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Tonight’s Concert Picks: DakhaBrakha at Arden Gild Hall, You Do You at Bourbon and Branch, Ground Up at Union Transfer and more

DakhaBrakha | Photo via facebook.com/DakhaBrakha
DakhaBrakha | Photo via facebook.com/DakhaBrakha

After a well-received showing at this summer’s Philadelphia Folk Festival, Ukrainian four-piece DakhaBrakha returns to the area tonight for a headlining gig at Arden Gild Hall. The band calls their sound “ethno-chaos,” but what that really means is they’re a melting pot that transcends easy descriptions. You’ll hear a little bit of Eastern European folk music with sounds from India, Africa, Russia, the Middle East and Australia in the mix tonight. To get an idea what that sounds like, check out their Take Away Show below and pick up tickets and more information here. Continue reading →

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Le Butcherettes and Antemasque bring thrills and high energy to Union Transfer

Le Butcherettes | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Le Butcherettes | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

The one-two music punch of Le Butcherettes and Antemasque transformed Union Transfer into an aural canvas of raw punk last Thursday. Behind the leadership of Teri Gender Bender, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the fervent crowd was treated to some of the most unique and stirring rock around. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Don Bikoff at Little Berlin, The Werks at Underground Arts, Jessy Lanza at Union Transfer and more

Don Bikoff | via greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com
Don Bikoff | via greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com

Psychedelic folk guitar instrumentalist Don Bikoff released his most recognized album, Celestial Explosion, back in 1968, but don’t think that that’s the end-all of his career. Bikoff re-emerged in recent years, self-releasing his album Hallowed Ground and playing a handful of live appearances around the country, including tonight at Little Berlin for the last Folkadelphia show of the 2014 season. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to (and download) Bikoff’s 2013 Folkadelphia session. Continue reading →

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The Wonder Years celebrate a decade of pop punk with three nights at Union Transfer

The Wonder Years playing the First Unitarian Church basement in 2013 | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
The Wonder Years playing the First Unitarian Church basement in 2013 | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
One of the most triumphant shows I caught this year was The Wonder Years‘ sold-out headlining gig at The Electric Factory. The Lansdale-bred heroes of the U.S. pop punk scene had the venue packed to the rafters as the second leg of their Greatest Generation tour rolled through town, making for the best kind of homecoming. Frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell reminisced to the crowd about coming to the Factory growing up and being in the front row for Saves the Day, and the corresponding thrill of being able to perform on its stage. This speaks to the massive growth TWY have had over their own career, and today the band announced what’s sure to be another round of triumphant gigs: three nights in a row at Union Transfer to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Continue reading →

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Jenny Lewis brings rainbows and euphoria to Union Transfer

Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

I like to think that, even if her job was being the polar opposite of a musician (earplug fitter, I suppose), Jenny Lewis would still find use for a rainbow pantsuit. Her Technicolor garb matches the widescreen sound she’s explored since the last days of Rilo Kiley, right up to this year’s stellar solo effort The Voyager. Lewis brought an abridged version of her lively stage show to our XPoNential Music Festival this past summer, which featured guest appearances by members of Dawes and The Voyager‘s producer, Ryan Adams. Back on her own (and aided by a real wrecking crew of a backing band), Lewis returned on an unseasonably balmy evening for a sold-out show at Union Transfer. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Alvvays at Boot and Saddle, Drums Like Machine Guns at Kung Fu Necktie, Johnny Marr at Union Transfer

Alvvays | photo via facebook.com/ALVVAYS
Alvvays | photo via facebook.com/ALVVAYS

Toronto dream-pop five-piece Alvvays (pronounced “always”) returns to Philadelphia tonight for a headlining show at Boot and Saddle. The band released its self-titled debut LP on Polyvinyl records earlier this year, and its a delightful set of indie-pop anthems reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub, Black Tambourine and My Bloody Valentine. Check out the uber-catchy “Marry Me, Archie” below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Saintseneca at Johnny Brenda’s, Deerhoof at Union Transfer, Robyn Hitchcock at World Cafe Live and more

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

Columbus, Ohio indie-folk collective Saintseneca has had a heavy year of touring since releasing its latest LP, Dark Arc, back in the spring. Tonight, the band makes its third visit to Johnny Brenda’s in the past year. Fronted by singer and songwriter Zac Little with a rotating cast of accompanying players, the band fuses traditional sounds with a contemporary outlook; download a live version of “Happy Alone” performed on NPR’s World Cafe below, and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Listen to Slowdive’s first Philadelphia show in 21 years

Slowdive | Photo by John Vettese
Slowdive | Photo by John Vettese

When Slowdive played Philadelphia for the first time some 21 years ago, there weren’t many artists that sounded like them. Well, wait – let me clarify – it was the thick of the shoegaze / dream-pop movement in the UK psychedelic rock scene, after all, so of course you had My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Ride, Curve, Lush, and others with band names out of the health and beauty aisle and similar sonic aesthetics. Nevertheless, it was a relatively small and contained scene that quickly fizzled with the onset of modern rock.

I was not one of the 800 or so who saw Slowdive when they headlined the TLA on August 15, 1993; at that point, I pretty much had Nine Inch Nails’ Broken on repeat in my Walkman alongside (ugh) the Spin Doctors and the Singles soundtrack. (I was not the most cultured high school freshman.)  A glance around Union Transfer two Fridays showed me that the majority of the crowd was probably in the same boat as myself, albeit with possibly less questionable youthful music leanings. We weren’t old enough – or born enough – to see Slowdive the first time around, so we’ve been content for our lives with our copies of Souvlaki on iTunes shuffle, not to mention the legions of post-shoegaze and revival-shoegaze and (in the case of Philly’s Nothing) hardcore-shoegaze outfits that have proliferated over the years, some with more success than others.

When Slowdive took the Union Transfer stage on Friday, October 24th – some 21 years, two months and 9 days after their only other Philadelphia show – it felt simultaneously thrilling and anticlimactic. Aside from the fact that the people performing were, in fact, Rachel Goswell, Neil Halstead, Nick Chaplin, Christian Savill and Simon Scott, there wasn’t immediately anything differentiating them from those legions of followers. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Run the Jewels at The TLA, TJ Kong Murdershow at Underground Arts, Dum Dum Girls at Union Transfer

Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels | photo via www.facebook.com/therealrunthejewels

Hip Hop superduo Run the Jewels will be at The TLA tonight.  The partnership between Brooklyn’s El-P and Atlanta’s Killer Mike resulted in a self-titled record in 2013, which XPN’s Bruce Warren touted as “the year’s best hip hop collaboration.”  Just last week they leaked RTJ2, giving it out to fans for free on their Facebook page.  Get the album here and listen to “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” below.  Tickets and information can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Angus and Julia Stone at Union Transfer, David Bazan at the First Unitarian Church, Todd Rundgren at the Keswick Theater

Angus and Julia Stone
Angus and Julia Stone | photo courtesy of the artists

Australian brother-sister act Angus and Julia Stone make an appearance at Union Transfer tonight.  The duo teamed up again for this year’s self-titled LP, following a handful of solo efforts that were released after 2010′s critically acclaimed Down the Way.  While primarily an acoustic folk project, the Stones approach their songs from a blues angle.  Watch their video for “A Heartbreak” below and pick up tickets here.

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