Union Transfer


The Sounds

The Sounds

Blondfire, Strange Talk

Tue, April 8, 2014

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

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$18.00 - $20.00

This event is all ages

The Sounds
The Sounds
Like its namesake, it’s easy to look forward to WEEKEND, the new album by Swedish indie rockers THE SOUNDS (Label:Arnioki Records/INgrooves; Release date: October 29, 2013). Sporting an urgency like that of a band fresh out of the womb, Weekend is the sound of a band rejuvenated and reborn. For The Sounds, they have been reborn in a sense… back to when they first started. “Weekend is more of a back to basics album,” says Jesper Anderberg (keyboards/guitar). “I was primarily looking for a groove when I started writing this album – a groove based on five members who have been playing music together for a long time. We weren’t looking to overthink the song writing, and especially wanted to make it sound like we just hit the switch on the amps and just started playing the songs.” To celebrate the release of Weekend, the band will be playing a handful of North American dates including stops in Brooklyn, Canada, Chicago and the West Coast, followed by a full European headline tour.

From the punky dance rock signature sound of the opening tracks “Shake Shake Shake” and “Take It The Wrong Way” that recalls the shuffling exuberance of their groundbreaking debut to the winsome and shimmery “Hurt the Ones I Love” to the 60s style rock of “Emperor”, Weekend takes their trademark danceable indie rock “sound” and expands in different directions. This musical journey is most noticeable in the chill-down title track “Weekend” and the cleverly disguised dance infused “Great Day”, which both start acoustically yet build and evolve to a frenzy of passion and instrumentation.

The Sounds collected and leaned upon all of the lessons they’ve learned from touring the world headlining clubs and festivals, owning a studio and self producing their last album Something To Die For when writing and recording this album. These experiences propel them forward on Weekend thanks in part to the production work of Alex Newport (Bloc Party, Death Cab for Cutie, City and Colour, Frank Turner, At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta) who moved with the band into the legendary Svenska Grammafon Studion far away from the bands hometown, and tied it all together capturing the magic in the studio that has delighted and captivated fans for a decade on the road. “While recording, we all lived in the SGS studios together with Alex, and we were all using the same kitchen and bathroom and so on,” says drummer Fredrik Blond. “That creates a certain vibe I think. And it forces you to deal with things, not just run away from them.” Adds Jesper, “It’s important to be able to try new approaches, and we’ve never been afraid of trying new paths in our songwriting. I think it’s important for bands to be able to change their sound and explore new ways. I believe we have great fans that understand the process of music making, that not every album will or can sound the same. Our fans are also the ones that give us exactly that privilege….to write and record the songs we want, the way we want them to sound…and for that we are very grateful.”

Formed in 1998 in Sweden, The Sounds exploded on the alt-rock scene with their wildly lauded 2002 debut Living in America and its breakthrough singles “Seven Days a Week”, “Rock’n Roll”, and the aptly named title track. Fronted by the striking Maja Ivarsson, The Sounds have continued to remain on the forefront of the music scene, releasing a handful of albums, each spawning single after single like “Tony the Beat”, “Painted By Numbers”, “Song With A Mission”, “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake”, “Beatbox”, “Something to Die For” and “Dance with the Devil”. “I think it’s a mutual love to music and to our fans,” explains Jesper about how they’ve been able to remain for over a decade and a half and maintain the same line-up and uphold their creative spark. “The key is to respect each other. It’s a weird thing to be together for that long. You might have disagreements but that’s the way it is sometimes, but if you can’t solve an argument, you shouldn’t start a band. But for us, it has always been us and it will only be the five of us.”
"We were driving around with friends and someone said 'I smell a bonfire,'" recalls Erica Driscoll, lead vocalist-keyboardist-guitarist of the brother-sister duo Blondfire. "We thought they said 'Blondfire,' and at first we kind of jokingly said it should be our name – but it stuck. We liked the fact that it was masculine and feminine at the same time. It represented who we are in a cool way."

That push-pull of elemental forces is fundamental to the siblings' sound. Winsome, melancholy vocals and '80s-influenced melodies float atop shards of guitar and propulsive beats, leavening Blondfire's infectious pop tunes with real punch. Alternately haunting and ebullient, their Warner Bros Records debut Young Heart represents the purest example yet of Blondfire's unique musical hybrid.
Strange Talk
Strange Talk
“It was a long journey, making this record – we really challenged ourselves. It’s odd: you’ve got a classically trained violinist, a dance producer with a DJ background, and two funk/soul musicians. It’s weird how it all gels together, but that’s the unique flavour of Strange Talk.”

Commanding, crisp, and perfect for summer: Cast Away is the highly anticipated debut by Melbourne electro-pop charmers Strange Talk. Following up on the international buzz brought on by 2011’s self-titled EP, Cast Away is 11 tracks of indie-meets-electro gems: relentless, hook-laced hits (breakout single “Climbing Walls”), rave drenched anthems (“Falling In Love”), big tom dancefloor bangers (“Another Day”) and minimalist electro ballads (“Come Back Home”). Packed full of shimmering synths and pulsing pop beats, Cast Away is one epic, dazzling listen.

Off the back of killer singles like “Climbing Walls”, “Eskimo Boy” and “Sexual Lifestyle”, Strange Talk – frontman Stephen Docker, producer/DJ/bassist Gerard Sidhu, Travis Constable (drums) and Gillan Gregory (guitar) – have already made their mark, both in Australia and beyond. They’ve joined the line-ups of festivals Parklife, Stereosonic, Future Music, Soundscape and Falls; opened for The Rapture, Neon Indian, and Marina and The Diamonds; hit the #1 spot on Billboard’s Uncharted Chart; and wowed New York City at 2011 and 2012’s CMJ Music Marathon. Now comes Cast Away – named after the first song written for the album, and their biggest move yet.

In October 2011 Strange Talk decamped to a friend’s farm in Castlemaine, VIC, 90 minutes north-west of Melbourne. In between breaking to play headline gigs across the country, over the next few months they wrote, laying down synth lines on their Korg Triton, or Moog Voyager, a Roland Juno. Inspiration came via albums by M83, Justice, Digitalism, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, and Queen.

“The farm was amazing,” remembers Stephen. “It had moose heads on the wall, an amazing veranda which overlooked a huge field with cows, a big lake, a gym so we could keep fit (laughs)... After a while it was sad to come back to Melbourne, because when you’re being creative like that it’s hard to leave it behind.”

There was, says Stephen, “mood talk” about the direction of each new song – “For example, should it be a big club banging tune, or even a ballad, which is something completely out of our realm.” The singer took heed of advice given by the Presets’ Julian Hamilton. “He’d said to me, ‘If you’re onto an idea, roll with it – whatever comes out you’ll most likely stick to.’”

After the Xmas break, in February 2012 Strange Talk headed for the coast, Gerard’s sister lending them her beach house in VIC’s Mount Martha. Here, the second half of Cast Away fell into place. On the recommendation of pals Van She, Strange Talk had fallen in love with the gritty, digital workhorse sounds of synth the Dave Smith Poly Evolver. Six songs in, they replaced older beds with their new favourite toy. By April, the record was complete. Enter mixer Tony Hoffer (Beck, Ladyhawke, Phoenix).

“Tony was the perfect man for the job, he brightened everything up,” enthuses Stephen. “We record and produce everything ourselves, so over that whole process we really learnt what works for us and what doesn’t. The thing that sold us on Tony was what he did with M83’s ‘Midnight City’ – I haven’t heard a song with such glitz, but at the same time such gritty sound.”

On Cast Away Strange Talk have widened their scope, reaching back into influences past and present to create a whole new sound. Basslines are deeper; melodies even more euphoric. “For the first EP we were heavily into Phoenix, Passion Pit, Two Door Cinema Club,” Stephen admits, “but growing up, our biggest influences were people like Michael Jackson, the Police, Queen – all of which I think you can hear more of on this record. We’ve stepped away from the ‘indie’ thing somewhat; the album’s a lot more complex, and really shows how we’ve progressed as producers and musicians.”

A year of shows and Strange Talk has morphed into one of the country’s most exciting live acts. It’s long way from the bedroom duo Stephen and Gerard envisioned when they met on MySpace, almost three years ago. “We all know each other a lot more now,” Stephen laughs. “It’s weird how it works with such a diverse mix of backgrounds, but I think that does the project justice. ‘Climbing Walls’ was when the penny dropped for us. Now, we just want people to have fun, lose themselves in the songs. Enjoy the journey, from start to end.”
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123