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Composer Julia Wolfe brings coal mining history back to Pennsylvania with performance on November 14

New York Philharmonic's 2014 Biennial with Bang on the Can performing Juila Wolfe's Anthracite Fields at Avery Fisher Hall | Photo by Chris Lee
New York Philharmonic’s 2014 Biennial with Bang on the Can performing Juila Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields at Avery Fisher Hall | Photo by Chris Lee

Pennsylvania is home to North America’s largest reserves of anthracite coal. At the turn of the 20th century, the mining industry dominated towns like Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Pottsville. But as coal began to lose favor to more efficient alternatives like oil and natural gas, the mining industry virtually ceased to exist in these towns, leaving them disadvantaged and broke.

Renowned composer Julia Wolfe, who herself hails from rural PA, began to take in interest in the region’s coal mining history. Her oratorio, Anthracite Hills, is a revolutionary piece for chorus and sextet that brings to life the spirit and history of coal mining in Pennsylvania. On November 14th, Wolfe is set to perform her work at the Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for Creative Arts, right outside Wilkes-Barre. Continue reading →

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Alvvays entrances the crowd and spurs a moshpit at Union Transfer

Alvvays @ Union Transfer, Philadelphia. Photo by Cameron Pollack
Alvvays @ Union Transfer, Philadelphia. Photo by Cameron Pollack

Whenever I walk into a venue, I look around and try to guess the median age of the crowd. Sometimes it’s for kicks, but sometimes it’s very telling about what the nature of the concert will be. I’ve walked into enough shows with the crowd brimming with high-school age teenagers to know that, should the crowd be of this age, the show will involve the bulk of the audience bobbing their heads and pretending to know the words. Alvvays at Union Transfer was very much an exception. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lykke Li at Union Transfer, Catfish and the Bottlemen at MilkBoy, and Rise Against at The Tower Theater

Lykke Li | photo via facebook.com/lykkeli
Lykke Li | photo via facebook.com/lykkeli

Swedish indie pop singer Lykke Li plays Union Transfer tonight with Mapei. After emerging on the scene in the late 2000s, Lykke Li has continued to pump out evocative new material that has been incorporated into major motion films including Twilight and The Fault In Our Stars. Her latest album, I Never Learn, was released in May and was caleld”both spartan and expansive” by Pitchfork. Sharing the stage with Mapei, the Swedish-American  R&B pop singer, the show tonight is sure to draw out quite a crowd. Check out her video for “Gunshot” below and visit the XPN Concert Calendar for more information. Continue reading →

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Karmin kicked off its Pulses tour with a high-energy TLA show

Karmin | Photo by Pete Troshak | shak74.com
Karmin | Photo by Pete Troshak | shak74.com

The story of Karmin is one of the most interesting in music the last few years. Engaged pop duo Nick Noonan and Amy Heidemann started out covering hits by other artists in an attempt to show off their talents. They amassed millions of views on YouTube and fulfilled the dreams of every struggling musician by getting signed to a major label. They got backed by Questlove of the Roots here and here. They released an EP called Hello in 2012 that yielded a hit in the form of the inescapably catchy “Brokenhearted.” Everything seemed to be going their way, but then the ride got bumpy. The first full length album, Pulses, has been complete for over a year but in limbo due to disagreements between Karmin and Epic Records. The band is out on the road for their first tour as headliners despite the album not being for sale (it’s scheduled for release 5/25), and gave an impressive show at the Theatre Of Living Arts on Friday night on one of the first dates of their Pulses tour. Continue reading →

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Photos: Sleigh Bells brought late-night noise to Union Transfer

Sleigh Bells | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Sleigh Bells | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Aggressive electropop crew Sleigh Bells headlined a late night show at Union Transfer last night, bringing an intense and noisey performance to an energetic audience. The band is on tour in support of its third LP, Bitter Rivals, out last month on Mom + Pop Records. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.