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.
Founder of what could be called the best bar band in America, Terry Adams has been playing his versatile, lively sets for decades. Inspired by the complex groove of Thelonius Monk, Adams and guitarist Steve Ferguson decided to form a band smack dab in the middle of the '60s Florida music scene. What arose was the famous NRBQ, an acronym commonly thought to stand for the New Rhythm and Blues Quintet. With a raucous blend of blues, country, jazz, pop and rock, NRBQ soon had a following and a record deal--and a long future of filling bars, taverns, and music halls with their humorous and rhythm driven rock.
Yet all good things must eventually come to an end, and NRBQ went on hiatus in 2004. However, each of the band members are in different musical projects, and Terry Adams is no exception. He's released a slew of solo and project albums over the years, and now his main outlet is the irrepressible Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet--a succinct, perfect title for the rocking outfit with more than a hint of NRBQ tang. Comprised of fresh talent, this new quartet is fronted by Terry Adams (piano), and backed by Scott Ligon (guitar), Pete Donnelly (bass) and Conrad Choucroun (drums).
Since its inception in early 2008, Terry Adams & The New NRBQ has frequently been on the road, playing a flurry of shows to audiences across the country. The four musicians have picked up where NRBQ left off, full of new and vibrant energy with Adams at their head. The sets are mixed with Adams' own work from his latest album, old favorites, requests from the audiences, and always a dash of self-deprecating humor. And in support of Crazy 8s (2010), which includes live recordings from World Cafe, we are excited to welcome Terry Adams & The New NRBQ to this XPN Free at Noon performance, live from the Kimmel Center Plaza on April 8, 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/