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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
March 22, 2016 | By Sam Adams, For The Inquirer
'It's nice to be someplace we call home," Beach House's Victoria Legrand told the crowd at Union Transfer on Friday night. Born in Paris, raised in Maryland and the Philadelphia suburbs, and eventually meeting musical partner Alex Scally in Baltimore, Legrand can lay claim to being from many different places, which isn't quite the same as hailing from nowhere at all. Beach House's songs are similarly rootless, grounded by the buzz of vintage synthesizers...
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.
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NEWS
September 19, 2016 | By Dan DeLuca, MUSIC CRITIC
Some of the biggest acts of the long, hot summer concert season are coming back for more: Beyoncé returns to Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 29, and Drake and Future will still be on their Summer Sixteen tour when they bring it to the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 13. But in general, fall is when the music scene moves back indoors to more intimate spaces. There's lots to listen to in cozier surroundings besides the albums and shows detailed below. Bluesman Bobby Rush is at Sellersville Theater (Oct.
NEWS
September 11, 2016 | By Dan DeLuca, Music Critic
Taj Mahal/Bettye LaVette. The 74-year-old bluesman born Henry Fredericks, who came to prominence way back in the counterculture 1960s, teamed with the great 70-year-old R&B song interpreter, who has earned her just acclaim only in the last decade. Sunday at Longwood Gardens. Cheetah Chrome. The Dead Boys and Rocket From the Tombs guitarist, playing on a packed bill with Crank County Daredevils, Jukebox Zeroes, and Seeing Snakes. Monday at Kung Fu Necktie. Julien Baker. The Memphis singer-songwriter with an uncanny ability to hush audiences into rapt, worshipful silence with her spare, emotionally raw, and spirit-filled original songs on her 2015 debut, Sprained Ankle . Call out for a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Badlands" or Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. " Tuesday at Underground Arts.
NEWS
September 2, 2016 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
At a time when world music is a happy schematic of African, Latin, Middle Eastern, European, and Baltic sounds, it is still the sounds of Asia that rarely mix. Yes, Japanese electronic musicians (e.g. Ryuichi Sakamoto) sneak on to dance charts and Korean "K" pop is a thing, but it is unusual to hear the urbane tropical tones of Thailand or of grander, increasingly modern China. This month, Johnny Brenda's will get a visit from Khruangbin - an American trio playing raw, authentic Thai garage surf funk.
NEWS
August 24, 2016 | By Stephanie Farr, Staff Writer
As a staffer in the Philadelphia City Commissioners office, Leonard Boyer III helped to make sure every voter's voice counted on Election Day. But Boyer's own voice was silenced Saturday when two gunmen fatally shot him in broad daylight in front of his mother's North Philadelphia home, according to police. Boyer, 25, was one of four weekend homicide victims identified Monday by police. As of 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the city's murder tally stood at 181 people, up from 166 at the same time last year, according to Police Department statistics.
NEWS
August 21, 2016
Real (Bloodshot ***) Lydia Loveless records for an alt-country label, and she has a classic honky-tonk singer's stage name - she was born Lydia Ankrom. So it's no surprise the Ohio songwriter gets typecast as a country singer. But Real, the 25-year-old guitarist's fourth full-length album, moves her more confidently into the "genre-agnostic" artistic territory she's aiming for. Songs like the swoony "Longer" and chiming "More Than Ever" show the influence of heroes like Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, and "Heaven" proudly brandishes an affection for gleaming '80s pop. Listen closely, however, and you'll hear that, beneath the inviting surface, Loveless retains a penchant for unvarnished emotionalism.
NEWS
August 14, 2016
Innocence Reaches (Polyvinyl ***) Of Montreal can be maddening. Kevin Barnes' project releases overstuffed albums at a dizzying rate - Innocence Reaches is its 14th in 20 years. And he's a genre-hopping chameleon in love with obfuscating song titles such as this album's "Chaos Arpeggiating. " Innocence Reaches, however, sprawls less than most Of Montreal albums, and it's all the better for it. "How do you identify?" Barnes sings to open the album on "Let's Relate," a thumping synth-pop disco anthem that owes more to Daft Punk than to Barnes' usual Kinks/Beach Boys/Bowie sources.
NEWS
August 5, 2016 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Juliette Lewis has wanted to be a singer since she was a young girl in Los Angeles. Yes, she veered wildly and successfully into a late teen career in mainstream and independent film, with vividly mature roles for marquee directors Martin Scorsese (1991's Cape Fear ), Woody Allen (1992's Husbands and Wives ), Lasse Hallström (1993's What's Eating Gilbert Grape ), Oliver Stone (1994's Natural Born Killers ), Kathryn Bigelow (1995's Strange Days ), and Robert Rodriguez (1996's From Dusk Till Dawn )
NEWS
July 22, 2016 | By Brion Shreffler, For The Inquirer
Welsh band Super Furry Animals is often given the psychedelic label, though that fits about as well as a sweater you wore in eighth grade. "If I'm honest, I never thought [about] what genre we fit in," SFA's Cian Ciaran says. "Every time someone asks, I just say I don't know what to say, other than some guitar-based music, and then I run out of adjectives. "It's colorful songs or melodies -," he says, trailing off. Among the five members of the band, Ciaran seemed the right one to ask, as - through drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, and the various electronic equipment he plays in addition to keys - he is the main architect for the electronic sound that helps to set the band apart.
NEWS
July 22, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
THE WASHINGTON POST reported that as part of her "Joining Forces" initiative, first lady Michelle Obama invited a group of veterans and active military to a special pre-release White House screening of Star Trek: Beyond . Stars Chris Pine , Karl Urban and Simon Pegg were also guests. President Obama was absent, but he is reportedly a "Star Trek" fan, although Mrs. Obama may not be. "May the force be with you," she said in her welcoming remarks. D'oh! Urban (who plays Dr. McCoy)
ENTERTAINMENT
July 12, 2016 | By Jonathan Valania, For The Inquirer
Steve Gunn is a sandy-haired mop top with raccoon eyes who can play the guitar just like ringing a bell. Perched somewhere between Television's Richard Lloyd and Jerry Garcia, Gunn is adept in the dark arts of arpeggio, clustered overtone and the kind of modal chording arabesques that make Western stoners feel like Sufi mystics for the space of an album side. Straight out of Drexel Hill, Gunn established a beachhead in Brooklyn more than a decade ago, where he's been releasing pleasantly complicated albums of effortless art rock since at least 2007.
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