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Phantogram dazzles a sold-out Union Transfer crowd

Phantogram | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Phantogram | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

New York based electronica duo Phantogram rocked Union Transfer this weekend with an electrifying performance. On Sunday, the band played the second of two back-to-back sold-out shows in support of their second full-length album, Voices, which was released in February. Josh Carter (vocals, guitar, and electronic beats) and Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboard, and guitar) were backed by a three-piece band, which allowed them to give a spectacular, full-sounding performance. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Courtney Barnett at Union Transfer, Something Like A Monument at Kung Fu Necktie, These Wild Plains at Tellus360

Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic
Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Courtney Barnett, who went from a Melbourne musician with a couple of EPs to the toast of the indie singer-songwriter scene. Propelled by her wit and lyrical charm, perhaps best exhibited on the infectious “Avant Gardener” – the first single from her 2013 release A Sea of Split Peas – Barnett headlines Union Transfer for the second time tonight, and according to her recent interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia, will show off a few new songs from the album she’s releasing next year. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch a video of “Avant Gardener” performed live in the studio for World Cafe. Continue reading →

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Kopecky Family Band keeps us coming back at Union Transfer

Kopecky Family Band | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Kopecky Family Band | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

It’s no secret that the Kopecky Family Band is not really a family, but with or without shared bloodlines, these Nashville rockers managed to make us all feel at home Friday night at Union Transfer. Their records are solid, of course, but there’s something about seeing them live that brings out something that’s just plain likable. Frontman Gabe Simon humbly introduced himself to the front row as he set up his own pedalboards. He even remembered seeing me at their killer TLA show from about a year back. But a nice guy does not a great musician make; we care about the sounds, and there’s a reason the Kopecky Family Band continues to have me coming back for more. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: mewithoutYou at the Trocadero, Black Milk at Johnny Brenda’s, Phantogram at Union Transfer, and more!

mewithoutYou | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
mewithoutYou | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Upper Darby-based rock group mewithoutYou brings its Catch For Us the Foxes 10-year anniversary tour to The Trocadero tonight. Their second full-length album came out in October of 2004 and cathartically explored the tension between heartache, faith and the complex emotions of youth. The record contained fan faves like “In a Sweater Poorly Knit” and “January 1979″, the latter of which won mtvU’s “Left Field Award for Most Original Artist,” and the album peaked at number 20 on Billboard’s “Top Heatseekers.” Joining mwY tonight are Lawrence, Kansas post-rock group The Appleseed Cast and Philadelphia art-punk favorites Hop Along. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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How mushroom soup and an optimistic work ethic keep Courtney Barnett moving

Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic
Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic

Courtney Barnett sometimes gets saddled with the “slacker” tag—she’s got this shaggy hair and these boxy tees, and these slow, shuffling bass lines that amble lazily across your eardrums, like maybe they had two beers and it’s a Saturday. Really though, she’s anything but—the Aussie crooner founded her own record label, Milk Records, while in her early 20’s; now, barely into her mid-20s, she’s emerged as somewhat of a workaholic, playing no less than 64 shows since I saw her last February, in addition to working on a new record.

“I don’t reckon you would know anything about me if I wasn’t moderately hard-working,” she once quipped.

Hard work probably got Courtney there a little sooner. But it’s her songwriting—and quirky, relatable lyrics—that did most of the heavy lifting. Continue reading →

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Yelle inspires a devoted Union Transfer crowd

Yelle
Yelle | photo by Cameron Pollack |

“Philly! I want to see your hands, and I want to see your hearts!” Yelle’s voice echoed throughout Union Transfer on Sunday night as a packed crowd danced without end. Their hearts were certainly all out on the table, as the screams of the crowd grew with volume after every song. Yelle, in support of her latest album Complètement Fou, promised Philadelphia a night of infectious dance music with lyrics to which Google Translate often does not give justice.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Little Dragon at Union Transfer, Art Sorority for Girls at Kung Fu Necktie, York Street Hustle at Johnny Brenda’s and more

Little Dragon | Photo via facebook.com/littledragonpage
Little Dragon | Photo via facebook.com/littledragonpage

You might know Swedish electro-pop four-piece Little Dragon from frontwoman Yukimi Nagano’s collaborations with Gorillaz (“Empire Ants” and “To Binge” from Plastic Beach…and, confession time, that’s how I was introduced). Or you might just be a fan of their own fiercely eclectic stylings, now four albums deep. Either way, we can at least agree on two truths. There aren’t many artists making music right now that sound quite like them, and the band’s headlining show at Union Transfer will be a high-energy throwdown. Little Dragon is currently touring behind its recent, Nabuma Rubberband, which came in May and shows traces of big-beat 90s dance, groove-pop and melodic sould, sometimes all at once…such as “Klapp Klapp,” which you can check out the video for below. Get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Norway’s Kygo and the new EDM niche of trop-house

Kygo
Kygo | photo via thump.vice.com

If you’ve noticed a surge in chilled-out pseudo-house in today’s commercial electronic scene, it’s not just you. In an almost unpredictable turn after adopting high-energy trap and twerk (and moombahton before that) the commercial EDM community has opened its ears to a new, laid-back subgenre known as “tropical house.” Trop-house is possibly one of the most structurally-flexible subgenres of electronica to make it to the forefront of the scene. Drums are typically (but not always) four-on-the-floor, tempo ranges anywhere from 100-128 BPM, and instrumental synthesis tendencies are really up to whomever’s making it. It’s truly a creative-minded producer’s fantasy. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Yelle at Union Transfer, Marketa Irglova at World Cafe Live, The Budos Band at District N9NE, and more!

Yelle | Photo via MTVIggy.com
Yelle | Photo via MTVIggy.com

Tonight, electro-pop superstar Yelle will be performing at Union Transfer. The French singer has successfully released two albums, Pop Up and Safari Disco Club, and is currently working on her third, the name of which has not been announced yet. Any fan of pop music should see the European interpretation of what has become such a staple in the American musical canon, and Yelle is a perfect ambassador. Check out  “Je Veux Te Voir” below and get information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →