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ENTERTAINMENT
October 27, 2011 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Hipness is sought-after and high-value these days in the music world, so it's fascinating to watch au courant acts trading on the market, fascinating to track their score daily on the hipness index. On Tuesday night, two of natty electro-rock's favorite sons, Friendly Fires (of Hertfordshire, England) and Theophilus London (Brooklyn, N.Y.), packed Union Transfer. Each act has a new CD this year, with Fires' Pala and London's much-hyped Timez Are Weird These Days . Fires has been releasing music since 2006, so, to those coming to Tuesday's show, the band may have seemed long in the tooth in comparison to gangly singer/MC London, who started dropping mix tapes only in 2008.
NEWS
October 15, 2012 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Allow this humble narrator to correct a misapprehension held by listeners who don't know Swans intimately. Michael Gira's shifting membership noise rock ensemble does not embrace doom or gloom in its sound or lyrics. During its nearly 30 years of an on-and-off existence, there's certainly been dread, existential or otherwise, in Gira's incendiary words, his handsomely low vocals, and his thunderously looming sound-scapes. But there are God, love, and bright shards of luminescence in the bandleader's dense, abrasive shadow play as well.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 2014 | By Steve Klinge, For The Inquirer
Before they called their electronics-and-guitar project Darkside, Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington used the word as a bit of private slang. In 2011, Harrington was playing guitar in the touring band for Jaar's celebrated electronic album Space Is Only Noise , when the two Brown University graduates started using darkside as an adjective or adverb. "It entered the sublanguage at the end of the tour for things that were a little intense or noisy or a little bit crazy," says Harrington, from Los Angeles, where Darkside were on their debut tour.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 25, 2012 | By Dan Weiss, For The Inquirer
On recordings it's not entirely clear why Spoon singer and guitarist Britt Daniel needs a second creative outlet. But in concert, as at Union Transfer on Monday, the differences between Spoon and his new project, Divine Fits, are legion. Spoon re-creates its studious minimalism so faithfully onstage that fans must be foaming at the mouth for a broken string, a monkey wrench, some jarring element to provoke a response from the unit they love. But Divine Fits is a rock band - Sam Brown metronomically swings at his kit like he's backing Warren Zevon, while co-leader Dan Boeckner writhes on the floor during "My Love Is Real" ("until it stops," ouch)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2012 | By Sam Adams, For The Inquirer
In the middle of Aimee Mann's set at Union Transfer on Friday night, a single piece of confetti dislodged itself from the rafters and floated down in front of her, lazily spinning in the stage lights. "Quite a party," she quipped. Mann's set, which dwelled heavily on her new album, Charmer , was full of frustrated hopes and fizzled dreams, in keeping with a career that, she readily acknowledges, is not long on upbeat emotions. During an unscheduled pause occasioned by an onstage computer crash, she improvised a self-parodic song about a sad kitten lost in the rain.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 14, 2014 | By Steve Klinge, For The Inquirer
TV on the Radio has been striving to make pop records all along, says Kyp Malone, one of the quartet's guitarists and vocalists. That's news, because the band, which also includes vocalist Tunde Adebimpe and multi-instrumentalists David Sitek and Jaleel Bunton, is known for its heady melange of electronics, post-punk guitars, and layered, often politically charged vocals that can veer from doo-wop to declamation. TV on the Radio began in Brooklyn at the turn of the millennium and has released four lauded albums.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 3, 2015 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
Desperately loved bands break up and get back together all the time. What's rare is when they come back at full strength, returning not only with skills intact and wisdom gained, but also with the sense of urgency that made them so desperately loved in the first place. Such is the case with Sleater-Kinney, the glorious three-piece band of singer-guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss, who played a bristling-with-energy show at Union Transfer on Saturday night.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 2012 | By Shaun Brady, FOR THE INQUIRER
Other than a muttered "thank you" or two, Roky Erickson didn't speak a word to the audience at Union Transfer on Monday night. He alternated between playing his guitar and fidgeting with it, occasionally shoving it away from himself as if it were an irritant. His fingers didn't always hit their marks, leading to a few clamorous dissonances and more than one endearing "whoops. " But after a storied decades-long battle with mental illness, it's hard to believe that Erickson can perform at all. The small but enthusiastic crowd was more than willing to overlook a few glaring imperfections to witness an unusual appearance by the troubled psychedelic-rock pioneer.
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NEWS
June 22, 2015
Desaparecidos Payola (Epitaph ***1/2) Read Music/Speak Spanish , the first Desaparecidos album, came out in 2002. Conor Oberst had taken a break from Bright Eyes to join some friends from Omaha to play loud, pointed punk rock, and the record seethed with Bush-era political venom. The band soon went on hiatus, however, to let Oberst devote himself to other projects, until a few years ago, when a reunion show led to some topical new singles. And now we have Payola , the second Desaparecidos full-length.
SPORTS
June 20, 2015 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Eagles reported for the offseason program on April 20. That was before the Marcus Mariota fantasies faded, before LeSean McCoy finished airing his grievances, and before Chip Kelly released Evan Mathis. Their final practice of the spring came Thursday. Ninety players trained in a drizzle, sat through a final team meeting, and went their separate ways for summer vacation. They won't return for another six weeks, with the first training camp practice on Aug. 2. "Our biggest strength is that we have six weeks before training camp, and our biggest weakness is that we have six weeks before training camp," Kelly said.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2015 | By Steve Klinge, For The Inquirer
From the start, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno have used their record collection as a source of inspiration, gleefully embracing the past with little anxiety of influence. The duo formed in Los Angeles in 2009 as a vehicle for Cosentino's yearning, soaring songs and love of girl-group pop, surf rock, and pop-punk. Crazy For You , their debut album, arrived in 2010. "The first record, there was a lot of influence from the '60s," says Cosentino, on the phone from Portland, Ore., early in a tour that comes Sunday to Union Transfer.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 2015 | By Sam Adams, For The Inquirer
Self-titling an album late in a band's career is usually a sign of (sometimes desperate) reinvention, a way of setting the counter back to zero. But Wire, whose 14th album is called - you guessed it - Wire , has never had much use for watching the clock. The London quartet, which still features three of the members who began it nearly 40 years ago, is famously disinclined to revisit its past on stage. At one point, Wire hired a tribute band as an opening act to relieve them of the tiresome burden of taking requests from their old albums.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 6, 2015 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
  Four decades after making their names during the first wave of British punk, two acts play Union Transfer this week, each with new albums that show them refusing to kick back and behave like oldies bands. On Friday, it's Wire. The London foursome were angular, intellectual cohorts to their raging rebel contemporaries the Sex Pistols and the Clash. And in terms of economy of style, Pink Flag , the band's masterful 1977 album that pointed the way forward to post-punk experimentalism, outdid even the Ramones, with 21 songs clocking in at 35 minutes.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 30, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Many young Philly-area concertgoers Saturday will attend the annual Roots Picnic on Festival Pier. But at Union Transfer, a pair of dreamy, electro-pop experimentalists will be holding forth: Purity Ring and Braids. There are two full shows, the late one being ideal for picnic attendees still looking for a live gig to hit. After a hot day in the sun, a blast of Canada's finest electro-pop acts should send you home cooler. Both bands benefit from similar influences - a little Björk here, a little Crystal Castles there.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 26, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
As far as chill-wave pop goes, there are a fleeting few artists at the top of the list known for opulent but simple synth-based melodies, dreamily repetitive loops, and heavy-duty FX processing. While chill king Washed Out and glo-fi princes Com Truise and Memory Tapes come to mind, Geographer - New Jersey-born singer/multi-instrumentalist Mike Deni and company - are strong contenders for the hypnagogic pop crown if the devoted fan base at Union Transfer on Friday was any proof. Without playing a note, Deni could have lulled his audience into somniferous bliss with just his high fluttering voice and its easy flow into a natural falsetto.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 5, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
On 2012's Lonesome Dreams and 2015's Strange Trails , traveling storyteller Ben Schneider - the Lord of the indie band Lord Huron - makes victory laps around Lake Wobegon with detours through the surf of Laguna Beach, the silt of the Colorado River, and the dust of the Oklahoma panhandle. There is an ambience of location - real and psychedelically imagined - and the nuanced detail of mystical experience to all that Huron does, with just a hint of hip-shimmying Elvis Presley in Schneider's vocal delivery.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 29, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Here's to music's journeymen - skilled, hard workers always busy, always at the beck and call of the muse they serve. Mary Timony is alt-indie pop's true journeywoman. This singer-songwriter was a Washington punk kid who, by the '90s, started traveling through such tightly wound post-punk and art-pop ensembles as Helium; Autoclave; Hot Trix; Wild Flag, her self-named band; and now Ex Hex, which packed Union Transfer on Sunday. Filled with more of Timony's shredding riffs and razor-sharp solos than her previous bands, Ex Hex played like a thrash-power trio.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2015 | By Bill Chenevert, For The Inquirer
The title of Ex Hex's 2014 Merge Records debut has the distinction of perfectly reflecting its sound: Rips . Leader Mary Timony, who also titled her third solo album Ex Hex , was a founding member of Helium in 1992. Their noisy alt records are now considered classics. Soon after her stint in Wild Flag, the bicoastal supergroup with members from the Minders and Sleater-Kinney, Timony started writing short, power pop songs inspired by late 1970s and early 1980s snarl. The D.C.-native holed up in her basement studio, recruited Laura Harris to drum and Betsy Wright as a second guitar-shredder, and wrote 12 tracks with them that are high-energy bursts of catchy thrash.
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