Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Year Anniversary Today

Just wanted to document that I officially started this blog one year ago today. I began it just as a way to track the shows I attended and music I enjoy. It has definitely grown into a little bit more. I want to thank all those who have read the content and sent in emails, entered the contests, etc. Hope everyone has a good 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Concerts of 2009

Down to the last list for the year. Top concerts of the year that I attended. It's difficult to rank these because some of the more recent shows are fresh in my mind while others in the beginning are stale. Be sure to post your top choices as well.

10) Bad Veins - Garfield Artworks - 8/7/09 - Good, fun show to a few patrons. They played a blistering set with a pounding drum beat and a old reel to reel tape machine that provided the pace of each song. Nice guys.

9) Blind Pilot - Club Cafe - 4/1/09 - Really enjoyed this show plus local act The Slant. They just recently came back to Club Cafe a month ago but I wasn't able to make it. Sure they did well.

8) Metric - Mr Smalls - 11/24/09 - Every time I have seen them play they put on a entertaining performance. This was no exception as Emily Haines strutted her stuff conducting sing-a-longs with the crowd.

7) Fanfarlo - Brillobox - 12/12/09 - Just saw this show so it's fresh in the mind. Good crowd with a great set by this 6 piece. Checkout some of the video to see what I am talking about.

6)Cursive - Diesel - 5/5/09 Cursive is one of those bands that is a can't miss when it comes to a show.They never disappoint, playing the hits that the fans want to hear even though they are touring on a new album.

5) Mr Gnome - 7/17/09 - Bloomfield Bridge Tavern - Sometimes I feel like a pimp trying to get others to see a band I totally dig. I guess that is what you do when you blog. This duo made my top 10 album and now show list. I hope they play in Pgh soon. They put on a fantastic show with their skill and charisma. Plus, they are 2 of the nicest peeps you will want to meet.

4) Old Canes - Brillobox - 10/23/09 - I don't know what I was expecting, but this one caught me by surprise. I had listened to the album for about a month and still love it. It sounded even better live. Some technical issues in the beginning quickly smoothed out. One of the better sounding shows in a while.

3)Frightened Rabbit - CMU - 1/26/09 - This was in the beginning of the year and I still recall what a great show it was. Props to CMU for bringing them in.

2) Girl Talk - 7/31/09 - Amphitheater at Station Square - I remember debating whether to go see Jason Lytle (dug Grandaddy in the day) and Neko Case at Sandcastle or seeing an all-star Pittsburgh show. What was I even debating? A party atmosphere like none that I have seen. To all those that saw Neko instead, sorry, you really missed out.

1) AA Bondy + Holly Miranda - Club Cafe - 6/9/09 - It's funny when you go to a show not knowing what to expect or anything about the opening act and the show simply blows you away. This was that show for me. Holly Miranda opened and had the best voice I have heard in quite sometime. Plus, the music was pretty darn good too. The show was under attended (maybe 25?) but every table there bought her ep after the set. Then AA Bondy came out and played a set that just blew the doors off of the whole venue. He didn't mail it in because of the crowd size, but played to an attentive, appreciative audience. Definitely someone to see live.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top Albums of the Year 2009

2009 was a bit of lull for me in regards to albums. There wasn't any one (well maybe one) that simply blew me away on first listen. But some did creep in after many repeats. Here are my top 10:

Honorable Mention: Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer - A "side project" to Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown third album continues down where Spencer Krug's previous ventures left off. The album is probably the most accessible yet.

10) Generationals - Con Law - I saw these guys at Garfields only after catching a few songs on 91.3 (thanks Cindy). While I thought they were good in concert the album is that much better. Motown sounds over pop gems with a bit of Belle and Sebastian mixed in.

9) Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us - The local Pittsburgh act went with producer David Fridmann and made their most enjoyable album for me. Starting with "Born on a Day the Sun Didn't Rise", the lp bowls you over with synth sounds and booming drums. Have seen them twice now in concert. It's a different experience, but an enjoyable one.

8) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz - A bit of a different sound throwing in some new wave into their bread and butter.

7) Old Canes - Feral Harmonic - Great lo-fi diy album that stretches the home made recordings. See my album review here.

6) Built to Spill - There is No Enemy - One of my favorite bands in the late 90's who made "indie" a brand name. This is their best lp in what seems like a long time.

5) Rurual Alberta Advantage - Hometowns - I went to see The Lovely Feathers at Garfields and these guys were the headliners. Never had bothered to even listen to them. Of course when I did they ended up in my top 10 for the year. Hailing from Canada, they get compared to Neutral Milk Hotel a lot and for good reason.

4) Mr Gnome - Heave Yer Skeleton - The sophomore follow up to Deliver This Creature doesn't disappoint. Why this duo doesn't get more hype I don't understand. Based out of Cleveland the duo are a mix of Portishead and Bjork with some prog rock. Great follow up to one of those "under the radar" bands.

3) Bat For Lashes - Two Suns - Natasha Khan follows up her breakthrough Fur and Gold with this ambitious follow up.

2) AA Bondy - When the Devil's Loose - I hyped this guy up a lot because I truly enjoy him. This was in my player forever (and is still in the mix). Checkout my review here.

1) Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - A French band making a splash in the US market? Believe it. A fifth album breakthrough that is probably at the top of everyone's list in the mainstream and underground. The dance pop rock outfit made catchy melodies making it easily accessible to everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Albums of the Decade - The 2000's Edition (Part 3)

I rented a cabin last week and ended up in over a foot of snow. Picked the wrong week for a retreat. This will be my last installment of under the radar albums of the decade list before I get to the top 10 of the year. Again, I didn't want to replicate a bunch of other lists. These are albums I feel should get more attention. See my previous list here and here.

The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? (2003)

True story. I was down in Miami and saw The Unicorns play for about 5 songs. Between songs, one of the members went off and slugged the other before running off stage. The member decked threw down his guitar and gave chase. Meanwhile the drummer picked up the guitar and did an impromptu solo before the show ended. Thought it was a joke but apparently not because they soon disbanded. This album for me made arty-pop accessible to many who probably wouldn't listen to it otherwise.

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003)

The breakthrough album for DCFC and one of my wife's favorites. Remember the "OC"? The awful show that put DCFC further in the mainstream? The album starts off with "The New Year" layering the song with various arrangements before coming together in accumulation of sound. The layering can be found throughout making this one of DCFC best.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak (2003)

Some people cannot get past the falsetto voice (which threw me off at first). But if you can, this is Ted Leo's best album. I used 'peaked' a lot in my last posts, but this is where I felt Ted did just that. He added a keyboard and extra member to create Hearts and it was definitely worth it. His last couple of albums have been ok, but nothing near this level.

The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee (2002)

A full narrative of a marriage going through hell. This is John Darnielle's first venture into a proper studio and creating one of his more accessible albums. From the opening the album blitzes through a pace of despair and sympathy. One of his best.

Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold (2007)

Another of the better half's picks. This album opened up Natasha Khan to a wide audience. Often compared to Bjork, Natasha weaves raw emotions in soft melodies and hush sounds. She has the lyrics of someone pushing the envelope while using harpsichords, violins and hand claps on the album.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Live Review - Fanfarlo - Pittsburgh - Brllobox - 12/12/09 - Show Review - Concert Review

Fanfarlo played at the Brillobox last night to a capacity crowd. They put on one of the more enjoyable shows I have seen at the Brillo with regards to both sound and audience. In my previous preview I had mentioned that they sounded like Beirut, but throw in a little David Byrne in there as well.

The set started out with just lead singer Simon Balthazar and member Cathy Lewis singing "Drowning Men" to the crowd with a little percussion in the background. A very good start before bringing on the rest of the band (a 6 piece) to kick things up a notch with "I'm a Pilot". Throughout the set the ensemble utilized varying instruments including trumpet, violin, clarinet and mandolin just to name a few. It provides quite a wall of sound to the audience who was very appreciative and enthusiastic.

The set hit a high point for me in the middle when the band played their single "The Walls are Coming Down". Five members of the band made their way to the front of the stage and began singing the first lines of the song in unison (ala Arcade Fire) before launching into their hit. Have to say after watching it again, it gives me a little pause. The band had mentioned that a member (Justin) was having a birthday soon. At the stroke of midnight a rendition of "Happy Birthday" was begun by Hugh (from Hughshows) that was soon sung by the rest of the crowd.

By the end of the night the Fanfarlo appeared to have cast a spell over the crowd. They were dancing and singing with Fanfarlo having a great time, probably with the help of some libations. On the encore the band handed out several large "twirling whistles" to help out with the sound. Members whirled the large plastic devices over their heads while handing them around to finalize a memorable evening and good show at the Brillo.

Set List:

Drowing Men
I'm a Pilot
Finish Line
Harlod T Wilkins
The Walls are Coming Down

**Thanks to Hugh for the pic.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reminder - Fanfarlo - Saturday - 12/12/09 - Brillobox

Just a reminder that Fanfarlo will be playing at the Brillobox this Saturday at 9:30p. They put on a very good show, see a review here from their recent stop in Austin. My preview of the show can be found here or below.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Concert Review - Arctic Monkeys - Mr Smalls - 12/7/09 - Show Review

Arctic Monkeys played to a sold out show Monday night at Mr Smalls. There was a very diverse crowd in attendance from pre-teen adolescents with parents in tow to the over 40 crowd (without the kids). First up was Screaming Females by way of New Jersey. The best thing I can say about them is they were young and could actually "Scream(ing)" pretty well. I couldn't figure out the other "Female" part, but then it was decided the androgenous lead singer was actually a girl who had no real crowd interaction. They didn't do much for me although they have received praise from Dinosaur Jr and Jack White. Go figure.

Arctic Monkeys were up next and brought the crowd into a racaous frenzy. With each song the crowd became more and more intense with a mixture of dancing and fist pumping near the stage. Arctic Monkeys were very good drawing the crowd in from their first tune while providing a proper dose of banter between songs. They made it known this was their first visit to Pittsburgh and really were enjoying it (I remember Eddie Vedder saying the opposite once during a show here).

I have seen these guys once before a few years back at the Coachella Festival in California. I felt they were a bit more energetic and crowd pleasing then, but this was a totally different environment than they probably experience. Of course, the crowd was definitely into it enjoying the setting and interaction with the band, so what do I know. The crowd cheered with hands raised above their heads for each song loving every moment. They are a young band that should be touring for quite some time.

Reminder - Cavalier Rose - Howler's - Tonight - Wed 12/9/09

Just a reminder that Cavalier Rose will be playing this evening at Howler's. Doors are at 8p show is at 9:30p. If you want a pair of tickets for free just email me with your name here. See my previous post with samples here or below.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Show Announcement - Fanfarlo - 12/12/09 - Brillobox - Show Preview

Fanfarlo will be performing at the Brillobox this Saturday, 12/12/09 at 9:30p. They are a London based band that has been around since 2006. They play what would be described as indie orchestral pop/rock who utilize the trumpet, violin, clarinet and mandolin on virtually every song. Their debut album, Reservoir, was produced by Peter Katis who had previously worked with both The National and Interpol.

"The Walls Are Coming Down"

The album has symphonic overtures with a bit of a gypsy feel. It reminds me a lot of Beirut and a bit of the Arcade Fire with their multiple layered instruments. The sound is a bit despondent with down trotted harmonies. The lyrics are a bit mysterious and haunting. On their song "The Walls Are Coming Down": The walls the walls are coming down, the here and now is coming round/It will some day let you down/The ships the ships are coming in, the great ideas are wearing thin/There is nothing left to do.
"Harold T Wilkins"

I have seen comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel by various publications. I don't see it, but I did see this great video of them doing a cover "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea". Fabulous cover, one of the better ones I have seen. Brought back a little nostalgia of a period when this album was in the player all the time. Anyway, if you like what you see and hear be sure to check them out at the Brillobox at 9:30p.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Albums of the Decade - The 2000's Edition (Part 2)

Continuing my list of under the radar albums of the decade. Again, I didn't want to do a list of top 10 albums because I would probably be duplicating everyone else's list. So, I decided to recognize records that I feel should get more attention. My measuring stick are lp's I can listen to from beginning to end without getting sick of them. See my previous list here.

Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs (2005)

My better half rolled her eyes when she saw this on my list. I think its because of different reasons, but maybe not. I really enjoyed this album when it came out. The quirky whistling, sampling, etc. made this one of my favorite lp's of the year. I believe that Bird peaked with this album as the last couple have been pretty mediocre. I have seen Bird more than four times in concert and honestly, he really is boring (close second to Pavement). I kept wanting to give him another chance but I just don't find him entertaining. I know that might come as a divisive statement to other bloggers but that doesn't mean his albums are bad.

The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)

I listened to this band way back when they were first called Hutch & Kathy. They played fast lo-fi punk/pop. This is without questions their best album. This album had the right wing political and religious mockery. "They'll pound you with the love of Jesus/They'll own your days/ They're only God's babies/ They follow, they know". Never had the opportunity to see these them live but I have heard they put on a good show.

The National - Boxer (2007)

Ok, this might be on some lists, but still one of the more under appreciated albums in my opinion. Whenever people (who aren't music snobs) ask me for a record they might like I always hand this to them. Haven't heard a bad comment on it yet. The piano intro of "Fake Empire" kicking things off to Sufjan Stevens appearances on "Ada" and "Racing Like a Pro". I am hoping their next album continues to expand on the band's signature sound.

Bright Eyes - Lifted, or, The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002)

This is one of my better half's favorites. Conor is at the top of his game with his ability to weave stories throughout the album. Its a mixture of chamber pop with just a hint of the alt-country which Conor has since evolved into. His distinct lyrics give voice to each track. This put Conor on the map for both a national audience and media standpoint.

Love is All - Nine Times That Same Song (2005)

Hailing from Sweden this group came onto the scene with their distinctive indie new wave/punk sound and loud vocals. Made up a 5 members they incorporated varying percussion devices to create a lo fi aesthetic on the album. The album sprints with a manic pace most suited to punk bands. Their last album was ok, but not in this category.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Show Announcement - Cavalier Rose - 12/9/09 - Howler's Cafe - Show Preview

Cavalier Rose will be playing at Howler's Cafe on 12/9. Doors are at 8p and Cavalier Rose is scheduled at 9:30p. This is an up and coming band based out of NYC in the Brooklyn area. They have been together a little over 6 months and have one ep to their name along with some demos. They are a 4 piece made up of 2 female members(on drums and lead vocals, keyboard) plus guitar and bass.

"Lie To Me"

They play a bluesy rock marked by lead singer's Heather Christian distinctive vocals. From their bio:

The daughter of a blues musician and a dancer, Heather grew up in Southern Mississippi and moved to New York to study music and theater at NYU. She was now singing and playing piano around the city. While her music was of a different attitude and style than the music they were currently creating, Gibbs Drinon (guitar) and Chase McGowan (bass) immediately heard hers as the voice of Cavalier Rose. They contacted her later that night and included a link to the demos they had recorded in Sarah’s basement several weeks earlier.

With Dave’s help, the band self-produced and mixed Primary Colors, the 6-song EP they recorded at his farm. Primary Colors was made available for free on Thursday, May 28th via the band’s website. That night, they played their second ever show (again, to a packed house at Pianos) in support of the EP’s release. All 150 copies of the EP they pressed were gone by the end of the gig. Two weeks later, Cavalier Rose was named "NYC Artist of the Month" by The Deli Magazine.

"Painted Bird"

Listen to the songs posted and if you like them be sure to checkout the band on 12/9. I am giving away a pair of tickets to the show. If interested just email me with your name here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Albums of the Decade - The 2000's Edition (Part 1)

I have seen a lot of lists lately concerning the top albums of the decade. I pretty much agree with the ones I see and don't feel it necessary to duplicate them here. So, instead I am going to name albums I feel are under the radar. For the record, the albums that I can listen to over and over again without wanting me to stop are records I consider noteworthy.

Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump (2000)

Coming out in 2000 this album changed how I envisioned indie 'atmosphere' music being created. It took on the modern tech world and showcased the electronic side of indie bands for me.

The Delgados - Hate (2002)

Hailing from Scotland, this band started their own label (Chemikal Underground Records) and began putting out their version of indie pop symphonic music. The duel lead singers plus entire string section sucked me in. Their previous album, The Great Eastern, gets all the hype being nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. But for me, this was their first album I heard and I feel is better than The Great Eastern. It also helps that they put on probably the best sounding concert I have witnessed down in Orlando.

Pedro the Lion - Control (2002)

I always felt David Bazan got a bad rap because of his secular upbringing. Pitchfork made constant religious jokes whenever reviewing his albums or posting news articles about him. For me this is when I felt he and his band peaked. His lyrics are always dark and pessimistic and on this album were down right bleak to the point he will no longer perform "Rapture". (This is how we multiply/Pity that its not my wife). Definitely a singer/songwriter I have always enjoyed.

Cursive - Domestica (2000)

Another band I feel doesn't get their due simply because of the emo label that is placed on them. For me the album is raw and angst telling the story of Tim Kasher's (lead) dissolving marriage. Tim is a pretty good lyricist that doesn't get his due. A close friend of Conor Oberst who he collaborates on songs with.

Enon - Beliveo (2000)

I first saw these guys opening for Dismemberment Plan way back in the day. They totally blew everyone in the audience away. I remember going to get their album after the set, but of course they were sold out. This was the first Enon album that made Pitchork's best of top ten list for that year. Experimental synth with undertones of indie pop. Couldn't beat it. Plus, at the time, this was a full fledged band that probably had all the necessary parts to make one very good album.

I will post another addition later this week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Concert Review - Metric - Mr Smalls - 11/24/09 - Show Review

As we approached Mr Smalls there were about 20 people milling about the bottom of the stairwell. Turns out these individuals waited too long to purchase tickets as the show was sold out. We were hit up for any extras we might have but that was a no go. I have seen Metric a few times before (Coachella and Mr Smalls) and had an enjoyable experience each time. This was no exception.

Lead singer Emily Haines is not only one of the most attractive leads in indie rock but also possesses a confident personality. As the band appeared on stage she was the constant focal point for the audience performing a mesmerizing set. Metric is a part: dance, rock and pop that can bring a crowded audience into a rhythmic, head nodding experience which is what happened this evening. Several times the audience were clapping in rhythm with their arms above their heads to the beat. Haines danced about the stage while leading the crowd in sing alongs to their new excellent album Fantasies.

Haines and company delivered a solid set before coming out with an acoustic finale. The only thing I wish is that Haines would have addressed the crowd more often. She only did so twice and each time the crowd responded enthusiastically. Metric came out with just an acoustic guitar and Haines on vocals completing their set with a crowd sing along on "Combat Baby". Metric put on a fun, entertaining show that anyone would enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Metric Ticket Winner! Show Tonight! Mr Smalls 8p

Congratulations to Dan H. who won the pair of tickets to tonight's show. Show begins at 8p doors at 7p.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reminder - Ticket Giveaway - Metric - Mr Smalls 11/24

Just a reminder that Metric will be performing at Mr Smalls tomorrow evening at 8p. You can still get tickets here, but hurry as this should sellout. I am giving away a free pair of tickets to the show tomorrow night. As usual, all you have to do is email with your name.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Metric - Julian Plenti - Emily Haines - Mr Smalls - 11/24

This next week we have Metric coming to Mr Smalls which should be a great show (saw them the last time they were here). I just saw this video featuring Emily Haines of Metric fame with Julian Plenti solo project of Paul Banks from Interpol. Check out this video. Emily Haines looking pretty darn good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Minus the Bear - Contest Winner - Mr Smalls

Congratulations to Don M. winner of the Minus the Bear ticket giveaway. Thanks to all those who entered.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Minus the Bear! Free Tickets! Sold out! Mr Smalls!

As previously mentioned I am giving away a free pair of tickets to the Minus the Bear show on 11/20 at Mr Smalls. I just found out the show is now sold out. So, this is one way to get a pair of tickets without paying top dollar to a scalper. All you have to do is email me here with your name. All entries must be received by Wed, 11/18.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Generationals - Con Law - Album Review - Garfield Artworks

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to 91.3 and heard a couple of songs I liked so I checked them out online. One band had a good song, but the rest of their album didn't do much for me. The other I really enjoyed. Just so happened the next week they were opening for someone at Garfield Artworks. I decided to check them out.

"When They Fight, They Fight"

The band's name is Generationals and their debut album is entitled Con Law. Its a duo act from one of my favorite cities, New Orleans. Its a nice slice of pop with sing along choruses throughout. Has a bit of a Belle and Sebastian (lyrically) plus some Motown tones. I have had it on rotation for the last week. Everyone who I have given a ride to (surprisingly) really digs it, and we aren't talking the most savvy music snobs. Here are some tracks off their album if you are interested.

"Exterior Street Day"

"Nobody Could Change Your mind"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Show Announcement - Minus the Bear - 11/20/09 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Free Ticket Giveaway

Minus the Bear will be performing at Mr Smalls next Friday night. Below is a preview of the show along with a few tunes. I am also happy to giveaway a free pair of tickets to the show. All you have to do is email here with your name. All entries must be received by 11/18.

"Broken China"

Minus the Bear are originally from the Seattle area, although they are a far cry from the mid 90's 'grunge' scene. They play a unique style of indie pop-rock, using experimental and technology to creat their signature sound. Planet of Ice was their last official lp showing the band not so much transforming their sound as transcending it. They are currently touring in support of their new ep Acoustics which takes a step back from the last lp to a more stripped down endeavor. This isn't some 'one off' acoustic set; it takes on more of a compositional approach weaving their electronic tracks to more of an acoustic symphony. The album makes up fan favorites and is currently available nationally at digital (itunes and emusic) and physical copies exclusively on their tours (and at this stop at Mr Smalls) which includes a previously unreleased track called "Guns & Ammo".

"Guns & Ammo"

Be sure to checkout their show next Friday. The show is sponsored by 92.1 WPTS and includes As Tall as Lions and Twin Tigers. Show is scheduled to begin at 8p.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Canceled! Bang Bang Eche Eche 11/12/09 Thunderbird Cafe

Unfortunately, I was just informed that the Bang Bang Eche Eche show scheduled for tomorrow night at the Thunderbird has been canceled. Not sure of the reason. If you were planning on attending make sure not to now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reminder - Bang Bang Eche Eche - Thursday 11/12/09 - Thunderbird Cafe

Just a reminder that New Zealanders Bang Bang Eche Eche will be playing the Thunderbird Cafe this Thursday at 8p. Its an early show so if you plan to attend don't show up too late. There is another show happening at 10p.

These guys have been getting great reviews from CMJ and their live shows are not to miss if you are into the high energy, dance music ala !!! . Below is a clip from a live show. Hope to see you there.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Drummer Gerhardt "Jerry" Fuchs of Maserati RIP

Received the below email tonight:

Gerhardt “Jerry” Fuchs, beloved and respected drummer for The Juan MacLean, Holy Ghost!, Maserati, !!!, and Turing Machine, amongst others, passed away in the early hours on Sunday, November 8th due to an unfortunate elevator accident that occurred in a Brooklyn loft building. He was pronounced dead at Bellevue Medical Center, a few hours later.

Jerry was born on December 30, 1974 in Marietta, Georgia. After attending the University of Georgia for graphic design, he left for New York in 1995 to join the band Vineland. His achievements were numerous as he became a New York fixture in the music scene, providing incredibly complex and energetic drumbeats that elicited wide praise and excitement from fellow musicians, critics and friends. On the rare occasion that he was not touring, Jerry did graphic design work for publications such as Chunklet and Entertainment Weekly. Throughout all of his endeavors and successes, Jerry remained one of the most humble and down-to-earth artists anyone could meet. His smile, and loving energy will be missed dearly, as will his talent and contributions to the music scene.

According to The New York Times, the accident occurred at about 12:30 a.m. on November 8, when Fuchs became stuck on a freight elevator between the fourth and fifth floors. When he attempted to jump out of the stalled car, his jacket got caught and threw him back towards the elevator shaft, while another unidentified man in the car with him leaped safely to a fourth-floor hallway.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ticket Giveaway - Minus the Bear - 11/20/09 - Mr Smalls

Minus the Bear will be performing on 11/20 at Mr Smalls. I have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the show. All you need to do is email me here with your name. Contest will end on 11/18. I will have a proper preview as the show approaches.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Show Preview - Bang Bang Eche Eche - Thunderbird Cafe - 11/12/09 - Pittsburgh

Bang Bang Eche Eche will be playing the Thunderbird Cafe next Thursday, 11/12 at 8p. They come by way of New Zealand and have been touring the states in conjunction with their recent appearance at CMJ. The quartet of young 20 somethings play high dance energy most comparably to !!! (chick,chick, chick). They are known for their entertaining shows getting the crowd involved and putting on a high energy performance while maintaining a great sense of professionalism.

"Dirt in the Water"

Bang Bang Eche Eche recorded the new album over a span of three months in their hometown of Christchurch after two tours around the globe. This new ep entitled Sonic Death Cunttt shows the band maturing from their previous endeavor raising the bar for their danceable beats. The band uses synthesisers with fuzzed out guitars to create their signature sound. The vocals are a bit distorted but you can feel the full power and energy coming through as the sound spills out.

"Fist Full of Dollars"

They will be playing a fun, high energy early show next Thursday at Thunderbird. Be sure to check them out before they fly back to New Zealand.

"Beat Up the Children"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Concert Review - Silversun Pickups - Pittsburgh - Ches-A-Rena - 10/24/09 - Show Review (Part 2)

In my previous review of this show (w/Cage the Elephant) I mentioned that Ches-A-Rena wasn't going to be around for much longer. Someone asked what I was speaking about. Here is the article in which this is stated. In summary the city board turned down the promoters to house a liquor license there. The funny part was at the show they were still serving beer along with pizza. You paid $20 which gave you a all you can eat and drink (bud or bud light) pass; a pretty darn good deal. Not sure how that gets 'around' serving alcohol, but this state is known for some weird liquor laws.

Silversun Pickups followed CTE with a pretty lively, rocking set. I had seen these guys almost 4 years ago(?) when they played on Coachella's main stage in the early afternoon. They have definitely become even tighter since then with a look and feel of confidence that oozes from their stage presence. Lead Brian Aubert has a swagger that lead the rest of the band through a ferocious set along with a bit of over the top banter. They started everything off right by a few tunes from their new lp "Swoon". They mixed it up a bit with a spattering of songs off their previous albums.

Come to find out SSPU fans are a dedicated bunch. There was a guy near the stage that waved his one finger up in the air to each and every song like a conductor. Brian pointed it out to the rest of the crowd during a break between songs even mocking the fan a bit, but he kept on trucking conducting the band while singing every lyric throughout the show. Another fan had the title album "Swoon" tattooed on their body which was also brought to the attention of the crowd by Brian. He even offered her laser surgery in a few years.

It was very good show from top to bottom in a setting that unfortunately will disappear from the Pittsburgh landscape. Enjoy it while you can.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Concert Review - Cage the Elephant - Ches-A-Rena - Pittsburgh - 10/24/09 - Show Review (Part 1)

This was my first time at Ches-A-Rena (aka Gravity) which is a surprisingly very good venue. The place looks like some old military silo with a "tube" look to it...but the ceiling (although falling in places) really allows wonderful acoustics. Its a shame that it won't be around much longer because Cheswick city council won't grant a liquor license. Sometimes I wonder if under funded towns/cities such as Cheswick don't understand how this little venue could have positive financial gains for their town. But that is for another day.

Cage the Elephant came out after opener An Horse (by way of Australia) finished a surprising solid set. From the get go these young guns kicked it into gear with constant motion and energy. I haven't seen a band (especially lead singer Matt Shultz) go this wild onstage since some really bad punk show (and this wasn't it). This was a 5 piece that sweated out their songs while hammering on their instruments. Shultz on the other hand is a man possessed to entertain spazzing out on stage while belting out lyrics with a boisterous voice. Shultz didn't stop there as he jumped into the crowd several times while hanging onto the mic and still keeping pace with the background music.

It appeared that over a third of the crowd was there to see CTE. It was a diverse group from a heavily tattooed biker (in his 50's) waving his arms and singing along to pre-teen kids eating up the showmanship of CTE. Even the burley security guard was a fan with a fully autographed shirt by CTE. CTE puts on a quite a show no matter who the audience is. The crowd was definitely into it with fans carrying the crowd surfing Shultz back and forth to the stage, evening allowing him to stand upon their shoulders while screaming the lyrics. Usually you would think if the band has this much energy they must be pretty loaded. But I doubt these guys even drink as I saw Shultz chugging a Mountain Dew after the show.

The set ended with Shultz climbing a bundle of speakers before diving into the awaiting crowd (see video). While this was playing out the rest of the band was accommodating fans by greeting and talking with the many supporters who came to the side of the stage. Nice kids that put on a high energy show. Can't beat that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Concert Review - Old Canes - Brillobox - 10/23/09 - Show Review

Old Canes played to a packed house Friday night at the Brillo and put on one of the best shows I have seen there (and this year). There were a lot of Chris Chrisci fans in attendance wanting to see what his new endeavor was about. He and his band did not disappoint. The band was a 5 piece that used assorted instruments to deliver a lush sound portraying his home recordings. The band members were multi tasking using trumpets, cello, melodica, accordion along with the traditional guitar and drums. The arrangements created layers of sound that began the show off with the instrumental intro that begins the new lp Feral Harmonic. As soon as the song ended, they quickly jumped into the single "Little Bird Courage" (just like the album) with band members laying down the sound with the cello and trumpet thumping. The vocals were barely audible and halfway through the song Chris stopped the band after he clearly forgot the lyrics and failed to recover. On the second time around the band nailed it with the sound man adjusting so the crowd could hear.

The set was tight and Chris was a charismatic lead without too much banter. The crowd was very appreciative after each song clapping and hollering for more. This was definitely the best sounding show I have seen at Brillo and a majority of that is credited to the chemistry within the band itself.

As the band finished its set the crowd was imploring them for more. However, Chris had to explain to the crowd that the drummer had just joined the band 4 days ago (something happened to the previous one) and he didn't know anymore songs. The band wanted to oblige the crowd but unfortunately it just wasn't possible. The Old Canes band definitely matches the intensity and production of their new album Feral Harmonic. Definitely a show well worth attending and matching a superb new lp.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reminder - Cage the Elephant Opening for Silversun Pickups - Ches-A-Rena - 10/24/09

Reminder that Cage the Elephant will be opening for the Silversun Pickups at Ches-A-Rena Saturday night. Check out an album plus show preview here.

Here is their video for "In One Ear"

Reminder - Old Canes - 10/23/09 - Brillobox- Ticket Giveaway - Winner

Just a reminder that Old Canes will be playing tomorrow night at the Brillobox. Show begins at 9p. Please check out a interview with Old Canes here and a album/show review here.

Also, congratulations to Brendan S. who won a pair of tickets to the show.

Here is another song from the new album on Saddle Creek Records, Feral Harmonic.

"I Will Be the Sun"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chris Crisci - Old Canes - Interview - Show Preview - Brillobox - 10/23/09

Below is an interview with Chris Crisci of Old Canes (& The Appleseed Cast). He will be performing at the Brillobox this Friday, 10/23. Be sure to enter for a pair of tickets to the show by simply emailing me (link) with your name. Also, check out an album review and show preview here.

I read this was supposed to be more of an individual project for output. What made you decide to create a full fledged live act out of it and sign to Saddle Creek Records?

Originally they were just songs I'd play around the house. This is years ago, like 1998 and 1999, when I first moved to Lawrence. Friends encouraged me to record them. As I did the recordings, I couldn't help myself, I layered the songs with other instruments, and had friends play drums or trumpet or whatever, and it developed into what it is now.

Appleseed Cast and Old Canes are two very diverse ventures. Do these relate at all?

I don't intend for them to relate, or not relate. I don't really think of their relationship to each other. The way I view them is how they make me feel, and what I enjoy when I play the music. With Old Canes I enjoy the driving beats, and energy. With Appleseed Cast I enjoy the layers of sound, the subtle ghost harmonics that you get when two different noises play against each other, and the more intricate arrangements.

What type of equipment did you use to record these albums?

I have an 8 track 1/2 in tape machine which I tracked the entire first record on. I only used it a couple times during tracking of the new record, because it's down to two functional tracks and even those aren't sounding great. It need to be re-lapped and looked at, and right now I don't have the money to do it. So the majority of the record was recorded using good old Pro Tools, and a Korg D3200 for drum takes, or anything that I needed to record using more than two inputs. Nothing fancy, but they capture sound, so I'm happy.

What made you decide to produce these albums yourself?

I had a very specific vision for how I wanted these albums to turn out. I knew how to get it. I have the equipment necessary. It's easier to do it myself for free, than to pay someone else and have to explain.

Was just reading your twitter account. Do you do most of your booking? Management duties?

If you're a booking agent reading this, and you're interested in booking us, please get a hold of me. It's not one of my talents, but yes, I am shouldering some of that responsibility right now. I have a couple friends helping me out with shows here and there. I really hate doing it.

Is there a theme behind your new album? Or are these songs that should’t be grouped together?

When I look at the songs now, I see a theme. I wasn't trying to create an overall theme, but I guess when you write lyrics during one period of your life, certain ideas will keep coming up. I guess in my mind, what has preoccupied my thoughts lately, is that life is too short for pettiness and fear.

Is this your first national tour? Have you been to Pittsburgh before?

We did a few very small tours when Early Morning Hymns came out. We played Pittsburgh back then. I think there were five people there at that show. It was cold. I think we slept at the venue. It was actually a great tour in it's own little way. Just not in the way that includes good turn-outs or money.

Has the current state of the economy affected any plans you had for your band from travel or recording? To marketing?

Not yet. Touring has been good the last couple years. It seems like record sales are dropping across the board, but live shows have been better than ever. I think it's Internet Piracy Remorse. It's not having a good job at home that is killing me.

What has been your favorite place to play when on tour?

It changes. Some towns are great for a few years and then things drop off, other places are awful, and then one tour, it just turns around. Chicago is always good. Austin is always good. Other than that, my favorite place to play is wherever there's fun.

What are you listening to while on the road? Anything on repeat?

We only listen Old Canes in the van. We don't even listen to the opening bands at the shows. We don't want to sully our ears.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

We actually do listen to the opening bands, and lately in the van we've been listening to the new Drakkar Sauna album 20009. (Pronounced Two Thousand Thousand Nine)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ticket Giveaway - Cage the Elephant/Silversun Pickups - Winner - Old Canes Tickets

Congratulations to Brian C. who won the Cage the Elephant/Silversun Pickups ticket giveaway.

As a reminder I still have a pair of tickets for the Old Canes (see preview below). Make sure to enter by simply emailing me with your name.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Old Canes - Show Preview - Feral Harmonic - Album Review - Brillobox - 10/23/09 - Ticket Giveaway

Old Canes will be performing at the Brillobox on 10/23. Below is a preview plus album review. Make sure to enter for a free pair of tickets to the show by simply emailing me with your name. All entries must be received by Wed, 10/21.

Old Canes is a side project by lead Chris Cristi of The Appleseed Cast. His new album, Feral Harmonic, will come out Tuesday 10/20 on Saddle Creek Records. It's his second album under the moniker, the last being in 2004. This is a major departure from the post rock sounds of The Appleseed Cast. The project is a more acoustic, lo-fi product. It includes a folk and traditional sound that merges with a boisterous intensity that can be found through the album.

"Little Bird Courage"

Feral Harmonic proceeds how prior album Early Morning Hymns began, with a instrumental intro beginning slowly before taking it up a notch with chimes and an intense guitar, then bringing it back down to a minimal sound. "Little Bird Courage" is the next track that reveals how the rest of the album will play out. There is an upbeat rhythm with a hard strumming acoustic guitar. The track also includes central horns with a recording process that is stripped down without the big budget sound. The lyrics talk about the protective ability of someone close: When I'm thirsty/ You are the fountain/In the face of danger/I am not afraid.


"Trust" is another song that begins out slowly with a rhythmic drum beat and slow plucking acoustic guitar. The lyrics are darker than the rest of the album: Little one be careful/ There are people out there who steal your soul. "Flower Faces" begins with a down trotted guitar rhythm and a bit of gloomy feel. Organs (or something similar) drive the song with a melancholy hum over lyrics that sound despondent: Until your flowers faces up/the light is shining down on you. The song talking about a loss of some sort with a bit of regret.

"Flower Faces"

Listening to the album you get a sense of an old time thrift store experience with instruments and recording material picked up at various locations. I believe that is what gives the album its signature voice and texture. It's a very tight, focused album that really brings in a wonderful wall of sound.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Tickets - Silversun Pickups w/ Cage the Elephant - Giveaway

As mentioned previously I am giving away a pair of tickets for the Silversun Pickups + Cage the Elephant show on 10/24 at Ches-A-Rena. To enter all you have to do is send me an Email (link here) with your name.

All entries must be received by this Friday, 10/16.

Checkout the Cage the Elephant preview below or here.

I also have a ticket giveaway for Old Canes at the Brillobox on 10/23. Entry deadline for that is next Wed, 10/20. Just email me with your name if you would like to enter for this contest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Show Preview - Cage the Elephant - Opening for Silversun Pickups - 10/24/09 - Ches-A-Rena

Cage the Elephant will be opening for the Silversun Pickups on Saturday, 10/24. Below is review of their album and a preview of the show. Also, be sure to enter for a pair of tickets to the show by simply emailing me with your name.

Cage the Elephant is touring in support of their freshman self titled album. The band is made up of 2 brothers and 3 other life long friends that grew up in the Bowling Green, KY area. They recently transplanted to England where they developed their album before laying down the tracks. Their debut quickly sold 40k units in the UK before making its way over stateside.

The album has a dirty southern feel with grinding guitars and hip vocals. The lyrics could be described as a little rapping or just a bit of conversing ala The Hold Steady (although not in that category). There are a lot hooks and grooves with drum beats and guitar riffs bringing up the backend of each track making a cohesive sound distinctive in the rock genre. They honestly could be confused for some British outfit (I don’t know if it has anything to do with their relocation) with the accent you hear from vocalist Matt Schultz (sounds a bit like Arctic Monkeys lead). He has the sound of a scratchy, blues man with a gruff undertone. “In One Ear” starts the album off with a bang with catchy hooks and a big vibe to tell you what CTE is all about. The lyrics denounce critics and fans with one track minds: They say that we ain't got the style/We ain't got the class/We ain't got the tunes that's going to put us on the map….The crowd will only like me if they're really fuckin' drunk/They think they know my thoughts/But they don't know the least.

The album’s single “Ain't No Rest for the Wicked” is very radio friendly with the feel of a bluesy White Stripes. The lyrics speak about the difficulties of people and what they will do to pay the bills. Money don't grow on trees/I got bills to pay/I got mouths to feed/There ain't nothing in this world for free. The song has a great beat with rhythmic drums allowing the listener to tap your toes and sing along if you know the lyrics. “Judas” is a song with an anti-war message: And it's a shame to have to say/You had to kill to gain control again. "Back Against the Wall" is another single with some crazy looking gnomes in their video (love the gnomes). Lyrics speaking of a detached person hanging on: Tonight I’ll have a look/And try to find my face again/Buried beneath this house/My spirit screams and dies again.

Cage the Elephant is off to a great start and should hold a good size fan base for quite some time. They are not a band looking for ‘indie cred’ but one that is trying to find their own way into a musical hodgepodge where they might not exactly fit. With straight forward lyrics and ones that don’t make you ask “what did he say?”. These life long friends should be on the scene for quite some time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Show Review - The Lovely Feathers - Rural Alberta Advantage - Garfield Artworks - 10/6/09 - Pittsburgh - Concert Review

The Lovely Feathers once again brought their manic charisma to the stage at Garfield Artworks. As mentioned previously TLF put on one of the more enjoyable shows I had seen since moving to Pgh (especially at GA). This particular show didn't match the level of entertainment of the last time but it was still an enjoyable experience. There was a good crowd on hand to watch TLF plus Rural Alberta Advantage (both by way of Canada). The crowd was a bit standoffish with TLF positioned towards the back instead of upfront. I notice this happens a majority of the time I am at GA which is fine because its not a huge stage and it allows others to see the band without standing on chairs or tiptoes. Most of the bands will implore you to move closer, as TLF did, but honestly its best for everyone to stand in various spots to allow everyone to see.

TLF started off with a few tunes off their new album Fantasy of the Lot which sounded good but not great with the the acoustics that evening. One of TLF's gifts is they are a bunch of funny dudes that like to ham it up a bit. I believe they began to win over the audience with some of their stage banter which I wish they had done more of. Highlight for me is when they played their single "Lowiza" while putting a couple of different kabashes onto the tune. These guys are pretty tight but there was something missing from their last visit here...I am not sure what it was...maybe the crowd not being closer...but it was still a show I thoroughly enjoyed. If anyone likes the old Unicorns, Islands, etc. that have quirky lyrics over some pop gem melodies.

Rural Alberta Advantage came on next hailing from Toronto. I hadn't listened to these guys much since I was there primarily to see TLF. But judging from the crowd a majority were there to see this 3 piece. They get compared to Neutral Milk Hotel a lot and I guess that is a good thing. The leads voice definitely had that Jeff Magnum feel, but not to the point where I would even think of NMH. They play songs with serious lyrics...the lead singer telling the audience that "Frank, AB" is about a deadly landslide in Alberta back in 1903. These guys sounded great and held the audience's attention (they even moved up to the stage).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Show Announcement - Youth Group - Smiling Moose - 10/9/09

Just wanted to post Youth Group will be performing at the Smiling Moose Friday, 10/9. Saw these guys back at Coachella a few years ago and they put on a good show. They are from Australia and are pretty popular over there. Of course, they have the indie cred here in the states. They will be supporting their new album The Night is Ours.

Here is there video for "All This Will Pass"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Contest - Win a Pair of Tickets - Silversun Pickups 10/24 & Old Canes 10/23

I have 2 ticket giveaways for upcoming shows in Pittsburgh. One is to see Silversun Pickups w/Cage the Elephant at Ches-a-Rena on Saturday, 10/24 and the other is to see Old Canes at Brillobox on Friday, 10/23.

I will do a proper preview for both as the shows get closer. Most of you are familiar with Silversun Pickups.

Old Canes is a musical band from Lawrence, Kansas comprising frontman Christopher Crisci (of The Appleseed Cast) on vocals and guitar. Officially formed in 2002, Old Canes bore its roots around October 2001, when Chris Crisci initially played a handful of solo acoustic shows. Playing an in-store show as part of a European tour with Crisci's primary band, the Appleseed Cast, promoters wanted the band to play acoustic. Having acoustic material written that was never previously pursued, Crisci would performed three eventual Old Canes songs. After encouragement from supporters who appreciated the contrasting folk sound to the Appleseed Cast, he formally pursued the Old Canes a year and half later.

To win the tickets just send me an Email and tell me what show you are entering the contest for with your name. Winners will be selected at random.

Entries for Silversun Pickups/Cage the Elephant must be received by 10/16. Old Canes must be received by 10/20.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reminder - The Lovely Feathers - Tues 10/6/09 - Garfield Artworks

Just a reminder that The Lovely Feathers will be playing at Garfield Artworks on Tuesday night opening for The Rurual Alberta Advantage on Saddle Creek Records. You can catch a preview of the show below or here.

Here are a couple of tracks off their new lp Fantasy of the Lot

"Loading Dock"

"Fantasy of the Lot"