook: facebook.com/albertacross
Recent Release: Songs of Patience
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Label: ATO
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


photo credit Todd-Roeth Langhorne Slim was born as Sean Scolnick, hailing from his pseudonym-sake, the borough of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. A self-professed lover of "early" music -- the roots of the genres -- Slim is well known for a sound that showcases the primitive. A gentle, rollicking mix of folk-Americana, blues, and early rock n' roll wrought with banjos and guitars weave the familiar layers beneath his earnest voice.

After graduating college, Slim moved to New York City where he began his slow climb into the nation's musical consciousness. Touring with indie art-rockers the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Slim garnered public appeal. His popularity grew as Slim took his act from festival to festival and even into an appearance on The David Letterman Show. As the folk influence continues to grow in contemporary music, Langhorne Slim is nothing short of guaranteed to stay in the hearts and minds of those who will listen.

His latest album, The Way We Move, was released this spring and Langhorne Slim is currently undergoing a US tour to promote it.

Website: langhorneslim.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/langhorneslim
Recent Release: Way We Move
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Label: Ramseur Rec.
Hometown: Langhorne, Pa

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Jukebox The Ghost "The Germans can't pronounce it," Jukebox the Ghost say of their name, which they admit "is impossible to say." The trio came together while attending George Washington University in D.C. when the drummer and keyboardist responded to a flyer the guitarist had put up in the school's music department. In their own words, "It was musical love at first sight." They initially performed under the name The Sunday Mail, but after a few years the band decided that a new identity was in order. Creating a sound full of fresh-faced indie-pop goodness, Jukebox the Ghost have found themselves often compared to the likes of They Might Be Giants and Ben Folds, with whom they toured in 2009.

After a brief post-college stint living in Philadelphia, the band moved on to bigger things in Brooklyn. Jukebox the Ghost has reaped the benefits of a their wide appeal, taking their sound around the country and through the world. Their latest album, Safe Travels, came out this month and it's got every ounce of bounce and joie de vivre that the band is known for. In the wake of Safe Travels, Jukebox the Ghost has again gathered themselves and their instruments to tour the country and spread the word -- and hopefully the love -- for their new record.

Website: jukeboxtheghost.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/jukeboxtheghost
Recent Release: Safe Travels
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Label: Yep Roc Records
Hometown: Washington D.C./Philadelphia, Pa

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Greg Laswell San Diego's Greg Laswell released his fifth studio album, Landline, this April on Vanguard. Laswell has been recording as a solo artist since 2003. His previous project, a band called Shilglen, enjoyed moderate success at the turn of the centruy. After taking a mutually agreed upon break in 2001, the band decided not to regroup. Laswell's music features an equal balance of electric and acoustic guitar; his songwriting is at times almost bluesy or mournful and at other times his sound takes a more pop direction.

You may have heard Laswell without realizing it - the songwriter has been heard on quite a few national television programs - Grey's Anatomy, House, One Tree Hill, True Blood, NCIS, and Glee. He has also contributed his songs to movies such as Danika and My Sister's Keeper.

Laswell's Free at Noon appearance is part of his summer tour in support of his new release. Following his stop in Philadelphia, he will tour as a supporting act for his wife, Ingrid Michaelson. They married in Maine last August!

In addition to XPN's Free At Noon, Laswell plays a full show, with Elizabeth and the Catapult, at World Cafe Live on Friday night June 22.

Website: greglaswell.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/greglaswellmusic
Recent Release: Landline
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Label: Vanguard
Hometown: New York, New York

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live

PLEASE TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO XPN FREE AT NOON

Drexel University's graduation ceremony is being held this weekend, which will result in limited or no parking in University City. The lot in Penn Park is expected to fill-up early. Please use public transportation, bike or walk to this SOLD OUT show.

A Member Appreciation Free At Noon Triple-Header
FEATURING - GLEN HANSARD, ARTIST TO WATCH MICHAEL KIWANUKA, AND MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER!


Listen to this week's Live Friday Free At Noon and other Live Shows in the
Concert Archive

Mary Chapin Carpenter Five time Grammy award winner and Princeton, NJ native Mary Chapin Carpenter has been producing country/folk/rock standards for nearly 25 years. She has earned fans and accolades for her ten studio albums and countless live performances. Carpenter grew up on the likes of The Mamas & the Papas and Judy Collins. After graduating from Brown in 1981, Carpenter decided to keep music as a hobby and focus on a career. That changed quickly after a few job interviews, and was signed to a deal with Columbia a short while afterwards.

Although Carpenter initially found success when Columbia touted her as a country act, many have argued that her style is far too broad to be characterized as a strictly country or folk. Carpenter herself has long expressed her disdain for music categorization, explaining that she loves many different styles of music and draws from varied sources for inspiration. Carpenter's latest studio effort, entitled Ashes and Roses, will be released this June 12th on Zoe Records. Carpenter kicks off a North American tour in July making stops in Denver, Calgary, Alberta, Atlanta, and other cities to support her new release. You can find her tour schedule here.

Website: marychapincarpenter.com
Facebook: facebook.com/officialmarychapin
Recent Release: Ashes And Roses
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Label: Zoe/Rounder Records
Hometown: Princeton, NJ.

Glen Hansard Having already found success as the vocalist/guitarist for the Irish band The Frames and as half of the folk rock duo The Swell Season, musician Glen Hansard is venturing out as a solo artist. His debut album, Rhythm and Repose, is slated for a June 19th American release on the ANTI record label. The album, Hansard's first since The Swell Season's 2009 Strict Joy, was recorded over the past year and a half in New York City.



To promote the new album, Hansard will be touring the US in June, followed by a two month stint in Europe. In the fall Hansard will reurn to the States for a month, and then back to Europe through mid-December. Hansard a native of Dublin, is in an Irish rock band and a multi-national folk duo and recorded his solo debut in New York. It will be interesting, at the very least, to see how his different fan-bases and audiences will receive this upcoming album and tour.

Website: glenhansardmusic.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/GlenHansardMusic
Recent Release: Rhythm And Repose
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Label: ANTI Records
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland

Michael Kiwanuka Although Michael Kiwanuka, born to Ugandan parents in North London, first started out in music as a session guitarist, it is his soulful voice and emotional songwriting that have made him one of Britain's up and coming singer-songwriters. His voice and style tap into vibes reminiscent of artists like Bill Withers and Otis Redding, the later whom Kiwanuka credits along with Bob Dylan as inspiring his folk-inflected soul music. After spending time recording guitar for rap and R&B acts and doing some small jam shows, Kiwanuka realized he had much more to express in musically and decided to try his hand at songwriting. When friends fell in love with his demo tapes, Kiwanuka realized he had found his calling.

Kiwanuka is XPN's Artist To Watch this month, and has released 2 EP's with Communion Records in 2011, and gained exposure traveling with Adele on her 2011 tour. Kiwanuka's first album, Home Again, was released this March by Polydor Records. The record peaked at number 4 in Kiwanuka's native UK. This June and August, Kiwanuka will tour the United States in support of his studio debut.

Website: michaelkiwanuka.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/MichaelKiwanuka
Recent Release: Home Again
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Label: Polydor UK
Hometown: UK

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Listen to this week's Live Friday Free At Noon and other Live Shows in the
Concert Archive

Shawn Colvin Shawn's new album and memoir are due out June 5. She plays a full show at World Cafe Live on June 30, and will be here for an XPN Free At Noon on June 8!

This week marked the next step in singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin's long and productive career in contemporary folk music. Colvin's eighth studio album, All Fall Down, was released through Nonesuch records. This latest effort, recorded in Nashville, features notable folk and country stars such as Emmylou Harris, Stuart Duncan, Alison Krauss, Jakob Dylan, and Julie Miller. All Fall Down will be Colvin's first record produced by Buddy Miller, whom she has toured and played with in the past.

The multiple Grammy award winning folksinger also published her first memoirs through Harper Collins. The work, entitled Diamond in the Rough, also hit the shelves this week. In these memoirs, Colvin looks back on her long journey to critical acclaim with candor and introspection. Her life has taken her from Illinois, to playing western swing in Austin, to the folk scene in New York. It was in the Big Apple where Colvin truly came into her own, winning the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album for her 1989 studio debut, Steady On.

Website: shawncolvin.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ShawnColvin
Recent Release: All Fall Down
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Label: Nonesuch

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Listen to Live Friday Free At Noon and other Live Shows in the
Concert Archive

June 1 - Double Header: Kopecky Family Band, w/ KIN: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell, featuring Rodney Crowell, New York Times bestselling author Mary Karr, and Eagles' guitarist Steuart Smith

12:00-12:30 – KIN
12:30-1:00 – Kopecky Family Band

The Kopecky Family The six-piece, Nashville based Kopecky Family Band play MilkBoy Philly on Friday night June 1 and they'll be the same day for an XPN Free At Noon!

Like all families, Kopecky Family Band beats with the same heart and writes in the same blood. 'The Family' began creating music together in Nashville, Tennessee in the Fall of 2007. What began as late night talks about life and dreams gradually flowed into eccentric and beautiful music that has led to numerous tours, including adventures to CMJ, SXSW and Bonnaroo, three EP releases and friendships across the country. Leading the family are singers Gabe and Kelsey, along with Steven (lead guitar), Corey (bass), Markus (cello), and David (drums). The music is emotive, and evokes raw honesty and vulnerability, whilst capturing your attention through its unmistakable power and presence. The sounds created by the booming and orchestral-like 6-piece challenge the listener's ear while still offering sweet melodies to sing along with.

In the spring of 2010, it was time for the family to pack into their 15-passenger van (which was lovingly called "The War Wagon") and head to Austin, TX for their showcase at SXSW as one of ASCAP's notable bands to watch. A follow up performance at Next Big Nashville in 2010 had A & R reps scurrying to put their Blackberrys away and listen. When in the studio with Partners in Crime, Russ Long and Chris Grainger (Wilco, Sixpence None the Richer), the Kopecky clan produced The Disaster EP which was released in August 2010.

The Kopeckys followed up SXSW with a mammoth CMJ 2010, where they were invited to play at the official Paste Magazine showcase.

Straight back into the studio after CMJ, the band produced the follow up to The Disaster, the perfect compliment entitled Of Epic Proportions. The EP is comprised of digital B-Sides & rarities, featuring crowd favorite "Howlin' at the Moon", and a remix of "God & Me" that explores the band's varied and broad scope to produce amazing and diverse sounds.

Since then, the band released a limited edition split 7" vinyl with Seattle friends Ivan & Alyosha, and returned to Austin yet again for SXSW. The band played the infamous Paste Magazine showcase, Schubas Day Party at SXSW 2012, Next Big Nashville and performed for Austin's KUT during the festival. And to keep themselves really busy in 2011, the band attended Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for the first time as performers. Notching up 3 amazing sets during the festival and amassing several new friends and fans along the way.

Website: kopeckyfamilyband.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/kopeckyfamilyband
Recent Release: Of Epick Proportions
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Label: Self-released
Hometown: Nashville, TN

KIN: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell, featuring Rodney Crowell, New York Times bestselling author Mary Karr, and Eagles' guitarist Steuart Smith

Grammy Award winner Rodney Crowell and New York Times Best Selling author Mary Karr are scheduled to release Kin: Songs of Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell on Vanguard Records on June 5, 2012. Produced by Joe Henry, KIN marks the first collaboration between the two writers and is Karr's entry into the world of music.

"I called out to her in the darkness because she was a bona fide poet I knew could write songs, and despite her professor's pedigree, she'd ridden a bike in a mosquito truck's fog." Rodney Crowell

"An outlaw pedigree isn't always a disadvantage for a poet...this record's about everybody." Mary Karr



Find Rodney at...
Website: rodneycrowell.com
Facebook: facebook.com/RodneyCrowellOfficial

Find Mary at...
Mary's Website:
marykarr.com
Facebook: facebook.com/MaryKarrLit

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


The Polyphonic Spree A twenty-plus piece choral rock band, The Polyphonic Spree return to Philly to play the TLA on Friday night, May 25, and will be here that afternoon for an XPN Free At Noon!

The Polyphonic Spree is exactly what their name suggests: a chorus of voices with little restraint. The group is lead by Tim DeLaughter and, though the line-up changes constantly, typically involves some 20-odd individuals who provide talents from singing to piccolo. The Polyphonic Spree came about after DeLaughter's previous band, Tripping Daisy, broke up when band mate Wes Berggren died unexpectedly in 1999. The Polyphonic Spree has been called a reaction to Berggren's untimely death, and the upbeat, melodic songs often discuss lost loved ones and other heavy themes.

The group's blend of dark topics and Beatles-esque harmonies has earned Polyphonic Spree a beloved place in pop culture. The group's songs have been featured in films, commercials and TV shows all over the world. To name a few, just the song "Light and Day/Reach For the Sun" alone has been featured in a Volkswagen and iPod joint advertising campaign, in an NFL tribute to Bill Walsh, in an episode of Scrubs, in an episode of the British show Undone, in the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," in the documentary "Murderball," and in the trailer for this year's "The Lorax," among other places. The band opened for David Bowie and played the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2004. Needless to say, this group makes music that is even bigger than the tour bus it would take to move all of its members.

We are thrilled to host The Polyphonic Spree at World Cafe as a Free At Noon guest on May 24th. The group has a new single out called "What Would You Do?" and we can't wait to hear them perform it.

Website: thepolyphonicspree.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/polyphonicspree
Recent Release: What Would You Do? (Single)
Release Date: January 21st, 2012
Label: Good Records Recordings
Hometown: Dallas, Texas

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.





XPN Free At Noon was held SATURDAY, MAY 19 - OUTSIDE AT PENN PARK

Hear a Live Friday Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Live from the stage at World Cafe Live

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Listen to the Concert Audio - The 11-person psychedelic folk band performed songs from its new album.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Finishing out this Live Friday perfomance is another XPN favorite, the fabulously invigorating folk collective Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Breaking out in 2009, riding the strength of their catchy single 'Home', the currently 11-person outfit revolves around vocalist Alex Ebert. Ebert started ES and the MZ after creating a fictional, messianic character named Edward Sharpe while dealing with addiction and life changes. The result is mesmerizing--from their school bus converted to a tour bus, back-porch and improvised acoustics, and big communal folk sound, ES and the MZ has quickly become something of a worldwide sensation. Their sound calls to mind influences such as Polyphonic Spree and Bob Marley, but it's hard to pin a single genre on their psychedelic rocking bluegrass-y neo-folk.

ES and the MZ are on the cusp of releasing their follow-up to their breakout album, 2009's "Up from Below". Fresh off appearances with Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show, ES and the MZ played the new release, entitled "Here", in Santa Monica in April. It doesn't disappoint--"Here" is a product of a group that know how to collaborate, how to live together, and how to share a musical, utopian vision in the most believeable of ways. From the quiet whistling in "All Wash Out" to the energizing, rock-based "Man on Fire", this is an album that will help solidify ES and the MS' appeal.

Don't miss out on this special Free at Noon performance--three great artists in two locations. What better way to start the weekend?

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros play a full show May 11 at the Tower Theater.

Free At Noon Setlist
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Archived Concert
1. I Don’t Wanna Pray
2. 40 Day Dream
3. Fiya Wata
4. Man On Fire
5. Child
6. Home

Website: edwardsharpeandthemagneticzeros.com/
MySpace: myspace.com/edwardsharpe
Facebook: facebook.com/themagneticzeros Recent Release: Here
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Label: Rough Trade Records
Origin: Los Angeles, CA

Spiritualized

Spirtualized Spirtualized is the neo-psychedelic outfit with Jason Pierce (J. Spaceman) at the center. Formed out of the ashes of Pierce's previous group, Spaceman 3, Spiritualized has been creating grand, lush panoramas of space rock, deeply influenced by soul, gospel, and all things Velvet Underground. Following a dramatic initial release in 1990, Spiritualized has since gone through numerous line-up changes, released seven full-lengths that evince an evolving sound (think perhaps shoegaze to blues to pop), and pushed the boundaries of live performance. Pierce has done everything from shooting a video on an erupting volcano to performing 114 stories in the air to sharing a stage with Depeche Mode.

Sweet Heart Sweet Light is the seventh studio album of Spiritualized, and it has been three years in the making. Featuring eleven poppy tracks, more so than any previous Spiritualized release, Sweet Heart Sweet Light is crisp and invigorating. Its deft combination of rock'n'roll and gospel is no doubt made all the more poignant by Pierce's experience with chemotherapy while mixing Sweet Heart Sweet Light.

In addition to the XPN Free At Noon, Spiritualized plays a full show at the TLA on Friday night, May 11 at 8pm w/ Nikki Lane.

Free At Noon Setlist
Spiritualized will be archived at NPR.org/Music
1. Hey Jane
2. Mary
3. Lord Let It Rain On Me
4. I Am What I Am
5. Come Together

Website: spiritualized.com/
Myspace: myspace.com/spiritualized
Facebook: facebook.com/Spiritualized
Recent Release: Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Label: Double Six Records
Hometown: Rugby, England

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live



Islands From Monteal, the band Islands are on tour in support of their new album A Sleep & A Forgetting. They play two shows at the First Unitarian Church here in Philly on Friday, February 24 and will be here that day for an XPN Free At Noon show.

Islands is an indie rock outfit hailing from Canada, and featured on World Cafe with their second album in 2008. Now on their fourth release, this dynamic foursome are back at XPN, performing a Free at Noon and showcasing the diverse influences of their latest, "A Sleep & A Forgetting".

Islands was born from the ashes of lo-fi band The Unicorns in 2005, and their first release had them touring with Metric and establishing a reputation for diverse art rock with depth. Since then, Islands has released three more studio albums, toured internationally, and gone through a few lineup changes. Now on a fourth full length, the members of Islands have created the most personal collection of songs yet. Frontman Nicholas Thorburn began writing "A Sleep & A Forgetting" one year ago on February 14, and now the album is being released exactly one year later. Infused with Island's special brand of dark yet catchy pop, "A Sleep & A Forgetting" has hints of introspective folk influences, layers of glimmering instrumentals, and Thorburn'slyrical take on soul. The result is astonishing--more honest and open than previous Islands' releases, yet a confessional offering with bounce.

Don't miss this Free at Noon with Islands--given a reputation for infectious and touching performances, this is going to one great way to start the weekend.

Website: islandsareforever.com/
Myspace: myspace.com/islands
Facebook: facebook.com/islandsareforever
Recent Release: A Sleep & A Forgetting
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Label: Anti
Hometown: Montreal, Canada

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live



credit Michael Weintrob Boundary-pushing blues rocker Joe Louis Walker has done it again. Walker has 50 years of music and more than 20 albums under his belt, but he continues to churn out powerful, gritty, heavy blues rock. Walker's musical influences course through his songs. He grew up listening to blues greats, including T-Bone Walker, B.B. King and Pete Johnson. At age 8, Joe Louis Walker picked up his first guitar and began to imitate their work. By sixteen, Walker was the house guitarist of San Francisco's The Matrix and was opening shows for the next generation of blues rock heroes-- Jimi Hendrix, Thelonious Monk and Lightnin' Hopkins, to name a few. Joe Louis Walker manages to channel the sound of each of his heroes, yet maintain a distinct sound.

Walker's latest release, Hellfire is aptly named. It is a fierce album. Underlying musically diverse tracks that range from gospel to 70's rock is Walker's guitar playing, specifically, his guitar solos. This album showcases Walker's famous ability to shred, and his playing on Hellfire has garnered comparisons to Hendrix himself. Walker doesn't simply tear it up, though. He expertly incorporates his intense, racing solos into spiritual songs, crashing rock jams and blues waltzes.

Joe Louis Walker will be performing from Hellfire at the next XPN Free At Noon on February 17th and he has a two-night stint at Warmdaddy's in Philly on February 17th and 18th. Don't miss a chance to see this legendary blues musician live!

Website: joelouiswalker.com/
Myspace: myspace.com/joelouiswalker
Facebook: facebook.com/joelouiswalker
Recent Release: Hellfire
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Label: Alligator
Hometown: San Francisco, CA

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

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