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My Favorite Songs of 2016 December 29, 2016

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, links, Music, video, WXPN, YouTube.
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Well, 2016 sucked…there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I mean, even this list of my favorite songs of 2016 kicks off with two icons – David Bowie and Leonard Cohen – we lost this past year. But both gave us such wonderful musical parting gifts in Blackstar and You Want It Darker, respectively. And there was PLENTY of great music in 2016 – one of the bright spots of such an awful, awful year.

You’ll see/hear a lot of Field Music, Young Gun Silver Fox, Margo Price, Kishi Bashi and Sing Street – a band that only exists in the grossly under-watched 2016 film of the same name (it’s on Netflix…watch it!). This is because Field Music’s Commontime, Young Gun Silver Fox’s West End Coast, Margo Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (in my opinion, one of the most egregious Grammy nomination snubs), Kishi Bashi’s Sonderlust and the Sing Street soundtrack were among the albums I kept going back to in 2016. Many of the other songs here were staples of my favorite radio station, Philadelphia’s WXPN, over the course of the year and stuck with me. And this playlist is by no means complete…it just represents the songs I listened to a lot, whether that was stuff I own or heard played on WXPN.

The playlist above (see track list below) is presented in no particular order…I just hope it takes you on a journey as you experience the music I was listening to in 2016.

  1. “Lazarus” – David Bowie (6:23)
  2. “You Want It Darker” – Leonard Cohen (4:47)
  3. “Hands of Time” – Margo Price (6:10)
  4. “Disappointed” – Field Music (3:06)
  5. “m’lover” – Kishi Bashi (3:50)
  6. “You Can Feel It” – Young Gun Silver Fox (3:16)
  7. “Up” – Sing Street (2:44) – from the motion picture “Sing Street”
  8. “1979 (Smashing Pumpkins cover)” – Darlingside (4:06)
  9. “Call Off Your Dogs” – Lake Street Dive (3:30)
  10. “White Flag” – Joseph (3:20)
  11. “No Matter Where We Go” – Whitney (2:42)
  12. “Emilia” – Young Gun Silver Fox (4:07)
  13. “Nothing More to Say” – The Frightnrs (4:13)
  14. “Love & Hate” – Michael Kiwanuka (8:01)
  15. “Let Me Be Me” – Night-Funk (4:34)
  16. “Drive It Like You Stole It” – Sing Street (4:00) – from the motion picture “Sing Street”
  17. “Say Yeah” – Kishi Bashi (4:41)
  18. “Better” – Young Gun Silver Fox (4:03)
  19. “It’s a Good Thing” – Field Music (4:27)
  20. “I Can’t Give Everything Away” – David Bowie (5:48)
  21. “Traveling Light” – Leonard Cohen (4:25)
  22. “One More Night” – Michael Kiwanuka (3:55)
  23. “About to Find Out” – Margo Price (3:13)
  24. “A Beautiful Sea” – Sing Street (3:04) – from the motion picture “Sing Street”
  25. “So Bad” – Young Gun Silver Fox (4:03)
  26. “SOS (Overboard)” – Joseph (3:00)
  27. “Honeybody” – Kishi Bashi (4:27)
  28. “Black Man In A White World” – Michael Kiwanuka (3:34)
  29. “Four Years of Chances” – Margo Price (4:34)
  30. “See Me Slumber” – Young Gun Silver Fox (3:20)
  31. “The Noisy Days Are Over” – Field Music (6:25)
  32. “Can’t Let Go, Juno” – Kishi Bashi (4:23)
  33. “Fallin’ Rain (Link Wray cover)” – Karl Blau (10:04)



Back to the 80s: My 2014 live music recap December 29, 2014

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, concerts, links, Music, NJ, Philadelphia, video, WXPN, YouTube.
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Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins performs “Hold Me Now” at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa., on Aug. 22, 2014. YouTube screenshot courtesy of user Steve Vitalidol.

Although my concert-going days have been limited since 2012, when my first son was born (and another one coming in early March 2015), I still try to make it to shows in my area—especially if it’s a band or artist I REALLY like and haven’t seen before or in a long time.

It wasn’t really by design, but many of the concerts I attended in 2014 were acts known more for their activity in the 1980s—Johnny Clegg, Gary Numan, The Fixx, Midge Ure (of Ultravox/Rich Kids/Visage/Band Aid fame), Howard Jones, Tom Bailey (former leader of the Thompson Twins), China Crisis and Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina & The Waves fame).

My year of live music kicked off in March with synth-rock legend Gary Numan at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. Numan’s “Cars” was a childhood favorite of mine (it was released in late 1979, when I was 8) and led to my picking up various Gary Numan/Tubeway Army records, cassettes and CDs over the years. When I saw he was playing in Philly and could get the evening free, I took advantage of the opportunity to see a legend who influenced so many electronic/pop/rock artists I love, including (most obviously) Nine Inch Nails. Here are a couple of YouTube videos from this show:

Gary Numan – “Are Friends Electric?”
Trocadero, Philadelphia, Pa., March 23, 2014

Gary Numan – “Cars”
Trocadero, Philadelphia, Pa., March 23, 2014

Later that month, I was at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia for one of the greatest concert experiences of my lifetime. Since I first heard “Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World” by Johnny Clegg & Savuka in the late 1980s, I have admired Clegg’s music and mission. Also, he’s one of the most interesting human beings in the world. You can check out his Wikipedia entry for details, but very few people can claim to be a singer-songwriter/French knight/professor of anthropology/Zulu dance master/political activist/human rights champion…AND performed on stage with a dancing Nelson Mandela in front of thousands.

Recently, I had been thinking that Clegg’s life and music would be a perfect fit for a stage musical and was thinking of how to connect with some people I now work with to explore that possibility. Well, according to Clegg’s Wikipedia entry, he is already working on one. If Johnny Clegg somehow sees this…if you complete the musical and would like to bring it to the United States, I might be able to convince a prominent theater in central New Jersey to take stage it there.

Anyway, here is an excellent write-up on the show, which also included Johnny’s son, Jesse, as the opening act. What was cool about this for me was that “Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World” was written as a pre-emptive farewell to Jesse when he was a young boy, at a time when Johnny was under threat of assassination due to his part in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

I’ve only found one YouTube video from the show I saw in March, but it’s a good one. Here is Johnny Clegg performing “Giyana”…

Johnny Clegg – “Giyana”
World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, Pa., March 30, 2014

In July, my family tries to spend at least a few hours at WXPN’s annual XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, N.J., since there are always acts we enjoy–and this year was no different. We managed to see Ingrid Michaelson (to whom my wife and I first danced as a married couple), Nicole Atkins, Diego Garcia, Strand of Oaks, Lake Street Dive and Commonwealth Choir, among others. Unfortunately, the last time I looked, there weren’t any videos from the three-day festival on YouTube that I could find.

My 80s-themed concert-going experiences continued, though, in August when I went to Jenkinson’s on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.–right next to my hometown of Brick Township–to see The Fixx, who I hadn’t seen since a May 1991 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. My wife and I brought our kid to the boardwalk about two weeks before the show at Jenk’s (as it’s colloquially known) and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them listed on the concert schedule. I decided I had to go and I’m really glad I did, because they freakin’ rocked. I mean, this isn’t frontman Cy Curnin with some replacement guys. While not the original Fixx lineup, it’s still the classic version of the band that had a string of hits in the 1980s like “Saved by Zero” (now, a staple of car commercials promoting 0% financing or no money down gimmicks), “Red Skies,” “Stand or Fall” and “One Thing Leads to Another.”

There are a few YouTube videos of The Fixx in action at Jenk’s, but most are just parts of songs. Here is a full version of Cy & Co. performing “Deeper and Deeper,” which is pretty awesome…

The Fixx – “Deeper and Deeper”
Jenks Club, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., August 5, 2014

Later that month, I put an exclamation point on my 1980s-themed concert year when my wife and I attended the RetroFutura Tour show at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa., on August 22, 2014. This show featured sets by several artists who many consider as “80s acts” like Katrina Leskanich (who has left The Waves behind), China Crisis (whose “Arizona Sky” is one of my all-time favorite songs), Midge Ure (one of my all-time favorite artists who I also saw in January 2013 and in June 1989), Howard Jones (this marked my fifth time seeing HoJo, another all-time great in my book) and Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, who was returning to the stage for the first time in 27 years.

I put together a playlist of YouTube videos from that memorable night, but below is the show’s finale…Tom Bailey performing an extended version of the Thompson Twins’ classic, “Hold Me Now.” This was the second night of the tour and on the previous (opening) night in New York City, the song just ended on the final drum hit. But the next night, something kind of magical happened–and I was proud to be part of the audience (which redeemed itself for being pretty lame for most of the night). As Bailey and his band played out the final measures of the song, the standing crowd was singing the chorus. But when the music stopped, the crowd kept going. Obviously moved, Bailey brought his all-female backing band to the front of the stage to sing along with the crowd…FOR ANOTHER THREE CHORUSES!

I was so happy to witness and participate in this…it still brings chills when I watch the video.

Tom Bailey (of Thompson Twins) – “Hold Me Now”
Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Pa., August 22, 2014

What’s even more awesome about this video is that if I pause it just before the end at the 8:27 mark, I can totally see the backs of our heads near the bottom of the video window.

I actually saw a few more live acts at a special WXPN donor party celebrating 10 years at their home adjacent and within the World Cafe Live complex in Philly. The event took place a couple of hours after I ran in WXPN’s first-ever 5K to benefit its Musicians on Call program, so I cleaned up a bit, changed clothes and–after some walking around University City–came back to watch up-and-coming Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir and one of my favorites, Mike Doughty (formerly of Soul Coughing, back in the 1990s). Again, though…no YouTube videos from that event.

With another kid on the way, getting to some live shows in 2015 is going to be a huge struggle. Sure, we might try to get in a few hours at the XPoNential Music Festival again in July, and I’m going to try to get to a Kasim Sulton show at Tin Angel in Philly in late January (and I just saw Sophie B. Hawkins is going to be there a few days later on January 31…I’m going to have to choose). The recently reunited Spandau Ballet is going to be at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., on February 10, but I’m not sure about that one. Midge Ure is returning to World Cafe Live in Philly on February 24, but unfortunately that’s way too close to my wife’s due date (although I would really like to see Midge three years in a row after not seeing him for nearly 24 years).

What I am most excited for, from a musical standpoint, in 2015 is the long-awaited release of the new Tears For Fears album, which Roland and Curt have been working on for close to a year now. That’s supposedly coming out late in 2015.

Happy New Year!

Artist to Watch: Passion Pit July 18, 2009

Posted by Brian in artist, Artist to Watch, Music, review, WXPN, YouTube.
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Passion Pit

Passion Pit

As someone who uses Pandora as a tool for new music discovery and listens to WXPN, the great radio station operating out of Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania, and to the emerging artist channels on XM Radio, I sometimes hear a band I like and think to myself, “You know, I wish I blogged about them sooner. Now they’re everywhere.”

But then I realize the artist isn’t everywhere…just everywhere I go for new music. So even though “those in the know” are raving about a certain artist, when I bring that artist up in a conversation about music, I’m always stunned to hear that most of the people I’m talking to have no knowledge of said artist.

So while I may be late to the party among those who pay close attention to the music industry, that shouldn’t stop me from writing about certain artists. After all, if my blog post connects just a few more people to a deserving artist, it’s worth the time to write it.

For instance, in this piece — my first “artist to watch” post in ages, I’m going to take a look at Passion Pit, an electronic group out of Cambridge, Mass., fronted by songwriter Michael Angelakos. Their first full-length CD, “Manners,” was released back in May, but there was buzz about the band after the ecstatic reception to their 2008 EP, “Chunk of Change.”

Passion Pit also has an interesting “from out of nowhere” back-story. “Chunk of Change” actually began as a four-song CD that Angelakos — who was attending Emerson College at the time — made for his then-girlfriend as a Valentine’s Day gift. The CD, however, wound up becoming quite popular on the Emerson campus and soon Angelakos was getting attention from record labels and promoters.

That resulted in the formation of Passion Pit (which currently consists of Angelakos, Ian Hultquist, Ayad Al Adhamy, Jeff Apruzzese and Nate Donmoyer) and the production of the “Chunk of Change” EP, which included the original four songs on the Valentine’s Day CD plus the tracks “Sleepyhead” and “Better Things.” Additional exposure for Passion Pit came from the use of “Sleepyhead” in a Canadian commercial for Sony’s PSP game system and spots for MTV’s “What the Flip?” promotion.

Passion Pit was named one of the top bands at the 2008 CMJ Music Marathon in New York and placed ninth in BBC’s Sound of 2009 list of emerging music acts. The band was also XPN’s Artist to Watch in June 2009.

Built upon electro-pop bass grooves and punchy synth-based hooks, the tracks on “Manners” draw from a number of musical influences. One can clearly hear touches of Brian Wilson/Beach Boys (“Let Your Love Grow Tall” and “Seaweed Song”), early Prince (“Eyes as Candles”) and even U2 (“Moth’s Wings”). For a taste of “Manners,” check out the video for “The Reeling” (my favorite track from the CD) below.

But Angelakos and Co. manage to incorporate those various influences into a cohesive collection of songs on “Manners” that makes for a enjoyable listen throughout. The one issue I have with “Manners” is the sequencing. While the first track, “Make Light” is a decent enough song, it isn’t quite successful as an album opener. If I hadn’t already heard many of the tracks that were to follow, I’m not sure “Make Light” would have drawn me into the rest of the CD on its own.

But if you like intelligent electronic pop music suitable for dancing or just driving around, pick up a copy of “Manners” by Passion Pit.

More information: Passion Pit on MySpace

Passion Pit – The Reeling

A look at New Jersey's summer music festival scene May 4, 2009

Posted by Brian in arts, Asbury Park, Camden, concerts, links, Music, New Jersey, WXPN, XPN.
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2008 XPoNential Music Festival

2008 XPoNential Music Festival

Summer is around the corner and that means it’s almost time to enjoy multi-day music festivals here in the northeastern United States, especially here in New Jersey.

The biggest summer music festival in these parts is All Points West, which returns to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., from Friday, July 31, through Sunday, August 2, 2009. The second-annual APW festival features 65 artists on three stages, including the Beastie Boys, Vampire Weekend, Tool, Neko Case, the Ting Tings, MGMT, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Coldplay. A lot of great acts will be there (although I’m not a fan of Coldplay at all), but APW is very pricey. Three-day tickets for APW cost $199 + applicable fees (for a limited time, so that rate will go higher as the date gets closer) and single-day passes are $89 plus fees (again, for a limited time). However, I did read on the APW web site that tickets can be purchased in installments. Not sure if that was the case last year, but that is a nice option if you really want to go.

For the third consecutive year, I plan on attending WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park on the waterfront in Camden, N.J. This year’s XPN festival takes place Friday, July 24, through Sunday, July 26, and features headlining acts like They Might Be Giants, Aimee Mann, Peter Bjorn & John, Robert Cray, Shemekia Copeland, Guster, and Steve Forbert on the main River Stage. In addition, many local and up-and-coming acts like Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles, Hoots & Hellmouth, John Gorka, and Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby will be showcased on the Marina Stage.

And because WXPN is the home to the weeknight kids program, Kids Corner, there is also a Kids Corner stage away from the main festival area that will include family-friendly acts like Skip Dennenberg and Miss Amy on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

What’s especially nice about the XPN festival is that, if you buy your tickets before July 11, you get nearly three days of music for just $40. And if you are a member of the station (based at the University of Pennsylvania), the cost is just $30 for the three-day pass…PLUS, you get access to the ever-popular “members only” area where you can get free water, iced tea and lemonade AND meet the artists performing at the festival. After July 11, the three-day ticket prices go up to $40 for XPN members and $60 for the general public. Still a bargain for such a great music festival, but there is no reason not to buy your passes at the early-bird rate.

If you are more into the club-hopping type of festival, Asbury Park, N.J., offers the fourth-annual Wave Gathering Festival from June 19-21. Although the schedule and artists have not yet been announced for this year’s Wave Gathering Festival, last year’s event featured more than 180 artists at 23 venues throughout the city…so that should give you an idea of what to expect. The Wave Gathering Festival has been a big part of Asbury Park’s recent rebirth as both a city and a local music scene, and has featured the likes of Ingrid Michaelson, Ben Arnold, Val Emmich and Nicole Atkins & The Sea.

Three-day passes for the Wave Gathering Festival are also a very affordable $40.00, while single-day passes are $25. You may also purchase admission to individual shows at prices set by the venue (and many of those are typically just $5 or $10).

There are many other music festivals going on in New Jersey during the coming months, but these should be a good starting point before you go looking for others.

Valentine's Day recap featuring Ben Folds, blurry pic police and temporary dining rooms February 15, 2009

Posted by Brian in Ben Folds, Ben Folds Five, concert, links, Music, MySpace, Philadelphia, Valentine's Day, WXPN, YouTube.
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UPDATED 2/17/09 to include YouTube video…

Ben Folds performs “Fair” in Dallas, Texas, during an October 2008 performance (link).

Because Ben Folds was playing at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia last night, my girlfriend, Alison, and I basically celebrated Valentine’s Day on Friday night. We exchanged gifts, she made me dinner and I gave her flowers…you know…all that stuff.

But we had made reservations for an early evening dinner Saturday at Copper Bistro in the Northern Liberties section of Philly since it is close to where the Electric Factory is. We get to the front door of the restaurant and there is a greeter outside…and nobody in the restaurant. After asking if we had reservations, he informs us that a problem with the restaurant’s oven hood meant the place was full of smoke. However, the owner was good friends with the owner of a small art gallery across the street, so the Copper Bistro staff moved all the tables and chairs over to the gallery, which served as dining room for the night. It was very resourceful and it was nice to see area businesses working together, especially in these times.

And the food was pretty good overall. The desserts were a bit of a let down, but the coffee was good and that’s all that matters to me after a meal.

Anyway, after dinner, we headed to the Electric Factory. Now, I am not one of those people at concerts who are constantly taking pictures — mostly because my photos usually turn out awful. But I like to take a few just to post on the ol’ blog. You may notice, however, that there is no photo to go along with this blog entry. I will explain that in a bit.

Knowing that I have received some pretty serious pat-downs upon entering the Electric Factory, I gave Alison my camera and my Flip camcorder to put in the bottom of her purse. In the past, it always seemed that women breezed through the security check while I was getting scrutinized for the various contact lens solutions I always carry around with me. This time, it was different…they didn’t even touch me, but they were going through all the women’s bags. Fortunately, Alison got through without the staff confiscating either camera.

However, they must have confiscated a lot because an announcement was made just before the night’s opening act, Miniature Tigers, took the stage that told people where to pick up their cameras before leaving.

So I wasn’t even going to attempt to take out my digital camera or the Flip. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I attempted to get one or two pics of Ben with my Blackberry.

Ben Folds and his band — now a five-musician unit — hit the stage around 10 p.m. and opened with “Fair” (see video of October 2008 performance above) from the Ben Folds Five CD “Whatever and Ever Amen”…a song I love that I haven’t heard Ben play live in quite some time. About a minute into the song, I noticed that everybody around me had their camera out taking pictures, including a few who were using flashes. Because I know any pic I take with the Blackberry is going to be crappy without using the flash, I figured I would try to take the photo and try to blend in with the 50 people or so around me who are taking pictures.

I take the pic and almost immediately, an Electric Factory staff member comes up behind me and tells me to delete the photo and to put the phone away…and that I would be thrown out if caught taking another photo.

So that was the end of my picture taking. But what bothered me was that, for the remainder of the night, there were people in my immediate vicinity who were obviously raising their cameras up to take photos and video. BUT NOTHING WAS SAID TO THEM. And since the LCD screens on these cameras were so freakin’ noticeable, I could see these photos and videos were coming out 50 times better than the piece of crap blurry pic that existed on my Blackberry for about 15 seconds. AGAIN, NOTHING WAS SAID TO ANY OF THESE PEOPLE. I think the “camera police” guy busted me and, possibly, the guy to my left, and that was it.

Hopefully, I will eventually find these better pics somewhere on the Interwebs and I will, as Mike Doughty says, gank one to accompany this blog post.

OK…so now that my rant is over about that, how was the show?

First, Miniature Tigers opened with a pretty decent set. I had listened to a couple of their songs on their MySpace page to familiarize myself a bit with them and didn’t really like what I had heard. But they sound much better live. And, even though Miniature Tigers are apparently gaining popularity among the young folks (they will be at South By Southwest next month), I don’t think I’ll be jumping on the bandwagon any time soon…just not my cup of tea.

In between Miniature Tigers and Ben Folds, the all-female Gracenotes a cappella group from West Chester University performed two original songs and then a version of “Fred Jones, Part 2” from Ben’s “Rockin’ the Suburbs” CD, which the group recorded with Ben for an upcoming disc featuring 18 a cappella groups from various colleges, universities and high schools performing songs from both Ben’s solo catalog and those from the Ben Folds Five days.

And, like I said, Ben Folds and his four fellow musicians hit the stage around 10 p.m. and knocked it out of the freakin’ park. Aside from nearly getting tossed out for taking a blurry picture with my Blackberry, this may have been the best show I have seen Ben play…especially with a band. He did an incredible solo show a few years ago in Princeton, N.J., that I hold in high regard. But last night’s show may have topped it.

By my count, he played 26 songs that covered a lot of musical territory. I don’t remember the setlist in sequential order, although I am trying to find an accurate setlist on a couple of the Ben Folds-dedicated forums that are out there. In the meantime, I have put together this list of songs based on what CDs they appeared and which were from the Ben Folds Five days:

You Don’t Know Me
Before Cologne/Cologne
Free Coffee
Kylie From Connecticut
Dr. Yang
Dr. Yang (from the “fake leak” version of the CD)
Bitch Went Nuts (from the “fake leak” version of the CD)
Way to Normal (from the “fake leak” version of the CD)


Annie Waits
Zak and Sara
The Luckiest (which he dedicated to his wife…contradicting an article published online just two days earlier stating that his fourth marriage, to Fleur, had recently ended)
Not the Same

BEN FOLDS FIVE (in order I remembered what songs were performed):
Alice Childress (with a credit to WXPN for making it an early “hit” for BF5)
Eddie Walker
Philosophy (including Misirilou and a bit of Theme from Dr. Pyser at the end)

Any Ben Folds show that features “Army,” “Emaline,” “Philosophy,” “Underground” and “Alice Childress” are considered freakin’ sweet by default. “Fair” and “Kate” made it that much better.

UPDATE (1:47 p.m. ET/2-15-2009):

Here is a setlist, courtesy of thesuburbs.org.uk:

onstage 10:00 PM

1. Fair
2. Effington
3. Brainwascht
4. You Don’t Know Me
5. Annie Waits
6. Alice Childress
7. Way To Normal
8. Lovesick Diagnostician (fake Dr. Yang)
9. Dr. Yang
10. Hiroshima
11. Bastard
12. Landed
13. Free Coffee
14. Eddie Walker
15. Lullabye
16. Emaline
17. The Luckiest
18. Kylie From Connecticut
19. Army
20. Underground
21. Not The Same
22. Cologne
23. Bitch Went Nutz

24. Zak and Sara
25. Kate
26. Philosophy

offstage 12:05 AM

Photos from the 2008 XPoNential Music Festival July 14, 2008

Posted by Brian in arts, Brian Kelley, Camden, concerts, Music, photos, WXPN, XPN.
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Here are some photos I took at this year’s XPoNential (XPN) Music Festival held July 10-13, 2008, at Wiggins Park on the waterfront in Camden, NJ. Enjoy…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Photos from the 2008 XPoNential Music…“, posted with vodpod

Artist to Watch: Illinois (the band) February 24, 2007

Posted by Brian in Artist to Watch, Bucks County, Illinois, Music, MySpace, Pennsylvania, WXPN.
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I was trying to catch up on my reading about bands featured on WXPN’s My Morning Download and came across a band from Bucks County, Pa., strangely named Illinois. Yep, the band took the name of a state.

Because of my ties to the Bucks County area, I decided to check them out…and you know what? They’re pretty good.

Illinois consists of:

Chris Archibald-guitar,keys,banjo,vocals
Martin Hoeger-bass,backing vocals
Dru Lee-guitar,keys,backing vocals
JohnPaul Kuyper-drums

The band is on Ace Fu Records and has an EP scheduled for release March 6, 2007.

Here’s an MP3 sample: “Alone Again” by Illinois

Also: Illinois on MySpace

Ben Folds…78th greatest artist of all time! October 20, 2006

Posted by Brian in Ben Folds, WXPN.
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Well, at least that’s where Ben Folds came in on WXPN’s 885 Greatest Artists of All Time countdown, as voted on by its listeners.

The countdown has been going on since Monday, Oct. 9, and has featured a full spectrum of musical artists ranging from Mozart to Muddy Waters to Black Sabbath. XPN is the greatest radio station ever and the fact that it played songs from each of these artists speaks of the diversity of music played on the station.

Granted, I don’t think I have ever heard No. 693 Kelly Clarkson on XPN…and probably never will again (and that is a VERY good thing). But what other radio station these days plays “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis (a track that runs more than 20 minutes)? And I can tell you that “Supper’s Ready” was being played on XPN when I got into my car after work a couple of months ago.

Check out the list by clicking the link above…good stuff!

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