September 25, 2015 |
In November 1985, sibling sons of Glasgow Jim and William Reid - then the centerpieces of the metronomic Jesus and Mary Chain - released their first and best album, Psychocandy . It's an album that remains definitive and influential for its meeting of early Beach Boys-like melodies and slowed-down Velvet Undergroundish noise. With shadowy guitar feedback as fuzzy as their hair, the sunglass-wearing brothers' seminal surging sound and dry, minimalistic rhythm was a sonic primal scream topped by lip-licking romanticized lyrics that were alternately syrup-sweet (literally, as in "Just Like Honey" and sinister, "In a Hole")
September 23, 2015 |
The blues are a funny thing. They can come out of every emotion or circumstance; any state, city, or suburb. For gusty, gutsy, Abington-born ZZ Ward, 29, the hard blues came when her musician dad moved the family to Oregon when she was 6. He starting taking young ZZ on tour and into clubs to sing with his roadhouse ensemble. The current Los Angeleno brought that romantic style of living to the stage of Union Transfer on Sunday night. There was always a distinct sass and swagger to Ward's bravura-filled blues, and a voice that creaked, snarled, and quavered like a blend of Billie Holiday and Rikki Lee Jones.
September 12, 2015 |
Back in 2001, the Philadelphia psych-rock pop band Dr. Dog made a cassette-only album called Psychedelic Swamp . The concept album concerns a man named Phrases who gets trapped in a marsh, where he receives an encoded tape from outer space that needs to be translated into music by Dr. Dog. Naturally, the album, never officially released, has attained mythic status among fans. And at Union Transfer on Wednesday, a packed house got to hear it brought to life most imaginatively in Swamp Is On!
August 18, 2015 |
POPE FRANCIS may have won the battle for the souls of Philadelphia, but a Swedish metal band's quest to blanket the world in darkness continues. The band Ghost was scheduled to play a sold-out show at Union Transfer on Sept. 26 to promote its new album "Meliora," the same day Pope Francis arrives for the 2015 World Meeting of Families. It's doubtful the date was a coincidence as the theatrical group's lead singer, Papa Emeritus III, is more or less an anti-pope, dressed in black robes with his own ceremonial "mitre" hat complete with upside-down cross.
August 15, 2015 |
Wondaland's Eephus Tour kickoff Wednesday night was both party and protest. After marching down Broad Street for the #BlackJoyPhilly demonstration, the artists of Wondaland Records - including founder Janelle Monáe - launched the tour, their national series of secret shows, at Union Transfer. All this was a lead-up to the release Friday of their debut collaborative EP, The Eephus . Rather than the normal set structure, the show was layered review-style, various artists coming to the fore at different times.
August 14, 2015 |
J ANELLE MONAE and Wondaland Records opened the start of one of this summer's most secretive spectacles, the Eephus Tour, last night at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St.). Ticket winners did not learn the venue location until the day of the event. Wondaland Records releases its first compilation EP, "Wondaland Presents 'The Eephus,' " tomorrow. Last night's stop was the first on the Eephus Tour, which consists of eight secret shows throughout the country. Admission to these exclusive, invite-only performances is free, and includes performances by every act on the Wondaland label's roster, including Jidenna , Roman GianArthur , Deep Cotton and St. Beauty . Earlier in the day, Monae and Jidenna participated in an anti-police brutality march down North Broad Street.
August 8, 2015 |
Raveling through a simple chord sequence, Thurston Moore stood stage right at Union Transfer. He delivered a spaced-out, psychedelic opening with fellow guitarist James Sedwards on the left, each with one hand low on his fretboard, and the other hand turning and turning with a near-hypnotic quality. It was beautifully weird, calming, a resetting of our brains before charging off with the cinematic "Forevermore," from the band's only release so far, The Best Day . A sense of returning, of compositions turning back, characterized many tracks on a night when a few, including "Forevermore" at 12 minutes, deserved to be mentioned with Television's classic epic "Marquee Moon," while surpassing that track in length.
August 4, 2015 |
Although only 25, Laura Marling is a veteran performer. Her first album, 2008's Alas, I Cannot Swim , came out when she was 18 and established her as a leading voice in Britain's nascent new folk movement. Her densely worded songs, her forceful acoustic guitar playing, and her clear, confident alto voice, caused her to be labeled an "old soul" from the start. This year's Short Movie is her fifth full-length album, and in some ways it's her most youthful: She's gone electric on several tracks, and the songs are less elliptical and allegorical.
July 31, 2015 |
Tuesday at Union Transfer, Iron & Wine - sobriquet of folk-rocker Sam Beam - joined close friend and Band of Horses front man Ben Bridwell for a sold-out, all-ages show that filled the 2,000-capacity venue's floor space and balcony alike. The Philly stop was the latest on a tour promoting the fruits of their collaboration, Sing Into My Mouth , a covers album jointly released July 17 by Beam's Black Cricket and Bridwell's Brown Records, with support from independent distributor Caroline.