The 14th annual Non-Comm radio convention returns to the World Cafe Live this week, bringing in an impressive list of acts seeking to get in the good graces of radio programmers descending on University City for the WXPN-FM hosted three-day gathering.
Non-Comm - short for Non-Commercial - gathers honchos from music-centric public radio stations like KCRW in Los Angeles and KEXP in Seattle. The imprecise umbrella term also makes room for commercial outlets that fit into the same Adult Alternative format (sometimes known as Triple A, for Adult Album Alternative) that the industry groups the XPNs of the world in.
Got that? Good.
It's thanks to these influential types - and XPN drive-time deejay Dan Reed, who's the Non-Comm poobah - that a host of worthwhile rising and established acts will be playing upstairs and downstairs at the WCL from today until Friday. A few, like lush-voiced songwriter Sharon Van Etten, and Norah Jones' side project Puss n' Boots, are for industry ears only.
The open-to-the-public shows are sold out, but will be broadcast on the radio and web cast (and in some cases, videocast) at xpn.org. The music starts tonight with New York bar band supreme The Hold Steady, Ohio soul rockers Afghan Whigs, English alt quintet Elbow and Lititz, Pa. baby band The Districts.
There are Free at Noon doubleheaders happening both Thursday and Friday, the first one indooors at the WCL with Jessica Lea Mayfield and The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo), the second outdoors with Chet Faker and Hamilton Leithauser at the Porch at 30th Street Station.
I'm trying not to hold it against Lady Gaga for moving her Wells Fargo Center from Monday to Thursday, and thereby causing me to miss that night's Non-Comm goings on, which includes an upstairs at the WCL evening hosted by Brit rock and roll piano man Ian McLagan (formerly with the Faces and Rolling Stones) featuring Those Darlins', Benjamin Booker and Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires. The Felice Brothers also play downstairs.
Friday night's highlights include Swedish songstress Lykke Li - read my review of her I Never Learn here - as well as Lydia Loveless, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Phillly songwriter Strand of Oaks, young punk Parquet Courts and old punk Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys.
Full schedule here.