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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
July 14, 2015 | By Brion Shreffler, For The Inquirer
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)
ENTERTAINMENT
July 4, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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.
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.
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ENTERTAINMENT
July 14, 2015 | By Brion Shreffler, For The Inquirer
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)
NEWS
July 12, 2015 | By David R. Stampone, For The Inquirer
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)
ENTERTAINMENT
July 4, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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.
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.
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