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Honesty and Integrity: Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield on music, Philly and Ivy Tripp

Waxahatchee | photo by Michael Rubenstein | via facebook.com/waxahatchee
Waxahatchee | photo by Michael Rubenstein | via facebook.com/waxahatchee

Next week, returning Philly resident Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, will grace Union Transfer with a performance of songs from her highly anticipated third album Ivy Tripp, also arriving next week on Merge Records. In preparation for her sort-of homecoming, I gave Katie a ring to chat about the new album as well as her love for Philly, Jenny Lewis, and living with confidence and integrity as an artist. Continue reading →

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Stream The Mountain Goats’ Beat the Champ before their upcoming Union Transfer show

The Mountain Goats | Photo by Lissa Gotwals
The Mountain Goats | Photo by Lissa Gotwals

Q: What happens when you mix old-school professional wrestling and folk trio The Mountain Goats?

A: Beat the Champ, the group’s upcoming album available for streaming over on NPR’s First Listen. Much like their other albums, Beat the Champ plays like an energetic history lesson and insightful look into a niche environment. Continue reading →

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Listen to Waxahatchee’s Ivy Tripp, catch them at Union Transfer on April 8

Waxahatchee | Photo by Jesse Riggins | jesseriggins.tumblr.com
Waxahatchee | Photo by Jesse Riggins | jesseriggins.tumblr.com

With a tour about to start and a Union Transfer show slated for April 8th, Waxahatchee’s third full-length, Ivy Tripp, is currently streaming on NPR’s First Listen. We first got a taste of the release with the captivating singles “Air” and “Ivy Tripp”; listening to the whole album you can hear frontwoman Katie Crutchfield’s confidence loud in clear-cut, commanding vocals. Continue reading →

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From Waxahatchee to Smallpools, here are 5 Philadelphia concerts not to miss in April

Smallpools | via Facebook.com/smallpools
Smallpools | via Facebook.com/smallpools

Lots of celebrated musicians are headed to Philly in April, and a handful of shows are already selling out. If you’re bummed about not grabbing those Jose Gonzalez or Father John Misty tickets while you had the chance, head over to StubHub or catch tickets to these April shows while they’re still hot. (It goes without saying that we think Key Fest is a pretty rad three-day lineup over at MilkBoy too.) From electronic to folk, here are five Philadelphia concerts not to miss this month. Continue reading →

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Swans played to a reverent crowd at Union Transfer

Swans
Swans | photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com/

It began with the slight yet forceful reverberations of a gong. For five minutes, percussionist extraordinaire Thor Harris elicited the low hum of his instrument while no one else occupied the stage. Then drummer Phil Puelo came out to add another percussive layer. The lights dimmed and brightened to match the rhythm, almost like a pulsing heart. One by one more band members of Swans entered the fray. The song, “Frankie M,” like all of their work on performed Monday night at Union Transfer, lasted in excess of 20 minutes. To call it or any of the other pieces simply a song would be to dismiss their nature; they were mini-rock orchestrations, hinting at the essence of the music itself and the boundaries of the human ear’s comfort level with their powerful sonics.

Continue reading →

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No Country For Old Americana: Shakey Graves at Union Transfer

Shakey Graves | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Shakey Graves | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Alejandro Rose-Garcia is a man of simple pleasures. He hoisted the can of Coors Light and toasted the crowd, throwing back a long sip. “I guess I should be drinking something a bit more locale-specific,” he chuckles. A few minutes earlier, he walked out onto the stage, wearing a black hoodie and looking like he just woke up from a nap, and set up his own guitars and kick drum. There’s lots of girls screaming, but he doesn’t acknowledge it—not yet, anyways—busying himself with cables on the stage. No muss, no fuss, no cowboy hat, and no stagehands. Shakey Graves was in the house. Wednesday night at Union Transfer, Graves proved he’s out to change the Americana game. Continue reading →

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Writing, Touring, Art and Life: A conversation with Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett | Photo by John Vettese
Courtney Barnett | Photo by John Vettese

Last week, Courtney Barnett took the South By Southwest festival by storm, playing a whirlwind eight shows in three days. Lest anybody miss the reason why, it was because she had a record immediately on the way, and she wanted to stamp those songs in the consciousness of the music industry folks making the rounds in Austin.

Luckily, we didn’t need a ton of convincing. Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit is out today on Mom and Pop Music, and it sounds tremendous. It’s technically her debut LP; even though many look at 2013’s The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas as a full-length in its own right – and it certainly had the impact of one – that album combined two previously-released EPs, I’ve got a friend called Emily Ferris (2012) and How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose (2013). It also has a breezier, homespun vibe, even on the rock-out moments like “Lance Jr.” and “History Eraser.”

By comparison, Sometimes I Sit is a freaking arrival, a big rock record with catchy hooks and fierce playing from Barnett and her bandmates – Dan Luscombe on guitar, Bones Sloane on bass, and Dave Mudie on drums.

Earlier this winter, I caught up with Barnett by phone while she was still back in Millbourne. She had just finished a run of dates at the multi-city Laneway Festival in New Zealand and Australia, and we talked about touring, writing, the new album and art. Continue reading →

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Listen to Laura Marling’s new album Short Movie, see her at Union Transfer August 1st

Photo via Laura Marling Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lauramarling)
Laura Marling | photo via facebook.com/lauramarling

25-year-old English singer/songwriter Laura Marling just released her fifth full-length album, Short Movie. The self-produced 13-track LP explores an electric side of Marling’s music after she took a self-proclaimed gap year to travel and discover where she stood in terms of her music career. You can stream Short Movie in it’s entirety here and check out her live performance of the album’s third track, “I Feel Your Love”, below. Laura Marling will be coming to Philadelphia to play at Union Transfer on August 1st. Find tickets and more information by heading over to the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Hop Along makes a powerful statement with “Powerful Man”

Hop Along in the studio | photo by Jonathan Minto
Hop Along in the studio | photo by Jonathan Minto

Last week Hop Along premiered “Waitress,” the first single from their upcoming album Painted Shut, and it was an immediate favorite within the Philly scene and beyond. With open arms and honest lyricism comes the second single from Painted Shut, that delves into some darker subject matter.

In “Powerful Man,” singer / guitarist Frances Quinlan relates the personal struggle of witnessing a child being abused by his father and freezing up in the moment to take a stand. ”He said ‘she’s not gonna help you,’” Quinlan sings on the refrain. Continue reading →