Union Transfer


Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club

From Indian Lakes, Charly Bliss

Tue, April 19, 2016

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


This event is all ages

Tokyo Police Club
Tokyo Police Club
If you've ever read a comic book, watched a science fiction movie, played freeze tag, or undertaken a top-secret intergalactic space mission, then you know all about the value of a good force field. Tokyo Police Club surely do, and in the four years since the band's last album, our brave heroes from Toronto spent several long winters and many manic nights in their own fortress of solitude, learning to deflect that which would do them harm or lead them astray and to respect and to trust those they knew best: each other.

"We struggled with finding our spot as a band and owning what we were," says lead singer/bass player and principle songwriter Dave Monks. "Everyone expected us to come out with another record like (2010's) Champ, but we didn't feel comfortable going on the same road we were on. We wanted to go somewhere else; an upward move, not lateral, so we starting writing and looking around for something new."
But just because something is new doesn't mean it's also fresh. Today's music world is over-saturated; it's crammed to the gills with fleeting spotlight grabs, quick bucks, tired regurgitation and trend after soulless copycat trend, sure, but also with talented acts, shrewd maneuvers and catchy choruses that drop your jaw with their deceptively simple brilliance. Tokyo Police Club (Monks, keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright, guitarist Josh Hook and drummer Greg Alsop) knew that a new direction could be their key–but that choice would not be without its pitfalls.

While writing, the band began to feel more and more isolated. Despite lofty goals and a fervent fan base, Champ had only bumped them up to the next ladder rung, not the express escalator to the top they may have expected. Days and weeks sometimes went by without any band activity. For the first time, two members moved away from Toronto (Monks to New York City, Alsop to Boston). "At times it felt like people maybe lost faith," says Monks. "And it really came down to the four of us gelling. When we came back to the surface, everyone was really excited again, like they had never left. But we had to go on this solo band journey.

"On Champ we were exploring new corners of our band," continues Monks, "and a lot of it was unintentional, happy accidents. This time around we wanted to have lots of those. We made an effort to make our songs more direct and understandable and maybe cross over to people who wouldn't normally listen to Tokyo Police Club. And then it was that act of balancing, keeping it 'us,' making something universal about it."

Their first decision was to provide themselves with the time they needed to make something lasting. "We spent so long on Forcefield but we had to, there's no other way it could have gone down," says Graham Wright. "We did everything we needed to do to make the record. And we were bemoaning how circuitous most of our process usually is: we go on this weird path and then three days later we end up exactly where we started. But we realized that you have to allow yourselves to go on these insane tangents because every once in a while they make you put three songs together into an eight-minute medley that's the best thing the band ever did. And if you were too busy trying to be simple and to follow your gut, you would never do that."
The eight-minute medley to which Wright refers is "Argentina," Forcefield's lead track, a polished, earnest, high-octane and slow-burning epic that began as three separate songs in the same key that were stitched together into a seamless conglomeration nearly four times as long as some of the earliest Tokyo tunes. It's a statement, for certain, but in the context of the process that birthed it, the song serves as more of a symbol of the foursome's renewed confidence and trust in each other than an experimental jumping-off point.

The eight tracks that follow sound like the Tokyo Police Club you know and love but somehow manage to reach a little higher into the rafters. The genuine spirit in the catchy choruses of lead single "Hot Tonight" and "Toy Guns" reflects the anthemic music that all four bandmates were inspired by while recording, and "Miserable" features a concert-ready refrain sure to infuse crowds of all sizes. This is a watertight sound that only a band of best friends could make, a band who after ten years of playing music together and over a decade and a half of friendship wrapped themselves up in a force field and gave it their all, realizing who they are in the process as well as what their songs bring to their audience and to each other.

"We became aware that the objective on the songs was to relate," says Monks. "It wasn't about being cathartic or poetic or shrouded in mystery, it was just to be super open. I've done that lyrically and we've done that musically as a band; we've been more forgiving to these songs and let them just be the kind of songs they are and not tried to make them flow with the trends. We're stoked on this record–we think it's the best record on the planet right now."
From Indian Lakes
From Indian Lakes
"From Indian Lakes could easily be handpicked as one of the best alternative rock bands most people have never heard of. The California quintet blend intelligent and touching lyrics with entrancing rock to create a musical organism that sounds like Brand New's poetic yet daring younger brother." - Blare Magazine

"...one of the better unknown efforts of 2009...if you are akin to tapestries of sonic guitars, vocals with impressive range, and a very personal approach filled with echoed pianos and acoustics, then "The Man With Wooden Legs" will feel like a worthy journey that will take you where few have traveled, and even less have succeeded in. Score: 4.5/5"- BringOneMixedReviews

"This album overall sounds beautiful, and will be something new for those of you who enjoy Enter Shikari and Circa Survive." -The Interlude
Charly Bliss
Charly Bliss
If it’s true that listening to just the right record at just the right moment can psychically transport you to some other time and place, then Charly Bliss—an NYC band responsible for having crafted some of the finest guitar-crunched power pop this side of an old Weezer record with a blue cover—can pretty much turn any space into an adult-friendly version of your old teenage bedroom, a candy-scented safe space for extreme fits of happiness and angsty teen-level explosions of romantic ennui.

Though Charly Bliss has been a band for over half a decade, the path that led to their first full-length record, Guppy, has been anything but straightforward. As the story goes, the band officially started when frontwoman Eva Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox, both just 15, crossed paths at a Tokyo Police Club show in New York City, but the ties within the band go much deeper than that. “It’s kind of insane and hilarious,” says Eva, “Sam is my older brother, so obviously we’ve known each other our whole lives, but all of us have been connected to each other since we were little kids. Dan Shure and I dated when we were in our early teens and he and Spencer went to summer camp together. Dan and I broke up years ago, but eventually he’d become our bass player. The reason we all get along so well has to do with the fact we share this ridiculous history. We are all deeply embedded in each other’s lives.”

After spending years playing shows in and around New York City, the band eventually released an EP (2014’s Soft Serve) and scored opening gigs for the likes of Glass Animals, Darwin Deez, Tokyo Police Club, Sleater-Kinney, as well as a touring spot for their own musical forebears, Veruca Salt. Even though the band had amassed a sizable fanbase and a reputation as a truly formidable live act, the goal of making a full- length record proved to be a fraught series of false-starts. Given their propensity for making hooky, ebullient pop songs, the band often felt out of step with what was happening around them in Brooklyn. (“We weren’t weird in the right ways,” says Sam). They eventually set about recording an album on their own—and then recording it twice—before figuring out what had been staring them in the face the entire time. “We basically had to come to terms with the fact that we are, at heart, a pop band,” recalls Spencer. “Before, it was always trying to decide which of the songs would be more ‘rock’ and which would be more poppy, but we eventually realized we needed to meet in the middle, we had to create an ecosystem where our loud, messy rock sounds could co-exist with these super catchy melodies and pop hooks. It was really about realizing what we’re best at as a band.”
The ten tracks that make up Guppy, Charly Bliss’ sparkling full-length debut, show the band embracing all of their strengths—a combination of ripping guitars and irrepressible pop hooks, all delivered with the hyper- enthusiasm of a middle school cafeteria food fight. That every track is loaded front-to-back with sing/shout-worthy lyrics and earworm melodies is a testament to the band’s commitment to the art form of pop songwriting. Opening track “Percolator” sets the tone—all power riffs and yo-yo-ing melodies playing against Hendricks’ acrobatic vocals, which veer from gentle coo to an emphatic squeal:
I’m gonna die in the getaway car! I would try but it sounds too hard! It’s a vibe that carries throughout Guppy, a record that shares an undeniable kinship with 90’s alt-rockers like Letters to Cleo and That Dog— bands that balanced melodicism, sugary vocals, and overdriven guitar turned up to 11. It’s an aesthetic that Charly Bliss both embraces and improves upon in tracks like “Ruby” (“We actually wrote the guitar solo by sitting in a circle and passing the guitar around, each of us adding our own notes,” says Fox) and “Glitter”, the record’s first single. “I wanted to make a song about being romantically involved with someone who makes you kind of hate yourself because they are so much like you,” says Hendricks, “A fun song about complicated self-loathing that you could also dance around your bedroom to—that kind of sums us up as a band, actually.”
“Pop music can actually be very subversive,” she continues. “The lyrics that I'm most proud of on the record are me existing both in and out of this overgrown teenybopper feeling—feeling like everything I was going through was the most extreme thing that had ever happened to anyone ever. The songs are often about being totally in the throes of this stuff, but also being able to step out of it and make fun of myself. It’s possible to write songs that really get at all of these dark feelings while also just being really fun to sing and dance to. You can be serious and also sing about peeing while jumping on a trampoline.”
Guppy is a record that doesn’t so much seek to reinvent the pop wheel so much as gleefully refine it. “People forget sometimes that expressing joy is just as important as examining despair,” says Shure. “People need joy, especially right now. We’re all about writing tight pop songs, but also giving people this super enthusiastic release. These songs are kind of the sound of expressing something that you can’t really contain. These are songs you play really loudly when you need to freak out.”
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123