Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

Jukebox the Ghost

WXPN 88.5 Welcomes ...

Jukebox the Ghost

The Family Crest, Mike Mains & The Branches

Sat, November 1, 2014

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

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$16.00 - $18.00

This event is all ages

Jukebox the Ghost
Jukebox the Ghost
Jukebox the Ghost's latest record, Off To The Races is a giddy, vibrant collection of Jukebox the Ghost's most bombastic, colorful songs to date. Though it's the fifth studio outing from this long-running trio of piano pop wizards, it plays like an energetic debut album: Just as eager to please as it is eager to surprise you. Every generation has a band that puts a fresh twist on piano-rock, and Jukebox the Ghost’s latest studio offering serves as a memorably vivid and kaleidoscopic step forward for the genre.

From the opening vocal stack of "Jumpstarted," it's obvious that Jukebox the Ghost has newfound confidence in embracing bold musical risks. A mishmash of modern pop, retro vocals and classic rock indulgence, it's a head-spinning listen for the first go-round that the band describes as "what it's like to be inside of Ben (Thornewill, lead singer/pianist)'s brain." A thickly-layered vocal intro builds into a showcase of Thornewill’s virtuosic classical piano chops and then abruptly vaults into a bouncy, upbeat pop chorus led by Jesse Kristin’s punchy backbeat drumming. A synth solo enters and you're suddenly in a section vaguely resembling hip-hop. The guitar solo kicks the door down and you're front row at an arena rock show. Thornewill recorded over 170 vocal tracks in "Jumpstarted," and somehow you can hear them all.

One influence stands out in particular as a common thread: Queen. This isn't a matter of happenstance -- The band has recently made a tradition of "HalloQueen," a yearly show where they perform two sets: One as themselves, followed by a set break, and one in costume (and in character) as Queen. Through being forced to do a deep dive into Queen's catalogue, the band says they ended up discovering themselves in the process. "Something magical about Queen to me is that their songs are so catchy, but the song structures are so wonderfully wrong and they're so unafraid to showcase their chops," said Tommy Siegel. "Their music is a reminder to me that pop music doesn't have to come in a neat, restrained package,” added Thornewill, “It's ok to get weird and own it -- And you can still be catchy.”

The second track from Off To The Races, "Everybody's Lonely" provides a mix of old and new, evocative of Queen crossed with Walk the Moon. In addition to a distinctly modern pop chorus, it also features a surprising time signature shift and a bridge that has more in common with "Bohemian Rhapsody" than it does current radio morés. And though Thornewill’s lyrics thumb their nose at modern pop radio, it’s also easy to envision it becoming a modern pop hit in its own right. The third track, a snarky ode to the 9-to-5 from guitarist/singer Tommy Siegel called "People Go Home" sounds like you've tuned into some 1970s AM radio station that's been humming along in a parallel universe for decades, an otherworldly early-Beatles-style track for the new millennium. The remainder of the record serves as a bright, exciting showcase of the band’s well-honed sense of pop craft, coated in thick harmony stacks that serve as a brand new instrument for the band, dramatic cinematic climaxes, and broad hooks that playfully nod to the past with a decisively modern sensibility.

Off To The Races is their fifth studio outing, mostly recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn and engineered, produced and mixed by Chris Cubeta and Gary Atturio (two exceptions: “Everybody’s Lonely” was produced by CJ Baran and Peter Thomas and “Fred Astaire” was produced by Chris Wallace). Longtime fans will hear little bits of past Jukebox the Ghost embedded in the record blanketed in a fresh, more colorful sonic palette. The flamboyance and quirkiness of Let Live and Let Ghosts (2008), the retro sensibility of Everything Under the Sun (2010), the concise modern pop smarts of their recent self-titled album (2014) and Safe Travels (2012) and the raw live energy of their live album Long Way Home (2016) are all on full display if you listen closely.

The album is the result of a three-year songwriting and recording process, culled from dozens of demos that the band brought to the table. Recording in their home base of Brooklyn enabled them to do more outside-the-computer sonic experimentation and live performance than past records have afforded. “In ‘Boring’ we sent Tommy’s backing harmonies through a distorting rotary speaker which created this totally weird underwater sound,” explained Jesse Kristin. “And for ‘See You Soon’ we ran an electronic tabla machine through an amplifier and then I played drums along with it. That’s the sort of thing I think we wouldn’t have spent the time to do on our other records.”

Jukebox the Ghost formed in college in 2006 and has been a steadily growing cult favorite and a globally touring band ever since. Composed of Ben Thornewill (piano/vocals), Tommy Siegel (guitar/bass/vocals) and Jesse Kristin (drums/vocals), they have played over 1,000 shows across the country and around the world over the course of their career. In addition to countless headlining tours, they have also toured as openers alongside Ingrid Michaelson, Ben Folds, Guster, Motion City Soundtrack, A Great Big World and Jack’s Mannequin, among others. In addition to festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo, and Bottlerock, Jukebox the Ghost has also performed on The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan. Their 2018 national headlining tour will take them to their largest headlining venues to date across April and May.
The Family Crest
The Family Crest
"Everything we've done over the past five years has been leading up to this," reflects Liam McCormick. "We've been working on this project for almost the entire time we've been a band."

McCormick, the frontman and songwriter of The Family Crest, is referring to the band's upcoming release, an EP titled Prelude to War. Remaining tight-lipped about the EPs relationship to a mysterious "broader project" that's been mentioned of late, he grins and says, "Our listeners have been waiting so patiently for new music. Let's just say that what we're planning should make up for the wait and keep them satiated for quite a while."

The brainchild of McCormick, The Family Crest was started as a recording project in 2009 with co-founder John Seeterlin (bass). The pair set out to reinvent how music could be created. "We always liked making music with people -- getting a bunch of people together and singing. So we put ads everywhere," says McCormick. "We posted on Craigslist and emailed old friends from school." The outcome was greater than the original duo imagined, with 80 people credited on the first recording the band produced. From that a band emerged, at the urging of the guest musicians, who wanted to hear the songs performed live. "We've worked with a lot of conservatory students as well as people who just sing in the shower," McCormick adds. "It became a lot about giving these people a chance to express themselves without being locked into a commitment."

The band evolved into a seven-piece core with over 400 "Extended Family" members who have contributed to the music. With the 2014 release of Beneath the Brine, The Family Crest skyrocketed into mainstream awareness, with critics at Paste Magazine, Spin and NPR raving, "there's a decent chance you're about to discover your favorite new band." For nearly two years, The Family Crest toured in support of Beneath The Brine, and seeing their songs featured in campaigns for GoPro, Carnival Cruises, Coachella, and more.

Beneath the Brine showed that McCormick's writing for classical instruments had grown. In Prelude to War, his style and prowess has been even more augmented. Paste Magazine exclaims, "[Prelude to War] delivers a dose of both the familiar and the experimental: Huge, rollicking numbers with a few sparse moments of tenderness interspersed throughout. There's material here that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Beneath the Brine, but also several songs that hint at an evolution and embrace of even more seemingly disparate genres. One thing is certain: These guys are just as explosive as ever, and these songs are going to bring the house down in a live setting."

Fans of Beneath the Brine's title track will find drama and dark romanticism in "Sparks" and "Battle Cry," and subtle yet powerful musical gestures in "Don't Wake Me," the sole ballad of the EP. Those looking for a lighter, more pop-infused sound will gravitate toward "Can You Stay" and the undeniably groovy "Mirror Love," of which Bob Boilen (NPR's All Songs Considered) says, "[Mirror Love] extends into new sonic territory for the group, capturing the late '70s sounds of the Bee Gees in both beat and chorus ... [a] stunning kaleidoscopic imagery and bold sound."
Mike Mains & The Branches
Mike Mains & The Branches
Formed in Texas, now residing in Michigan, this indie rock collective has spent the last four years making waves everywhere in between. Following the release of their debut album, Home, they've used their relentless touring, unique sound, and captivating performances to carve out a place for themselves in the hearts of indie rock music fans internationally. With a live show bursting with contagious energy and the promise of a follow-up record, Mike Mains & The Branches promises to be on the radar for 2013.

Sophomore album Calm Down, Everything Is Fine due for release early 2014.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123