Friday, June 29, 2012

Local Spotlight - Motometer - July 2012 - Local Artist - Pittsburgh

Our local spotlight for the month of July is artist Motormeter. The band is a duo composed of Stephen Dusenberry (drums, samples, synthesizers) and Adam Fagelson (frankenbass). The group has played with some well known artist including Peter Cetera, George Clinton, Steve Miller, George Benson, Maynard Ferguson, Foghat and Molly Hatchett. Both members were kind enough to answer our normal range of questions including how they met, create music, and thoughts on Pittsburgh. If you like what you hear, the band will be playing at the Altar Bar next Saturday, July 7th (show begins at 8p).

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

Adam: Stephen and I met at the NAMM show in Anaheim several years back

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

Stephen: The short answer would most likely be Return To Forever meets The Who at a Jeff Beck concert….however, we read a review that has us sounding like Primus and Frank Zappa so I suppose you can throw that in the blender too. With only 2 of us, we sort of draw on a lot of different influences.

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

Adam: No I am from Vermont but Stephen is from Pittsburgh

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

Stephen: For the moment music is what we do full time unless you guys are hiring

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

Adam: A lot of times I’ll come up with a part and Stephen will come up with a rhythm and we definitely arrange things together. It is certainly writing songs by committee.

Stephen: The writing process comes to us rather quickly.  I like to think we are a very efficient team.  Normally we don’t agonize on parts of songs or ideas….if  it doesn’t come to us organically, we toss it aside.   Also, golfing helps….we are avid golfers to we tend to come up with some pretty interesting ideas while waiting to tee off.

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

Adam: I really believe getting signed isn’t what it was 20 years ago. The goal is for us to get as much exposure as we can whether it be from a label that supports what we do, or even through social media.   It isn’t like it was in the past where you had to rely on a label for everything.

Stephen: To piggy back on what Adam said, I think our goals are to sort of find our niche, which we are starting to do.   We have played to a variety of different audiences and have gained support by being honest with what we do. Playing in a progressive/fusion band, we realize it isn’t going to be for everyone.  However, we have been fortunate enough to have gained support from t he diverse crowds we have played in front of and we hope to continue that.

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

Stephen: My advice would be to play the type of music that makes you happy and realize that you aren’t going to please everyone. There are enough places around here with karaoke night’s that you don’t need to compete with.

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

Adam: Separately Stephen and I have had the opportunity to tour quite a bit.  Prior to forming Motometer we were both hired guns for different artists. We have started to play a bit more out of state and are planning our first tour of the Carolina’s soon

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

Stephen: It’s not that I find it more difficult….but I believe each city has its own set of challenges…I just believe the city has changed a bit since I first started playing here in the 90’s. Back then, you had more support from radio stations and media wearas now you are sort of on your own in terms of promotion and things like that. There was a time when you would hear local bands in rotation on the major stations here in the area but with local stations being part of larger entities, the program directors of sort of handcuffed as to what they are required to play. That being said, I do believe success is out there if you are willing to work hard for it.

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

Adam: Unfortunately I think some of the obstacles tend to be a lack of community as a whole. I see a lot of support from the punk/metal bands who really work together to create their own scene which is great.    However, by and large I see far too much bickering and senseless competition from some bands.  We all have the same goals and I think as a whole, musicians in Pittsburgh need to work together to bring more life to the city.

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

Stephen: I think one of the positive things is that you have a fair chance to prove yourself here. For example, I know some bands in LA who are literally paying to play places like the Whiskey and other spots on the strip.  In that sense, I think you have more a chance to naturally build an audience since there are a few places here who are willing to give brand new bands a chance to play.

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

Adam:  I enjoy all venues for different reasons. Some have better chicken sandwiches than others …

Stephen:  Exactly!  And others have a better bourbon selection. We aren’t very picky….we just love to perform.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Show Preview - The Young - Gooski's - 7.5.12 - Concert Preview - Pittsburgh

The Young will be appearing at Gooski's on Thursday, 7.5. The Austin based quartet is touring behind their latest Matador Records release, Dub Egg.  The album shows off a gritty, hazy sound of indie rock with buzzing guitars and a more lo-fi noise. The blend of psych rock with crashing drums brings the album to a droning bundle of sound that pops as you listen. The band recorded Dub Egg in Bandera County, Texas over a five day period in an isolated cabin. They utilized an old tape machine to record the LP, allowing them the freedom to soundtrack the way they wanted.

From their press:

Austin, TX quartet known as The Young have kept a somewhat shadowy profile since their inception in 2007. Though Guitarist/vocalist Hans Zimmerman successfully morphed a home recording venture into a full-fledged, elite punk unit with the additions of bassist Jason Costanzo, guitarist Kyle Edwards and drummer Ryan Maloney, the band underwent a stylistic shift shortly after the release of the first two sings (for Chicago's Criminal IQ and Austin's Super Secret respectively). With little regard for public reception, The Young would soon opt for something far more experimental in nature. On the heels of a 2010 appearance on Matador's 'Casual Victim Pile' Austin compilation, the band would record an astonishing debut full-length for Mexican Summer The 'Voyagers Of Legend' LP, characterized by Still Single's Andrew Earles as " a masterpiece of exhumation that uses once-dead sonic vehicles to communicate uncalculated, uncontrollable soul, inspiration, sadness, and what can only be called 'real shit,' not only captured the imagination of this record label, but staked a claim for The Young being the-next-great-American-psychedelic-wonder.

And that brings us to (ahem), another dramatic stylistic shift. 2011 was a tad less shadowy for The Young. For one thing, they're sometimes allowing venues to turn up the stage lighting. And over the course of a year+ , sharing stages with the likes of Sic Alps, Kurt Vile, Pierced Arrows, Endless Boogie and other masters of modern rock guitar, it would not be an exaggeration to say their meticulous interplay has become both uncanny and unstoppable. LP #2, 'Dub Egg', the product of a week's recording in an actual-cabin-in-the-woods (see Hans' notes below) is the sort of shimmering, incandescent, modern approach to classic forms that none of us could've imagined from these guys a couple of years ago. There's echoes of things you've heard and loved, sure (including but hardly limited to Crazy Horse, Television, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Karl Precoda's playing for the Dream Syndicate) but I don't think you've ever heard it all coming together in a manner so crafted or explosive. The only thing quiet about this band is their confidence.

Show begins around 10p with Kim Phuc opening. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Crocodiles - 6.26.12 - Brillobox - Show Preview - Concert Preview

This Tuesday, 6.26 Crocodiles will be appearing at the Brillobox. The San Diego five piece just released their latest album Endless Flowers via Frenchkiss Records this past June. The new record was recorded in Berlin with the sounds of the 60's and 80's breaking through the distortion. Brandon Welchez was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the new album, their San Diego roots, comparisons to the Jesus and Mary Chain and recording in Berlin. And of course we have a pair of tickets to the show for giveaway courtesy of our good friends at Opus One. As usual, just email us your name at to enter. 

You are now a five piece compared to a trio. How have the added members contributed to the new album? In a live setting? Did it work well in studio?

We've been touring with Marco, Anna and Robin for over two years now, so it definitely feels like a family. We have a lot of fun but we bicker, bitch and moan too. The highs and lows of touring life definitely inform each show. I'm sure our mood can be read on our faces from show to show. Their presence made the studio situation very smooth and very fun. It felt like a party a lot of the time. They are all excellent musicians so the recording aspect went very stress-free.

Do you get sick of the comparisons with Jesus and Mary Chain? It appears you are constantly linked together. Do you feel that connection?

I guess it could be worse, at least they are a decent band. It's mildly annoying to be misunderstood but I just remind myself that half of my favorite bands were misunderstood. It's usually people with shallow frames of reference who make such lazy comparisons. We don't feel any significant connection to any of the bands we're most commonly compared to. We're not a shoegaze band and we're not trying to do some spin on '80s indie. We do shit loads of covers and always talk about bands we love; that should make it pretty apparent where we're coming from. Some of the dumber journalists have a hard time grasping that Dee Lite and the Kids could have equal influence over a band.

The artwork to the new album is quite a conceptual piece. Who is the model? Is there a theme behind it?

The model is a friend of ours, Jesus, from San Diego. Marco Gonzalez, our bass player, took the photograph. We wanted the cover to be wide open; it's really interesting to see the reactions we've gotten. Some people think it belongs on a gallery wall and others have seen it as pornography. 

What is the difference thematically from Sleep Forever and your new album Endless Flowers?

I don't think there is much of a difference in the themes on this record lyrically speaking. We really only write two kinds of songs, love songs and hate songs. 

How was recording the album in Berlin? It’s quite the modern city compared to others in Europe. Did the area have any influence on your process?

Berlin was incredible. We've spent a lot of time in Europe and Berlin had always been one of our favorite cities. It definitely influenced the album, though I can't really say how. You just feel incredibly free there. It's cheap, no one really breathes down your neck about anything, it's great.

You are from San Diego how is the music scene there? How did it affect you growing up?

So many amazing bands have come from San Diego. When I was 14, I started going to punk shows and I was just totally swept away. There was this band the Spent Idols who were these burnt-out 40 year olds who did xerox '77 punk and predominately did covers. It was pretty cheesy looking back, but as this stuff was all so new to me it was inspiring to see bands playing Johnny Thunders and Cherry Vanilla covers. As I grew up I got more entrenched in the real underground punk scene that was going on at the time. Very fucked up, screamy, arty punk made by kids. I missed bands like Vicious Ginks and Antioch Arrow by a few years but I was around for Go Go Go Airheart and early Rapture, when they lived in San Diego, and bands like that.There is still a really cool scene in San Diego now with bands like Heavy Hawaii and Plateaus and a bunch of others.

The album is a bit more poppier than your past. Was this an intentional or was it a natural progression?

We've always tried to write pop songs, I think we're just getting better at it. Everything from our first single to our most recent was written as a pop song.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? Now being a solo artist is it difficult/time consuming to maintain a relationship with fans/public?

No, it's really easy. Our email address is out there and we always write back. 

With albums being able to d/l for free, what changes need to be made to maintain an ‘indie’ act such as yourself? What modifications need to be made in your opinion?

Unfortunately, there isn't much of an option but to pay for music if you want to support an artist you like. No bands, even bands you might think do, make much money on the road. It doesn't bum me out that people pirate our music, if anything I'm happy that people are interested and I'm also not saying that I've never stolen music online. But it doesn't make it any easier for us to feed ourselves.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?
We want to write a song at least as good as Tommy James' "Crimson & Clover". If we ever feel like we've achieved that, we'll probably quit. Until then we're gonna just keep plugging away.

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

No, not really. Just an overwhelming desire to do something interesting with my life. Music is the only thing I have a remote talent for and I knew I didn't want to slave away in an office or do menial labor or be tied to any one place or be hassled by some boss so I had to give it a go.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

It's been a long time, Pittsburgh...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Show Preview - Dope Body - Garfield Artworks - 6.20.12 - Concert Preview

Baltimore based noise rock band Dope Body will be performing at Garfield Artworks this Wednesday, 6.20. They are touring behind their new LP Natural History that was released via Drag City. It's their sophomore record from the four piece that shows them expanding their sound with hyperactive pop.

From their press:

Dope Body, Baltimore, MD's four-headed beast, fire their second salvo, Natural History, on May 22nd. Borne in 2008 from the dance-friendly confines of the city's Wham City scene, this unclassifiable heavy ventured out into the night to find more like-minds, but came back empty-handed - i.e., they stand alone. Evolving from blasting three-piece to blistering four-piece, they enjoy writing their own songs, touring endlessly, having fun and pummeling basement parties with a gleeful, wide-eyed fanaticism that the more reasonable among us might mistake for insanity (it ain't entirely so). Dope Body writhe under their own influences and experiments, swinging from gutterish sludge-punk to snake charmer-on-fire within the confines of a single tune. Rather than compare their ferocity to another contender, just know that Dope Body is punk spelled other-wards and standing on its hands, with riffs descending like blood rushing from your feet to your head, then trickling down the drain.

Dope Body released their LP debut Nupping [Hit Dat/Hoss] in 2011. Natural History is their first release on Drag City.

Show begins at 8p with and will be at Garfield Artworks

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Show Preview - Sharon Van Etten - 6.22.12 - Schenley Plaza - Concert Preview - Pittsburgh

Sharon Van Etten just recently made a stop in Pittsburgh less than two months ago playing at the Carnegie Lecture Hall. She put on fine performance which will probably make our top 10 shows at the end of the year. You can read the review here. Next Friday you have the opportunity to see her for FREE at WYEP's 15th Annual Summer Musical Festival at Schenley Plaza. Not only will she be performing, but also locals Donora, Great Lake Swimmers and Dr. Dog. Quite the lineup (if you don't plan on attending Modest Mouse at Stage AE).

From our previous preview:

Sharon Van Etten will be playing next Saturday at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland brought to the city by the good people at the Warhol Museum. She is touring behind her third studio album, Tramp, which has received praise via the blogosphere along with the mainstream press. The LP was released in February of this year on Jagjaguwar Records featuring producer Aaron Dessner of The National. The album is compilation of an individual up’s and down’s in life with visions of death and love. The songs are easily identified by people across the board; they are honest, sincere and relate to everyday experience giving her a wide fan base that has developed over the past several years.

Part of our review from Carnegie Lecture Hall:

Van Etten's music is often melancholoy, with lyrics based on an unkind lover or scorned follower. She channels that painful ache from love gone awry onstage with an honest and fluid delivery. The singer was front and center supported by a four piece backing band that allowed her to be the focus of the performance. Often demonstrating her skills, SVE was able to bounce from one instrument to another with no trouble. 

Find more information about the show here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Modest Mouse - Stage AE - 6.22.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Modest Mouse will be playing next Friday, 6.22 on the outside venue at Stage AE. This band really doesn't need much of a preview as they have been creating rock gems since early 1993. Their most recent release was back in 2007 titled We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Since then, they have been playing a handful of shows performing new material sporadically. It has been rumored that Big Boi (Outkast) was working with the band assisting in producing their new album as far back as April 2011. The new album has had no official release date yet, but is said to be sometime this year. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us at with your name to enter. Thanks to Stage AE for providing!

From their bio:

Modest Mouse is an alternative rock band which formed in 1993 in Issaquah, Washington, United States. The band's original lineup consisted of guitarist Isaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green and bassist Eric Judy. Since being signed to Sony's Epic Records in 2000, Modest Mouse has attained significant popular success with songs such as "Float On" and "Dashboard." The band's current configuration is Isaac Brock (vocals, guitar), Tom Peloso (strings, horns, bass, keyboards), Jim Fairchild (guitar), Eric Judy (bass), Jeremiah Green (drums) and Joe Plummer (drums). Plummer has recently become the new drummer for The Shins. Brock came up with the name "Modest Mouse" when he read the Virginia Woolf stream of consciousness essay The Mark On the Wall in which the author described the working middle class as "modest mouse-coloured people" Brock frequently moved around with his mother when he was a child.

In 2005, multi-instrumentalist Tom Peloso, who already played various instruments on Good News For People Who Love Bad News, officially joined the band. In 2006, Johnny Marr, former guitarist forThe Smiths, became an official member of the band. On March 20, 2007, the band released their fifth album, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. Four singles were released from the album: "Dashboard", "Missed the Boat", "We've Got Everything" and "Little Motel". The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. James Mercer of The Shins provides backing vocals on three songs. In 2009, they released No One's First and You're Next, an EP of unreleased songs from around the time Good News and We Were Dead were recorded, and two songs that had already been released, "I've Got It All (Most)" and "King Rat". The video for King Rat was directed by late actor Heath Ledger. In 2009, Johnny Marr left the band and was replaced by Jim Fairchild, formerly of Grandaddy. The band performed at several festivals throughout 2009 and 2010, including the main stage of the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2010. The band is currently recording their sixth album. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.

The gates open at 6:30p on with show beginning at 7:30p. Tickets are $39 and can be found here

Monday, June 11, 2012

Show Preview - Now, Now - Stage AE - 6.15.12 - Concert Preview - Pittsburgh

Now, Now will be performing this Saturday, 6.15 at Stage AE opening up for Fun. The band recently released their second LP entitled Threads via Chris Walla's (Death Cab For Cutie) Trans-Records Label. The three piece is only a few years out of high school, but have a talent for composing tight pop gems centered around emotional angst. We have featured this band several times while interviewing them on a couple of occasions here and here. The album was produced by Howard Redekopp who had previously worked with Tegan and Sara, An Horse and New Pornographers. Threads forms a sprawling sonic endeavor that showcases the bands incredible growth as songwriters and musicians.

From their press:

This past June, Now, Now, a trio composed of Cacie Dalager (Vocals, Guitar), Jess Abbott (Vocals, Guitar), and Brad Hale (Drums, Synth) packed up their van and drove 1800 miles across North America to record with Redekopp in Vancouver, BC. Beyond the geographical shift, the recording felt miles removed from their full-length debut Cars. Released in 2008 prior to Abbott joining the band, Cars saw the fresh out of High School Dalager and Hale traveling the United States non-stop and finding their way onto European arena tours. Through word of mouth and constant touring, Now, Now (formerly Now, Now Every Children) began building a support system of fans and friends, including Maine native, Abbott. Hale and Dalager quickly became fans of the music Abbott was making in other bands; “It was kind of funny because she and I used to make jokes about how in an alternate universe we would probably be in a band together,” recalls Dalager. “We had a practice where she played for us the parts she had written for songs off Cars, recalls Hale. It was apparent from those sessions Abbott could bring something to Now, Now. “Her guitar work is amazing,” says Dalager, “and just adding another creative brain into the mix was refreshing for us.”
It was during this time another relationship formed during the years following Cars began to grow. Chris Walla, guitarist/producer of Death Cab for Cutie, had taken an interest in the band’s music. “From the very first time we had contact with him,” explains Hale, “he was always excited and positive about things.” Support from an artist they admired musically and personally proved inspiring to Now, Now. At SXSW 2011 Walla came to each of their shows, helped them lug gear and even talked a police officer out of giving them a parking ticket. With mutual admiration all around, it was natural for Now, Now to sign to Walla’s Trans- Records. “In working with Chris and his label,” explains Abbott, “we’ve been given a lot of freedom to make sure we’re happy with the music. We run at a slower place as a band, and he’s not pushed us, but instead given us our time. It’s nice to have that from somebody who could probably sign any number of bands, and make them do what he wants.”

From our previous interview with the band:

With two females making up the band do you ever get a bit of grief from industry types (mgrs, venues, etc) about your knowledge about how things work? Ever feel they treat you on a different level?

Oh, for sure. Usually when we enter a venue people don't even believe we're in a band. We probably look like little fan girls so they always have to check our passes. We also have very bashful personalities and are very short. These things combined set us up for a lot of people questioning us.

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

The three of us have very different writing styles. Usually one of us will come up with a general skeleton of a song, and then each of us goes through it and adds our own style and ideas. On the upcoming record, the three of us have each written lyrics and music. 

Show is at Stage AE and begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Show is sold out so good luck in finding a ticket.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Nada Surf w/ Waters - Stage AE - 6.20.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Stage AE will be welcoming indie rock legends Nada Surf next Wednesday, 6.20. The three piece are touring behind their first LP in four years The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy. The new album is a departure from previous with the band letting lose in the studio to bring that live sound and energy. The songs blister with upbeat tempos and strong hooks showcasing vintage indie and brit pop sound. Opening for NS is Waters who we featured this past December when they opened for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Mr Smalls. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us at with your name to enter. And thanks to good the folks at Stage AE for providing.

From their press:

Stars is Nada Surf’s first album of new material in almost four years. After touring 2008′s acclaimedLucky, they released 2010′s palindromically titled If I Had a Hi-Fi, an album of covers of some of the band’s favorite musicians, like Kate Bush, Arthur Russell, Bill Fox and the Go-Betweens on their own label Mardev. They originally approached it as a quick, fun project, but quickly threw their all into it, majorly reinventing the songs, making the most of the studio and playing with typical passion, brains and heart.  Chris Shaw came in to record and produce. Shaw, who’s made records with the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Super Furry Animals and Wilco, had mixed Nada Surf’s indie hit “Always Love,” impressing the band with his quick and expert work, not to mention his sense of humor. They recorded on a strict schedule — in fact, things were so tight that Caws finished his last vocals just 30 seconds before he got in a taxi to catch a flight to London.

Sure, the songs are introspective and yet on songs like “The Moon Is Calling” and “Clear Eye Clouded Mind,” and “No Snow on the Mountain” the outer world supplies a lot of the imagery this time, as well as the profound title, which is a saying of Caws’s father, a noted philosophy professor. Instead of self-analysis, songs like “The Future” feel more like a voyage. Some feel unconscious: “I like the lines ‘bring me up / deliver me out/ take me to the door/ I’m not running anymore,’” says Caws of “The Moon is Calling,” “because on a certain level, I had no idea what I was talking about, but I felt ecstatic making it up.

From our interview with Waters:

You went back to Oslo to flesh these songs out with other musicians. Why Oslo? And then record in Dallas?

I knew I had some amazing musicians to work with in Oslo that could really help bring this project to life. Nikolai (my guitarist) had done a tour with Port O'Brien, and I knew I worked with him well. And two of his best friends happened to be an amazing drummer, and an amazing bassist, so it really just fell into place.

In the bio it mentions that this is the first time you experienced seasons and this had something to do with your writing process. Is this accurate?

Yes. Growing up in the central coast of California, its pretty much always "hoodie" weather. I never even thought about buying a coat or a jacket throughout my whole life. To be all of a sudden immersed in Oslo and New York, with their very noticeable seasonal differences definitely makes it easier to mark the passage of time, and you grow to appreciate the warmer weather much more. The seasons made me feel further away from home, and distanced myself from the cozy California scene that made me better able to reflect on what I was leaving behind.

How was working with producer John Congleton? What made you choose him? What did he bring to the table that you weren’t expecting?

He was amazing to work with. He kept things raw and focused. He distrusted any effort to tidy things up or make things pretty sounding. He made me proud of the imperfections of my voice, and really pushed me in ways that helped make the record be honest.

Show begins at 8p with tickets only $17 which can be found here

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Local Artist Spotlight - Andare - June 2012 - Local Artist

Our feature spotlight for the month of June is the band Andare. Lead man Shaun was kind enough to answer our normal local band questions. You can also find their music streaming throughout the interview. Also find links to their sites at the bottom. 
How did the band come together? Were you all friends that went to school?

Ironically I (shaun) had just moved back from Austin Texas, at the same time as kris's band Bought In Blood had just broken up. Kris and i had been childhood best friends, and he threw the idea out there to start something once i had told him about my failure in texas. we both had a common thought that if we were going to do this, it had to be very different sounding and big, the kind of big where all of your chips are in this pot.

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

Definitely dark, ambient, and a stray from typical. The EP 'The Mechanical Sunrise' was written from a very nostalgic and heart torn feeling, and evoccs a more dreading kind of emotion the closer you listen. We're actually not big fans of todays metal genre like we used to be, so we take a lot of influence from outside our genre from what we think is a more creative musicianship.

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

All of us are from Pittsburgh, families as well. We have an aspiration to move as a band though, it would be awesome.

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

It is a heavily anticipated full-time, but for now there are a few expenses needed before we can do that. Full time is the plan though, and we're very anxious to get to that point

Do you have day jobs?

All of us but myself, but in exchange i do a lot of promoting and artwork for us

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

For this EP kris would write guitar and drum parts and I would work over some parts with him. the lyrics were written myself, and jordan will tweak the drum parts with his style. We're actually starting to change that for the next writing though, kris will do some vocals, jordan will write more himself, and we're going to jam a little more than we did on this recording. Before we were a four-piece, we had a second guitarist and it was a little difficult to have so many hands in the cookie jar, but we're more connected now.

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

Are goals are easily to never stop writing music, and definitely get far with our art. The easiest thing with us is to unify over this goal. We would especially love to accomplish playing a waken festival in Germany, hahaha but we have a lot of work to do for that one! We would love to have the help of a label, but we're mostly concerned with being self sufficient with everything we do in writing our best music possible and trying to get better tour opportunities.

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

The most important thing is your music, for sure. Nothing gets you anywhere if your music just means the world to you, what band can say their music doesn't? You really have to craft it from the most artistic parts of your heart, just the way a painter would never paint someone else's painting with just a few alterations. We're big believers about the power of writing original music, and we stress to other bands how your music is the true value in why you're here. Never forget that

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

National touring is next on the list, regionally is what we are currently doing while we save money. It's funny how money is always an obstacle for most bands, but we anticipate being able to leave our jobs for a national touring schedule for now. See you soon cali ;)

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

Without doubt.

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

We feel we don't fit in with other bands a lot of times with how we view our music, and the direction we want to take our music in. It might seem silly, most people think all heavy bands should play shows with any other heavy band because they're all the same, but that's exactly why we don't want to. We see ourself in a more specific direction and it can just get hard to get the right bands by your side. In Pgh, there is a lot more awareness rising against pay to play as well, which is a constant issue with some of the venues and promoters, making it hard to do all of the things necessary to play a show. We think this is one of many reasons why Pittsburgh's music scene struggles

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

If you lift up the right rocks, there are some really good bands, with some really talented musicians that deserve a lot more credit than they receive.

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

We enjoy the Blue Violate Cafe, their promoter Jeff is fair guy and runs things from a band member perspective. We'd like to see more venues pop up in pittsburgh in the future

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Local Artist Spotlight - Electrik Emily - May 2012 - Local Artist - Pittsburgh

We missed a month for our local spotlight due to being out of the country, so we are making up for it now. Our feature spotlight is on Electrik Emily for the month of May. Emily was kind enough to answer our normal barrage of questions. You can also find her music streaming throughout the interview. Also find links to her sites at the bottom.

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

Well, being a solo artist, haha, I am THE band. But I wasn’t always a solo artist. My first band was back in highschool. I wanted to be in a band, a rock, all girl, don’t mess with this, band. I saw the power that bands like Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Pearl Jam had, and I just wanted to make that kind of music. So, I made friends with 3 other girls who were interested in the same thing. Amazingly, we all went to the same highschool…they were just a grade or two below me. And it was magic! The band Midnight Peace was born. None of us knew how to play a guitar or drums when we started, but six months later, we had our first festival gig in front of a few thousand people. And we weren’t too bad either! Nothing feels quite like that first band. I think all musician’s have a special place in their heart for their first band or gig, you know? But that band, I think we were riot grrrls, and none of us knew it. It was long over by the time we started jamming. But doing it yourself, DIY, making our own flyers, t-shirts, websites, you name it. We had a hand in it all. We all idolized The Runaways before they were reintroduced to everyone, Pat Benatar, Ozzy, Def Leppard, all before it was cool to like the 80s and glam metal again. Well, when college rolled around we all went our separate ways. We still stay in touch, and all have our own projects now, but I was lucky and fortune to have such a positive and fun group of chics to play with.

After that band, I bounced around a bit. I was in a hardcore band called One Last Fight, and well, just couldn’t get into it. I tried doing some acoustic music (a duo called Exit Only) with a fellow college friend but it just didn’t have the same feel. I was also in a classic rock cover band for a while, but needless to say, didn’t appreciate being considered the token chic-accessory in the group. When I moved out to the west coast, I tried getting something together while I was in Oregon. I found a vocalist and a drummer playing lo-fi, fuzzy tunes. But I don’t know. Maybe it was the bit of a perfectionist in me, or just wanting to have my hands in all parts of the music making process that I decided to go solo. Since 2007, I’ve written, recorded, and produced all my own material. I moved to Seattle, worked with the Rock Camps, Djs, and a record label, and now, find myself back eastside in PA. It’s like I’ve come full circle.

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

Like Joan Jett & Cyndi Lauper had a love child. Haha. Maybe. Grit ‘n Glitter Rock. Rust-Belt Glam. There’s a new genre mashup created every day! We’re in the midst of a music retromania, so, it’s hard to talk about my music without referencing other artists, and then, everyone else comparing and referencing them to you instead of having an original critical thought about how you sound. It’s not like I’m trying to imitate, or be something I’m not, but I feel like my style is very specific to the late 80s and early 90s. A little glam-metal, a little dance, and a little grungey riot grrrl. Maybe it was the music I was hearing in the womb, and I’m channeling that, I don’t know. Ha! It’s just the style that I am write. Big choruses, big sound, big guitars. And big on meaning, and making it count.

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

Yes! I grew up in the Johnstown area and my family is still here. I was the sojourner, the one who traveled, went abroad, and braved the “big city” or cities as they say. Portland, NYC, DC, Seattle….concrete jungle baby!

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

Oh, doesn’t every musician and artist wish their craft was their full time gig? I don’t really know, at least part time I’d say, a little less right now since I’ve finished my latest album and now I’m doing the PR part. I’m always thinking musically, doing PR for myself, updating the site, tweeting, facebook, finding new contacts, writing new songs, lyrics, planning the next thing I will do. So, while I’m not getting paid a full time salary, music is always at the forefront of my thoughts and plans. I think musicians today, especially DIY artists, can never turn off unfortunately. We always have to be on, alert, creating, and marketing ourselves. There’s always been a ton of work to do as an indie artist, but I think with social media and our digital culture, there’s a lot more expected of you as far as producing non-music related content. I don’t mind too much. If someone approaches me and wants to make an “Electrik Emily” fragrance line, I’d be game. Ha. Sure, I’d like it to be a full-time thing. It’s one of the few things I can do full time without feeling empty inside.

Do you have day jobs?

Oh yes. Currently, I do some freelance web design and blogging. And some office work as well. Nothing I went to college for, haha, but isn’t that the story of anyone under 30 right now?

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

I start with lyrics. And they have to be written down on paper, with a fountain pen. I don’t quite know why. It doesn’t feel right typing them to start. I’ll pen the lyrics, usually at night, sometimes I’ll even wake up in the middle of the night and go “Holy shit!” and scribble something down before it’s lost. That’s how the song “Fat Grrrls” came about. It was in bits of paper scribbled down in the middle of the night. The thing with my lyrics, once they are down, everything about the song is contained in those lyrics. When I look at then, read then, play them back in my head, I hear all the other parts. The kick drum, where the cymbals crash, solos, fx, riffs, it’s all there. It’s rare that I’ll start a song with a guitar riff or synth part. Usually, the words come first, then, it all comes together from there.

Once the lyrics are down, I’ll pull the rhythm guitar part out, the bass line, then any guitar riffs and synths. Then I use FL studio to map out the drums. If I was coordinated enough, I would record the drums live….perhaps next album!

I usually don’t practice my songs very much before I record them. I’ll play it in my mind a thousand times, practice them a handful of times, then, hit my recording studio. It’s not out of laziness, or anything like that, but as a way to capture that energy a song has when it’s fresh and new. And when I record, I don’t slice and chop my parts. I do complete takes, at the minimum at least complete verses and choruses. If I mess up, or don’t like a take, I’ll start from the beginning. I mean, you only get one take on stage when you’re live, so I feel like albums should have that aura as well.

Song inspiration seems to come from conflict for me. Internal, external, something on edge. If I’m perfectly comfortable, it’s like I’ve got writer’s block. Not that I want to have something bad happen to me, haha, or I’m not happy, I’m probably the most chipper, slightly bitter person I know. I’m super gullible. But my songs seem to come from an undying angst, the need to pump my fist, dance, fight, demand some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, dig into that part of me that will never get broken, even when other parts of me are.

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

Goals…..hmmm. Well, I’d love to keep putting out an album every other year or so. Get a few thousand facebook/twitter fans. Get some more airplay on PA radio stations. And tour eastside, bars, the summer festivals, you know. And revive rock and roll to its former glory! Simple stuff. Oh yes, I’d want to be signed to a label, indie or otherwise. They’re still the gatekeepers, they still have a wealth of resources and contacts that help get an artist attention, fans, and the things they need. I think artists are much more savvy when it comes to labels now, and the relationship can be much more mutual and less-screwing over. Less bad romance, if you will. Now sure, you don’t need a label to get attention. Youtube has spawned plenty of superstars, same with The Voice and Idol. But most artists, even if they get huge via social media, still sign to a major label. It seems that only after being with a major, and building a fan base do some artists go indie or create their own labels. We still need labels, I’ve work at one. And I have no problem with the services and common resources they provide.

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

I’m not going to give you the usual “stay true to yourself” line or the “don’t give up” lines. Seriously, we’ve all heard that and we know. That’s not practical useful advice on how to actually make it. Advice…. well for starters, use what you got. Don’t think you need to buy that thousand dollar guitar, or expensive software to be creative. Use what you have, make it count. It shows more about you, using what you have to make music, rather than footing 10,000 grand on a mix. Sure, maybe later you can do that, but don’t feel as if you can’t because of some entry-level barrier. DIY with yourself. Don’t be afraid to just start something. The hardest thing and the toughest critic is often yourself. It makes you a better artist, but don’t let yourself stop you from even taking the first step. Two, start building a contact list of bloggers, magazines, radio stations, websites, podcasters, ect. Make a spreadsheet with all this info, their names, addresses, emails, websites, what they are looking for. Then, when you have your album, or you want to book gigs, you’ll have this massive list you can begin to email. And make it personal. Make it honest. And three, know you are a brand. Yes, you are an artists, and your craft is pure…..blahhh..blahh.. but what I mean is realize you are not just selling your music, or yourself, but often times an entire idea, concept, lifestyle, philosophy with what and how you do it. Know that about yourself, you’ll then know how to market yourself and find your niche so you can begin to gain the attention you want. Plus, a little analytics software helps too.

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

I’ve played in Portland, Seattle, Jtown, but it’s been a while since I’ve played regionally around here. Since I’m back in town now, I’d like to stay regionally. Build on that fan base here. I know the youth around here needs that outlet, needs the release that only rock can bring.

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

Well, the rock and hard rock scene seems to be more entrenched here than it is in Seattle. Seattle is very indie, if you don’t have that look or sound, it’s very hard to get a gig. And I’ve talked to other rock and hard rock bands there, and they all feel the same. But here in the ‘burgh, I feel like either due to the area, or because the population skews a bit older, all of the rock that influenced me is still popular and that style is something people still seek around here. I’ve just begun planning and contacting local establishments and such for booking, so I will let you know!

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

I don’t know if this is specific to Pgh, but as a solo hard rocker, the fact that my backing band is my laptop has quite a different feel. I’d love to have a full backing band, but I haven’t found the right people quite yet. So, to play this style of music usually defaults to stacks of amps, big drum sets ect, and I feel at times not having that is a barrier for me. It makes my job harder as a performer to get that energy on stage and project that to the audience. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it, but it’s a different feel and a way of being. And as a female hard rocker, there is the tendency to focus on my appearance, or advertise me on a “ladies” night, ha, or make some sexual overture on flyers or what not. It gets old. I mean really? If I hear “you play pretty good for a girl” one more time I just might break my mic over your head. Seriously. I’m not the groupie, or girlfriend, I am the band! 

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

I think the fact that rock is still very popular here helps a lot. I also think that while we don’t have a booming youth population, I think that breeds a fierce loyalty with fans here once you have them. They need things to do, and music is the outlet. It’s mine, and will always be. So, sure, the glitz of other places may not be obvious in Pgh, but underneath it all, there is a passion for rock, and people who live and breath it here. The grittiness and history of this area shines through and gives artists an opportunity where they may not otherwise. There are not as many musicians trying to make it here in comparison to NYC or Seattle, so you have a better chance to stand out and make your mark.

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

Will let you know on this one!

Show Reminder - Girl Talk - 6.9.12 - Stage AE - Pittsburgh

Just a reminder that Girl Talk will be bringing his set to Stage AE's outdoor theater this Saturday, 6.9. The Pittsburgh artist is performing his latest local show after opening Stage AE last year for two nights. His new stage is sure to amaze as it did last year.This show is on the verge of selling out, so get your last minute tickets now here.  From his press:

Celebrating 10-plus years of sample-obsessed production and relentless touring, Gregg Gillis returns with All Day, his fifth album as Girl Talk, and his most epic, densely layered, and meticulously composed musical statement to date. Continuing the saga from the previously acclaimed albums, Night Ripper and Feed The Animals, Gillis lays down a more diverse range of samples to unfold a larger dynamic between slower transitions and extreme cut-ups. With the grand intent of creating the most insane and complex ³pop collage² album ever heard, large catalogs of both blatantly appropriated melodies and blasts of unrecognizable fragments were assembled for the ultimate Girl Talk record (clocking in at 71 minutes and 372 samples). 

Since the release of Feed The Animals, things have flourished for Girl Talk. He's played almost 300 shows and hardly taken a full week off from hitting the road. He's playing even larger venues and making even more of a spectacle -- he's employed a small crew of toilet paper launching stage hands, who also propel confetti, balloons, and inflate oddly chosen props into the audience. For the New Year's Eve show to ring in 2010, a team was hired to build a life-size house, with attention to fine details, on the stage at Chicago's Congress Theatre. Described as the craziest house party ever, Girl Talk continues to please live audiences as the mass of sweaty bodies at his shows continually grows. Touring highlights from the last couple of years include the Vancouver Olympics, large festivals such as Coachella, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, V-Fest, Sasquatch, Rothbury, Monolith, Planeta Terra, and trips to Australia, Japan, South America, Europe, and Mexico.

Make sure to check our previous coverage of Girl Talk shows here and here

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Bowerbirds - 6.13 - Mr Smalls - Pittsburgh - Show Preview - Concert Preview

And we are back from an extended vacation with our first post of June. Next Wednesday, 6.13 the Bowerbirds will be playing at Mr Smalls. They are touring behind their third album, The Clearing, a much more ambitious production than their previous output. The Raleigh, NC duo are known for their folk sound, however, this LP approaches diverse instrumentation with organs, trumpets, violins being utlized. The new sound is courtesy of Brian Joseph (Bon Iver's engineer) who produced a more polished, vibrant record. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, to enter just email us at

From their press:

The Clearing is the third album by the Bowerbirds, and as is often the case for bands that have found steady success, they had more time and better resources to make it. This is a bigger record, then, with bolder sounds and a broader scope. "Tuck The Darkness In" surges in its final two minutes with a wall of electric guitars and drums. "Hush" plays hide and seek with restless vibraphones, pianos and drums, Beth's voice again providing a core of resilience in an otherwise ominous atmosphere.

Thing is, these songs don't cede to the increased production demands. The guitars and strings, codas and bridges simply make these thoughts more urgent, more vital and more necessary, but not one bit less permanent. Though "Walk the Furrows" is more complicated than anything the Bowerbirds have ever recorded, the kernel of the song--a new creed for retrenched domesticity in a world flooded with temptation and distraction--feels like bedrock.

The Clearing is more than a third record for the Bowerbirds. Between 2009's Upper Air and this one, Beth nearly died after a mysterious illness that put her in the hospital. They rescued and adopted a dog that ran beneath their tour van's tires. Beth and Phil even ended their long relationship but began it again after realizing that, despite their own shortcomings, they didn't want to be with anyone else. Mostly, though, they returned to their cabin in the woods of North Carolina to nest--to make soup and walk dogs, to make art and write songs, to realize that this was their life and find contentment in it.

The show begins at 8p with tickets only $15. More information on the show can be found here.