July 14, 2015 |
Much like its music, Death Grips' show at sold-out Union Transfer on Friday night felt like many things. Was this a punk or scream-o show in a West Philly basement? The high point of a metal fest? We were as jammed together as the genres that the band ably melds, with front man MC Ride, a.k.a. Stefan Burnett, overtaking seemingly every last soul from go, his presence up there with the fugue-state transcendence Matt Berninger delivers at shows for the National. Alternating between a lithe, swaying lilt and an explosive two-handed elbows-up hold on the microphone, MC Ride was the embodiment of the lines from "Takyon" (off the Exmilitary mix tape)
July 12, 2015 |
Thursday's Mudhoney show at Union Transfer was a deeply satisfying event for discerning rock-and-roll lifers, whether young or old, part time or full time, in the crowd or on the stage. It was the Seattle quartet's first Philly show in a dozen years, and people were ready. Giddy kids with downy cheeks - clearly Mudhoney gig first-timers - joined in on every held-howl line sung by singer-guitarist Mark Arm during a dynamic band classic like "In 'n' Out of Grace. " So did certain oldsters who'd tracked that tune back in 1988 on WKDU (Philadelphia's bastion of free-form college radio)
July 4, 2015 |
Amid Soundgarden reunions, TV appearances by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and the constant hype around Nirvana - and, by extension, everything Dave Grohl does via the Foo Fighters, documentary filmmaking, and comic bits on the coming FX series Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll - you could miss another classic band out of Seattle: Mudhoney. Formed in 1988, singer/instrumentalist Mark Arm's Mudhoney lighted the way for the aforementioned acts, with a primordial garage-punk feel and sludgy heavy-metal sound.
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.