Thursday, October 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 11:39 AM
Valerie June.

Once upon a time there was a World Cafe - the syndicated radio show hosted by WXPN deejay David Dye - but there was no World Cafe Live, the superb sounding West Philadelphia music venue housed in a former industrial pllumbing building that also is home to the University of Pennsylvania radio station.

Ten years ago that changed when local entrepeneur Hal Real, taken with the idea of "creating live music for grown ups," opened the WCL. My colleague Dan Rubin and I wrote about all about it back in 2004 . Thsi fall, both XPN and the WCL are celebrating a decade of togetherness.  The radio station begins its countdown of the 885 best songs of all time - as chosen by listeners and "celebrity" voters -  on Oct. 20. And the music venue is feteing itself tonight, with a multi-act evening taking palce in both the cozy upstairs and more capacious downstiars rooms.

Acts playing throughout the evening include New York based troubadour Sean Hayes, and headliner Valerie June, the terrific Memphis songwriter with the best hair in rock and roll who describes her a little bit of country a little bit of blues sound as "organic moonshine roots music." After recording three albums admired by a cult audience, she gained wider exposure with the Dan Auerbach-produced Pushin' Against A Stone, which was one of the best albums of 2013.

POSTED: Friday, September 26, 2014, 10:42 AM
Wiz Khalifa.

Next month, Forbes magazine is putting on its first 'Under 30 Summit' in Philadelphia, a confab aimed at young tech entrepreneurs that aims to be a sort of mini-SXSW, with panel discussions, interview sessions and "Shark Tank"-style competitions taking place all day long at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 20 and 21. 

All manner of bold face names will be in town, from Tinder co-founder Sean Rad to Shake Shack restauranteur Danny Meyer to America Online boss Steve Case to supermodel Petra Nemcova to Paypal's Peter Thiel to Sixers owner Josh Harris to Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to, for some reason, Monica Lewinsky.

And of course, there's music. On Sunday October 19, the event kicks off with the 'Under 30 Music Festival,' which is really just one multi-act show happening from 4 to 9 at the Piazza at Schmidt's in Northern Liberties. The headliners are Nick van de Wall, the Dutch DJ-producer better known as Afrojack, and Wiz Khalifa, the weed-loving "Black and Yellow" Pittsbugh rapper whose wife of one year, Amber Rose, filed for divorce from him this week. 

POSTED: Sunday, September 21, 2014, 10:26 AM
The Blacks at the Wells Fargo Center. (Dan DeLuca)

No wonder Jack White hates the Black Keys.

Just like the White Stripes, the duo that White used to play in with his drumming ex wife Meg,

The Black Keys are a rock tandem formed around the turn of the millennium with the cojones to attempt to build a mass audience in a hip-hop-pop-country-electro world the hopelessly old fashioned way: by playing the blues.

POSTED: Saturday, September 20, 2014, 1:21 PM
Jeff and Spencer Tweedy. (Dan Deluca)

In the Inquirer's bright and shiny new Live Life Love arts section on Sunday, I've got an interview with Jeff Tweedy of the estimable American rock band Wilco who will play the Merriam Theater on South Broad Street on Sunday along with his 18 year old drummer son Spencer (plus three other musicians). That column is here. They'll perform as a band known simply as Tweedy, the name under which the father and son will release their debut album, Sukierae, on Tuesday. Pick up a Sunday paper and read all about it.

Besides what he has to say in LLL, Tweedy, who's recently made amusing appearances on Portlandia and Parks and Recreation, talked about why he tends toward the taciturn when on stage with Wilco but can be a laugh riot when doing solo shows. "Whenever I start talking between songs with Wilco," he says, laughing. "I feel like there are five guys standing behind me looking at their watches."

When asked what he's been listening to lately, Tweedy gave props to punk rockers Parquet Courts and garage rocker Ty Segall. He couldn't share the names of the bands he's been listening to the most, however, "because I can't pronounce them." The singer-guitarist said he's been spending a lot of time listening to re-issues of 1970s Scandinavian prog-rock. "I know that sounds just ridiculously obscure," he said. "But to me, that was still a time when any shape of music music could be considered a rock song. It wasn't being made to fit into an FM radio album oriented rock format. That is still a great source of inspiration for me."

POSTED: Friday, September 19, 2014, 1:15 PM
Lily Allen.

Far more clever than most Brit wit Lily Allen comes to the Electric Factory tonight, The 29 year old singer-rapper is in town for the second time in less than two months - she opened up for Miley Cyrus at the Wells Fargo Center in August - in support of her third album, Sheezus.

The cheeky set with the title that plays off Kanye West's Yeezus is not quite so artistically successful as the daughter of comedian Keith Allen's first two hit albums, 2006's Alright, Still and 2009's It's Not Me, It's You. The album made a rough entry into the market place when the video for the album's first single, "Hard Out Here," muddled the song's message about unfair double standards applied to female pop stars by employing a team of twerking dancers that led to charges of Cyrus-esque cultural appropriation.

Watch the video below, and you be the judge. Samsaya opens. It's an all ages show.  Details are here.  

POSTED: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 10:41 AM
Justin Townes Earle.

With each passing Justin Townes Earle album, it seems increasingly pointless to talk about the 32 year old Nashville songwriter in relation to his well respected father Steve. Sure, they've both got the songwriting gene, but Justin has a fully developed sophisticated folk-blues-country style of his own, and his new Single Mothers come across with his usual acute intelligence and unflinching honesty without ever settling for predictable confessionalism.

He plays the Ardmore Music Hall tonight, with American Aquarium opening.  Show details are here

Here's what the Inquirer's Nick Cristiano wrote about Eearle in last Friday's Wkend section.  Single Mothers' "White Gardenias," Earle's thank you to Billie Holiday for teaching him how to sing, is below.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 4:08 PM
Stevie Wonder in 1976.

Stevie Wonder will bring his 1976 masterpiece Songs In The Key Of Life to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Nov. 16.

It's part of a 10 city tour that's being dubbed the 'The Songs In The Key Of Life Performance.' It will be a 'live adaptation' of the double album, which included "Pastime Paradise," "Sir Duke," "Love's In Need Of Love Today," "Isn't She Lovely," plus a whole bunch of other classics, some of which were included on a four song 7-inch along with the original two LPs called A Something's Extra.

Wonder is still a peerless performer, so get yourself there. Tickets go on sale Sept. 22 at

POSTED: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 3:11 PM
Singer Bono of U2 performs onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

U2 have just released what will soon be the most deleted album in history.

There it is, sitting in your iTunes Music Library whether you asked for it or not: Songs Of Innocence, the heroic Irish rock band’s 13th album, which they surprise released for free in partnership with Apple at the consumer tech giant’s iPhone 6 (and Apple Watch) rollout in Cupertino, Ca. on Tuesday.

In a stroke of Internet razzmatazz, Apple made the 11 songs instantly ready for download in the libraries of all 500 million plus iTunes users in 109 countries around the world.

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