Kopecky Family Band headlining Union Transfer in October

Photo by Joe del Tufo
Photo by Joe del Tufo

XPN favorites Kopecky Family Band have announced a tour date at Union Transfer this fall. The Nashville six-piece, who delivered not one but TWO energetic sets at XPoNential Festival last summer, have been all-but-nonstop touring since the release of their 2012 LP, Kids Raising Kids. You can catch them return to Philadelphia on Friday, October 17th; tickets will become available here Friday at noon. You can revisit the band’s performance on the Marina Stage last summer here, and watch the video for “Change” below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Owls and Hop Along at Union Transfer, The GTVs at Ardmore Music Hall

Owls | photo via

Indie four-piece Owls are hitting Union Transfer tonight in support of their long-awaited second album, Two. The band, who gained popularity in the early aughts with the release of their eponymous debut album, overcame two different break-ups, but the group’s reunion in 2012 brought forth a full-scale rework of the band’s best qualities. With no disregard to the musicianship that won fans over from the band’s first album, Two brings out an easier listening component but asks for a more dedicated listener lyrically. The band’s growth is sure to bring delight to old fans and new listeners alike, and with a dynamite opener like Philly’s Hop Along this’ll be a show you’ll hear friends raving about the rest of the week. Find ticket information here and check out “I’m Surprised…” from Two.

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Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood to release new album; playing Union Transfer on 12/5

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood | photo by Sterling Munksgard Photography
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood | photo by Sterling Munksgard Photography

Jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood will be joined by long-time collaborator and guitarist John Scofield for a special show at Union Transfer on December 5th.  The four-piece will be releasing its third studio effort Juice this September.  From the band:

With four multi-faceted musicians participating as equals, anything and everything is possible…. To give shape to what eventually became Juice, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood sought common ground and inspiration in the intersection of improvisation and rhythms from the Afro-Latin Diaspora. More specifically, the blueprint was found in a compilation of these sounds put together by drummer Billy Martin and shared among the ensemble.

Tickets and information can be found here.  Listen to “Sham Time” off of the new record below.


Warpaint announce show at Union Transfer on October 9

Warpaint  | Photo by Chris Sikich |
Warpaint | Photo by Chris Sikich |

L.A. trio Warpaint have announced an extended U.S. tour for the fall that includes a date at Union Transfer on October 9th.  The band continues to support its 2014 self-titled sophomore LP, making its second appearance in Philadelphia this year (the March UT show sold-out).  Tickets and information will be available here.  Watch a video for “Love Is to Die” below and check out the review of Warpaint’s last show in Philly, complete with a Kurt Vile collaboration, here.


Toy Soldiers entering “deep, dark hibernation” following upcoming Union Transfer show

Photo by Caitlin McCann
Photo by Caitlin McCann

Philly Americana rock crew Toy Soldiers announced today that they are entering a period of “deep, dark hibernation” following their upcoming Union Transfer show with Cheers Elephant on July 18th.

From the band’s blog post announcing the news:

After 7 years, 20+ musicians, 3.4 million highway miles, 9 thousand rest-stops and a lifetimes worth of experience, knowledge and a half-witted tango with the drunkest most unpredictable woman ever known as the music industry…Toy Soldiers, the band, will be entering into a deep, dark hibernation from now until ___.

We are endlessly grateful for the amazing people we’ve met, the times we had and the situations we sometimes found ourselves in both ugly and beautiful. At the end of the day they have contributed to our individual skins.

That said, there’s a noticeable lack of finality in this bow out. Four question marks in the headline, tentative phrasing like “hibernation” and “final hurrah for now.” Nobody is calling it a break-up because, let’s face it, rock and roll breakups are passé, and this crew clearly harbors no ill will towards one another (check the post for a breakdown of what the various members are up to – including front-dude Ron Gallo, who last week released his proper solo debut Ronny).

You might also say that Toy Soldiers have broken up twice before, anyway; the Black Keys-y duo of Gallo and drummer Michael Baurer (2007-2009); the sprawling 11-piece (or so) Band-esque band co-fronted by Kate Faust (2009-2011). The current lineup of drummer Dom Billett, guitarist Matt Kelly, bassist Bill McCloskey and keyboardist Luke Leidy has by far taken the band the furthest and garnered it the most exposure and opportunities, from writeups in Paste to gigs backing Wanda Jackson. But the one constant has been Gallo, and it seems natural for him to step into a new role as a solo artist as his bandmates chase other opportunities.

Get tickets and info on Toy Soldiers’ farewell show, July 18th at Union Transfer, at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch the trailer for The Maybe Trails, the 2013 independent documentary on Toy Soldiers detailing the grind of being a touring band.


WXPN Welcomes Courtney Barnett and San Fermin playing Union Transfer

Courtney Barnett | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Courtney Barnett | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett just played Firefly Music Festival, and if you missed it, you’re in luck since she just announced a return to Philly’s Union Transfer. She plays on Monday, October 20th, and tickets go on sale this Friday, June 27th Her last show at the venue was back in February, which sold out well in advance, even after being moved from the smaller Boot & Saddle. This time she returns with fellow Firefly artist San Fermin, a Brooklyn based Baroque Pop band. Check out the left-handed-guitar playing Aussie’s music video for “Avant Gardner” below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sylvan Esso at Union Transfer, Placeholder at The Fire, Skinny Lister at North Star Bar

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Durham, NC electro-folk duo Sylvan Esso join tUnE-yArDs tonight at Union Transfer for a fun, funky and alternative show.  Lead singer Amelia Meath has a smooth, haunting tone to her voice that manages to give more depth to the repetitive synths and beats.  She bends her vocals so they compliment the abstract rhythms and somehow it just works.  The single “Coffee” has a cool melody with lyrics that repeat “get up get down, get up get down.”  Very good music to listen to while walking down the street on a sunny day.  Doors open at 8 p.m., and make sure you arrive early to this sold out show!

Lancaster garage punks Placeholder will be at The Fire tonight to put on a high-energy show.  The band released a digital 12″ back in February called I Don’t Need Forgiveness which you can stream here. Unlike some punk groups who can sometimes be all over the place with their sound, the foursome maintains a steady control throughout the 12-track long LP.  Their live show will definitely guarantee gritty guitar solos along with commanding vocals.

Skinny Lister hail from the UK and if you listen closely, you can detect a slight bluegrass twang in their music.  Dual lead vocalists Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas don’t outshine each other, but use each others voices to enhance the quality of the music.  I could picture these guys playing on a street corner in Dublin or London, captivating passersby.  You can find tickets and info for their 21+ show tonight at North Star Bar here.

Also playing…

Tweens at Underground Arts ($10, 21+, 8 p.m.)

Uncle/Father Oscar at Kung Fu Necktie ($5, 21+, 3 p.m.)

Indigenous at Sellersville Theater ($22, all ages, 7:30 p.m.)


Disclosure transform Union Transfer into a packed, sweaty disco

Disclosure | Photo by Kate Bracaglia |
Disclosure | Photo by Kate Bracaglia |

It’s been a crazy 12 months for Disclosure – the musical project of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, and one of the biggest names in electronica right now. It’s been nearly a year exactly since the drop of their debut record, Settle—and in that time, it’s become such a large part of our pop culture soundscape—its sound clips embedded in everything from TV commercials to party soundtracks—that you’d swear, hearing the songs again, you must have heard them all your life. Friday night, the band brought its dance-pop concoctions to life at Union Transfer, where the beats and vibes transformed the venue into a packed, sweaty disco, the crowd drunk on beer, summer nights, and the promise of something great.

There’s always the fear with electronic music—at least for me—that something will be lost in the live show; that it won’t be as exhilarating as watching a rock show, if only because turning knobs pale in comparison to slaying on guitar. With Disclosure, this fear was particularly present, because so much of what makes the record great is all the special guests—British soul singer Sam Smith, Jessie Ware, Eliza Doolittle—all of whom were absent Friday night.

Yet Disclosure aren’t every other electronic band, and they quickly proved the strength of their songs was more than enough to propel them. Stationed behind matching “remix stations,” and armed with a small army of instruments—guitar, drums, samplers, mixers—the bros rocketed through a set of tunes drawn from Settle, and earlier, their vivacious melodies matched by an equally awesome light show.

And while nearly every tune drew shrieks and cool moves, I found my own inspired dance moves coming out during set openers “F for You” and “When a Fire Starts to Burn” (played back to back, like a perfect vibe-making aperitif), plus the quirky, bloop-y “White Noise,” which retained its charm even without AlunaGeorge contributing live vocals.

But the highlight of the show came right at end, as the band closed its set with two of its biggest singles—the floaty, London Grammar-assisted “Help Me Lose My Mind” and radio/dance floor staple “Latch”—a giant, video mouth mouthing the words to each as the crowd raged along. And even though it was all over in an hour, it felt oddly transformative—as if dancing to these tunes in this moment was all one really needs. Disclosure boast the power to move people, and Friday night, they were gods, if for one, glorious, sweaty hour only.


Load-In to Load-Out: The Menzingers’ Rented World tour takes on Union Transfer

The Menzingers at Union Transfer | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |

Most people think of a concert as those four or so hours you spend standing in crowd, singing along with your favorite band. But have you ever thought about what goes into making that happen? We followed The MenzingersRented World tour for a day as four bands converged on Philly’s Union Transfer to put on a show. The headliners were brought up in the Scranton DIY scene before relocating to Philadelphia – releasing several amazing albums along the way – and this stop on the tour was their biggest headlining show to date in their adopted hometown. Their fourth full-length, Rented World, was released this spring on Epitaph Records, and it’s gotten the band some of its highest-profile attention outside of the punk world – including an enthusiastic review in the New York Times. Even so, the band stayed true to its roots for the tour, bringing along Philly friends Cayetana, up-and-coming Toronto punk four-piece PUP and Buffalo indiepop trio Lemuria. Take a look at how the gang spent their Saturday in pictures. [continue]


Caribou announces new album, Our Love, Union Transfer show and new single “Can’t Do Without You”

Photo via |

Canadian experimental rock outfit Caribou announced today that it will release its sixth studio album, Only Love, on October 6th. The brainchild of lead singer Dan Snaith, Only Love is built around “hip-hop inspired beats, muted house basslines, and a love of shuffling garage.” The album will feature collaborations with Jessy Lanza and Owen Pallett, both eloquent artists in their own right. Caribou will start their North American Tour in July and play Union Transfer on November 13th.  Before downloading the full album in the fall, stream “Can’t Do Without You” below.