16 Reasons Philadelphia Is the Best Music City in the Country

philadelphia indie bands

Top row, from left: Strand of Oaks (digboston, Flickr), Kurt Vile (Jauhien Sasnou), Waxahatchee (k.par.photo, Flickr), Hop Along (CRUSTINA!, Flickr), Cayetana (Chloe Muro, Flickr), The Menzingers (Chloe Muro, Flickr).

Before we even had time to take notice, Philadelphia has situated itself as the capital of indie rock. Just ask any in-the-know music aficionado. In April, Noisey wrote that “It feels like ALL the bands are from Philly at the moment.” When Rolling Stone put local band Hop Along’s latest album on their list of the 45 Best Albums of the Year So Far, it wasn’t without a “What’s up with Philly lately?” shoutout to the City of Brotherly Love. But perhaps the most impressive declaration of Philly’s indie rock dominance is Stereogum’s recent, nearly 8,000-word cover story on the our city’s budding indie-rock scene.

This might be a bit overwhelming to the casual music fan, who may still think of The Hooters when asked about “Philadelphia rock and roll.” If this is you, and you’re looking to better familiarize yourself with the key players, look no further. Here, we present 16 local bands you should blast in your earbuds right now.

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PHOTOS: Philly’s War on Drugs, Strand of Oaks, Districts Head to Randall’s Island for Governors Ball 2015

New York has long proven a precarious, star-crossed market for festival promoters due to restrictions over noise and congestion, competition with the city’s cultural calendar and the increased cost of labor and equipment.

But the three-day Governors Ball looks to have succeeded where other outfits, like All Points West, Vineland, Field Day, Across the Narrows and Bonnaroo N.E., fell short.

My brother, Bryan Armen Graham, and I were there to catch photos of Philly acts War on Drugs, Strand of Oaks and The Districts, and other bands who gave performances worth  mentioning.

PHOTOS: XPoNential Music Festival 2014

Philly music fans packed into Wiggins Park and, later that night, the Susquehanna Bank Center, for XPoNential Festival‘s Saturday lineup. We caught performances by longtime XPN favorite Ingrid Michaelson, Bayou blues rockers C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, and Ryan Adams, among others.

The festivities continued Sunday with performances by Nicole Atkins, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, and Man Man at Wiggins Park. Later, the Susquehanna Bank Center filled up for local band The Districts, and Beck, who could be XPoNential Festival‘s best closing act to date.

Eagles’ Connor Barwin, Kurt Vile Team Up to “Make the World Better”

make the world better philadelphiaEagles Linebacker Connor Barwin’s “Make the World Better” charity project is hosting a concert to raise money for much-needed improvements to Ralph Brooks Park in South Philadelphia. The park was constructed in honor of Ralph Brooks Jr., who, when he was 7 years old in 1988, had his spinal cord severed when he was struck by a bullet in a gang-related incident. While the park was named in his memory, the violence in the area has continued, leaving the park in dilapidating condition. The purpose of the effort is to give kids a safe place to play and have fun.

The concert will be on Friday June, 20th, and will feature local groups Kurt Vile and the Violators and the Districts, and Houston’s The Tontons. All money raised will be used to improve the park, which involves adding a new, state-of-the-art basketball court, safe and well-lit play areas, a large community garden and a mural by local artist Steve Powers.

VIP/Meet and Greet tickets are available, giving you the chance to hang with Barwin and his Eagles teammates LeSean McCoy, DeMeco Ryans, Jason Kelce, Brent Celek, Trent Cole and more. There will also be raffles for Eagles memorabilia, and some of Kurt Vile’s personal pedals and keyboards. Union Transfer has agreed to offer their venue for the concert free of charge and will be donating all bar proceeds from the night. Connor Brown has promised to match the funds raised from the show, doubling the total amount raised. It’s a night not to be missed. Get your tickets here.