Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Show Review - Surfer Blood - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC - 9/13/10 - Concert Review - Live Review

One of our writers visited Chapel Hill, NC. While there he caught Surfer Blood at the Local 506. Below is the reveiew.

Surfer Blood is a band I happened to hear earlier this year with the release of Astro Coast. At first I wasn't a big fan of "surfer rock" genre, especially the indie kind, but with recent releases from Wavves and The Drums it started creeping into my playlists more and more. Astro Coast was at the top of this short list and on a recent trip stumbled upon their show in Chapel Hill North Carolina at the Local 506.

First off the venue. Turns out the 506 is a private club in which nonmembers need to pay a three dollar entry fee. Upon entrance you're immediately shot into the bar featuring Mickey grenade and six dollar t-shirt specials. The stage setting offered dim red christmas lights strung up against spider covered wood paneling. The stage itself stood in the corner taking up about a fourth of the standing area and getting there early for a seat along the back was something I hadn't considered as UNC students had already taken them already. Regardless there wasn't a bad spot in the place to watch the show even if you were short or tall. There were even shoddy television cameras in the bar area for the ones who didn't want to sweat it out up front. Think of it as a Beachland Ballroom, Brillobox, and Garfield Artworks hybrid.

Based on the ticket apparently The Drums were the headliners where as at previous shows Surfer Blood was the main attraction. All five members took the stage and I immediately was caught off guard on how young the band members looked. I was amazed how lead singer John Paul Pitts's voice echoed when he sang compared to when he spoke to the crowd. If you saw him on the street you would never think he was the lead singer of this indie surfer band. He would twist his torso from left to right staring straight forward while the rest of the Floridian youngsters started into opener "Fast Jabroni" then into of one of my 2010 favorites, "Take It Easy". Pitts after each song would banter with the crowd about their college campus and how great Chapel Hill was considering they had only been there once when opening for the The Pains at Being Pure at Heart. Moving through the setlist they played a new song called "I'm Not Ready" then towards the end of the Astro Coast filler played an epic version of "Anchorage". The packed crowd gave the newly signed to Warner Bros band a well deserved ovation after finishing with the Pavement cover "Box Elder" and the soaked and only interacting member Mr. Pitts bid everyone farewell. One can imagine where a band like Surfer Blood's current success will take them after signing to a major label, but based on what I saw this night they could could care less.

-Jonathon P.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ticket Winners - JP Chrissie and the Fairground Boys & Esperanza Spalding - Pittsburgh Shows

Congratulations to Melissa T. who won the tickets to see Esperanza Spalding at the Byham Theater; and congrats to Jerry E. who won a pair to see JP Chrissie playing at The New Hazlett Theater. Both shows are on Wednesday, 9/29.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Show Review - The National - Carnegie Library Homestead - 9/25/10 - Pittsburgh - Live Review - Concert Review

The National played last night at Carnegie Homestead Library. As usual, they put on an amazing set. I won't go into too much detail here, but if you enjoy their music, they are even better live. Owen Pallett was the opener for the show. Before his set I didn't know Owen P. from a ham sandwich. All I can say is I swear Andrew Bird was playing on stage. Pallett did everything Andrew Bird does: plucking his violin, setting a loop that plays later on in the song, having one assistant member, etc. Although, as one of the twitters said, he didn't whistle. I am not sure who was ripping off who (Pallett is from England), but these two sounded exactly the same. I lasted 3 songs before going to get another beer outside.

I have stated this before, but for creating the most melancholy music imaginable, The National definitely know how to translate it live. The past couple of times I have seen them in an open setting, never a seated venue. At first it was a bit stale as audience members were politely sitting. After a couple of songs the band encouraged everyone to stand which brought the show to the level it was intended. Broken Social Scene should really take note.

The band plays with such a focused intensity, that I wonder how they are able to pull it off night after night. They have added a string and horn section which I saw at Lollapalooza. It definitely adds to their sound and brings an added quality to their live setting. They also have mixed in the proper banter with various members taking time to address the crowd. They mentioned how they used to play in Pittsburgh to 4 people at Club Cafe. It would have been a treat to see them there. They also mentioned how they are from Cincinnatti which I found a bit amusing since every other time I have seen them they always state they are from Brooklyn. Is that some type of publicity stunt? The closing song of the night saw lead Matt Berninger climbing into the audience, walking over each row of seats, while belting out lyrics. He ended up disappearing in the lobby ending the night. Surely will be in the top 10 shows I have seen for the year.

Plenty of video here: youtube channel

Friday, September 24, 2010

Show Preview - Breathe Owl Breathe - 9/30/10 - Garfield Artworks - Pittsburgh - Concert Preview

Breathe Owl Breathe will be playing at Garfield Artworks next Thursday, 9/30. They are touring behind their debut album entitled Magic Central. If you haven't heard this band, they are receiving quite the buzz. Based out of Michigan lead singer Micah Middaugh croons with a blue grass folk feel over a lo-fi sound.

Own Stunts by Breathe Owl Breathe

Magic Central is, in fact, a place, but a mobile one. It doesn’t travel on wheels, and it’s not a houseboat. The rural Michigan cabin in which Breathe Owl Breathe live, play, wrote and recorded their first record for the Hometapes label IS Magic Central. However, it’s also the incorporeal gift this close-knit trio imparts on an audience every time they perform. They convey a sense of home and comfort, bringing the spirit of Magic Central along for the ride. Micah Middaugh, Trevor Hobbs, and AndrĂ©a Moreno-Beals embark on a journey to deliver the message this fall, as their tour takes them through the Midwest and east coast. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see and be enchanted by Breathe Owl Breathe’s Magic Central (out in tangible album form on Sept. 28th via Hometapes).

Dog Walkers Of The New Age by Breathe Owl Breathe

They’ve also decided to give away bit of magic now, making the lovely track “Swimming” available for download. A perfect antidote to the summer heat, Breathe Owl Breathe say what we are all thinking...

They will be headlining this show on Thursday. Be sure to check them out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ticket Giveaway - Esperanza Spalding - 9/29/10 - Byham Theater - Pittsburgh - Show Preview

Esperanza Spalding will be performing at the Byham Theater this Wednesday, 9/29. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us with your name. All entries must be received by Sunday 9/26.

From her press release:

Centuries ago, long before the advent of radio or recording technology, chamber music was the music for the masses – the music in which people from nearly every segment of society could find meaning and relevance. A decade into the 21st century, Esperanza Spalding – the bassist, vocalist and composer who first appeared on the jazz scene in 2008 – takes a contemporary approach to this once universal form of entertainment with Chamber Music Society, her August 17, 2010, release on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

Backed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese – and inspired by the classical training of her younger years – Esperanza creates a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is a sound that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical music.

“So much of my early musical experience was spent playing chamber music on the violin, and it’s a form of music that I’ve always loved,” says Esperanza. “I was very inspired by a lot of classical music, and chamber music in particular. I’m intrigued by the concept of intimate works that can be played and experienced among friends in an intimate setting. So I decided to create my version of contemporary chamber music, and add one more voice to that rich history.”

Chamber Music Society is a place where connoisseurs of classical music and jazz devotees – and fans of other musics as well – can find common ground. The recording offers a chamber music for modern times – one that brings together people of different perspectives and broadens their cultural experience, just as it did in an earlier age.

Esperanza first took the world by storm in 2008 with her self-titled Heads Up debut recording that spent more than 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. Two years later, she continues to push the boundaries of jazz and explore the places where it intersects with other genres. Co-produced by Esperanza and Gil Goldstein, Chamber Music Society surrounds Esperanza with a diverse assembly of musicians. At the core are pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne

Carrington and percussionist Quintino Cinalli. The string trio is comprised of violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin, cellist David Eggar and Gretchen Parlato on voice. The great Milton Nascimento also makes a guest appearance on one track.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interview - Sea Wolf - Show Preview - Altar Bar - 9/24/10 - Pittsburgh

Sea Wolf, aka Alex Brown Church, will be performing at the Altar Bar this Friday night. Sera Cahoone and Patrick Park will be opening for him. This will not be the full band he normally tours with. Instead, Alex will be performing solo and acoustic. Alex was kind enough to answer a few questions about his song on the New Moon (Twilight) Soundtrack to a remix of one of his songs by Broken Social Scene member.

This is your first solo acoustic tour. What made you decide to do this? Will you be doing anything different (besides acoustic) for these shows?

Mostly I just thought it would be fun. I've done plenty of tours with the band and I thought it was about time to do something different, to give people a different kind of show, something special that would allow a more
direct connection between myself and the audience. As for different, it can't get more different then the fact that it's a solo tour without the band.

You were on the New Moon soundtrack. How did that come about? Any reservations in contributing?

The music supervisor was a fan, and contacted my label about it. That's pretty much how it came about. I'd never even heard of the movie, but they told me Thom Yorke and Grizzly Bear and a bunch of other cool acts were going to be on it too, so that was what sold me on doing it.

You attended school at NYU and now live in LA. Artists usually stay in NYC. Why the move to LA?

I'm from Berkeley, so the West Coast is home for me. And LA is to the West coast what NYC is to the East, and I knew I wanted to be in a big city where a career in the arts was a viable option, so it seemed like the place to go.

The last album you wrote in Montreal. How did this influence your process of creating music?

Well, I didn't have as many toys to play with in Montreal, so I wrote the album entirely on the acoustic guitar, whereas I wrote a few songs on the first album on air organ, keyboards, to a drum machine, etc.

Has your moving affected your songs now that you reside in LA?

Not really. It's not so much the environment that makes the difference as it is my mood- which of course is effected by my environment, but it always tends to stay within a certain range. The imagery in Quebec definitely found it's way into White Water, but I've always been attracted to that sort of imagery.

Your last album, White Water, White Bloom, came out in 2009. Anything new you are promoting on this tour?

The label just released a single for 'Turn the Dirt Over' which includes a remix by Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning, and an unreleased track called 'Where the Wind Blows' -which I'm happy will finally see the light of day. It's only available digitally or on 7" vinyl.

Is there an album or concert that made you want to create music as a career?

Not that I can recall, I never thought doing it as a career could be a reality, until I was in a band. It was a dream, and one I thought was very unrealistic, but I just loved doing it and that was all the motivation I
needed. I wanted to play music ever since I was a young child, so pretty much every concert I saw was magical.

What is your goal with the band? How would you deem yourself successful? What would you like to accomplish?

Well I quit my day job a while ago and I'm able to make a living playing music, which is amazing. So I feel like Sea Wolf has been a success so far. I'd love to keep building on what I've accomplished so far though and sell a few more records than I have so far. I think I'd feel a bit more secure about my future as a musician that way.

How does your songwriting process work? Do you have others input when you record in the studio?

I write on my own, usually messing around on the guitar for a while until I come across a chord progression and melody I like and then I'll pursue that until it becomes a song. I do demoes on my own and with the Sea Wolf players, sort of guiding them as we go. Mike Mogis, being a Producer, had a lot of input on White Water and came up with a lot of parts for it.

Sera Cahoone and Patrick Park are traveling with you. Will they join you onstage to give a more band feel? Or are they just opening?

If they join me it'll only be for a song or two. Mostly it's an all solo affair.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

I'm looking forward to meeting you!

**photo by Mia Kirby

Monday, September 20, 2010

Live Review - Ludo - Diesel - 9/12/10 - Pittsburgh - Concert Review - Show Review

When I saw Ludo for the first time (Warped Tour 2008) I vowed to attend any concert they played in Pittsburgh. It was an affinity unmatched by many bands I have seen live. It is a combination of things: great crowds, fantastic performance, and they are really down to earth. For lack of a better term, their shows are fun. That being said, I did not think twice about going September 12th, with opening bands There For Tomorrow, The Graduate, and Tommy and The High Pilots. With die-hard Ludo fans in tow, I headed off to Club Diesel. Walking into the venue I knew something was different. The last show I saw there was This Providence open for Hey Monday last summer. A show that tainted my opinions of the venue; it was hot, packed with teenage girls, and the line-up really was not that good. Diesel, since then, has made great improvements to the set up, with two elevated platforms on either side of the stage that have couches lining the walls. A privilege that used to be reserved for over 21 guests on the second level. These platforms provided a great view of the stage, and some breathing room from the floor crowd. There were not that many people there when I came in about fifteen minutes before Tommy and The High Pilots, just the devoted fans wearing Ludo shirts.

Surprise, surprise. I have fallen in love with yet another first act! Tommy and The High Pilots were the most perfect way to start the night. They wasted no time with introductions, though most of us were scratching our heads at where they had come from, and started off with the song "Round N' Round." I could hardly contain myself, especially when I saw Ludo's drummer Matt Palermo playing drums (later I found out that he is a permanent member). Their sound blends acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, good old bass, and vocal harmonies. I could not help but think The Raconteurs + The Killers + pretty much any band on a greatest rock and roll radio countdown of the past thirty years. They are relatively new to the scene, forming in 2008 in Santa Barbara, California. They have two albums, "Everynight," and, "American Riviera." Members from Ludo, Tim Convy and Tim Ferrel, made appearances during their set that really got the crowd to fall in love with the act.

The Graduate brought me down a little. Unlike The High Pilots, they almost looked bored to be on stage. Justified, their songs are not so clear vocal wise, and the sound in general is pretty dense, so the less-enthused mood made a little sense. These guys were talented, but it did not translate well to me, someone who has never listened to any material prior to Sunday. They formed in 2005 in Springfield, Illinois and have played a great number of tours and shows like Warped and Lollapalooza, and have toured with Punchline, Jack's Mannequin, and Playradioplay. Some of the crowd really enjoyed the set, and sang along. It sounded like they needed to be turned down just a little and would sound infinitely better, but this could have been due to my proximity to the speakers. They were different, however, than the rest of the bands especially with a post-rock/experimental guitarist ever persistent through every melody.

There For Tomorrow took the stage. Their attitudes were a big turn off. They looked and sounded like The Jonas Brothers with a little more angst. They put on a good performance, it just was not for me. They did play a cover song they had recorded for Punk Goes Pop 2, "Ice Box" by Omarion, that really stood out. They formed in Orlando in 2003 and are signed to Hopeless records (The Dangerous Summer, Anarbor, All Time Low, and The Wonder Years). Their set really seemed to drag on, but the crowd enjoyed it.

Andrew, Matt, Tim and Tim took the stage and the crowd roared. It's an image I can hardly believe. I remember when Ludo opened for Relient K, and House of Heroes in 2008 and the crowd at Club Zoo basically boo Ludo. After "You're Awful, I Love You," their first album made after signed to Island Records that same year Ludo rarely left the road. They played a few Headlining tours before taking a break to get married and pursue other projects. When they came back this year, they also brought, "Prepare the Preparations" and the same eccentric performance on stage. Tommy from Tommy and The High Pilots played bass for them, and really brought the heat. My only worries were that they would play a lot from their newest album and I would not get to hear anything older than "You're Awful..." but they started the set with "Drunken Lament" and did not play anything from their new album until about the fourth song. I was not the only one singing along when I looked at the crowd. Ludo always sound so good, and always have a maximum amount of energy that makes their set impossible not to enjoy. A beautiful moment was when Andrew was abandoned by his band and played "Horror of Our Love" with just his electric guitar and voice. They played a long and well balanced set.

-Laura Lee Burkhardt

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ticket Giveaway - JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys - New Hazlett Theater - 9/28/10 - Show Preview

Former Prentenders Chrissie Hyde is bringing her new project to Pittsburgh. JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys will be playing at the New Hazlett Theater on Tuesday, 9/28. The band just recently release their new album Fidelity! on August 24th through their own La Mina Records in partnership with Rocket Science Ventures. They will be playing with a full band in Pittsburgh while some of their other only includes the duo. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us with your name to All entries must be received by 9/25.

Show Preview - Cymbals Eat Guitars - 9/26/10 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh

Cymbals Eat Guitars returns to the burgh next Sunday, 9/26 at the Brillobox. They previously played here a little over 4 months ago and easily made my list of tops shows for the first part of this year. The band also made my top 10 of shows seen at Lollapalooza. So, I am trying to say they put on a very entertaining show. CEG just got back from another very successful European tour. The band has been writing a bunch of new material for their future lp which they will be playing.

And the Hazy Sea by Cymbals Eat Guitars

The band was kind enough to give us an interview last time which you can find here. A sample:

You have rcvd a lot of praise in a short amount of time. How have you dealt with it? Did any of it go to your head?

We did get a considerable amount of positive press attention when our record came out and still do. We definitely read a good amount of it, and that runs pretty contrary to what a lot of bands say about their own press, but we find it pretty easy to take it with a grain of salt. We're perfectionists, so there is way more self-critiquing than patting ourselves on the back.

We also did a show review which you can find here.

If you didn't have a chance to see them the last time, make sure to check them out next Sunday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Show Preview - Margot & the Nuclear So and So's - 9/25/10 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh

Margot & the Nuclear So & So's will be playing at the Brillobox on 9/25. We previously conducted an interview with lead man Richard Edwards when they came through in March of this year. The show in March was also hosted at the Brillobox. It soldout before the day of the show, so there is a very good chance (especially on a Saturday) that this will sellout as well.

New York City Hotel Blues by Margot & the Nuclear So and So's

Margot will be touring behind their new album entitled Buzzard scheduled to be released on 9/21. I have listened to the new album several times. This is quite a departure of the two previous Margot lp's. The indie-pop orchestra sound is replaced by a more guitar driven, stripped down feel. There is more electric guitar and less of the 'clutter' than contributed to last albums. Many of the songs are more uptempo, showing a departure from the more downtrotted music they once performed. From their press release:

And there is, of course, an intriguing path that led Margot towards this evolution in sound, which contrasts the lively optimism of 2008’s Animal! (and/or Not Animal, simultaneously released after contention with former label Epic). Buzzard was recorded over one freezing month last winter in an abandoned movie theater in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Edwards had taken up residence there after leaving his hometown of Indianapolis, when the house where he and the previous seven members of the band had lived was damaged in a fire last summer. Once settled, he began writing a collection of songs loosely inspired by the 8mm ‘nudie cutie’ films unearthed in the theater’s basement, and the youthful reaction of mixed emotions that the films evoked.

Theater seating was cleared away to accommodate the instruments, while a makeshift control room was assembled in the projection perch. As the days went by, a dusky, Bacchic energy started to fill the theater and Buzzard began to take form. Recording took place between the hours of 10pm and 5am, and no artificial light was allowed (as such, three musicians and engineer Neil Strauch broke bones from tripping over cables). Accidents aside, the willful band – live and manic, newly freed from any past constraints – growled their way through the songs and infused them with a raw, forceful energy that Margot had only hinted at in their past recordings. The result is the band’s most immediate studio recording: bigger and louder than ever before, finally capturing Margot’s powerful, captivating live show and defiantly Midwestern sound.

As I have stated before, the band is definitely one to see live. The show is scheduled to begin at 9:30p with two other opening acts set to play.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Worn Out Tigers - Interview - CD Release Show - 222 Ormsby

Hola everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for the Report, and that’s mostly because I’m now in college at IUP, so not many chances to get to Pittsburgh. However, I was so excited last week when I found out I’d be leaving and going to the Worn Out Tigers CD release show at 222 Ormsby.

The Worn Out Tigers are a fantastic band that I first saw at Most Wanted Fine Art opening for La Dispute. They come from a genre that we don’t normally cover, but I felt that they were interesting and definitely good enough to deserve a spotlight from our fine city, and being the awesome dudes that they are, let me talk to them for a while after the show.

I got out my computer, pressed record, and a bunch of us sat in the corner and talked. It was one of the more fun nights I’ve had in a long time. It’s not a matter of how big the shows are, it’s a matter of who you spend them with. They’ll all tell you, it’s about making friends.

They answered my questions as a group, chiming in whenever a thought came up, so the answers they gave are a conglomeration of everything I could get from the recording. Enjoy! :D

Who are the Worn Out Tigers?

We have Max, who plays bass and keys, Braden who “yells a lot and looks stupid,” Trevor on the drums, and Jack, playing guitar and keys as well.

Your facebook/myspace about me is “Workin’ hard, stayin’ weird.” What does that mean and where did it come from?

Jack came up with the slogan, and it essentially means that we’re trying to stay different amongst everything out there, but not be obnoxious about it. Workin’ hard means just that, we’re writing songs, getting stuff out there, and just working at everything as hard as we can.

Describe your sound. We don’t generally cover bands of your genre, and for readers that have never heard of you guys, try to explain what you are.

We’ve gotten things along the lines of Young Widows, These Arms are Snakes, snapcase, Bear Vs. Shark. BvS was what we were looking for when we were trying to find Braden. These are all compliments, and we’ll take them. You could call it post-punk.

We’re at your CD release right now, what was it like working on the new album, and going from having a few demos to an actual full-length?

Busy as hell and time consuming. There’s not even that many, we only made about a hundred cd sleeves, but it was hard work.

What about the recording process?

We had demos from about two years ago, back when we were just instrumental. It’s not that we wanted to be, it was really just because we hadn’t found a singer yet, and we recorded seven minute jams under a completely different name. Then we found Braden and started recording other demos, but they were still demos. When we got Braden we finally knew where we were going with the sound. This one is legit, we’re finally doing something for real. We went to Philly to record and slept in a Wal-mart parking lot for four days drinking whiskey.

So you’ve had several reincarnations of the band, how’d you get together and come to be where you’re at now?

At first it was just Jack and I (Max) in a band, and we played pop-punk music with more technical stuff. Eventually the other guys moved back to Ohio, which is where we’re originally from. We decided to stay here though and see what we could find. We actually craigslisted Trevor, and it was our second try at finding a drummer. When we heard him, we knew it was working. Finding a singer took forever though, we asked all of our friends if they knew anyone that could sing. We found Braden and he had a folder full of things he had written, and he was like “I think this will work, this would be cool.”

The first time I (Braden) met you guys, you were like, “Can you sing?” and I said, “No. Not really. But I can look like an idiot.”

What kind of shows do you guys prefer? House shows, venue shows, what’s your bread and butter?

Houuuuuse shows. We prefer the house shows to almost anything, shows with big promoters suck. We’d rather just hang out and get drunk. Oh, and we hate selling tickets for venue shows.

What was your best show experience, either attending or performing?

Well, tonight was the best we did. Really any show after we get done playing and I (Jack) am just like, “yesss, that was great.”

As for attending, they loved the Flaming Lips. As Jack put it, “my mind got fucked at that show.”

What’s it like being in the Pittsburgh music scene. How hard is it to make it here?

You can’t really make it in the Pittsburgh music scene. I (Braden) mean, Modey Lemon did, just because they played college campuses and used Pittsburgh as a home base. This scene is so close knit though, and it is sometimes a popularity contest. It’s socially competitive, bands that sell more tickets or play at the bar are the ones that do well. For us, we don’t need to play in front of 10,000 people to have made it, it depends on your definition. If we’re playing a show with friends and for friends, and playing for people who want to be there, then we made it.

What are your goals and future plans now that you’ve released a cd?

We just want to keep doing what we’re doing. Have fun on the weekends and play other cities, and see where things go.

Do you have day jobs, or is music your thing?

Max cuts grass and landscapes, and Braden attends Point Park University. Trevor works at the Exchange, and recently graduated from Point Park’s Film program. He and a few friends from other bands have a small freelance production company.

So Braden, where’d you learn to dance?

Uhhh, it’s called...alcohol? It’s also called not giving a fuuuuck. It’s fun, too, so that’s what I do. I told them I could look like an idiot.

Do you guys have anything else you’d like to tell people?

That we’re so cool. Um, we’re really good at math, we like reading. We’re uh, avid joggers. (I also gathered that Braden has wheelchair skills, he can do a 360, and that Trevor is really good at bicycling.) No, but really, some scenes can get so insular, and there is a barrier to entry, so it’s hard for new people to get into the scene. Welcome new people, and if you don’t go to shows, don’t be afraid to. We have a good community here, everyone is friends with everyone, so come be our friends. Work hard, stay weird, be our friends. Also, don’t two step.

You can easily tell, just from reading this that the Worn Out Tigers are some of the nicest dudes you’ll find. They’re genuine in everything that they do, and just want to have fun. I laughed almost this whole interview, and so did everyone hanging out with us, just because they made it so easy to get along with everyone. There are lessons to be learned from experiences like that, not everyone judges you and fun is what you make it. So please check these guys out, get out to a show, talk to them. You won’t regret that you did.

Check these lovable dudes out

-Sam Ritzer <3

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Show Preview - Unicycle Loves You - Garfield Artworks - 9/23 - Pittsburgh

Unicycle Loves You will be playing at Garfield Artworks next Thursday, 9/23. They are touring behind their second lp entitled Mirror, Mirror. The trio play what would be described as experimental pop. From their bio:

Heavily influenced by cult horror films and science fiction, Mirror, Mirror manages to retain the playful energy the band is known for while putting the listener into some darker territory. From the opening moments of the introduction, the sound of scraping metal and a ghostly chorus hint at the mischievous world that hides behind the looking glass. Things are never quite as they seem however, and in an instant the band plunges into "Qugga" a glistening pop tune lead by bassist Nichole Vitale, who takes the reins on several tracks, including the single and title track "Mirror, Mirror" this time around.

Mountain Lungs by Unicycle Loves You

Justine by Unicycle Loves You

The twists and turns of Mirror, Mirror continue along like a heartbeat and sprints off in a frenzy as the tone of each track shifts. The Gallop of "Justine" races into the fever of "Mountain Lungs" and then slinks down into summertime haziness of the title track. Carroll adds additional percussion and fluttering keys to further embellish upon each of these distinctive tunes, which result in a lush and haunting adventure.The album sees this former quintet stripped to its core trio and removed from the glossy studio setting. Jim Carroll whose solo home-recordings had inspired the bands initial formation, took on the roles of songwriter, recording engineer and producer in order to orchestrate a truly hand-crafted record.
Mirror, Mirror by Unicycle Loves You  
The band has opened for acts such as Cymbal Eat Guitars, The Raveonettes and Art Brut. The show starts at 8p with ULY headlining the night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Local Spotlight - Pittsburgh Artist - Black Crash - September 2010

Our local spotlight for the month of September is Black Crash. Below are some questions the band was kind enough to answer. Also, there is streaming audio that you can listen to.

How did the band come together? Were you all friends that went to school? or?

The four of us – Ryan, Dean, Rick, Matt - grew up together, went to high school together, in fact three of us went to the same college. You grow a lot musically in college. We knew there was a long-term band in our future when we started introducing each other to Radiohead, Oasis, Primal Scream, Wilco, Doves, The Verve. These went on to become the touchstones for our sound.

Sometimes Dreams by Black Crash

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

Britpop mixed with atmospheric indie rock. Most people ask us if U2 was a big influence. Sure they are, but we try to keep a touch of American sound in there as well.

Are you all originally from the Pittsburgh area? Families here as well?

Yeah, we grew up in the suburbs. Matt moved to New Jersey for a couple years, but we lured him back with the promise of getting the band back together. We were bored with the suburbs so we all moved to the North Side. That’s when the creativity really began. It’s amazing the effect that surroundings have on your music. The history in the old mansions, the diversity. It gives you a strong sense of place. Dean was the one who turned us on to all this.

Do you all create music full time or is this more of a part time venture? Do you have day jobs?

We’d love to make music full time, but the Protestant Work Ethic kicks in and we end up in offices all day. Doesn’t everyone? We’re secretly waiting for the phone call from Clive Davis…

Take the Place of Love by Black Crash

How do you create your music? What is the song writing process?

100% collaboration. Each of us brings a chemical element and the crucible wouldn’t produce Black Crash without all four of us. We usually start with drums, drop sonic textures, and start to arrange the song. It might be odd for other bands, but it works for us to drop the lyrics last. Lyrics are important to us. Matt and Ryan spend a long time crafting a beloved, if not bleary-eyed and dreamy story. Both of them are most proud of I Am a Wave lyrically. It’s about intimacy and the fleeting nature of life.

What are your goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?

In the social media age, do you need to be signed to be heard? It’s a great feeling knowing fans in Greece, Japan, Italy, LA, Brooklyn, are turned on to our music. We’re exploring licensing and film music, and sure we’ll look at label offers, but right now we want to get our music heard.

What advice would you give to local acts trying to make it?

Give your music away free at first. You never know who might be listening. Knock on every door you find. Be prepared to be told no, but keep knocking. Eventually they open.

I Am a Wave by Black Crash

Have you all toured nationally? Or do you usually stay more regionally?

We’ve kept it close to home lately. When the new album is wrapped we’ll see where we go. That’ll be in the fall.

Being in the Pgh area, do you find it more difficult to try and succeed?

Not at all. Rick and our comrade Bobby Burdette have been all about the social media presence. Because of that you don’t need to live in LA or NYC to get noticed. Pittsburgh music fans are very loyal and keep the scene alive and well. Bands like Donora are doing big things. Have you seen their videos? Most national bands don’t do videos that well.

What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create some 'success' in Pgh?

Some people say you end up playing to the same crowd each night, but we’ve met new people show after show. In fact, radio station doors are open wider here than anywhere else. There’s a lot of support for born and bred bands.

Heavy Days by Black Crash

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

We used to rent a rehearsal space up on Arlington Ave. When you walked in you’d hear all these bands playing, sometimes you’d stop and listen, or knock on the door and see who was inside. We made some great friends up there. Pittsburgh bands stick together and help each other out. Even if they’ve moved away they always know their roots. We’re still close with Jonathan Graves (formerly of The Lights Ahead) whose band Corbu is tearing it up in Brooklyn these days.

Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?

The Rex, Brillobox, 31st Street, Club Cafe have all been kind to us. One night at The Rex a fan told Ryan we sounded like The Leaves or The Doves. Those references blew us away. It’s a definition of success when you find people caring about your music in the same way you care about your own favorite bands. The best shows are when you sell out a small room, everyone’s packed in, its loud and hot. At our first show we did a celebratory shot of Jack before going on. We still do that. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Show Review - Broken Social Scene - Byham Theater - 9/8/10 - Live Review - Pittsburgh

This is going to be a short review. I have seen Broken Social Scene approximately 4 times before, never in a theater setting. I will say it was different. BSS came out strong, playing with a 7 member band, getting the crowd in the mix right away. However, a third of the way through they seemed to hit a wall. Lead Kevin Drew commented twice on the 'ghosts' up in the balcony. It was definitely not a capacity crowd this evening and the rest of the night the bands body language demonstrated it. After two more songs the band acted and appeared to be going through the motions. Kevin Drew commented again that he didn't remember the last time they played a seated theater. hmmm....wonder why.

There were more than a few issues with the show. Some of the crowd moved into the aisles to get near the stage. This fire haszard was not addressed by the nearly dead ushers (very, very old women). It forced people that were now blocked from the stage to stand throughout the show, plus, what is the point of purchasing a more expensive ticket if you are just going to allow anyone/everyone to roam where they choose? I guess Smalls was booked this evening or Opus decided to try them in a theater setting with double the capacity. Unfortunately, this didn't work. Obviously this show would have been better suited at an open theater (maybe Ches-A-Rena?). I did get some good video which you link to on the youtube account.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Show Preview - Ludo -Interview - Diesel - 9/12/10 - Pittsburgh

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ludo's Tim Convy Tuesday, August 31st. Ludo will be coming through Pittsburgh Sunday, September 12th in support of their new album to be released September 7th, Prepare the Preparations. Tim was more than kind and offered some explanation for his band's writing style and his breakfast choice.

You have a new record coming out next week, would you say there are a lot of differences than your earlier work? How have you changed over the years?

"If anything we were more confident especially with this record. The earlier ones we were starting out and trying out new stuff. This last one was the first with a major record label and I think we were maybe a little intimidated. We were not so sure of ourselves and thought it was something maybe we didn't deserve, so now with a little more success under our belts and time and everything, so now we are feeling like we belong."

What is your writing process like?

"Andrew writes most of our songs and our guitarist, Tim, writes some for each record, too. The writing process is different each song and different from record to record. Because we had a lot of time off after our other record we were coming from all parts of the country with all different ideas and concepts for songs. Andrew spent a lot of time making demos and really playing songs the way he visions them in his mind. So that was definitely different. This album was the most developed."

Do you have a favorite release or album?

"That's like asking to chose a favorite child, it's impossible. I like different things about all of them."

Where do you get your inspiration and concepts from? You have a lot of different driven songs from time travel to whipped cream.
"Really from all over the place. We didn't and don't want to be one of those bands that only write about falling in love, or hating your life, or whatever, because you don't really meet people like that. People do seem happy or sad or creepy or weird or over the top. I think that comes from we are a couple of weird dudes, I think that comes across in the records."

Do you prefer playing small shows or larger venues?

"I think they both have pros and cons. While it is nice to have a connection to a small crowd of like seventy-five people, I really enjoy playing a large stage and really being able to perform."

Did you plan on playing music your whole life? Or was it something you stumbled into?

"I have wanted to do it since I was in like eighth grade. That's when I started my first band, and when I really got into it. I kind of decided that there was nothing else I was going to love more than music and there was nothing else I would rather be. But I don't know, I couldn't really find the right band. I got nervous as I got older and went to college, then I met the boys."

Pancakes or Waffles?

"I think I have to go with pancakes, but it really depends on the day."

-Interview by Laura Lee Burkhardt

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Show Preview - Interview - Donna the Buffalo - 9/9/10 - Mr Smalls - Pittsburgh

Donna the Buffalo will be performing at Mr Smalls this Thursday, September 9th. For 21 years DTB has performed feel good, infectious music that often moves listeners physically and spiritually. Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins are the songwriting team that have made DTB the band it is today. Tara Nevins was kind enough to give us an interview speaking about her 21+ year career and a new solo album.

Where are you currently at?

TN: I'm in Piermont NY.

Do you have show their tonight?

TN: No, this is where I live.

Seems like you're on the road constantly, do you get to to go home a lot?

TN: Not a lot, but I'm home today.

When do you go back on the road?

TN: Saturday.

Is Piermont, NY where you're from originally?

TN: Yeah, I'm from this area and I've always had a place here and up in Trumansburg, NY outside of Ithaca. I spend a lot of my time up there, or on the road, but this is the neck of the woods where I was born and raised.

Does anything surprise you after being in the music industry for 20 + years?

TN: Nothing surprises me, there are no rules, and everything goes in the music business. People become incredibly rich and famous who I wonder why they did. People have tons of talent and never get noticed. If you're somewhere in the middle and you have a great following you travel, are self contained, and this is our career. We have our fans and I feel fortunate that we have the fans that we do. I feel fortunate that we have this great scene, but you know what we've worked hard to do it.

I see by your touring schedule you usually tour the east coast, which venues or places do you like?

TN: I really enjoy playing festivals, I love spending the weekend outside and the community and spirit feeling of a festival. We play festivals all summer long, they go from early spring to early fall. We play festivals a lot through out the year. I enjoy playing theaters, we play from Maine down to Florida, try to get out to Colorado once a year, and may go out to the west coast in December. I love the south, we do well in the Carolina, Florida, and New York state. Lots of great places to see, great people everywhere we go. Festivals are great because people come from all over and you get to reach people all at one time making it a good bonding ground.

I was told that you're working on new solo album, when do you expect that to be completed?

Tara: Probably by late fall, but it probably won't be out until early next year 2011. We're recording it with producer Larry Campbell. Larry Campbell is a fine musician who has produced both of Levon Helm's recent albums Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, both of which went on to win Grammys. Larry Campbell also plays in Levon Helms band and toured with Bob Dylan's band for eight years. He's a fine fine person and a fine fine musician and I'm very fortunate to be working with him on this record.

Have you worked with Larry before and how we're you introduced?

Tara: No. I was introduced to him by a fellow musician friend.

How is the new solo album different from your previous one?

Tara: I've written all but two songs on it and I'm singing on everything. On my last record I didn't do much of the lead singing, but on this one I'm doing all the lead singing. It's more song oriented rather than fiddle tailor oriented.

Do you think you'll be playing any of those songs with Donna the Buffalo when you come to Pittsburgh?

Tara: No, the records not out yet and it's not even finished so I won't be performing any of those songs.

Have you in the past played any of your solo songs at Donna the Buffalo shows?

Tara: Sometimes, but not a whole lot. As far as Donna the Buffalo we as a band are writing new material and will be recording an album sometime in the winter, maybe February. We have some new band members, Vic Stafford on drums, David McCracken on keyboards, Kyle Spark on bass along with Jeb and myself. We're loving the new band, great guys, and great musicians. We're having a blast on the road and we're looking forward to the new record with the new band. We're really busy.

You were in Pittsburgh late last year, is there anything about Pittsburgh that you really enjoy?

Tara: We're good friends with Rusted Root, Liz Berlin's whose place is Mr Smalls, and we enjoy coming there. We have a lot of good friends there and fans who have become good friends who we really like seeing. We really enjoy it for many reasons.

--Interview by Jonathon P.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Show Review - VV Brown w/ Kris Allen and Maroon 5 - 9/29/10 - Tribune Total Media Amphitheatre - Concert Review - Live Review

It was a pleasant end of summer surprise to see Maroon 5, Kris Allen, and VV Brown on Sunday the 29th at the Tribune Total Media Amphitheatre. There was a great turn out and not a cloud in the sky. It was a solid concert; all the acts brought the heat.

VV Brown was up first. She jogged to center stage with so much intensity and enthusiasm, it was impossible to pay attention to anything else. She commanded the stage, beautifully with a down to earth vibe I immediately connected with. In between funky-retro songs, she warmed the Pittsburgh crowd with her British accent, "I wrote this record in my bedroom. I produced this record in my bedroom." Her debut album, "Traveling Like the Light" (released July 2009), made up almost all of the set list except an enthralling cover of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida." Her song "Shark in the Water," and "Viva La Vida" really stood out. Her set seemed short, as all great opening acts do. However, I got a chance to meet her after she finished and to my delight she was just as sweet as she seemed during her performance.
When I heard the shrill cries of young girls I knew Kris Allen had taken the stage. I had zero expectations for this previous American Idol Contestant. He is a part of a genre I do not particularly adore, but I can admire when an artist can perform his or her songs live just as well recorded as Kris Allen did. The crowd loved every "ooo" and acoustic guitar feature. Granted, it was justified, Allen is a great performer and has a lot of talent. His stand out songs were his covers: Kanye West's "Heartless," The Beatles' "Come Together," and Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror."
Maroon 5 set me back a couple of years. I can remember loving "Songs About Jane" when it came out in 2002, but somewhere between graduating middle school and growing to like less accessible music, I lost interest. It was more than enjoyable, however, to see them perform live. I cannot stress enough how good the performance was. It was like a modern-day disco complete with a giant suspended disco ball. Theis set was fair, and sampled from all their releases. They also performed a cover of Alicia Key's "If I Ain't Got You" that was chill-inducing.
The show was a success in every sense of the word. It was a great experience, and a wonderful way to end the Summer.

-Laura Lee Burkhardt