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First Aid Kit return to Union Transfer with familiar harmonies and newfound fervor

First Aid Kit | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
First Aid Kit | photo by Ellen Miller | ellencm.com

First Aid Kit have a knack for making the kind of sad music that does everything but leave you feeling sad — and they’ve been doing it for ten years. The Swedish sister duo of Johanna and Klara Söderberg took the stage at Union Transfer Saturday night for the first time since 2014, and for the first time as a five-piece band. As the sisters put it, it had been “way too long,” and the sold-out crowd was eager to see what this new era of First Aid Kit would bring. Continue reading →

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Kimbra’s Primal Heart wins out

Kimbra at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s hard not to embrace an interview subject who enters the conversation laughing before the first question is lobbed. That’s Kimbra: the New Zealand soul singer whose albums before 2018 (The Golden Echo, Vows) were cheerfully cluttered, genre-mixing experiences marinated in the meaty juices of dance-pop.

Her newest album following her recent move to NYC, Primal Heart, is due in April, and takes a different tact in that the whole of the album is a windier, more minimalist experience, which allows her emotional lyrical perspective to shine through to a greater extent than in previous sonic settings. Before she appears at Union Transfer on January 31, Kimbra chatted about golden echoes, gods and Gotye. Continue reading →

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Hop Along’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog is out in April; they’ll celebrate May 19th at Union Transfer

Hop Along
Hop Along | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

If you’ll excuse us for a bit, we’re just going to have this new Hop Along song on repeat for the rest of the day.

“How Simple” is the first taste we’re getting of Bark Your Head Off, Dog — the band’s latest album, out April 4th on Saddle Creek Records. It’s got a brisk pace and soaring leads, a disco beat and handclap breakdowns. The outro hook, delivered gang vocal style, will be in our head all day: “Don’t worry, we will both find out, just not together.” Continue reading →

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Tune-yards pry open a conversation on privilege in i can feel you creep into my private life

tune-yards | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | via artist’s Facebook

Merrill Garbus’s experimental pop project tune-yards has always radiated as a genre-bending, unexpected collaboration of sounds. Heavily infusing Haitian and Afrobeat elements into her nuanced music, Garbus has not shied away from conversations of cultural appropriation and her part in the matter. But after the racially-charged 2016 election and the ensuing divide of 2017, Garbus felt she needed to address her personal role head on and in full force. In a piece with NPR Music, it’s stated that Garbus attended a six-month anti-racist workshop at the East Bay Meditation Center and studied up on the works of anti-racist educator, Tim Wise, and the progressive activism of Standing Up for Racial Justice. What followed was the process of tune-yards’ recently released album, i can feel you creep into my private life. Continue reading →

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Transcend into the New Year with Making Time RADio’s Dave P at Union Transfer

 

Each month, radio host Dave P brings a rad electro party to the XPN airwaves via his monthly show, Making Time RADio. Now, he’s bringing that wild electro party to life with a New Year’s Eve bash at Union Transfer. Continue reading →

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A banterous night with Angel Olsen (and Paul) at Union Transfer

Angel Olsen | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Gazing into the eyes of the audience like a cat who wants attention, Angel Olsen ever so slightly grazed the strings of her ’79 Gibson S-1 as she sung the words “I ain’t hanging up this time / I ain’t giving up tonight.”

The 1,200 people inside the sold-out Union Transfer sang it with Olsen, who was decked out like Lady Stardust, wearing a glammy and metallic one-piece spacesuit-looking outfit. It was the moment the audience had been waiting for, and they didn’t have to wait very long for it. After opening with “Hi-Five,” a track from Olsen’s 2014 record, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, she dove straight into “Shut Up Kiss Me,” the radio-hit that propelled her into the spotlight. Seconds later, the rest of the band, sporting grey-blue pants and blazers and bolo ties, chimed in for the chorus in their ongoing sloppy-cool, not-trying-too-hard musical style.

It was a ballsy move. Playing your hit song so early on in the setlist? it can open the door for a steep drop-off in energy as the night progresses. But Angel Olsen’s a pro. This ain’t her first rodeo. Continue reading →