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Restorations throw a wild hometown party for the release of LP3

Restorations | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Restorations | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

On Saturday night, hard-hitting Philadelphia rock band Restorations throw an enormous party at the First Unitarian Church to celebrate the release of their third full-length album, appropriately titled LP3.  Friends, family and local fans poured into the Church to share in the celebration. Restorations also brought with them some fellow Philadelphia bands to share the stage with them. Continue reading →

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“An Echo Chamber for the Soul”: Laura Stevenson brings Wheel to MilkBoy

Laura Stevenson | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Laura Stevenson | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

There is a jangle, a soothing pop sensibility and something uncannily new encased in the sounds of Laura Stevenson. Last Friday she and her four bandmates turned MilkBoy into an echo chamber for the soul.

A voice both delicate and direct, Stevenson aims for the orchestral and the highly intimate on her 2013 masterwork Wheel. The crowd was hanging on her every syllable, often singing along to such catchy works as “Runner” and “Eleonora.” Continue reading →

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Le Butcherettes and Antemasque bring thrills and high energy to Union Transfer

Le Butcherettes | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Le Butcherettes | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

The one-two music punch of Le Butcherettes and Antemasque transformed Union Transfer into an aural canvas of raw punk last Thursday. Behind the leadership of Teri Gender Bender, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the fervent crowd was treated to some of the most unique and stirring rock around. Continue reading →

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Jenny Lewis brings rainbows and euphoria to Union Transfer

Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

I like to think that, even if her job was being the polar opposite of a musician (earplug fitter, I suppose), Jenny Lewis would still find use for a rainbow pantsuit. Her Technicolor garb matches the widescreen sound she’s explored since the last days of Rilo Kiley, right up to this year’s stellar solo effort The Voyager. Lewis brought an abridged version of her lively stage show to our XPoNential Music Festival this past summer, which featured guest appearances by members of Dawes and The Voyager‘s producer, Ryan Adams. Back on her own (and aided by a real wrecking crew of a backing band), Lewis returned on an unseasonably balmy evening for a sold-out show at Union Transfer. Continue reading →

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Selfies, Cake, and Sweet Beats: Steve Aoki takes to the Electric Factory

Steve Aoki | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
Steve Aoki | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

Sweat and icing was the winning combination Thursday night as EDM powerhouse Steve Aoki took to the stage at The Electric Factory. The Grammy-nominated party-incarnate who’s infamous for throwing cakes into the faces of his adoring fans, made his mark on Thursday and truly knows how to set things off. Whether he was “caking” concert goers or sending them crowd surfing on inflatable rafts, he brought the energy from beginning to end. Continue reading →

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Ex Hex rocks Johnny Brenda’s on a triple bill with No Other and Speedy Ortiz

Ex Hex | photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Ex Hex | photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

To experience Washington, D.C. based Ex Hex is to witness music in motion at its finest. Their 2014 record Rips captures the lyrical and guitar snaps, crackles and pops of Mary Timony, Betsy Wright and Laura Harris. But that is only half their story. Live they are a whirlwind of guitar picks, drum sticks, legs kicking and raw, sweet oozing rock. This past Tuesday their high octane brew entranced a sold-out Johnny Brenda’s.

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Fitz and the Tantrums’ dance party lights up the Electric Factory

Fitz and the Tantrums | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Fitz and the Tantrums | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Indie-soul group Fitz And The Tantrums brought a high-energy performance and dance party to a sold-out crowd at the Electric Factory on Friday night. Led by frontman Michael Fitzpatrick, the six-piece group played a dynamic set consisting of songs off their sophomore LP More Than Just A Dream (2013) and their debut album Pickin’ Up the Pieces(2010), as well as a fun cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Continue reading →

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Listen to Slowdive’s first Philadelphia show in 21 years

Slowdive | Photo by John Vettese
Slowdive | Photo by John Vettese

When Slowdive played Philadelphia for the first time some 21 years ago, there weren’t many artists that sounded like them. Well, wait – let me clarify – it was the thick of the shoegaze / dream-pop movement in the UK psychedelic rock scene, after all, so of course you had My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Ride, Curve, Lush, and others with band names out of the health and beauty aisle and similar sonic aesthetics. Nevertheless, it was a relatively small and contained scene that quickly fizzled with the onset of modern rock.

I was not one of the 800 or so who saw Slowdive when they headlined the TLA on August 15, 1993; at that point, I pretty much had Nine Inch Nails’ Broken on repeat in my Walkman alongside (ugh) the Spin Doctors and the Singles soundtrack. (I was not the most cultured high school freshman.)  A glance around Union Transfer two Fridays showed me that the majority of the crowd was probably in the same boat as myself, albeit with possibly less questionable youthful music leanings. We weren’t old enough – or born enough – to see Slowdive the first time around, so we’ve been content for our lives with our copies of Souvlaki on iTunes shuffle, not to mention the legions of post-shoegaze and revival-shoegaze and (in the case of Philly’s Nothing) hardcore-shoegaze outfits that have proliferated over the years, some with more success than others.

When Slowdive took the Union Transfer stage on Friday, October 24th – some 21 years, two months and 9 days after their only other Philadelphia show – it felt simultaneously thrilling and anticlimactic. Aside from the fact that the people performing were, in fact, Rachel Goswell, Neil Halstead, Nick Chaplin, Christian Savill and Simon Scott, there wasn’t immediately anything differentiating them from those legions of followers. Continue reading →

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Rhett Miller serves up stories and rarities at World Cafe Live

Rhett Miller
Rhett Miller | photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

A sold-out crowd witnessed Rhett Miller in fine form this past Saturday at World Café. With Old 97’s and solo material at his disposal, he rattled through the lives of his many colorful characters with their grit and grime in full glory. Raucous and pure fun, it was certainly a great way to welcome November.

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Hozier takes control of a sold out crowd at the Trocadero

Hozier | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | http://michellemontgomeryphotography.com/
Hozier | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | http://michellemontgomeryphotography.com/

Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne, better known as Hozier, serenaded a sold-out crowd at the Trocadero on Saturday night. Playing what he described as his first proper show in Philly, he performed an entrancing set of his passionate and poetic music off his recently released self-titled debut album. It’s not often that you come across a musician with such a hauntingly beautiful voice that makes an entire crowd go silent, but that is exactly what Hozier did at the Troc. As soon as he took the stage, the crowd went crazy cheering for him. Once he started singing, it seemed that the slightly rowdy crowd went silent and became completely immersed in his performance. Continue reading →