Every year, somebody from the Philly music community gives you a solid reason to arrive to the XPoNential Music Festival early, and this year that job goes to The Tisburys. On Friday, the seasoned Philly rockers and friends of the station — singer-guitarist Tyler Asay and bassist Doug Keller were both XPN interns once upon a time — will play the first-band, first-day role, kicking off our festival with a performance at the Wiggins Park Marina Stage.
It’s not just their first XPNFest that The Tisburys will be celebrating, though; the band is also releasing a brand new album that day, titled Exile On Main Street — yes, like the Rolling Stones album (as well as a nod to Main Street Music, the long-running Manayunk record store Asay works at), but also like the way The Replacements called one of their most iconic albums Let It Be, a title previously used by some band from Liverpool.
The Mats’ Paul Westerberg is a clear aesthetic and lyrical influence on Asay and his bandmates — as is Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, not to mention some guy from Asbury Park — in the way they use tried-and-true rock arrangements with lush synth flourishes to tell stories of the ennui and everyday struggles of 21st century life. But for Asay, there’s always an undercurrent of hope and even romance, something we see in this week’s Key Studio Session.