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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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Temples and The Districts excite the Union Transfer crowd

Temples | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Temples | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

English psychedelic rock band Temples hit the stage at Union Transfer on Saturday night playing to a packed crowd. Touring in support of their debut album Sun Structures, which was released in February, the UK four-piece already has a close following. For such a young group, they have received positive album reviews and praise from respected musicians such as Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher. Continue reading →

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Dancing Like A Wild Fire: Bombay Bicycle Club and more at Union Transfer

Bombay Bicycle Club / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Bombay Bicycle Club / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“All right, let’s get this dance party going!” Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman beckoned as he brought forward a small drumset and launched straight into “Feel” off of 2014′s So Long, See You Tomorrow.

Tuesday evening, Union Transfer filled up with a mixed crowd of older adults tapping into their youth, teens trying to amp up their cool, and every age in between fashioning beanies, boots, and military jackets. But as broad as the crowd might have been, they all gathered with one thing in common… a love for the London-based indie rock six-piece. Continue reading →

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Phantogram dazzles a sold-out Union Transfer crowd

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

New York based electronica duo Phantogram rocked Union Transfer this weekend with an electrifying performance. On Sunday, the band played the second of two back-to-back sold-out shows in support of their second full-length album, Voices, which was released in February. Josh Carter (vocals, guitar, and electronic beats) and Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboard, and guitar) were backed by a three-piece band, which allowed them to give a spectacular, full-sounding performance. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Courtney Barnett at Union Transfer, Something Like A Monument at Kung Fu Necktie, These Wild Plains at Tellus360

Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic
Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Courtney Barnett, who went from a Melbourne musician with a couple of EPs to the toast of the indie singer-songwriter scene. Propelled by her wit and lyrical charm, perhaps best exhibited on the infectious “Avant Gardener” – the first single from her 2013 release A Sea of Split Peas – Barnett headlines Union Transfer for the second time tonight, and according to her recent interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia, will show off a few new songs from the album she’s releasing next year. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch a video of “Avant Gardener” performed live in the studio for World Cafe. Continue reading →