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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Julien Baker at Union Transfer, Latin Roots Live at World Cafe Live, Caroline Rose at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

Julien Baker | photo by Nolan Knight | courtesy of the artist

The day is finally here, folks. It’s time to cry our eyes out to Julien Baker at Union Transfer. The Tennessee songwriter released her second LP Turn Out The Lights a few days ago, and if you haven’t had it’s stunningly sad songs on repeat, you’re missing out. Baker has enlisted an incredibly talent-filled lineup of supporting acts for this tour; you’ll want to arrive early to catch Half Waif and Petal. Watch the video for “Appointments” below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Joy in Gloom: King Krule shows different sides to his persona at Union Transfer

King Krule | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

Last night, a mild Sunday evening in October, UK sensation King Krule brought his gloomy patchwork of punk, hip-hop, and jazz musical stylings to play a sold-out show at Union Transfer.

The show kicked off with a high-energy performance from New York punk trio, Show Me The Body. The collective did not hold back when executing punchy drums and strong, clean riffs. Having them as an opener proved to be a lively choice and the crowd, most if not all of which came to see King Krule, moshed about without much cohesion.

Following an intermission, King Krule and his five-piece band took to the stage and opened with the heady “Has it Hit.” It was pleasing to find that Krule’s guttural moans sounded exactly the same as they did on his Friday the 13th release The OOZ (read my review of the record here). When simply listening to King Krule’s music, it can be easy to forget that he is a lanky chap all of 23 years old. His voice paired with such wise and jaded lyrics that listeners can pretend that he is well into his 40’s.

King Krule followed up with “Ceiling,” and song where he played guitar and bobbed around on stage. A few times throughout his performance he walked over to the drummer as if to have some sort of secreted conversion through instruments. During a performance of “Dumb Surfer,” a single from The OOZ, Krule continued to wander the stage and delve into a punky physicality with his guitar, as if the instrument was playing him. Continue reading →

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Our Graduation: Reflections on Modern Baseball’s final run of shows at Union Transfer

Modern Baseball | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

A phrase springs to mind: “don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.”

I heard that over the summer at the final night of The Stone Roses’ reunion tour in Glasgow; frontman Ian Brown said it just before leaving the stage as the final chords of “I Am The Resurrection” rang out. And it certainly applies back home as well, to Modern Baseball’s sold-out run of three shows at Union Transfer, their last “for the foreseeable future.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via facebook.com/AgainstMe

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Max Frost at Boot & Saddle, Psychedelic Furs at Union Transfer

Max Frost | photo by Rachael Smith | via facebook.com/maxfrostmusic

Max Frost‘s music-making career started as an experiment, and tonight he brings his unique blend of blues-tinged hip-hop-inspired tunes to Boot & Saddle. The Austin artist released his last EP Intoxication in 2015, and has followed it up with a few singles since — most recently “Drowning” with Mike Waters, which you can stream below. R&B group NAWAS also plays tonight’s show; find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Union Transfer, Ms. Lauryn Hill at BB&T, Bastille at The Fillmore, plus more

Ted Leo | photo courtesy of the artist

Ted Leo is back and bringing his trusty crew, the Pharmacists, with him to Union Transfer tonight. This past week, Leo smashed his seven year hiatus with the new record, The Hanging Tree, which was funded through the generosity of his fans via a successful Kickstarter campaign. Watch his latest video for “Can’t Go Back,” below, then find info on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band guide with guitars on their psychedelic sonic journey

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

I wonder how many guitar strings Chris Forsyth goes through in a year — or a month, or even a day. Because in just the forty-five minute span of today’s Free at Noon performance — or should I say, jam-fest — we lost more than a couple of brave string souls in the name of sweet, sweet music.

After the always-lovely Helen Leicht welcomed the Philly guitarist and his crew, The Solar Motel Band, on stage, hers would be the last voice the crowd would hear for the coming ten minutes. Instead, guitar gladly took its place.

Because, really, there’s no need for words when you can shred instead. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: NPR Music and World Cafe bring The National to Philly, performing entire new album LIVE

The National | photo by Graham Macindoe | courtesy of the artist

Over the last two months, excitement for The National’s new album, Sleep Well Beast, has been building as they’ve released three singles and performed a handful of new songs in Paris during a live-streamed Pitchfork concert. Now, WXPN’s World Cafe and NPR Music have just announced a LIVE First Listen performance, happening three days before the album drops, from right here in Philly on September 5th! Continue reading →

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Neurosis and Converge brought a metal masterclass to Union Transfer

Neurosis | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

30 years in to the career, Neurosis has lost none of their edge. They have the swagger and confidence of people who have been in the game for as long as they have, but their stage presence is void of pretension. While many credit them as one of the forefathers of what could simply be called “post-metal” they make no claim to any throne other than the one of being able to reign down hell with the urgency of molasses pouring from a jar — which is as fine a description as any of their Union Transfer gig on Monday night. Continue reading →