Metronomy at Union Transfer

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Image courtesy of Noisey

by Victoria Powell

Last week I had the chance to see Metronomy perform at Union Transfer. I had played them on my radio show the day before, but what I played was a heavily electronic instrumental piece from their album Nights Out which came out in 2008. I listened briefly to their newest album Love Letters online before going to the show, picking up that it had more of an indie rock sound. Not knowing what to expect from the show, I was already pleased when I arrived and saw the stage set up with a background design that looked like pink bubblegum and cotton candy. It is always exciting to see a foreign band perform in Philadelphia; there is a certain excitement about it that helps take me to another place for a few moments. Adding to the fact that they are from London, it almost seems as if their style and stage mannerisms come straight out of 60s and 70s mod fashion influences. And of course, this is very appealing to my taste. Metronomy should win an award for having the most fun on stage. I really liked that each member of the band was able to get a chance to sing solo at one point or another during the set. This made the whole experience very entertaining and enjoyable. I could not stop dancing for most of the songs and I am so pleased with my decision to go check out this show! Check below for the groovy music video for “The Look”.

 

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Top Played Artists 5/19-5/23

1 MAC DEMARCO: Salad Days
2 CLOUD NOTHINGS: Here And Nowhere Else
3 TWEENS: Tweens
4 MENZINGERS: Rented World
5 GUIDED BY VOICES: Cool Planet
6 WYE OAK: Shriek
7 ST. VINCENT: St. Vincent
8 CHAD VANGAALEN: Shrink Dust
9 PINK MOUNTAINTOPS: Get Back
10 THEE OH SEES: Drop
11 ONLY REAL: Cadillac Girl [EP]
12 CHEAP GIRLS: Famous Graves
13 DAMON ALBARN: Everyday Robots
14 CHET FAKER: Built On Glass
15 JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD: Make My Head Sing
16 S. CAREY: Range Of Light
17 MO: No Mythologies To Follow
18 SYLVAN ESSO: Sylvan Esso
19 CHEATAHS: Cheatahs
20 BLEEDING RAINBOW: Interrupt
21 CHROMEO: White Women
22 BLACK LIPS: Underneath The Rainbow
23 SEAHAVEN: Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only
24 LIARS: Mess
25 TUNE-YARDS: Nikki Nack
26 KISHI BASHI: Lightght
27 TYCHO: Awake
28 AVA LUNA: Electric Balloon
29 PROTOMARTYR: Under Color Of Official Right
30 OWLS: Two

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by | May 27, 2014 · 1:13 pm

Guided By Voices rock Magnet Magazine Birthday Show


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by Trixie Noyes

On Thursday night, Philly’s Magnet Magazine held a “21st birthday” show. Guided by Voices played the Trocadero, the third time they played this venue since the classic lineup was reconstituted; opening sets of the show featured Titus Andronicus and Surfer Blood. While GBV is famed for their short pop confections, they played for nearly two hours and two encores.  Needless to say, they rocked a bunch of old favorite tunes (“Exit Flagger,” “I am a Scientist,” “Tractor Rape Chain,” and “Game of Pricks”) in addition to songs from their latest LP Cool Planet.  There were familiar antics: multiple coolers of beer, the Who-style microphone swinging and guitar windmills.  Pollard said that the first time they played Philly they drank for 12 hours straight before getting on stage and that at this gig they only had two hours to drink before the show. Despite this they were every bit as good as the first time I saw them at the Khyber in 1993!

 

Here’s a review of the show in haiku form (courtesy of Kirby Bell):

Guided by Voices

Got drunk, rocked out hard, kicked ass

You weren’t there? Asshole.

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Concert Review: Chet Faker @ Union Transfer (5/16/2014)

Or: Like James Blake You Can Fuck To

By Jonathan Plotkin

A late show at a venue typically means the place has been overbooked and the second guys aren’t that important. But Friday night’s late performance by Chet Faker at the Union Transfer was nothing short of gorgeous. Starting us off was Sweater Beats, who despite his moniker, performed on stage wearing a jacket. Not having heard of Sweater Beats before tonight, I had really hoped it would be a duo wearing reallyridiculoussweaters and dropping beats, but apparently it’s just one guy from New York named Antonio Cuna. Maybe sweater describes his beats themselves? I suppose one word that sprung to mind during his set was “wooly” but that’s probably me just trying to make this stupid analogy work. Despite some technical difficulties early on, Sweater Beats rocked it for about 45 minutes with slowed down bass that rattled your chest and lifted your body with each beat, only to drop it on the next. He reminded me somewhat of Sweet Valley, though a bit less aggressive. I didn’t want to break stuff so much listening to Sweater Beats as I did just groove. Suffice to say, I’ll be checking out more of his stuff in the future.

As for the main attraction, Chet Faker (born Nicholas James Murphey- his stage moniker is an homage to Chet Baker) came out to a darkened stage (wearing a sweater, I might add). His set up was simple: a small keyboard, a board with some beats making jawns, and a laptop off to the side. Unlike the Chromeo show a few days beforehand, there was no elaborate lighting scheme and he relied on just the house lights. I actually liked this stripped down approach: for just one dude for whom being an independent artist is a huge part of his aesthetic, anything more would have felt showy. Plus, the dark purple lighting kept the mood, well, moody throughout the show.

Chet Faker wasted no time in getting soulful- starting off with “I’m Into You” and “Terms and Conditions”, he got the crowd dancing all sexy like right away. He later moved into material from his new album Built on Glass with “To Me” and “Blush”, a personal favorite of mine. WIth its high energy the crowd went from bumping and grinding into jumping and sweating without missing a beat.

But he didn’t just play stuff from previous releases. About half an hour in, he turned to the crowd and said “I really love electronic music but it’s too easy to just hit play. I think it’s really important to have a section of your set where you can fuck up, that’s what makes a musician. This is the part where I fuck up.” He then proceeded to improvise for several minutes, looping live beats and keyboards. Though not as soulful or danceable, to me it was the most impressive part of the show, especially since I didn’t hear him fuck up at all (though to be fair, how would I know? He laughed about that afterwards, telling the audience “maybe I fucked up, maybe I didn’t”).

He brought it back to the beginning of his career soon afterwards, playing another track off of his debut EP Thinking In Textures (whose name unfortunately escapes me, just trust me it was great). Finally, he played the track that we had all been waiting for and made him famous: his beautiful, smooth-as-silk cover of “No Diggity”, encouraging the audience to “get sexy with this one”. And ooh boy did we. I’m pretty confident that most of the people at that show got laid afterwards (I would have joined the fun, but I went alone and though I did run into someone I knew, it was a guy I went to middle school with and I’m not the biggest fan of man parts).

Wait, did I say everyone had been waiting for “No Diggity”? He closed with “Talk Is Cheap” and the crowd went wild. More than happy to follow his request to sing along, the roof of the Union Transfer swelled with the combined voices of hundreds of people all unified in vocal harmony (I thought we sounded pretty good but maybe his mic was just turned up enough to drown out our crappy voices).

Chet Faker left soon after that, bowing and thanking us once more for being such a wonderful crowd, sounding completely sincere. His humbleness tied nicely with a mid set speech describing his nature as a DIY musician and I really just liked the guy. It didn’t hurt that when he first walked on stage he gave several dozen “Happy Birthday” balloons out the the audience. Apparently he found them backstage and figured it had to be at least one person’s birthday. What a stand up guy.

Happy birthday to someone.

Happy birthday to someone.

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Top Played Artists 5/12-5/19

1 FUTURE ISLANDS: Singles
2 MAC DEMARCO: Salad Days
3 AVEY TARE’S SLASHER FLICKS: Enter The Slasher House
4 CLOUD NOTHINGS: Here And Nowhere Else
5 TWEENS: Tweens
6 WYE OAK: Shriek
7 CHET FAKER: Built On Glass
8 PINK MOUNTAINTOPS: Get Back
9 ST. VINCENT: St. Vincent
10 THEE OH SEES: Drop
11 ONLY REAL: Cadillac Girl [EP]
12 MENZINGERS: Rented World
13 DAMON ALBARN: Everyday Robots
14 BLEEDING RAINBOW: Interrupt
15 S. CAREY: Range Of Light
16 JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD: Make My Head Sing
17 Mø: No Mythologies To Follow
18 TACOCAT: NVM
19 CHEATAHS: Cheatahs
20 CHEAP GIRLS: Famous Graves
21 CHROMEO: White Women
22 BLACK LIPS: Underneath The Rainbow
23 SEAHAVEN: Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only
24 LIARS: Mess
25 SYLVAN ESSO: Sylvan Esso
26 CHAD VANGAALEN: Shrink Dust
27 TYCHO: Awake
28 AVA LUNA: Electric Balloon
29 PROTOMARTYR: Under Color Of Official Right
30 OWLS: Two

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by | May 21, 2014 · 2:07 pm

Concert Review: Of Montreal at Union Transfer (May 12, 2014)

By Matt Rotello

The show opened with Dream Tiger, a keyboard-heavy group that reminded me, at least atmospherically, a little of the Warpaint show I saw a month or two ago at the same venue. Their setup consisted of two interchangeable keyboards, a female vocalist with her own big pedestal of sampling pedals and vocal filters and whatever else, and a drummer who pounded away far more enthusiastically than anyone else in the band. I appreciate his energy despite the simplicity of his parts–it’s always nice when drummers aren’t bored. Their music was atmospheric; dark synths and ambience from the keyboardists, simple but powerful drum patterns, all overlaid with ethereal female vocals (which were occasionally downpitched to sound menacing). All their songs kind of blurred together, and they all felt more or less the same, but that’s not necessarily a complaint. The muted red lighting lent the whole affair a shadowy, almost ominous air, despite the relative gentleness of the music, and the songs flowed into each other pretty well. Overall I enjoyed their set. It didn’t blow my mind, but they were a solid opening act and their performance intrigued me enough to make me check out their recordings, which is really all you can ask for.

And then there was of Montreal, bizarre troubadours from some fantastic land no one’s been to. They were introduced by some weird hybrid of a masked wrestler and a power ranger, who threatened to kill us in the audience, then changed his mind and told us we were all beautiful. I like him. As far as the actual performance, I don’t know if I can really describe it. It was too fantastic, in every sense of the word. Of Montreal’s eclectic blend of whatever they feel like playing at the moment sounds fantastic live, every song far richer and fuller than on record, and they augment the performance with the most bizarre backdrops and stage antics I’ve ever seen. At various points, there were the aforementioned masked wrestling rangers, people carrying huge cutout trees with swirling light projections dancing across them, and a two person high bird with reflective wings that flapped slowly behind Kevin Barnes. The music itself ranged from peaceful indie-folk to psychedelia to the immense, jam-driven finale of flickering strobes and noise. I admit to being less familiar with them than I should be, so I can’t tell you how their choice of setlist was from a diehard perspective, but every song was excellent, and I didn’t see a single person not having a good time in the room, whether dancing or simply nodding their head and smiling. Anyone who hasn’t seen of Montreal yet should really get on that, because it was a fantastic experience all around.

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Concert Review: Future Islands @ First Unitarian Church (April 29, 2014

Courtesy of 4AD

Courtesy of 4AD

By Esmail Hamidi

Last Tuesday, I was fortunate to see Future Islands headline the First Unitarian Church. Accompanying me were WKDU DJs Dr. Plotkin and Peter Liu, of The Love X-Perience and Hear Hear Mix respectively. Supporting were Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and Chiffon. Soundwise, the bill was pretty darn diverse, but all bands had their hometown in common: Baltimore.

One cool thing about the Baltimore scene is its interconnection – the music might be wildly different, but the musicians are all uniformly skilled and versatile. Dan Frome and Denny Bowen, both of weird noise rock quartet Roomrunner, were spotted filling in on bass and drums for Ed Schrader and Future Islands respectively. I’m normally used to these guys playing totally different types of music, but they still killed it in this setting.

All groups on this bill played perfectly. Chiffon caught my attention with a weird hipstery take on 90s radio R&B and BMORE CLUB that got me movin’. Their beats were very, very reminiscent of the programming on WERQ Baltimore 92.3 FM a.k.a. 92Q JAMS, a station that is best listened to cruising the streets of West Baltimore around 10PM in a late-model Cadillac.

To me, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat always sounds like The Monkees on PCP, and this was no exception. Every time I’ve seen them on the home front, this two-piece always succeeds in turning the floor into a swirling mosh pit. Unfortunately, this did not happen in Philadelphia. For further weirdo cultural experiences courtesy of Ed Schrader, check out the Ed Schrader Show on YouTube.

Lead singer Sam Herring mentioned that he was feeling a little under the weather that night. He was definitely holding back, but still delivered a great performance. He is a conduit for the music – gyrating and radiating sexual energy like a balding, bodybuilding Elvis gone new wave. Bassist William Cashion lashed out with expressiveness that a lot of bass players could take a lesson from. As the main live instrument in the mix, Cashion simultaneously anchored the band and played singing leads.

Synth player Gerrit Welmers’ compositional skills play a huge role in the Future Islands sound, and Denny Bowen’s always a clock on drums. Their live personas were somewhat less expressive than those of Herring and Cashion, but steadfast nonetheless.

That night kind of embodied why everyone needs a good show every so often. I know I did. It was…refreshing. Also, sidenote, I ran into Liz of Liz and the Lost Boys afterwards. You can peep the session they did with WKDU (and that I engineered, woo soundz!) here.

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