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.
June 20, 2015 |
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.
June 13, 2015 |
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.
June 9, 2015 |
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.
June 6, 2015 |
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.
May 30, 2015 |
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.
May 26, 2015 |
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.
May 5, 2015 |
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.
April 29, 2015 |
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.
April 25, 2015 |
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.