Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - Musikanto w/ Truth & Salvage Co. - 11.8.11 - Stage AE - Show Preview

Musikanto will be appearing with Truth and Salvage Co. at Stage AE Tuesday, November 8th. Musikanto is Chicagoan Mike Musikanto, a scholar of indie folk (emphasis on the folk) and a contemporary of names like Tom Schraeder and Cracklin’ Moth. He is touring behind his latest album released this past August on Grape Juice Records entitled Sky of Dresses. We are happy to be giving away tickets to the show. As usual just email us with your name at

From his press:

While calling to mind the vast and oftentimes desolate American landscape, the folk tales of Musikanto hold their own within the rich tradition of American music. Over the 11 tracks from his sophomore effort Sky Of Dresses, the songsmith proves again a warm and honest demeanor with a song craft filled with handsome country tones and uncanny lyrical precision.

Doors are at 8p with tickets only $10.

Show Preview - Manchester Orchestra w/ White Denim & Dear Hunter - Altar Bar - 11.9.11 - Concert Preview

PacSun is sponsoring quite a lineup this next week at Altar Bar. On November 9th Manchester Orchestra, White Denim and The Dear Hunter will be performing at the spacious club. Manchester Orchestra has been through Pittsburgh a few times, but not with such an accomplished lineup. From the press:

PacSun elevates their cornerstone music event, PacTour, to a whole new level this fall with a diverse lineup of talent led by headliner Manchester Orchestra. PacTour keeps with tradition, layering an amazing headliner with the best buzz worthy artists in the country including White Denim, The Dear Hunter, and Little Hurricane on select dates. In its third year, PacSun’s music tour will play 26 venues across the U.S. from October 21st – November 22nd, 2011 with in-store appearances at local PacSun stores featuring a select PacTour artist.

Coming off of a recent Lollapalooza appearance and two MTV VMA nominations, Manchester Orchestra will lead PacTour in support of their third critically acclaimed album, Simple Math. Adding additional clout to the tour are psych rockers White Denim, progressive rock band The Dear Hunter and blues/rock duo Little Hurricane.

Tickets are only $16 and can be found here. Doors are at 6p with show beginning at 7p.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - Bobby Long - Club Cafe - 11.4.11 - Show Preview - Pittsburgh

Bobby Long is coming back through the burgh after appearing here back in March at the Rex. The 24 year old songwriter is touring on his debut lp,A Winter Tale, released on ATO Records. A transplant from London, Bobby currently resides in New York City.We are happy to giveaway a pair of tickets then and now. We are also happy to giveaway 2 exclusive EP's that you will be able to pickup at the merchandise table. As usual, just email us your name to to enter.

From his bio:

"British singer-songwriter-guitarist Bobby Long's anticipated debut studio album A WINTER TALE', produced by Liam Watson (White Stripes) will be released February 1st, 2011 on ATO Records. Currently residing in New York City, the 24-year old Long has been writing finely-crafted songs since taking up the guitar at age 17; from then on he's been creating memorable songs inhabited by hauntingly poetic lyrics. After relocating to London from the countryside of South West England, he became a fixture at London's open-mic nights while attending London Metropolitan University where he studied Music in Film and wrote his thesis on The Social Impact of American Folk Music. He quickly established himself on the local open mic circuit, finding his voice and beginning to develop songs characterized by catchy melodies paired with elusive, imaginative lyrics.

A WINTER TALE merges band power with acoustic rawness, featuring Nona Hendryx (LaBelle) on backing vocals on "Penance Fire Blues," B. J. Cole (Elton John, Sting) on pedal steel, Icelandic singer Lay Low on several tracks, and other top-drawer musicians. And by way of continued extensive touring, he will be bringing A WINTER TALE and what has been called his "tapestry of tales" to the ever-growing audiences seduced by his compelling voice, musicianship and charm."

The show begins at 9p with doors opening at 8p. Tickets can be found here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butch Walker Ticket Winner

Congratulations to Collien D. winner of the pair of tickets to Butch Walker on Thursday at Stage AE. Thank you to all who enter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Show Preview - Exitmusic w/ Phantograms - 10.20.11 - Concert Preview

Exitmusic is opening for Phantograms this Thursday 10.20 at Mr Smalls. Exitmusic is the project of Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church who just released a new EP called From Silence on Secretly Canadian Records. You might also recognize Aleksa from her role in HBO's Boardwalk Empire (which is my favorite show right now). The duo is currently playing CMJ right now before making a short east coast trek. 

The Sea from EXITMUSIC on Vimeo.

From their press:

So what is Exitmusic? Bands like Sigur Ros, Radiohead, and Godspeed Your Black Emporer come to mind: dark, emotive, electronic music washed with icy guitars and Aleksa's husky yet angelic vocals. It's music meant to remind you of your vulnerabilities and revel in them. It reminds you of the human condition in all its strengths and weaknesses. Whether you're listening amidst a sunny day or the darkest night it'll make either feel like exactly where you need to be.

Aleksa and Devon met aboard a train in Canada years ago, two wandering souls that cosmically bumped into each other and never parted. Shortly after that train ride Devon moved to Aleksa's hometown New York, and ten days later they moved in together. Check out the EP download below and make sure to check out the mesmerizing beauty of their new video for "The Hours." 

The show begins at 8p with tickets only costing $13. You can purchase here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Matthew Sweet - Interview - Ticket Giveaway - Mr Smalls - 10.21.11 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Matthew Sweet is a giant in alternative rock, churning out power-pop for over than two decades. His 1991 album Girlfriend helped launch the guitar driven pop from the college and alternative scene into popular music in the 1990s. He is touring to promote his new album, Modern Art, but mainly to celebrate Girlfriend’s 20th anniversary. He’ll be playing with The Shadowboxers next Friday, October 21 at Mr. Small’s. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets. As usual just email us at with your name. 

Matthew Sweet! You’ve got a new album out called Modern Art. This year is the 20th anniversary of your 1991 classic Girlfriend. Congratulations on both. You’ll come to Pittsburgh next week. What will we hear?

Next week we'll hear the entire Girlfriend album, we'll play a couple songs off Modern Art, and couple other well-known songs like "Sick of myself" and "We’re the Same." But most of our time is taken up recreating Girlfriend. We play it in the order on the record. It's very exciting in the beginning, cause its “Divine Intervention,” “I've Been Wating,” into “Girlfriend.” It holds up pretty well and people seem to be really enjoying it.

With all the music produced, it’s rare for an album to stand the test of time. 20 years on, to still be getting acclaim that Girlfriend is getting, what do you think it is about that album that has made it so timeless?

I think that it’s really kind of an intimate record with a lot of emotions in it. I think people really related to that. At the time, people really saw whatever they wanted to see in it. If they were falling in love, they fell in love to it. If they were breaking up, they broke up to it. And I think that really stuck with some people, and it's a surprise even for me how much people seem to have this fondness for remembering it.

Modern Art is your 13th album in a 25 year plus career with music. What do you think has changed and what has remained the same for you as a songwriter over this long and prolific career?

Maybe what's stayed the same is that I tend to write intimate music. It's very much “me and you”-based. If anything has changed it's that I probably touch on more metaphysical wanderings than I did when I was a kid. I mean, I don't feel that much different. When we decided to start playing the Girlfriend album again, I kind of thought it would feel really weird and ancient to me, but instead it feels just sort of normal. I don't feel all that different from 20 years ago. In terms of Modern Art, specifically, it's a rather more abstract approach to making a record than we had with Girlfriend, which is a little more straightforward.

I'm in awe of people like you. You’re a musician, you've made a career out of it. You're living the dream. Was there any moment or point at which you realized, "I'm gonna be able to do this! I'm going to be able to live my life as a musician"?

Well, not really. I think you always have to look forward and recreate the whole thing. One is never enough. Maybe as I have gotten older I think...partly because I got started before the internet I was really lucky, when there was still sort of the original rock history. The internet has changed the way people consume music so much. I think it's something like 85% less records sell in general. So it's a really different environment. And it's still challenging. It's challenging for me to make my way along, but if people ask me, 'What do you say to young musicians?' I say, you have to love doing music. Because a lot other things, even after they go well, they'll break your heart again.

With downloads, diminished record profits, the increased connection between commercial advertisements and success for young bands...You came into music at a different time, making good records with a clean, power-pop sound that transcends genre fads. But has your career over the past 25 years been affected by these broader shifts within the music industry?

I don't think so, not so much. If anything, I've had much more of a feeling of freedom as time has gone on. Because there's not so much pressure due to how much money goes into it. So I feel less pressure on me. Maybe I have a little better time making records and exploring a little bit more.

In what sense is there less pressure?

When labels invested huge amounts of money to make a record, there was a lot of pressure from them regarding what the music was going to be like. I don't think I ever did anything specifically to try to be commercial, but I always felt that pressure. It was never big enough for them, sort of. Even when I sold records well, you still had that feeling like it was never enough.

Do you feel like the music industry has eased up on the pressure? I'm sure they're pressuring some people?

Yeah, I'm sure they are to some people. I mean, I can't imagine if you were a young band that got on a major label now, there's just so little room to move around. I was lucky in that alternative radio really bloomed during the time of Girlfriend and Altered Beast. It sort of came out of college radio and became commercial and there was room for a lot of different kind of things. It seems like now things that are commercial are in a much narrower range. I know that there is a lot of vital music getting made now, but it's sort of a challenge to how it's going to get heard.

Have you branched out beyond your own recordings? What are some plans for the near future?

I worked with The Bangles on their new record. I produced a young group called The Bridges a few years ago. The Under the Covers records, volumes 1 and 2 were something I worked on with Susanna Hoffs. We are going to do an Under the Covers 80s volume, and hopefully do some touring for that. And I've already done quite a bit of recording since Modern Art, so I hope to do another record sooner rather than later.

Final question. Are you ever going to give up rock and roll?

*Laughs* I don't think I am. I mean, it gets challenging sometimes when you have to get through those times and not let it get you down. Just love life and love doing music and try to get through it however you can. No, I don't think I will stop until I have to.

That is the correct answer. We'll see you in Pittsburgh in a week.

Sounds good. See you there!

-Daniel Hammer

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Show Preview - Tycho w/Little Dragon - 10.19.11 - Shadow Lounge - Pittsburgh

Artist Tycho (aka Scott Hansen) will be appearing at the Shadow Lounge this Wednesday, 10.19 opening for Little Dragon. He is touring in support of his forthcoming album Dive out on 11/15 on Ghostly International. From his press:

While his formative years were spent listening to everything from Yes to Photek, Scott Hansen didn’t get his hands on an actual guitar or drum machine until he left his native Sacramento for San Francisco in 1995. "Encountering this whole new world at 20 years old was a profound experience," says Hansen, better known by his musical pseudonym Tycho and as the graphic artist ISO50. "At the time, I was just learning the processes of design and music; both felt very similar, and have flowed back and forth for me ever since."

 Tycho by Tycho

As seamless as his two creative outlets have been, nearly a decade passed before the release of Hansen's first proper Tycho LP, Sunrise Projector (originally released in 2004 on Gammaphone Records, later expanded and reissued under the titlePast Is Prologue on Merck Records, and ultimately reissued again by Ghostly). And while three striking singles have emerged since then, the sum of all those sepia-toned parts is nowhere near the double-exposed soundscapes of his new, forthcoming album Dive, set for release November 15th, 2011 (US) and November 14th, 2011 (UK/EU) on Ghostly International.Pitchfork premiered the first single, the sweeping & Baleric leaning "Hours," via the Forkcast. The product of a prolonged break from IS050’s design work and blog, Dive pays tribute to Tycho’s prismatic past (the dense, guitar-guided turning points of "Daydream" and "Adrift") but spends most of its time pointing to the project’s not-so-distant future.

Tickets to the show can be found here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Show Preview - Interview - Masters of Hemisphere - 10.19.11 - Hambones - Concert Preview

The Masters of Hemisphere will be making a stop this Wednesday, 10.19 at Hambone's. The Athens based band had not been heard of in over 10 years. They recently released a new album entitled These Are The Breaks and are making a trip to Pgh on the way back from CMJ. The band was a part of the indie pop scene back in the mid 90's releasing their albums on Kindercore Records (Of Montreal, Dressy Bessy).  The band recorded 3 LP's and a handful of EP's before calling it quits in 2002. They were kind enough to answer a few questions for us about why they produced a new album and what their future plans are. 

Why the new album now? You stopped playing right around 2002? What have you been doing in the meantime?

Good question.  We don't really have an answer other than our drummer Jeff Griggs called each of us and asked if we would do another album.  At the time he was the only one still living in Athens and said that the love for the Masters had not diminished and people would be excited to hear something new.  After we broke up I moved to San Francisco and Bren Mead (the other main songwriter) eventually moved there as well but has recently moved back to Athens.  I started a joke reggae band over there called Still Flyin which over the years has evolved into a total non-joke dance pop band.  Jeff and I have always been messing around with our best pals in an eclectic band/collective called Je Suis France.  Adrian (the George Harrison/3rd songwriter of the group) leads a hot soul band called Night Moves Gold.  And Bren dabbles in his solo project Vetran whenever he has the time/desire.

Are the original core of the band still in place?

Yes sir.  Except Adrian has two kids and can't make the whole tour, so we're bringing an extra pal along named Ken to fill in for Adrian and be a special fifth member when Adrian is around.

Are you touring between vacation time from jobs? Or is this a more serious venture at this time?

We're touring between jobs and our other bands' tours. Trying to keep it the opposite of serious.

You just recently released a new album Maybe These Are the Breaks. Was this material you had left over from 2002? Or is the material new?

Some of the songs would have been on the next Masters album, had there been one in 2003 or 2004, but a lot of the songs are brand new.

Was there any theme to the new album?

It's a break-up album.  It could be about the band breaking up back in 2002.

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

It might be in my genes.  My dad played in bands and my grandfather toured as the bandleader of big bands.  As a kid my dad would play guitar for me a lot, so that would be the show - the private shows from my dad.

How do you go about creating your music? 

Either Bren or Adrian or myself will write the song and then the rest of us will contribute to the arrangement if we have some good ideas. 

What would you like to accomplish with this project? Are there any goals you have?

Just what any self-respecting band wants: a good laugh.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

Prepare to get your bone hammed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - Butch Walker & the Black Widows - Stage AE - 10.20.11 - Show Preview

Butch Walker & the Black Widows will be appearing at Stage AE next Thursday. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. All you need to do is send us an email with your name to .

The band is touring behind their latest album, The Spade, release this past August. From his own written personal bio:

I’ve been doing these things for so long now, that I feel like just when I have written the mother of all things informative and maybe funny, I go and record a new record. Why does shit always have to evolve and the information change every time another year goes by? Why, since the last bio (which I felt was an understated masterpiece) did I have to go and do shit to deem it necessary for an update?

So this is the part of the bio where I’m supposed to describe the new record by us called The Spade. I’m supposed to inject words about the songs like “soaring”, “pounding”, “climactic”, and maybe even a “unrivaled”…… But I just can’t talk like that about my own music. But what I can say is, just like my bass paying skills….. It’s fucking awesome. we will be on the road this year a lot, and probably sleeping at many KOA campgrounds this fall. More than likely, you are reading this because you don’t know shit about me and you are about to interview me for your school paper or local radio station visit (yes, I’m in the lobby) and you need to find out a few things about me to talk about. It’s ok. I’m not mad. I’m not very popular and I don’t blame you if you “just aren’t into the music”.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - The Jayhawks - Mr Smalls - 10.16.11 - Show Preview - Pittsburgh

The Jayhawks will be performing this Sunday, 10.16. We are happy to be offering a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us with your name to

The Jayhawks were born out of the mid 80's in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. From their press:

The Jayhawks are an American band, and not just because they covered Grand Funk Railroad's "Bad Time" on their '95 album. Tomorrow the Green Grass. Fifteen years ago, the Minneapolis band practically invented the Americana/alt-country movement with their patented brand ofrootsy pop-rock. But even then, the Jayhawks' music was just as informed by singer/songwriter Gary Louris' love of British Invasion bands.

The band's prominence on the contemporary rock scene is attested to by Rolling Stone's inclusion of their classic '92 effort, HoIIy\vood Town Hall, among its 34 greatest rock & roll albums of the '90s. The Village Voice called them "the only country-rock band that matters" while influential No Depression named it among the 101 Greatest "Alternative Country" records of all-time There are at least a dozen Internet sites created by Jayhawks fans themselves to document the group's history.

The group's long-awaited sixth album. Smile, their first since '97's moody Sound of Lies and their first distributed by Columbia Records, was produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin. The album simultaneously returns to the band's roots in folk and country ("What Led Me To This Town," "A Break In The Clouds" and "Better Days") and moves forward into a bold, new territory of atmospheric rhythms and psychedelic grunge ("Somewhere In Ohio"), surreal distortion ("Wildest Dreams"). For the first single, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," the Jayhawks have created a radio-ready anthem, with chiming guitars and soaring harmonies that recall the pop epiphanies of inspired heartland-rock. 

Tickets for the show can be found here. Doors are at 7p with show at 8p and Rayland Baxter opening. 

Interview - Show Review - Mr Gnome - Brillobox - 10.8.11 - Concert Review - Pittsburgh

Mr Gnome played this past Saturday at the Brillobox putting on their normal stellar show. I think if this duo was based out of NYC, they would get more attention. My only complaint was a couple of people talking loudly during their softer moments. I did yell at them, but it had no real effect. We weren't able to get an interview up before they played, but are able to post it now. Enjoy the videos from the show and interview below.

You usually perform as a duo, but on recent video I noticed there was another musician for your live show. Are you incorporating other musicians in your live setting to flesh out the sound?

We bring Sam's little brother, Jonah, on stage with us sometimes for our home shows.  He's an excellent guitar player and we love bringing him up whenever we can.  I think the video you saw was at a show where we were playing some songs from Heave Yer Skeleton that we always wanted to play live but needed some additional instrumentation in order to make that happen.  He also plays some guitar and bass on the very last track of our new record.

How is your new album Madness in Miniature different from your previous? Was there something you were striving for? You used the same producer and studio so I assume it's something you wanted to maintain.

It's hard to say exactly how it's different, especially after spending so much time on the's a little difficult to analyze it in that way.  What we hope for it to be is an extension of where we left off with Heave...hopefully a progression of our sound.  We're always trying to evolve as songwriters and allow songs to develop naturally and go wherever feels best.  We love records that really flow and take the listener on a sonic adventure so that's definitely what we were going for.  We actually did this one a little differently - we tracked the drums and most of the guitars at Pink Duck in L.A. and recorded the vocals, some piano, and a few more guitars at our place in Cleveland.  That was a really awesome experience - doing all of the vocals in the same exact room where we wrote all of the songs so I think it helped the vocals to have a little more ease in 'em.  We also did the interludes and both of the softer songs on the records ("Winter" & "Watch the City Sail Away") at our place…this gave us a lot more time to experiment and really tweak everything until we were totally happy with it.

You are still self releasing these albums through El Marko Records. Have you thought about signing to a label to help you promote? Gain larger exposure? etc?

Yes, we've talked with labels but none of the offers ever seem right.  They always want to change something about us and we're just really not about that.  We'd rather always be weird, always do our own thing because that's why we make music and art…because we love to create and signing to a label that wants to mess with that just doesn't seem as important.  Plus they wanted a night alone with Sam...he was scared, but willing.  I just didn't want the little guy to have to go through with that.  

This is your third proper lp over the past years. With doing this more on the DIY style, have you seen your fanbase grow? Are you seeing the results you hoped for?

Yes, for sure.  Every tour has been better than the last.  We were hoping to be opening for The Jonas Brothers at this point but we haven't gotten that call yet.

There is always underlying comments, jokes on your blog, swag, etc. concerning pornography. Is this more of tounge and cheek type deal? Or are you trying to record for the porn industry one day?

We'd be liars to say that porn isn't awesome.  But really, I thought we talked about time travel way more than porn?  Time travel and porn…now that's awesome.  That's actually a great idea for a porn.  Do you think that's been done already?

I have only listened to the album once, so I might be way off. But is there a quieter sound than in the past albums?

I don't think it's quieter as a whole but I think that the quiet moments are probably the most quiet we've ever gotten.  That's a lot of quiets in one sentence.  There's still lots of fuzz, lots of distortion, lots of blood, sweat and tears...

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?
We love you Pittsburgh.  Let's put our sports rivalries aside and hug it out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Show Preview - Tyler Ramsey - Club Cafe - 10.13.11 - Pittsburgh - Concert Review

Band of Horses guitarist Tyler Ramsey will be making a stop at Club Cafe this Thursday. He is touring behind is third studio album The Valley Wind which was recently released this past September via Fat Possum Records. I have had this on repeat in my cd player this past few weeks and it is solid.

From his press:

After steadily writing while both on and off the road over the course of last year, Tyler Ramsey headed to
 Nashville, TN, to record his third album The Valley Wind at Alex The Great studio in early January.  Friend and bandmate Bill Reynolds (who’s worked with The Avett Brothers and Lissie) produced and aided on bass, while friend Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) sat in on drums and guitar, also singing background vocals.  Over a rare snowy set of six days in the southern city, Ramsey crafted nine, finely spun songs, keeping the focus on performance as they were played, and letting fresh ideas reveal themselves as they would.  The sessions were intense; the three musicians separated and insulated from most normal daily goings-on during the recording period. The result: a crystalline yet warm album, filled with Ramsey’s rich, plaintive vocals and expressive, intricate guitar playing.

 The Nightbird by tylerramsey

Ramsey is perhaps most immediately recognizable as the tall, lean guitarist in Band Of Horses, having played with them since 2007, starting before the release of their breakthrough album, Cease To Begin. A well-established and praised guitar player and singer in the burgeoning music scene of Asheville, NC where he calls home, he first learned to play music on piano before moving to the guitar. Ramsey grew up listening to and studying country-blues guitar players like Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi John Hurt, and American finger pickers like John Fahey and Leo Kottke, absorbing their sound and making it all his own.

 The Valley Wind by tylerramsey

The show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets can be found here for only $10. We should have a review of the show. Come say hi.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spotlight Local Artist - SleepyV - October 2011 - Pittsburgh

SleepyV is our local spotlight for the month of October. They are a young band all still in school, playing their brand of indie pop. The band was kind enough to answer our normal questions about how they came together, the goals of the band and a great piece of advice for local bands trying to make it in the area. There are songs embed throughout the article, along with links for the band at the bottom. 

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

Gene (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Derek (drums) went to high school and played together in a band called Vinyl 6, as well as doing a bunch of other music. John (trumpet) went to the same high school, but played in a ska band. They started playing together in June 2009.

Ben (bass, vocals) went to a different high school on the other side of the city and did his own music, and even had a stint as a solo act signed to an indie label. He and Derek worked together as student employees at the University of Pittsburgh's audio-video services department, played together in a glam/folk thing called The Cockatoos, and then Derek asked him to play with SleepyV in the fall of 2009.
Dominique (flute) went to high school in California, came to the University of Pittsburgh for its nursing program, went to some shows in Ben's basement - dubbed The Aviary, now one of Oakland's numerous defunct house venues - and we met her there. She started playing flute in the spring of 2011.

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

It's sort of in between the super serious indie bands like Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Dirty Projectors and the more fun indie bands like Tally Hall, Fleet Foxes, and the Decemberists. We like ornate harmonies and complicated song structures, but we can't seem to veer ourselves away from infectious reggae rhythms and nice melodies. A lot of people seem to tell us there is a jazz element to our music, and we think a lot of that comes from just playing and grooving together so often. We're pretty comfortable with improvisation, despite how planned out and intricate all of our recordings and performances are.

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

All of the dudes have family in Pittsburgh, but Dominique is from California. We call our parents regularly and visit as often as possible. Yeah, we're sorry we haven't been home in three weeks, but look, if you're gonna make meatloaf every damn time you have to understand WE GET SICK OF IT.

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

If by full time, you mean more than forty hours a week, I think it's definitely a full time venture. We feel bad for all of our friends who aren't musicians because when it comes time to hang out and relax, we usually just sit at home and play or write. It's kind of sad, to be honest. We only get to go out on nights we have gigs!

Do you have day jobs?

We all do. Full-time class schedules too.

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

Our songs generally avoid verse/chorus structure, so instead of having vocabulary like: chorus, pre-chorus, bridge, etc., we just refer to them as "parts." Any member of the band could write a part or come up
with an idea for a part. Then, it's up to everyone else in the group to play the part together and write lines and rhythms and lyrics to go with the part. After that, we're left with a group of small parts of songs, which we then have to string together by coming up with transitions from one part to the next. This is tricky because if one part doesn't feel natural following the other, adjusting it to find atransition that will work can sometimes be difficult. For our "Storybook EP" we went through this process for about 26 minutes worth of music, and then Ben wrote arrangements for flute, trumpet, violin, and clarinet.

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

If we were able to make music for a living, we'd all be living beyond our wildest dreams. Most people in this world have to put a smiling face on every morning to go to a job they don't care about so that they can make enough money to buy things that won't make them happy. We're already lucky in that we have everything we need to keep us alive and the key to our happiness is right at our fingertips. If we are able to make a living from the music and travel around and play, we'd all probably be the happiest people in the entire world.

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

Don't promote all of your shows! If you want venues and promoters to keep calling you back, you've got to have a draw at every show you do for them, and that means if your friends came out to see you the night before, they probably won't come out the next night. Also, just be friendly and cool. We've had some weird experiences trying to talk to other bands who just see us as strangers walking up and saying "hi." If we're playing a show together, we have something in common and we can have a beer together, so stop being awkward! Also, stick around and see all the bands who play at your shows. If you only care about your own music and aren't interested enough to check out the other bands you're playing with, other bands probably won't be interested in you unless you fit their style and draw tons of people (not usuallythe case).

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

We've taken one trip to play at an arts center in Mansfield, OH with a shoe-gaze band called the La De Les from Boston. We packed four people and all of our equipment into Derek's corolla and broke even on cash after paying for gas and food. It was super fun and we look forward to doing more weekend trips and possibly a tour when we're all available for one.

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

Some bands we know who take more trips out and tour tend to say that there are lots more people outside of Pittsburgh, but so far, other than Mansfield, OH, this city is basically all we know. It's been hard, but I think we're finally starting to see some rewards from doing gigs for local markets and networking with out-of-town bands who come through.

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

There are practically no small venues with built-in local crowds (as in, pretty much no venue to start your band at). Playing shows to drunk college kids in basements is pretty much the best substitute for that, though. You just have to have the resources and initiative to hook that kind of thing up.

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

There's not a lot of competition. I have to wonder if SleepyV would even be a speck of a band in a neighborhood like Brooklyn, but in Pittsburgh, any band who looks cool and sounds good seems to have a shot. I think the city has also taught is to take a lot of matters into our own hands. Since there is such a lack of musical community around, we've done a lot of our own work. Ben's basement (The Aviary) was our main place to play until Manny Theiner started booking us around town more (which he did because we were able to bring kids from our basement out to Garfield Artworks). Also, Derek and our friend Bryan Heller have started this thing called "Take Away Tuesdays" at which is basically just small-time Pittsburgh version of La Blogotheque. We're on it, and so are all our friends' bands.

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

We certainly enjoy playing for bigger crowds who don't know us. We recently opened up for Tally Hall at Mr. Smalls, and the crowd was fully attentive and extremely enthusiastic. Our second show ever, we got to open up for Jack's Mannequin in the middle of Bigelow Boulevard, right next to the Cathedral of Learning, and that was alsoa surreal experience. Other than that, The Aviary was probably the most consistent fun every time we played it (mainly because it was one of our basements filled with all of our friends who were all drunk).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - Show Preview - Mr Gnome - Brillobox - 10.8.11 - Concert Preview

If you follow the blog over the last couple of years, you know we are big fans of Mr Gnome out of Cleveland. We have featured them in the past here, here and here. Thankfully they are making their way back to the Brillobox this Saturday, 10.8. We are giving away a pair of tickets to the show. All you need to do is email us at with your name to enter.

Mr Gnome is touring behind their upcoming release, Madness in Minature. As with their previous release Heave Yer Skeleton, the album was produced again in Josh Homme's (QOSTA, Eagles of Death Metal) Pink Duck Studio in LA. The album is described as .."an all-encompassing gaze into two delicate yet roaring, and hypnotic minds that are simultaneously disconcerting... in a beautiful way". I have only been able to listen to the new album once and can say it's pretty phenomenal on first listen.

I will hopefully get an interview with the duo soon for future posting this week, but from our last one:

Josh Homme helped create your last record. What was that experience like? Was there areas where he was suggesting that you didn’t feel fit the concept of your album?

We actually got invited to Josh's studio by his studio manager, Justin Smith. Justin was wonderful. We were on the same page for the whole project and he really helped us capture the sounds that we were going for and introduced us to a lot of vintage gear that we never knew existed. We also shared a love for time travel, Battlestar Galactica, The Frogs, The Techno Viking, and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. We love you Sanchez.

Ate the Sun by mrgnome
The show begins at 10p with doors opening at 9:30p. There are 3 openers scheduled including Sun Ray, Shining Light and Atlas. Tickets are only $7 and can be found here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ticket Giveaway - Show Preview - Milk Carton Kids - 10.6.11 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh - Concert Preview

The Milk Carton Kids will be appearing at Club Cafe  Thursday, 10.6. We are happy to be providing a pair of tickets to the show. To enter just simply email your name to

The duo is comprised of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan who have released over 10 albums between them as solo artists. The new venture has only released one live album entitled Retrospect which is available for free on their official website. The album has over 13,000 downloads since being posted. Their first proper studio album entitled Prologue is in the process of being released this year. They play minimal instruments with strong harmonies and dual vocals.

From their press:

A performance by The Milk Carton Kids is a quiet and intricate affair. Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan have enjoyed intently listening audiences across the country and abroad in their respective solo careers, but an even greater sense of urgency and demand of attention is palpable now that they’ve come together as The Milk Carton Kids. Their songs are written together, but you won’t know there is more than one author. Their history together spans only one short year, but you won’t know that either. They stand close together when they play, facing each other and using microphones instead of plugging their guitars in. And if they looked more alike, they’d fool you that they were brothers.

The doors open at 7p and show begins at 8p. You can find more information about the Milk Carton Kids at their webiste You can purchase the tickets here. Remember we have a ticket giveaway. To enter just email us at