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

Photo via | https://www.facebook.com/caribouband

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.

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How music and friendship saved Philly noir-rock army Northern Arms

Northern Arms (photo by Max Gaines, http://www.thechurchofmax.com)
Northern Arms (photo by Max Gaines, http://www.thechurchofmax.com)

In some ways, the story of Northern Arms is a story of redemption. It’s also a story about friendship, and being true to one’s self emotionally.

“I always felt that a lot of bands held back if they did anything emotional—like they had to do it ironically, or with a smirk,” says Eric Bandel, from the back balcony of Standard Tap. “The stuff we were working on—we just wanted it to be true. We didn’t want to hold back.”

His band mate Keith Pierce nods in agreement. Emotional honesty has always been at the core of Northern Arms’ process, leading to beautiful, complex compositions that juxtapose highs and lows, for a result that feels startlingly cathartic.

Over the past 13 years, the band’s gone through several incarnations, including the 10-person rock monolith it is today. This Friday, they’ll celebrate the release of their debut, self-titled record with a party at Johnny Brenda’s. Afterwards, they have plans to tour the East Coast. These days everything seems to be falling into place.

But that wasn’t always the case.

“[When we first started playing together] we made some really beautiful stuff, but we were fuck-ups,” says Pierce. “We couldn’t keep it together. We would play out just enough that we could sustain our drinking. We let our worldview weigh on us, and it had bad effects.”

But perhaps we should start from the beginning. Continue reading →

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Dawes backs Conor Oberst at a sold-out Union Transfer show

Conor Oberst | photo by Michelle Montgomery
Conor Oberst | photo by Michelle Montgomery

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst took the stage at Union Transfer playing a sold-out show on Wednesday night. Touring in support of his latest solo LP, Upside Down Mountain, Oberst played a guitar-heavy mix of new tracks and old favorites. Since Upside Down Mountain was released just days before the show, many of the country/folk-inspired songs were not previously heard by the audience. Oberst was backed by roots rock band Dawes, who also opened the show. Playing in Philly for the first time since the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival, Dawes played an energetic set in support of their 2013 release Stories Don’t End. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Listen to Sharon Van Etten’s new Are We There via iTunes

arewethere.lpoutSinger-songwriter and XPN favorite Sharon Van Etten is releasing her new album Are We There next week via Jagjaguwar Records, but you can check out the entire album streaming on iTunes now. Listen to it here and get tickets and information on Sharon Van Etten’s June show at Union Transfer at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Chet Faker at Union Transfer, Built to Spill at World Cafe Live at The Queen, Chad VanGaalen at Milkboy and more

Chet Faker | photo courtesy of the artist
Chet Faker | photo courtesy of the artist

Australia’s Chet Faker will perform at Union Transfer tonight following his Free at Noon performance at XPN’s Non-COMMvention.  The recent World Cafe artist released his debut LP Built On Glass in April, following up a pair of EPs and his remix of “No Diggity” by Blackstreet that originally put him on the radar.  Take a listen to his soulful, electronic World Cafe session here and download a live version of “1998″ below.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here.

Continue reading →

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Listen to Sharon Van Etten’s dramatic new ballad “Your Love Is Killing Me”

via www.facebook.com/SharonVanEttenMusic
via www.facebook.com/SharonVanEttenMusic

Vocal powerhouse Sharon Van Etten released a new song from her forthcoming LP Are We There, and it’s nothing short of breathtaking.  “Your Love Is Killing Me” starts out slow and ominous then slowly builds into a story about resisting the urge to reconnect with a past love. The language Van Etten uses evokes pure desperation and a need to separate herself from this person, underscoring how painful the relationship has been. “Break my legs so I won’t walk to you,” she sings. “Cut my tongue so I can’t talk to you / burn my skin so I can’t feel you / stab my eyes so I can’t see.” As the song progresses and the pace quickens, you can feel her sense of urgency. Around the 4:40 mark you feel a release as she sings “You like it when I let you walk all over me .” Are We There is out May 27th via Jagjaguwar Records, and she will be in Philly on June 18 at Union Transfer. She’s also taping a World Cafe Session during this week’s NonCOMM that you can hear later this year. Listen to “Your Love Is Killing Me” below.

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of Montreal brings their lively and colorful show to Union Transfer

of Montreal | photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
of Montreal | photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

A costumed figure appeared in a steampunk-esque luchador outfit, introducing his “brother,” Kevin Barnes to the Union Transfer stage. Barnes’ long-running Athens act of Montreal opened their show with bright psychedelic lights, and ended with, well, psychedelic lights. But not the typical dubstep tripped-out beams of color, these were filled with spinning eyeballs and kaleidoscope patterns. Of Montreal played favorites off of their 2007 LP Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, sprinkling in some new singles from their 2013 release, Lousy with Sylvianbriar. Barnes pranced and jumped around the stage, clanking his tambourine, as his projected silhouette followed each dance move. Fans were yanked out of the crowd for getting a little too high; others crowd-surfed to the foot of the stage.

Oakland synth-queen Liz Wolf opened the show under her moniker Dream Tiger, and the crowd was entranced with her darkwave songs of narcissism and heartbreak. Her voice was eerie voice and a haunting red glow enveloped stage. Check out photos from both sets in the gallery below.

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