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Screaming Females sounded stadium-ready at Union Transfer on Saturday

Screaming Females | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Screaming Females | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

On Saturday night, New Jersey’s Screaming Females ended their four week tour at Union Transfer with a set demonstrating that in their tenth year, they deserve all the good things coming to them. Focusing heavily on their new album, Rose Mountain, the songs translated well from basement show fare to something dare-I-say stadium ready. That might be a scary thought to some punk fans, but seeing Marissa Paternoster shredding for the masses rather than some dude from Walk the Moon is way more satisfying if you ask me. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Screaming Females at Union Transfer, Louie Louie at Johnny Brenda’s, Suburban Living at Underground Arts and more

screaming females
Screaming Females | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

New Brunswick rock mainstays Screaming Females will play Union Transfer tonight in support of this year’s Rose Mountain LP. They released a new video for opening track “Empty Head” last month, which follows a cast of paper cutout creatures around an industrial city. Watch it below and pick up tickets for the all-ages show with Vacation, Radiator Hospital and Pinkwash here. Listen back to Screaming Females’ Key Studio Session from last week here.

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Restorations will join The Menzingers and mewithoutYou for their fall tour

Restorations | Photo via NPR Music
Restorations | Photo via NPR Music

This fall’s co-headling tour with The Menzingers and mewithoutYou was already hotly anticipated, and now Philly’s Restorations have jumped on board as the opener. Their latest album LP3 came out last year and the band recently played a standout set for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts (not to mention our own Waterfront Sessions at Spruce Street Harbor). The  Philly stops for the tour are a Union Transfer doubleheader on October 23rd and 24th; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Screaming Females

I first encountered New Brunswick shredders Screaming Females six years ago at World Cafe Live. In retrospect, the tidy and proper venue was an unlikely spot to see a punk rock power trio that, up until that point, had been fixtures on the basement and house show circuit. But paired with alt-rock icons Throwing Muses, the energy was electric and the fit couldn’t have been more perfect. I was an instant convert, and have seen them in all manner of settings since: a brutally crowded Pi Lam show, a glorious New Years’ eve gig at Johnny Brenda’s, numerous appearances in the First Unitarian Church basement.

As far as the current punk landscape, the Screamales’ playing is unparalleled. Frontwoman Marissa Paternoster is a remarkable guitarist with a powerful voice, and backed by drummer Jarrett Dougherty and bassist Michael Abbate, the band creates a wall of noise and fuzz and melody and lightning-fast playing, no fuss no muss. Their A.V. Club covers are incredible (from Sheryl Crow to Taylor Swift) and Paternoster dabbles in compelling side pursuits (like Noun, which recently played one of Sebastian Petsu’s Double Decker Music Series shows). You could probably, were you so inclined, trace their lineage through bands like Dinosaur Jr. and PJ Harvey and whoever else came before. But to me, Screaming Females songs sound like Screaming Females, and they’re all the awesomer for it. Continue reading →

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A good night for punk in its many forms: LVL UP, Palehound, and more at Union Transfer

LVL Up | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
LVL Up | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Friday night’s bill at Union Transfer offered attendees a variety of punk acts, each with a distinct flavor.

The show began with Boston’s Palehound, who were celebrating their record release of debut full-length Dry Food. Singer Ellen Kempner brought a quiet energy with her band’s captivating brand of bedroom rock, playing tracks from Dry Food and 2013 EP Bent Nail. It was also encouraging to hear Kempner end her set by assuring audience members to come find her during the show if they felt at all uncomfortable with anyone’s behavior. Nice to see an artist making conscious efforts to keep the show as safe a space as possible. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: LVL UP at Union Transfer, Ortolan at Boot and Saddle, Failure / Hum at Electric Factory, and more

LVL UP | Photo via artist's Facebook
LVL UP | Photo via artist’s Facebook

Purchase, NY’s LVL UP open for Basement with Palehound and Adventures at Union Transfer this evening. The band most recently released EP Three Songs after the success of third full-length Hoodwink’d. Though they have not hit the “mainstream,” LVL UP excel in the quieter spaces of the music world – a must-see live act. Get tickets for the show here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lithuania at Boot and Saddle, Neurosis at Union Transfer, Verbatum Jones at The Fire

LIthuania | Photo by Abi Reimold
LIthuania | Photo by Abi Reimold

Dom Angelella and Eric Slick’s long running side project Lithuania takes center stage this year with the release of Hardcore Friends, their long-in-the-works debut. The punk’d out frenzy of an LP is out this week on Lame-O Records and the band celebrates tonight with a headlining show at Boot and Saddle. Get there early for an opening set by Anomie, the solo project of Rachel Browne from Field Mouse. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Jam out to “God In Two Persons” below. Continue reading →

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Revolution In The Shadows: Desaparecidos took on Union Transfer

Desaperacidos | Photo by Kate McCann | flickr.com/photos/126156760@N07
Desaperacidos | Photo by Kate McCann | flickr.com/photos/126156760@N07

It was obvious most of last night’s crowd at Union Transfer came to see Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, and not post-hardcore screams from the performer, but the audience lit up for Desaparecidos anyway. Landon Hedges took center stage, in an attempt to take Oberst out of the spotlight, despite his lead vocals on most of the songs off of Payola, their new LP. Even after 13-years passing since Read Music/Speak Spanish, fans still new every word to scream along with Oberst and Hedges and were happy to sing along with new songs “The Left is Right” and “Radicalized.” Continue reading →

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Stream the new album from Palehound, see them at Union Transfer

Palehound | Photo via artist's Facebook
Palehound | Photo via facebook.com/palehoundsounds

Twenty-one-year-old Ellen Kempner is the brains behind Palehound. Known for writing songs that are both brutally honest and a pinch playful, Kempner – along with backing bandmates Jesse Weiss (drums) and Nick Koechel (bass) – has recorded a new LP, cleverly titled Dry Food. The album is streaming in its entirety via NPR Music’s First Listen series.

Beginning with “Molly”, a punchy track about a girl who “only knows how to love all alone,” Dry Food takes listeners on a journey through the head space of a young adult trying to assert herself and navigate life’s emotional landscapes.  Continue reading →

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A duet of brilliance, Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn enchanted at Union Transfer

Laura Marling / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Laura Marling | Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko

“I’ve known Johnny since I was 16,” Laura Marling laughed as her tourmate Johnny Flynn picked up the violin to join her onstage. “And we both look exactly the same.”

Saturday night, Union Transfer was host for a delightful evening with these two icons of modern British folk. Joined by emerging UK singer songwriter Marika Hackman, the night was filled with an enchanting performance of raw images and old memories. Continue reading →