Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Show Preview - Vandaveer - 10.1.11 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh - Concert Preview

Vandaveer are performing this Saturday, 10/1 at the Brillobox. We featured this duo back in May of this year when they played at the same venue. Let me say, do yourself a favor and see this duo life. You will not be disappointed. The band is touring behind their third album entitled Dig Down Deep which was released this past April. Mark Charles Heidinger is the musician behind the band who currently resides in the Washington, DC area.

 From his bio:

Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana with a revolving cast of characters, most prominent among them Rose Guerin, singing the loveliest harmonies heard this side of Eden. Heidinger and Guerin met during the heyday of DC’s folk collective known as The Federal Reserve. Informal collaborations in that environment soon galvanized, with Guerin’s voice becoming a reliable fixture in Vandaveer, both on record and on stage.

We recorded the last time they were here:

From their press:

Vandaveer’s third full length, Dig Down Deep, offers a collage of churning rhythms, steady guitar and ringing piano beneath tales of war and impermanence, loss and love. The music serves as both mirror and platform for Vandaveer’s stories—booming bass drum during moments of turmoil and conquest, throaty cello in moments of peace and predation, trembling keys in moments of uncertainty and hope. Out of the mosaic rise two voices in perfect harmony narrating and navigating the lives of Vandaveer’s characters with confidence and grace. 

If you enjoy the music they are 10x better live. Tickets are only $7 and can be found here

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Show Preview - Velcro Shoes w/ Aloud & Steve Hawk - The Cafe Down Under - 9.30.11 - Irwin - Concert Preview

This month's local spotlight, The Velcro Shoes, will perform this Friday, 9.30 at The Cafe Down Under at Cafe Supreme in Irwin, PA. Also playing is Aloud out of Boston which we have featured in the past. The event will also feature sponsorship by Clique Vodka including the Clique Vodka Girls.

Velcro Shoes are one of our favorite local acts that we featured this month here. Velcro Shoes is made up brothers EJ and Eric Emerson, Mike Slobodian and Bill Krowinski on guitar. From our interview:

I asked Eric how he felt about this venture differed from others. “I would have to say that for me it is the most enjoyable. Most of the bands that I have been a part of in the past, there was always a split responsibility going on. For years I had to always share the lead vocal responsibilities with other musicians, which I didn’t mind, but I always had a yearning to be heard and grow as a lead vocalist/song writer.”

ComScore Aloud are made up of Jen de la Osa and Henry Beguiristain, having performed together since their early teens. Hailing from Boston the band plays catchy rock songs utilizing two vocalists. They are touring behind their new lp Exile. From our interview:

 You just completed your third album Exile. From what I have heard it’s a very atmospheric album. How is this a departure from your previous albums? Was there a certain sound you were attempting to achieve?

Jen: Our previous record, Fan the Fury, was a more guitar driven punk-rock record written in the midst of an election year. That record was very brash and big. This one's a little more subdued, though I wouldn't count the sound being any less big--just different. It's a more introspective record though not necessarily into our own heads, but whatever characters we created. It was more of a narrative than the last record and we wanted to create the places in the songs, so that you'd step into the room where the story was happening.

The album lyrics are very dark speaking of heartbreaks, loneliness, etc. Was there an overall storyline behind the lp? Was this a difficult time when writing the material?

Jen: I wouldn't say there was an overall story, but we did want an overall mood. The initial songs had this mood, this loneliness and we went with it since we it was interesting and we hadn't done it before. The Exile thing comes from our parents who are Cuban exiles and this book by another Cuban exile called Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas. We took that idea of Exile to explore some of those lonely type themes. We happened to be going through losing our rhythm section of 6 years at the time as well and though it was what needed to happen it was a little isolating.


 The show begins at 9p and is only $5. You can find more information here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - Show Preview - Zee Avi - Club Cafe - 9.28.11 - Pittsburgh - Concert Preview

Zee Avi will be making a stop at Club Care this Wedensday, 9.28. We are happy to giveaway a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us with your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com

From her press:

25-year-old Malaysian singer songwriter Zee Avi announces fall tour dates in support of her sophomore album ghostbird out through Brushfire and Monotone Records on August 23.The select tour dates kick off at Maxwell’s  in Hoboken, NJ and continue through October 15th concluding at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre. 

With a voice beyond her years, ukulele wielding Avi will be joined by a three-piece band during her 15-date tour. For the first time Avi will bring out the soothingly beautiful Malaysian Sape, a unique string instrument indigenous to her hometown of Borneo. Avi is itching to get back on tour and show off her live skills and perform her new songs.

Ghostbird (the literal translation for owl in Avi’s native language) was born in her Brooklyn kitchen last summer; however it was a trip to the Florida Everglades where Avi found endless inspiration and wrote the album’s first single, “The Book of Morris Johnson,” an upbeat song inspired by the Floridian folk artist.

In the last two years since Avi’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut, Zee Avi (a 2009 Associated Press Top 10 album) her very free spirit has wandered from major music festivals (Outside Lands, Bonnaroo) and concert venues across the country to her homeland of Sarawak, Borneo, where she recently picked up an International Youth Icon Award.  

The show begins at 8p with doors opening at 7p. Tickets are $13 and can be found here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Local Artist Spotlight - Velcro Shoes - September 2011 - Pittsburgh


A little different format for our local artist spotlight this month featuring Velcro Shoes. You can find more information about the band at the end of the article. They provided some music scene comparisons with their home of Baltimore and Pittsburgh which is pretty interesting. 

A few months back I went to see another national “buzz worthy” band (who I don’t recall) and luckily caught the opening act at Brillobox. Usually I try and skip out on these because they are simply not good. Velcro Shoes was the local act this evening and simply blew me away like no other local since Wise Blood. A four piece that jumped onto the scene out of nowhere, the band played an electric set that I still recall vividly compared to the “buzz” act. The band describes their influence as The Horrors, The Strokes, Foals, Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles, Interpol, Autolux and Nirvana. Honestly, they aren’t too far off.

Velcro Shoes is made up brothers EJ and Eric Emerson, Mike Slobodian and Bill Krowinski on guitar. They formed in February 2010 after Eric relocated from Baltimore following a girl, and EJ eventually followed him. The two brothers have been playing with each other since grade school. I asked Eric how he felt about this venture differed from others. “I would have to say that for me it is the most enjoyable. Most of the bands that I have been a part of in the past, there was always a split responsibility going on. For years I had to always share the lead vocal responsibilities with other musicians, which I didn’t mind, but I always had a yearning to be heard and grow as a lead vocalist/song writer.” In past bands the brothers had toured with the likes of Guided by Voices, Jet and American Minor. I asked them how close they came from hitting a major record deal. “Pretty close. While up in NYC we had a sit down with Maroon 5’s entertainment lawyer. I think it was all about timing. We had raw youthful energy but we just weren’t on that level yet. We we’re really close, hell it was amazing even getting a sit down with such a person, however it just wasn’t our time. Then things fell apart not too long after through rocky tours, geographical separations, drunkenness, you know all the things that happen when one is young and full of sh*t. So, it just didn’t happen at that point in time.”

Currently the band members all work full time jobs, but consider this a very serious venture. I ask what they plan. “This is a serious project for us all; it’s just that we like to think we are a mature band right now, not a young one. It all comes down to the product, the actual sound recordings, the songs… if they aren’t great then you have nothing.  So we are allowing ourselves time to develop and write better and better songs without all the go, go, go pressure and play here, play there, type deal that just doesn’t make sense.” I ask when they plan to produce an album. “Well… we have a 5 song EP recorded and in the hands of Rick Bowman of The Frauds as we speak. He is mastering and I just got an email about an hour ago that he worked on it all weekend and is getting close. After he’s done we’ll have a 5 song EP however we have roughly 5 other new songs that are even better that will be getting recorded very soon one way or another. The EP is titled Hook and Loop. We’re contemplating an LP… write now we are just trying to keep writing and recording as much material as possible.”

Eric shoots from the hip and doesn’t hold much back. I ask him to compare the scene of Pittsburgh to that of Baltimore where he was raised. “Personally I like the Baltimore scene better. There’s way more respect and interest in original music down there. Here, it’s all about tributes and cover bands. The masses here just really don’t care unless you can fill the Energy Console Center or if you are a national coming through Stage AE. For an unknown it’s tough to get on a decent bill in Pittsburgh, especially when the nationals usually bring their own openers.  But… who knows… maybe one day what we’re doing will catch on here.  Don’t mean to be so pessimistic, I’m just not real impressed with the respect for original music here… that’s all.” With such an experienced act I wanted to know how their songwriting process worked. Eric provided the details. “Usually I, Mike or Bill bring an idea and the others decide to tweak or not tweak. Recently though we wrote a new song from scratch together; it’s called “Axiom” tentatively. We think it has a lot of potential. My brother, EJ likes for us to bring structures to him. He then adds the drums that he thinks will work. Sometimes we have a suggested beat which he chooses to follow or not follow. We give him complete freedom.”

With talent, maturity and the right mindset, Velcro Shoes has the making of something unique in Pittsburgh. They are a band to definitely follow and checkout.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Show Preview - Atari Teenage Riot - 9.24.11 - Rex Theater - Concert Preview

The Atari Teenage Riot will be making a stop in Pittsburgh this Saturday, 9.24. They are touring behind their latest release, Is This Hperreal? From their press: 

Atari Teenage Riot is pleased to release their latest video “Blood In My Eyes.” The song and it’s provocative video offer a stark look at the issue of human trafficking. 

The band’s latest single is drawn from the band’s new album Is This Hyperreal? out now via Dim Mak. Produced, mixed, recorded by Alec Empire, Nic Endo and new ATR member CX Kidtronik (Saul Williams / Nine Inch Nails), Is This Hyperreal? was recorded at the Hellish Vortex Studio in Berlin. In addition to the band’s “Blood In My Eyes” video, Atari Teenage Riot is also asking their fans to participate in the video for the band’s upcoming single "Black Flags", which will be released on September 6th. You can hear “Black Flags”.

 Atari Teenage Riot - Black Flags (feat. Boots Riley) by Alec Empire/ ATR  Fans are also invited to incorporate “Corpsing” into their video. Drawn from an idea the band had while “planking” at a Southern European airport, “Corpsing” is the act of laying down in a public location, covered in a black flag to represent those that have died as result of corporate greed. The band invites anyone to film themselves lip-synching to the “Black Flags” lyrics in front of a black flag or corpsing and send in their video to be included in the “Black Flags” video. All entries should be submitted toblackflags@atari-teenage-riot.net

They are calling their fans and others who support song’s ideals to make a video statement in front of a black flag, or any black surface to be included in the band’s final video. “Black Flags.” 

The show begins at 8p with doors opening at 7p. You can find tickets here.

Ticket Winner - Felice Brothers w/ The Dodos

The winner for the Felice Brothers ticket giveaway is Ben S. Thank you to all who entered.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interview - Ticket Giveaway - Felice Brothers w/ The Dodos - 9.21.11 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Concert Preview

The Felice Brothers will play along with The Dodos at Mr Smalls this Wednesday 9.21. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. Just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com with your name to enter.

The Felice Brothers are touring behind their latest album Celebration, Florida released on their new home of Fat Possum Records. We were able to catch up with drummer Dave Turbeville to talk about the new album, recording in a High School and how Poison's "Nothin but a Good Time" made him dedicate his life to music. 

How did this album become produced on Fat Possum Records? You had previously been on Team Love. Why the switch? What has Fat Possum offered you?

Team Love are good friends and a great label, but our contract with them was up and we wanted to try something new. We were in Mississippi and Matthew Johnson from Fat Possum offered us 100 dollars worth of fried chicken and a stack of Junior Kimbrough CDs. It was an offer we couldn't really refuse.

 The Felice Brothers "Ponzi" by fatpossum 

Your new album “Celebration, Florida” was recorded in an old High School in upstate New York. How did that come about? Why this type of venue instead of a professional studio?

We've never really had the money to record in a proper studio, nor the desire. We've always been more inspired by creating our own space and working our own hours; not feeling like we're on the clock, or on someone else's time. We heard about the high school through a friend at the right time, and moved in immediately. We had tons of space to make as much noise as we wanted, day or night. A lot of the percussion was made with slamming lockers and chairs and dishes being thrown. It was like Rock 'N Roll High School, but much colder. And lonelier. Or like Lord of the Flies, but none of us died. or like Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, but without the dead babysitter.

Could you tell us about the name, “Celebration, Florida” and why it became your album title (I am from that area originally and am really curious)? Is there a theme behind it that intertwines with the town? Or?

Celebration, FL is a planned community created by the Walt Disney Corporation. A lot of the songs dealt with alienation and disillusionment, and the idea of constructing your own paradise. We sort of took the title and ran with it. 

A lot has been made of the change of sound on this album. Descriptions include acid jazz, dance beats, tribal sounds, etc. Were you all attempting a new sound to redefine the band? Or did this come about naturally?

We didn't really premeditate any of that. We'd been touring for a long time since our last record, and had been experimenting with new sounds for quite awhile. By the time we started recording Celebration, we were really excited to push ourselves and try new things. There were no real rules or guidelines, except to be as expressive as possible. Since most of the songs tell stories, we crafted a lot of the instrumentation and arrangements around trying to compliment or embellish the lyrics, or around a general theme or feeling. We weren't too concerned with genre or anything like that, just making the songs as honest as effective as possible.

How did your creative process work on the new album? Were you trying to flesh these out in the old HS? Did you have a set of songs ready when you entered the recording process?

We had the sketches for about 40 songs when we went into the studio. Some were just sketches, and some were mostly completed and then dismantled and reconstructed. We toiled over arrangements pretty intensely. It was really exhausting, but completely rewarding.

In the beginning of your career I read you started out busking. Do you ever do this for nostalgia? Do you do things different than in a club environment (besides the obvious)?

I think everyone feels a little nostalgic for the busking days every now and then, but mostly we're just excited to be doing what we're doing. There have been a couple times when we've needed some cash and busked, and there will probably be a few more. I doubt that ghost will ever leave us.

How do you go about creating your music? Do you all contribute to the lyrics and music?

One person typically comes with a sketch and we all work together fleshing it out musically. Usually whoever sings a song is the lyricist, though there is sometimes collaboration.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

When I was five, I was sitting in a hotel room with my brother and saw Poison's "Nothin but a Good Time" video. A kid at his dish washing job is getting yelled at by his boss, who is a real dick, and walks through a secret door into a Poison concert. He never goes back to his job. At the end of the video the sink is overflowing and the boss is yelling and I thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen. After the second chorus, Cee Cee Deville rips a guitar solo on top of the light scaffold, and at that moment it all changed for me. I completely knew. 

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Movie Review - Drive - Soundtrack - 9.16.11

I don’t normally review movies, however when a chance to preview Drive came along I was more than excited to get a sneak peek.  I was asked to consider the music soundtrack of the movie and have to agree that it scores this movies vibe perfectly.  The movie has a disconnected, retro feel about it and the electronic music with a chilling female vocal fits well.

The movie begins with a never named character, fantastically and slickly played by Ryan Gosling, who speaks on the phone to a would- be client which sets the premise for the movie.  The Man says that he is available to drive, he asks no questions, he is available for you for 5 minutes and will do anything in that time.  The first few minutes promise an action packed, speed chasing thriller that actually unfolds in an entirely different direction. 

This is not the typical car chase movie, Goslings character meets love interest played by an enchanting Carey Mulligan.  We come to find out that Mulligan and her young son are left single after her husband was sent to prison.  To summarize the plot set up, the husband gets out of jail but not without owing one last favor in order to leave the life of crime.  The Man decides to help him serve this one last deal in order to free him from his debts and deliver him back to the woman and child he has grown to love.  Of course the deal does not go smoothly and the husband ends up dead.  What follows from there is a chillingly calm terror streak, more of a path to street justice, which is brilliantly executed by Gosling. 

You never hear the Man speak more than 5 words, you never find out anything about his past, you never get any sort of emotion from him at all.  But you know that he will do anything to keep safe the woman and her child.  He takes on a cast of mobsters and gangsters, often with graphic violence, all the while walking around in slow motion in his increasingly blood stained satin jacket with a gold Scorpio emblazoned on the back.

The ending is as ambiguous as the Mans personality, but watch for yourself, I think you will enjoy.

The movie premieres this Friday, 9/16.

-Shannon Smith

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview : Why? Concert Preview 9.15.11 – Carnegie Music Hall

A Conversation with Yoni Wolf of WHY?

This Thursday evening, September 15th, the Carnegie Music Hall in Carnegie will host a unique night of music with WHY? and Serengeti. The three members of WHY? will play a stripped down set to premiere material from their upcoming, as-yet-untitled album. I spoke with frontman Yoni Wolf by phone this past week while he was in a studio in Atlanta, hard at work on the new album.

“This tour is a way to preview the new songs from our album that we're working on now. It’s just a way to let people in on what we're working on and, you know, to go hang out with the folks again,” Wolf laughs. “This will be the first time by and large that we are playing the new songs.” The band has been working on practicing the live material over the past few weeks in preparation for the tour, which will take them up the east coast, to Washington and California, and ultimately to the UK, France, and Germany. Pittsburgh is the second date on the tour after it opens in WHY?’s hometown of Cincinnati. “I don’t know exactly when the new album will come out. We’re still working on it,” Wolf said. He told me that working with Graham Marsh has been exciting, and he hopes to finish up production in the next month or so and work on a release


The chance to hear new material from WHY? is exciting. Over the past several years, Wolf’s music has been incredibly creative and rapidly changing. WHY? has notoriously defied categorization in sound, bringing together a range of instruments (always heavy in flawless percussions) and vocal styles to blend hip hop, indie rock, folk, Americana and more. In 2008, the band released the critically acclaimed LP Alopecia, featuring a stream-of-consciousness delivery of infectiously clever lyrics; spoken, rapped and sung over percussion, bass, and keyboards. Just a year later, they followed with Eskimo Snow, an album recorded during the same session. Wolf decided to release two separate albums because he felt that they had produced two sets of songs with radically different stylings and feel. On Eskimo Snow, pianos and guitar carried Wolf’s lyrics into a deeper contemplation of themes begun on Alopecia, particularly that of mortality. At points, he lyrically takes on the guise of the eternal mummy of a pharaoh (pictured on the album’s cover). He asks elsewhere about aging and death, “Am I too concerned with the burn of scrutiny/ Cold chased on run and covered like a horse before the race/ Will I gain weight in later life?/ And when will someone swing a scythe against me?”

 For me, Wolf’s lyrics are some of the best in music today—heavy on imagery and thematic connections across songs, even though he rarely lays these themes out in advance. I asked him about his writing process and inspiration for lyrics. “For this album, I was writing lyrics in bits here and there, maybe a couplet, maybe a stanza, or just a phrase. I collected them over the course of 4 or 5 years. I would write bits of songs as well, just melodies. And then I went through a process of putting everything together, figuring how everything fit together in the songs.”

 He is known to keep a disciplined work schedule; joking in the past about not leaving the house for six days a week, diligently sitting at the piano working through melodies and lyrics. I asked how it fits together so seamlessly on the albums. “Lots of editing, man. LOTS and lots of editing.” Wolf’s philosophy of the creative process rings truer for me than that of musicians who claim that their music just ‘flows.’ “It really is what I think Edison* said: what goes in is 5% talent, 95% work and effort. I really do feel that way. The initial idea is, I guess, that sort of innate thing that I have that you could consider talent, but those are just little things that come. Where it really comes together is in all the effort of just crafting it and putting it together and spending all the time and energy to do it.”

 I asked if he enjoyed the work involved in the creative process. He hesitatingly said, “Yeah…. I do. Like everything else, though, after awhile it can get cumbersome, you know.” In another line I love from Eskimo Snow. “That’s right, I’m like everybody else is/ Ashamed of sleep. I lie when a phone call wakes me.”


 As I think about the many ways an artist or author determines what their work is really about, there are many ways of arriving there. Do the artist’s intentions matter? Or is it instead the listener’s interpretations? Wolf finds himself somewhere between the two: he is both the artist creating the songs and lyrics, but he says he often doesn’t grasp the meaning of an album in its entirety until his is done recording and becomes a listener to his own work. “I don't know where this new album is going yet. It is very different from Eskimo Snow, without a doubt. Honestly it's very different, I think the attitude is very different, but I don't know how to summarize it yet, exactly. I have to sort of hear everything together. Really, it's about putting the album together and listening to it through without thinking about it as a work space before I can really get a sense of what it's about. You know what I'm saying? I mean, that's how it is for me anyway. I work on intuition a lot. That's how it really tends to be for me, I don't really get a total feel for what it's about till later.”

I invite anyone interested in a creative and thoughtful music to jump on this opportunity to see a band perform advance songs from what will surely be a highlight of 2012’s new releases. The audience will be able to partake, along with Yoni Wolf, Doug McDiarmid, and Josiah Wolf in the process of creative interpretation of songs, old and new. As Wolf told me, although he writes the songs and has some privileged position to understanding them, it’s really about making sense of things, whether as artist or listening. “I have more insight into where the songs are coming from...that's why I really do it in a way is to get to the bottom of things to really understand what's going on. And it's my way of doing that.”

*Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

 -Daniel Hammer

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ticket Giveaway and Concert Preview: Lowry with Velcro Shoes at Club Cafe - 9.16.11

Indie rock band Lowry will be performing this Friday, 9/16 at Club Cafe. This is a late show with doors at 10p and show beginning at 10:30. We are giving away a pair of tickets to the show. Simply email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com

The Weight Of Light by Lowry

Lowry are a Brooklyn based band with members hailing from around the world including New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Lead man Alex Lowry has helped create 3 albums since 2005 including Awful Joy, Love is Dead (2008) and this year's Emporia. Alex considers these a trilogy. A few things about the lyrics from Alex: "They're mostly about people, love, true stories mixed with things I've seen, cosmic stuff and some subversive stuff. I'm a ufologist and also have a very keen interest in the political realm (as it relates to our apparent aloneness in the Universe). I'm also a big Christopher Hitchens fan and I've spent time with Noam Chomsky in Boston. We mostly talked about Universal Grammar as opposed to civil rights violations in some small countries. I'm an atheist and a humanist."

Those That Dance by Lowry

Also appearing will be Velcro Shoes who I consider one of the best local bands. I will be posting a spotlight on them later this month.

Again, show begins at 10:30p with tickets only costing $7. Good way to spend a Friday night.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interview - Will Cullen Hart - Olivia Tremor Control - New Hazlett Theater - 9/15/11 - Show Preview

One of the most unique band's born in the early 90's will be making a stop in Pittsburgh on 9/15 at the New Hazlett Theater. Olivia Tremor Control are synonymous with the Elephant 6 label (indie pop) they developed during those formidable years. Honing their sound in Athens, GA the band created two of the best experimental pop albums of that decade that received international acclaim in the underground scene. I was never able to hear or realize the full extent of their influence until years later. On their drive to Los Angeles, we were able to speak with Will Cullen Hart about the future of the band, current lineup and their next release.

First, is this the original lineup that will be touring? Are we to expect any extra players?

Yes, this is the original lineup with a couple of other backups. AJ and Derek are both helping out with the sound. Eric is not with us right now, but I believe he is going to join he’s going to be with us soon. Scott is playing horns and Robby is as well. It’s exactly the same lineup beyond that.

What made you decide to tour now? Will you continue touring? Or is this just a short stint?

Honestly, it’s just fun. We did something 5 years ago with All Tomorrow’s Party, but that was it. We are actually creating and recording for a new album which will probably be out in Spring 2012. This tour is to help flesh out some of these songs. It’s also just to remind people that we are still out there. It’s a short stretch of 17 shows. In December we will be playing in England at All Tomorrow’s Party Festival which is being curated by Jeff Magnum. There are a lot of new people that never saw us or even heard us, so this is a way for it to happen.

What have you all been up to this past 15 years? Still working with music? Or regular jobs and families?

Yes, many of us have families and jobs, I don’t. Members were always working on different projects such as Circulatory System and Sunshine Fix. For this tour some have to take their vacation time just to make the trip.

For those of us who were too young and never saw you perform live, what should we expect from your live performance? Do you condense these songs to shorten them for a live show?

Most of our songs are just 3 minutes. There might be a couple that run together on the albums, but we try to switch it up and freak them out a bit. We mix it up and try to make it fun. There are a couple of news songs we will be playing, but for the most part we play all old material.

Chunklet is reissuing your two albums Dusk at Cubist Castle and Black Foliage.  How did this come about? Why now? I read an interview where at one time you were having difficulty getting your master tapes. Were you able to get these for this release?

John (Chunklet) is an old friend of ours who actually put out our second single. He was willing to put up the money to reissue these albums. We wanted the vinyl to look really good if we did it and it turned out great. All the artwork has been rescanned and it just looks awesome. We remastered the Black Foliage album. We wanted to make it sonically better with a more full sound. If you compare it to the other version you will be “like wow”. Dusk at Cubist Castle we didn’t touch because we are happy with the way it sounds.

Yes, we had difficulty getting them (original tapes) back from the label, I couldn’t even tell you what happened there. But they were also really cool and helped us out. We wanted to put a double album to show everything we could do and they were really supportive. We ended up releasing two double albums because the first one did so well.

You recently released one new song, “The Game You Play Is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2 &3”. Should we expect new material? EP? LP? Or will this just trickle as time progresses?

Yeah, I am pretty sure we will be putting something out this spring. It will probably be an LP, but it might even be a double LP. We have about 30 something bits and songs. But we don’t know if they will all work. Cloud Recording will be putting the album out.

At one time I remember a dvd that was being created from live shows/recordings. Is this still in the works? Did anything ever become of it?

A few people have promised that. It’s finally starting to materialize after all these years. Three or four people told us they would create something, but it just never got done. A friend of Robert Schneider’s (Apples in Stereo) is actually putting it together. He gave us a promo of it and it really looks great. It should be good. 

There are several bands that have jumped on the reunion band wagon the past 5 years getting pretty good guarantees (Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Pixies, etc). Have you all received similar offers from promoters, etc?

No. That would be awesome. No one ever came to us besides All Tomorrows Party.

How is your health these days? I read about the MS you were diagnosed with. Does working on music, performing live, etc help?

Yes. I am actually doing a lot better over the last 2 years. Music has been a great outlet for me and helps out a lot.

What does the immediate future hold for OTC? Anything you are wishing to accomplish in the interim?

Touring and putting out the new album.

Any memories from visiting Pittsburgh? Anything you would like to say?

Is the Mattress Factory still there? Really like that place. The Andy Warhol Museum of course which is where we will be playing. I hear the Hazlett Theater has a really great sound system. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Show Preview - Sidi Toure - 9/10/11 - Thunderbird Cafe - Pittsburgh - Concert Preview

This isn't something we normally cover, but it's definitely worth checking out. Sidi Toure will be playing this Saturday at the Thunderbird Cafe. Toure grew up in Gao, Mali,  a small city between the Sahara Desert and Niger. Toure grew up among a family of nobleman who trace their lineage back from the Asika Kings. As a young man, Toure created guitars out of old wood, often smashing them apart when arguing with his family over his expected role. Without his parents approval, Toure followed his love of music becoming the youngest member of Gao's Orchestra who often played national festivals.

Sidi Touré with Douma Maïga from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

While more of a traditional musician, Toure often listened to JJ Cale and Kenny Rogers. From his bio:

Sidi’s sound both captures and challenges his roots. The music moves from the translucent swaying takamba to the trance inducing Holley, while the lyrics often address many non-traditional issues. Sidi has a critical mind and his songs have a purpose. For example, in “Adema,” Sidi and his collaborator sing about how to electrify and modernize their country. “The songs must come from within,” says Touré. “If I sing about things and there is no change, then it will have been a waste.” He strives to be more than a singer, but in fact a creative artist that affects change.

Currently signed to Thrill Jockey Records, Toure is touring behind his album released this past January, Sahel Folk. The show is scheduled for this Saturday at 9p with tickets $12 and $15 day of the show.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Show Review - Caveman and The War On Drugs - 9/1/11 - Club Cafe - Live Review - Concert Review

This is going to be a very short review of The War On Drugs with Caveman at Club Cafe this past Thursday to a relatively packed crowd. The audience was divided with over 3/4 standing while a 1/4 of the attendance were seated in the booths and bar stools along the wall. Let me just say, if you take this show as a whole, it is the best of the year. Caveman out of NYC, set the tone early with an amazing set featuring a partitioned drum kit between two people. They were beyond tight and quite accomplished for a band not many have heard. We were wondering if this could be eclipsed, but it was matched with The War on Drugs.

I realize I will catch grief for this, but if Kurt Vile had been playing in place of the TWOD, you would have not known the difference. Watching Vile earlier this year at the Warhol, you can see why these two were collaborators. Not just in sound, vocals and rhythm, but simply in mannerisms and stage presence. You couldn't tell the two apart. Not that its a bad thing, but it made me wonder who designed the sound? KV or Adam G.? It was pretty much hand and hand. But so good. Checkout some of the video and decide for yourself.