US Rails is a diverse collective comprised of musicians Ben Arnold, Tom Gillam, Joseph Parsons, Scott Bricklin and Matt Muir. With their Philly-grown folk and rock-pop sensibilities, this members of this five-piece have been creating buzz for their great harmonies as well. Coming off a brand-new release called "Southern Canon", US Rails have been playing a slew of shows in the area. They will be at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington on Thursday, August 25, Steel City in Phoenixville on Friday night, August 26, and of course at the XPN Free At Noon!
Each of the band members has been forging their own path through the music world, long before the collective that is US Rails began to take shape. Frontman Ben Arnold hit it big in the '90s, signing to Columbia Records, playing European shows, and building quite the following in the States for his soulful piano and guitar ballads. He and Matt Muir (percussion) are also part of LA band Pistol for Ringo. Muir is another multi-talented individual, playing the parts of writer, producer, singer, and drummer at times--he's now contributing his up-front, precise beats to the US Rails. Scott Bricklin is yet another jack-of-all-music-trades: singer, bassist, guitarist, and producer. He knows what creativity is, and he brings it to US Rails. Tom Gillam was raised in New Jersey but he's got southern rock in his blood--his slide guitar is mixed with '70s pop influences as well, and he's toured all over the lower states proving it. Finally, Joseph Parsons is a successful solo artist, especially in Germany. He's released multiple albums over the years, all infused with his passion for story and an eclectic of genres.
Together, these five musical forces make up US Rails. They recorded "Southern Canon" in Germany late last year, and now they are releasing the deft mix of styles that is "Southern Canon" throughout their stops in the US, first here in PA. Don't miss them at this week's Live Friday!
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.
From Southport, England, Gomez is on the road in support of their brand new album, Whatever's On Your Mind. They play the TLA with Good Old War, on Friday night, July 15 at 8pm. Gomez wil be here for XPN's Free At Noon, July 15.
A five-piece consisting of Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar), Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Paul Blackburn (bass, guitar), Olly Peacock (drums), and Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, harmonica). Combining hefty rock beats with pop choruses and even hints of country, folk, and blues, Gomez has over a decade's worth of acclaimed, ever-evolving music. They've had tracks featured on several TV shows, toured with the Dave Matthew's Band, Cake, and Ben Kweller, and climbed charts with every release. Their latest album, A New Tide, is out this month. It just could be their best yet.
A New Tide, a return to the band's roots, to their most free-wheeling and psychedelic sound. The songs range from solid rock to cool rhythmic exchanges to bluesy melodies. Imaginative and eclectic, Gomez' music is not to be missed.
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.
|XPoNential Music Festival 2011 EPK - Download|
Welcome Member of the Media!
WXPN is proud to announce another amazing music event on the Camden Waterfront and thanks for your interest in covering the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru! You'll find helpful information here with our electronic press kit that include high resolution photos of all the performers, logos, general festival footage, and artist bios. If you need additional information or are interested in interviewing an artist or WXPN talent, please contact:
WXPN Marketing Director
Levlane Public Relations
WXPN, the nationally recognized leader in Triple A radio and the premier guide for discovering new and significant artists in rock, blues, roots, and folk, is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. WXPN produces World Cafe, public radio's most celebrated program of popular music hosted by David Dye and syndicated byNPR, and the Peabody Award winning Kids Corner hosted by Kathy O'Connell. WXPN also produces the alternative rock service XPN2 as its secondary radio channel in HD. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, Lancaster/York at 88.7 FM, Harrisburg at 99.7 FM, and the world via online streaming at XPN.org.