Union Transfer


We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

The Twilight Sad

Fri, November 21, 2014

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

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$16.00 - $18.00

This event is all ages

We Were Promised Jetpacks
We Were Promised Jetpacks
In 2009 Adam Thompson (Vocals / Guitar), Darren Lackie (Drums), Sean Smith (bass) and Michael Palmer (Guitar) were a band of nineteen year old University Students, bunked up together in a tenement flat in the West End of Glasgow, Scotland. On signing to Fat Cat Records later the same year, the band could not have anticipated the journey they were about to embark on. Now, five years later, We Were Promised Jetpacks are ready to release their third studio album entitled "UNRAVELLING".
We Were Promised Jetpacks debut album "These Four Walls" (2009) was released to critical acclaim. Thus began the bands busy touring schedule, playing high profile festival slots around the UK and USA supporting label mates Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad.

2010 saw the release of the follow­ up album "The Last Place You'll Look", an EP comprising of unreleased tracks and swelling, orchestrally­ inspired rewrites of songs from their debut album "These Four Walls".

The bands sophomore release followed in 2011 and was recorded at Sigur Ros's Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland. "In the Pit of the Stomach" was testament to the poise, control and vigor the band had learned to command. The extensive touring schedule continued and the release received support and high praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine. The band also continued to build on their high profile live performances with sets at Coachella, Fashions Big Night Out at New York's Rockerfeller Centre and on Last Call with Carson Daly

During the 2012 US Tour the band recorded and captured footage from their live set at Union Transfer, Philadelphia. Early 2014 saw the release of "E Rey: Live in Philadelphia", in ode to Esteban Rey the bands' friend and then tour manager. The album captures the explosive energy and drama fans have come to expect from a We Were Promised Jetpacks show, with behind the scenes footage allowing fans a unique insight to life on the road with the band.

Early 2014 saw the band working tirelessly on "UNRAVELLING" which will be the bands most confident and accomplished record to date. Recorded in Glasgow at the infamous Chem19 Studios with Paul Savage who has previously worked with numerous established and diverse Scottish acts such as Teenage Fanclub, King Creosote, The Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand and Mogwai.

Lead vocalist Adam Thompson says, “It was a fairly straightforward decision to work with Paul. He has done plenty of brilliant work and we had worked with him for a few days before recording our first album and always remembered enjoying recording with him. I'm really chuffed with that decision. I think Paul has done a great job and its the first time we've ever been present to mix the album with the same person who has recorded it, which has been an enjoyable and much more relaxing experience for us.“

The impending album release also sees the addition of a new member to the band in the form of multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan. Thompson's explains, “Stuart is an accomplished keys, piano and guitar player as well as having a lovely little singing voice and with him we have tried to do something a little different with this selection of songs. We've known him for ages and played music with him before so we were pretty sure it would work out. It has just been the 4 of us since about April 2004 so having someone new with us has been an enjoyable part of the process.”
The Twilight Sad
The Twilight Sad
“The Twilight Sad approach the darker side of growing up with consideration and dignity, and manage to maintain a proper perspective. ‘As my bones grew, they did hurt/ They hurt really bad,’ an angst-filled songwriter from another generation once sang; the Twilight Sad do a tremendous job of remembering that ache.” - Pitchfork, 2007
Scots, as a rule, are not noted for their emotional communication; straying rarely from a sort of safe - albeit repressed - stoicism. So when James Graham stood before a sold out London venue earlier this year, awed by the level of support for his band, it was really quite a spectacle to see the Twilight Sad frontman fighting back the tears as he thanked the crowd from the bottom of his heart. A decade after the band first started playing together and seven years after the release of their debut album, the band had decided to tour Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters in its entirety across the UK to coincide with its vinyl re-release. The shows saw fans flying in from countries as far flung as the USA, Israel and all across Europe to catch them.

“If I'm honest I didn't realise how special the gigs would be and just how much that album means to people,” Graham says. “We'd had a pretty rough year as a band in 2013 and that was the first time we'd toured this year, so to see so many people come out and support the band at those gigs was a really big thing for us. We're very lucky that the people who like our band travelled far and wide to see us and we want to make sure that it's worth it every time we play.”

Fourteen Autumns is something of a paradox. Such is its status as a classic amongst long-time followers of the band that it feels much older than its seven years, while each listen carries with it something new and thrilling. Indeed, Pitchfork noted the band’s instant familiarity coupled with their ability to take this in “unexpected and exciting directions”. Its wildly dynamic production sees cascading walls of sound give way to quiet moments of sombre reflection, Graham’s thick Glaswegian accent and evocative storytelling a powerful display of anger, sadness and despair. The themes of childhood angst and suffering suggest a confessional folk record, but transposed onto Andy MacFarlane’s shoegaze-influenced guitars and Mark Devine’s powerhouse drumming Fourteen Autumns is something else entirely. While the band didn’t become an overnight chart-topping sensation, the vast level of critical acclaim and constant calls from fans hungry for vinyl (eventually spurring its re-release) highlighted how important a part of their career the record has become.

Forget The Night Ahead was released in 2009, a discordant and gloriously unsettling followup to the band’s debut. Graham wrote at the time: “One thing that I can promise is that the lyrics are very dark, but you might have to look into them a bit to realise. They are mainly based around things that have happened to me over the past two years, revolving around losing people and being none too proud or happy with myself about my antics and situations I’ve found myself in. So if you’re looking for a record with a lot of hope and happy songs then fuck off, cause you won’t find it here with us!” Once more, it drew praise from across the press, NME lauding its “much darker ambience, with big melodies and vast romantic landscapes”, while The AV Club wrote that it showed “a band capable of muscling up without losing a fascination with fragile, fleeting moments”.

In February 2012, the band brought out their third studio album No One Can Ever Know. It marked a significant shift in direction, eschewing the previously dominant wall of sound production in favour of what MacFarlane called a “colder, slightly militant feel”. Its more electronic arrangements took influence from the likes of Public Image Ltd, Liars and krautrock pioneers Can, with electronic producer Andrew Weatherall (Primal Scream, Fuck Buttons) acting as a consultant during the album’s studio inception.

MacFarlane says: “We initially got Weatherall on board to produce the record as we were trying to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to go for a more sparse approach the sound. He would send over mix tapes of early Factory Records releases and other songs from that era, to show the direction he thought we should go, and would come in the studio so we could bounce ideas off him. We ended up producing it ourselves, but it was useful having someone with his experience to be there to reassure us that we were doing the right thing.”

“Purer than innocence and richer than gold, No One Can Ever Know confirms that the Twilight Sad are simply too good to remain a-little-less-than-well-known,” Drowned in Sound wrote, while BBC Music described the songs as “more than ostentatious angst; they’re doors onto shadowy, eerie scenes”. A limited edition tour EP as well as No One Can Ever Know: The Remixes followed in November, seeing tracks from the album reworked by the likes of the Horrors, Com Truise, Breton and Liars.

The same year, the band found an unlikely partner in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, performing a series of intricate arrangements of their songs as part of The Spree festival at Paisley Abbey in October. For a group whose noise-laden live shows are synonymous with the tight unity afforded by a small stage, adding 89 members to the band and playing to a former monastery seemed unprecedented, even risky; but in the sweeping strings, brass flares and tuned percussion of the RSNO the Twilight Sad took on a cinematic quality. The live recording of the show which surfaced last Christmas was an indicator of a band willing to venture into unchartered territories and coming out the other side stronger than ever before. Where NOCEK demonstrated their comfort in minimalism, the RSNO collaboration showed a band able to succeed at the opposite end of the spectrum. For now, it’s all eyes ahead as the band ready their fourth album, Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.

“We spent a lot of time at home when writing this new record, we got to hang out with old friends and get back to some sort of normality, which I think really helped me clear my mind and focus in on writing these new songs,” Graham says. “I had a lot I wanted to get off my chest and I've done that with this new record.”

Where each album prior to NWTBHANWTL saw the Twilight Sad tackling new sounds and ways of writing, their latest work draws from their entire career. MacFarlane says: “Over the 8 years we've been touring, our live sound has taken on different forms, from full on noise/feedback, to a sparse, synth led sound, to a stripped back set up with just keys, drum machine and guitar, to playing with an orchestra, and to just an acoustic with vocal. We wanted to try and capture all of those elements and develop them in some way to make the new record.” Opting to stay in Glasgow, the album was produced at Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom studio, engineered by live soundman Andrew Bush, mixed by Peter Katis (also responsible for Fourteen Autumns), with touring member Johnny Docherty playing bass.

Despite critical acclaim accompanying all of the band’s releases to date - not to mention their exhilarating live shows - mainstream popularity has largely evaded the Twilight Sad, while the scene from which they hail has become more of a force on the international circuit. As their fellow Fat Cat brothers Frightened Rabbit parted ways in favour of a major label deal, former TTS bandmate Martin Doherty found fame as one third of Chvrches. Both have remained firm friends of the band, the latter inviting Graham to join them onstage at their recent T in the Park appearance, and there’s certainly no bitterness or envy on the Twilight Sad’s part - but it does seem like an injustice has been served for a group so talented.

“Do I want our songs to played on the radio? Yes I do. Do I want our band to have features in magazines and websites? Yes I do. The only reason I want that is so that more people can learn of and discover our music,” Graham says. “We would never write music just to get those things, if people like our music enough to make those things happen then that's great, if not we're not going change our music so it fits into certain boxes to make that happen. I love being in this band, it's everything to me. I want to play big gigs, small gigs. I just want to write and play music for as long as I can. We don't write pop songs (p.s. I love pop songs) so I don't think we'll ever really break into the mainstream but if we can keep progressing musically and people are still coming to our gigs then I'll be happy. If something crazy happened and we did break through to mainstream we'd embrace it with both hands while still staying true to ourselves.”

A first listen to the album confirms everything the band has said - noisy, densely layered, and deeply melodic, it wouldn’t be out of line to say this may be their best yet. One thing’s for sure - the Twilight Sad have still got a lot of life left in them.

“I think it's a testament to the music we've written and the people who support our band that we've got this far,” Graham says. “Everyone always says their new album is their best, I'm not going to say that. I love all of our albums as they document that time in our lives be it good or bad. All I'll say is that I am extremely proud of the record and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.”
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123