Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Infantree/w Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Interview - 10.9.12 - Petersen Event Center - Show Preview

Infantree will be opening for Neil Young and Crazy Horse Tuesday, October 9th at the Petersen Events Center. The quartet just recently released their new LP Hero's Dose this past June on Vapor Records. The The young 20-somethings play old souls, hybrid of garage psychedelia, folk and pop that’s based on meticulous craft rather than fuzzy production. The band was kind enough to give us an interview an anticipation of their upcoming show. They are also kind enough to offer a ticket giveaway to the show. As usual, just email us your name at to enter. 

You just released your second LP Hero’s Dose. How did this record differ from your first? What were you attempting to accomplish with this record?

On Would Work we changed instruments a lot more from song to song, for instance Don and I (Matt) would switch between bass and guitar and keys, whereas in Hero's Dose we don't really switch. There's also more electric instruments and MIDI on the new album. We also recorded it to 192khz, which is a little over 4 times as much data sampled per second as normal CD quality (44.1khz). Normally we would record at a lower rate like 98khz, but advances in technology make 192 the highest "resolution" that's digitally possible. We recently had an opportunity to listen to some old Aretha Franklin recording that were re-mastered at 192 and it literally felt like we were in the studio listening to it live. Also Hero's Dose is the first album with a song written by all three singers (What You Wanna Do), we actually wrote and recorded it in the studio at about 3am....and then fell asleep.

We wanted to make a more focused album than the previous ones in terms of the arrangements and lyrical content. We also made a point of being more involved with the recording process. With Would Work, we had a group of songs but not really an idea of what direction we wanted to go when it came to recording. We were also not used to being in a professional studio with the first album. I guess you could say we were a little nervous about the whole process. By the time we recorded Hero's Dose, the studio felt a little more like home, and we felt more comfortable making decisions about what we wanted or didn't want.

How did you all get tabbed to open for Neil Young? How does it feel to open for a legend in substantially larger venues? 

We have been signed to Neil's label for the past 2 years, and when we were on tour in May we got a call from our manager at the time saying we were opening for him. He really pushed the idea to our label and helped us seal the deal.

We just feel lucky to be involved with this tour, it's unbelievable.

I read that the band met each other through a ‘community music program’ in Calabasas, CA. What was this place about? Did you share similar interests? 

Where we live in Calabasas and Agoura Hills there really isn't a music scene, it's pretty suburban and there aren't any venues. We rent a practice room from a music store in our area that also gives lessons, and sometimes we play shows there to help cover rent...but thats about it. We drive out to Silver Lake, Hollywood, and Downtown to play shows. We are always trying to be more involved in the scene out there, it's a little tough because we don't live there, but from what we have experienced the people are very supportive of each other's artistic pursuits.

What was it like recording this album with Niko Bolas? How did his work affect your sound? Did you feel like you were all on the same page?

We recorded both albums with Niko, the first time we were just getting to know him but by the second album we were a family. We learn so much from being around him, it's hard to describe how much he has influenced what we do. He has no reservation to say if a take sounds like we are just going through the motions as opposed to discovering it. Sometimes he would pick a take that we would have overlooked because we thought we messed up, later to realize that he was right.

How will you contend with opening for such a diverse crowd with Neil Young? You all are 20 somethings playing to people in their 60’s. Will you do anything different to try and win over this crowd?

We are just going to do our best and play as good as we can. Our fans are pretty diverse as it is so hopefully Neil's fans will like us too.

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?

We think its fun to be able to directly measure progress and to keep in touch with fans. Its great validation if you feel a show didn't go well and then you see a post someone made saying they thought it was good.

The downside can be that sometimes it feels like you are on the computer more than you are playing music. Its a little overwhelming to have a dozen different sites and pages to update.

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?

A strong live show is basically the best way to combat not making money off of album sales. We have definitely been getting more creative with our merchandise, but at the end of the day it all comes down to getting people to the shows. There are a lot of cool outlets like BandCamp where you can put up music and make money off of tracks/ albums directly.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

Our main goals are to better our live show and to finish this Neil tour successfully. Hopefully make some money one day.

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

We love playing music, and we want to be successful doing something we love.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

We have never been to Pittsburgh before and we can't wait to play for you!

The show begins at 7:30p with tickets ranging from $50 - 150. You can get them here. More information about the band can be found at these sites:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - SSION - 10.5.12 - VIA - Show Preview - Concert Preview

SSION (aka Cody Critcheloe) will be appearing at VIA next Friday, 10.5. The Kansas City, Missouri native, now currently residing in NYC, is touring behind his debut album Bent. He happens to be on the same label as Pittsburgh's very own Wise Blood, one of our favorite artist's. Not just known for his music, Cody is very much a visual artist as well creating/producing his own videos. His music features bouncing punk grooves with trembling synth. And his live shows are a must see event with his band featuring campy stage acts ala Of Montreal. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us with your name at to enter. 

From his press:

Hailing from the upper echelons of Manhattan's downtown scene by way of Kansas City's unexpected art world, SSION is gearing up to tour across the US and Canada this fall. The brainchild of visionary Cody Critcheloe, SSION combines the synth of early 80s New Romantics and 90s avantpop to make lastingly catchy, crude and iconic music for the future. Cody has notably DIY directed dozens of videos for himself as well as others, including Peaches, Gossip, MNDR, CSS and Santigold, replete with over-the-top high concept visuals and theatrics. The energy from these videos is guaranteed to cross over to SSION's live show, but with more emphasis on Cody's visceral musicianship. Sweat, glitter and poppers will undoubtedly fill the dance-charged air.

Show begins at 7p. More information can be found here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Show Preview - Aesop Rock - Altar Bar - 10.4.12 - Concert Preview

Legendary indie hip hop artist Aesop Rock (aka Ian Bavitz) will be appearing at the Altar Bar next Thursday, 10.4. Since the early 1990's Ian Bavitz has been at the forefront of the underground scene residing in NYC during those years, but now living in San Fransisco. He is touring behind his new LP Skelethon released this past April on Ryhmesayers Records. It's his first album in 5 years and his sixth LP to date. The record is dark and dense with melancholy throughout the lyrics and sounds. Featuring songs from musicians as ZZ Top and Kimya Dawson, Bavitz stretches his rhymes and rhythms to areas he has only touched on before.

From his press:

Iconic New York-born, San Francisco-based rapper and producer, Aesop Rock, is joining forces with Rhymesayers to release his sixth studio album, Skelethon, on July 10th 2012. Since the release of None Shall Pass in 2007, we've seen Aesop Rock touring the world, launching online arts outlet,, and collaborating on LPs with Felt, Hail Mary Mallon, the Uncluded and more. Skelethon not only sees the rapper back waxing poetically on his own but also marks his first wholly self-produced effort. While the sounds are familiar, we see Aesop venturing in some exciting new directions with guest appearances from indie rock archetype,Kimya Dawson, as well as Allyson Baker of Dirty Ghosts, Hanni El Khatib, Nicky Fleming-Yaryan, Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz and the Grimace Federation. Aesop's new album follows in the wake of several deep personal losses and highlights subject matter that deals with the sometimes-futile ways people try to cope with serious issues. The cover art comes from Barcelona-based painter Aryz. Skelethon is set to be both a showpiece for his illustrious career and a serious payoff for his droves of ever-patient loyal fans.

Show begins at 7p with doors at 6p. Tickets are $20 and can be found here

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Local Artist Spotlight - Instead of Sleeping - November 2012

Instead of Sleeping is our local artist spotlight for the month of November. The local quartet formed back in 2008 and has previously released two EP's and one LP. They are currently releasing their new EP entitled The Reds, The Blacks, The Grays. The album is built around different emotions from the songs. Red is for the energetic, black demonstrating the darker side and gray for a bit of mix between the two. There will be a CD Release Show this Friday, 9.28 at the Smiling Moose. Doors are at 6p with show beginning at 6:30p. Tickets to the show are only $10 and can be found here. You can find the album streaming below. 

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

For the most part, we were friends from high school except for our drummer Corey. I met Corey at a party that got busted at RMU (this was 4 years ago when we were underage by the way). After we ran and got away safely, he told me he was a drummer. We've been best friends ever since. True story.

Black Light Music Video from Josh Elsass on Vimeo.

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

I would tell them its melodic indie rock. Lots of pauses and dynamics. We draw a lot of influence form Minus the Bear, Manchester Orchestra, and The Dear Hunter.

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

Yes, we are all from Pittsburgh except Corey who comes from Butler PA

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

For the time being, we have only been able to be musicians playing weekend shows. I'm lucky because I am a guitar instructor for my part time job, so technically music is my full-time job.

Do you have day jobs? 

Yes, we have part time day jobs.

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

The song-writing process for Instead of Sleeping is pretty much 100% collaborative. Every band member has brought in a song at one point or another and we all rip into it and tell them how stupid it is. Sometimes somebody brings in something half decent, and we build it up together from there. I write the lyrics.

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

The goal for Instead of Sleeping is to play as many shows as we can, broaden our audience, increase our fan base, and (long-term) have the band become a primary source of income providing a livable and comfortable income for each band member. A label would probably help us with making more contacts, gaining notoriety, and spreading our music faster than we can independently, but we will see if we go that route with the release of our new album.

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

The advice I would give to local acts just starting up is to not burn any bridges with other bands you work with. Everyone really needs to work together, and you can miss out on so many great opportunities if you ruin a relationship with a fellow Pittsburgh band. Also, quit playing in Drop C, B, or even Drop A. It's been done, and you are now 5 or 6 years late (haha).

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

We have toured as far south as Nashville TN, or Greenville SC. As far East as Bloomington IN. And as far North as Rochester, NY or New York, NY. We definitely want to do more touring though.

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

A lot of people bitch and moan about how tough the Pittsburgh music scene is, but I'm not really one of them. We have played in a lot of other cities, and, yes, there are towns that are more receptive to original music, that go out to shows more, have a more diverse range of bands, and pay a lot more money to bands… Okay, Pittsburgh definitely is not as easy to succeed, but I look at it as a positive. If it's this hard at home, then that only further prepares us for tougher towns, tougher shows, and tougher times. We aren't spoiled here is what I'm trying to say here I guess. We have met a lot of very helpful people in this city though, so it's really not all bad.

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

Our two favorite venues would probably be Mr. Small's and The Smiling Moose. We usually go with the moose though because it's right in South Side, pays well, and Drusky Entertainment is pretty easy-going with us on setting up shows there. Best venue of all though is a house show. Nothing beats just setting up at a party, having a bunch of drinks, and going nuts with a bunch of close friends.

More information about the band can be found at these sites:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Show Preview - Cursive - 9.21.12 - Stage AE - Concert Preview

One of our favorite acts is making another stop in the burgh, this time at Stage AE. Cursive will be opening for Minus the Bear this Friday, 9.21. They are still touring behind their seventh album I Am Gemini which was released earliest this year via Saddle Creek Records. The album tells the story of twin brothers Cassius and Pollock, one good and one evil. An unexpected reunion at a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head. This will be Cursive's second appearance in Pittsburgh, most recently at Mr Smalls this past March.

From our previous interview with Tim Kasher:

What made you decide to write an album about a fictional set up conjoined brothers?

It kind of evolved into that. I had loosely planned on writing about conflicting voices in one's heads, it spun out of control from there.

It’s the story of good v. evil from what I have read/heard. Is this something you see as a screenplay?

I had some daydreams of doing other things with this story, but set those ideas aside to ensure the story of the album was told completely. I didn't want it to be a companion piece to other proposed mediums, but rather a story in and of itself.

We had spoken before you had written a couple of more screenplays and were trying to film your first movie. Have you been able to do this? 

I got tripped up a few times in the production aspect of film making, enough times to leave me exhausted. I still write plenty aside from songwriting, but continue to consider it a hobby.

How did writing the structures of these songs compare to your past albums? Was this a much different process from more of ‘personal’ albums?

It wasn't incredibly different, we approached the compiling of songs in the same fashion as we have in the past, the main difference was we sequenced the songs in their correct order before writing the lyrics or recording. This way I was able to write the story linearly from track one to the end of the album. It also gave us a lot more insight whilst recording, knowing in advance which songs went into which songs.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $22 and can be found here.

Ticket Giveaway - Laetitia Sadier - Thunderbird Cafe - 9.26.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Laetitia Sadier will be making an appearance next Wednesday, 9.26 at the Thunderbird Cafe. The former Stereolab member released her first solo album two years ago (The Trip) and just released her followup LP entitled Silencio in July via Drag City Records. On the new album, the French songstress plays meditative acoustic guitar with flute solos with much texture in between. Lyrically the album screams of controversial topics such as the economy and the political landscape today. Her socialist leanings are evident on the LP, questioning and showing her mistrust of our environment, that it comes off more as a political album. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us your name at

From her press: 

Silencio! It's been two years since we took The Trip with Laetita Sadier. Her first true solo album since exiting the bedrooms of Monade and Stereolab, The Trip breathed freshly and deeply as both a personal homage to life's journey and as a grieving process for the separations that are unavoidable within it. Born from a similar, natural need for stillness as well as agitation, Laetitia now delivers her follow-up LP,Silencio - an album exploring the individual connection to a deeper self, placed in a broader environment, in a similarly fresh kind of way. Silencio! That noise preventing your connectivity comes from society - the noise of commercialism and the marketplace overwhelming your ability to cut deeply inward, prohibiting your inner-connections. Silencio may help you understand how to resist the rules of these systems, but only if you listen!

Within Silencio's dynamic song structures, the album features some exciting collaboration: there's a new jammer with former Stereolabber, Tim Gane; and musical drifter-man James Elkington provides writing for two tracks in addition to recording and playing on much of the record. Need some other freaky names? OK! Sam Prekop shows up mysteriously. But that's a story for another time. Guests aside, we're more concerned with the singularity of Laetitia Sadier. That voice, the one that reaches you and wraps you up each time you hear it. Calm, direct. Cool and hot. If you're unable to attain an inner connection with yourself, Laetitia will connect to it for you. Silencio is your human modem.

Show begins at 9p with tickets only $10. They can be found here. More information about Laetitia Sadier can be found here:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - The Devil Makes Three - Mr Smalls - 9.25.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

The Devil Makes Three will be making an appearance at Mr Smalls on Tuesday, 9.25. The band is originally from Vermont but now resides in Santa Barbara, California. The band plays what can be described as folk punk, with a bit of bluegrass, country, folk, ragtime and rockabilly. NPR depicts the music as "whisky-drenched, ramshackle fury". The group has released four LP's, the last back in 2009 entitled Do Wrong Right on Milan Records. 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. 

From their press:

With a slightly punky perspective on vintage American blues, The Devil Makes Three is a breath of fresh musical air on its eponymous Milan debut. Laced with elements of ragtime, country, folk and rockabilly, the critically praised, drummer-less trio – consisting of guitarist/frontman Pete Bernhard, stand-up bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist Cooper McBean – brings forth a genuine approach to acoustic music that is deeply steeped in rhythm. With the goal of being “an acoustic band but to play our shows like a rock show,” the band changed notions of what acoustic music could be. “A lot of it is really calm, and performances are sort of a ‘sit down, don’t talk, don’t move’ kind of an event. Thinking back to the old blues, ragtime and jug band music, it was house music, party music. That was what we wanted to do. And there really aren’t any other bands doing that.”

Following the fall dates, The Devil Makes Three will head into the studio to begin work on the follow up to their most recent full-length album, the critically acclaimed Do Wrong Right. The new record will be released in 2013, but fans of the band who can’t bare to wait will get a chance to hear a good deal of new material live during the upcoming tour dates. The Devil Makes Three have been playing together for over a decade now, first breaking onto the scene with the 2002 release of their debut self-titled album. Over time the band have steadily grown their fan base as they impressed with their live prowess and studio releases. Do Wrong Right, has been described by Under The Radar as a “seamless good time,” and Relix complimented the group’s ability in “taking the primitive components of American folk music and assembling them into post-apocalyptic nostalgia.”

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $13 and can be found here. More about the band can be found at these sites:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Local Artist Spotlight - Low Man - October 2012 - Pittsburgh

Our local artist spotlight for the month of October features Low Man. The four piece 'stoner rock' band has just released their debut EP this month. The band is made up of members Alex Byers, Luke Rifugiato, Jeremy Zerbe and Derek Krystek. Jeremy (bassist/vocalist) was kind enough to answer our normal range of questions of how they formed, favorite venues and advice they would give to other local acts. Below you can find their EP streaming and their sites where you can download the album.

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

In about 2007, I met Luke and Byers when their band The Fingers played the Live Show at WPTS, the University of Pittsburgh's radio station where I worked. Later that year, I asked them to play a house party with my old country-punk band The Bad Faith Compromise in South Oakland, and Luke and I became friends.
Both bands broke up, Luke and Byers started college and I did some traveling after graduation, but when I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2009, Luke and I knew we wanted to start a new band. We started writing songs in my attic in Lawrenceville, not knowing where it would lead. He had been jamming with Byers again, and we started the band together with a drummer named Evan Flaherty. We played together for almost a year before taking a hiatus, and then came back with our new drummer, Derek, who we had met while he was playing with his other band, Sleepy V. It was a match made in heaven.

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

Stoner punk or desert rock. We play punk songs too slow and metal songs too fast.

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

The other three guys are all from Pittsburgh and its surroundings, but I'm originally from Lancaster County and came out here for college.

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

I would say we're as full time as we can manage. Derek still plays in Sleepy V and has his own solo work as well. Byers actually has a music engineering degree from Duquesne and is looking for work with that. Luke and I have kicked around starting a second band but finding a drummer who doesn't already have one thousand projects is tough to do.

Do you have day jobs?

Derek works for a medical supplies distributor, Byers delivers pizzas, Luke works at Uncle Sam's in Squirrel Hill (go say hi!) and I work downtown at the William Penn Hotel, lugging around boxes of potatoes and the like.

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

It sort of depends who is the main writer of the song. I am obsessive about my music and will often come with a nearly complete song with ideas for the drums and guitars and how the whole thing will be structured, but I try to keep an open mind about changes (I've gotten better at that). Luke is better writing as a group, trying out riffs and mumbling over them, seeing where they are going. Lately though, we've been writing everything together with everyone suggesting parts and building the songs really organically. It's the first time I've ever done that and it feels amazing to be that in tune with the rest of your band.

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

Our immediate goal is to get some out of town dates scheduled for November and do a few little weekend tours. We just put out our new EP and so we finally have something to take with us on tour, and right now we're just trying to get awesome blogs like this to help us get it to the ears of people who might like it. Sure, we'd love to all quit our jobs and make music for a living, but we're also pretty realistic. We just have to shift our schedules around to accommodate for our love.

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

Be nice and talk to people. If you've got an opening slot on a show, listen to the other bands. The locals might want to play with you again, and the out-of-towners might want to help you play gigs in their cities in the future. You wouldn't believe the number of bands that just peace out after their sets.

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

The weekend tours we're scheduling right now stretch up to Providence and out to D.C., but if they go well, we'll be heading west and south as well. It's hard to get enough time off work (and take that kind of hit to your income) to do a full tour, but if the opportunity ever comes, we'll see you in Seattle.

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

Pittsburgh is really centrally located in the Mid-Atlantic region, so if you want to tour beyond it, it's really easy. Detroit and Philly are only 5 hours away, and there are plenty of other towns around them that are welcoming to music, whether it's Cleveland or Lancaster or whatever. Even New York is only a few hours more, easily a weekend trip. So the geography of the city is not a problem.

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

There is always a lot of music going on in Pittsburgh, so it can sometimes be difficult to draw new people to your shows. If their favorite localband is playing the same night as you down the street (as they often are), you probably won't see them venturing out to try something new. I also personally wish there were more house venues. It's great to know people like Manny Theiner (Garfield Artworks), Bengt Alexander (Howlers) and Sean Cho (The Smiling Moose) because they bring a lot of great acts through town to play with, but our favorite shows to play are sweaty, cramped basements where the floor is covered in beer. There used to be a big culture of house venues here in South Oakland, but most have dried up as the University has changed in the last decade. It breaks my heart, but there is always somewhere new. We're lucky to have an established place like 222 Ormsby, but we could use more right down in the heart of Oakland so we can party like it's 2001.

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

The best thing about Pittsburgh is how cheap it is. Having day jobs might suck, but at least we each only have to have one. I can't even imagine being in a band in New York, trying to make rent on your two back-to-back shifts and then still scraping together enough cash for a practice space a couple times a month. There is also such an amazing family of music here. We have made so many friends and met so many great bands because Pittsburgh is a small town at heart, and that's awesome for a band just starting out, having friends to support them and bands that want to play with them, even just in a living room somewhere on a Friday night.

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

We love playing at Howlers and Garfield Artworks, because they're like home to us. I can even walk to them from my house. We have also played at Mr Smalls which was a total trip. The first time we ever had lighting effects. But honestly, the best places to play are those basements all over the city, wherever you can find them. They're essential to this city's music scene, whether the city knows it or not. They've shut down house venues we've played in twice, but they'll always come back somewhere else, because that's where music needs to be made. There's no sound guy to pay, there's no cover charge. The guy with the classical guitar is just as welcome as the power trio with full Ampeg stacks. I love it.

You can find more information about the band at these sites:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Metric - Stage AE - 9.18.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Metric will be making an appearance next Tuesday, 9.18 at Stage AE. They are touring behind their latest LP (one of my favorites this year) entitled Sythetica.  The new album was released this past June to very positive reviews from both the mainstream and internet press. The Toronto based band is lead by the most attractive female in indie rock today, Ms. Emily Haines. Her vocals and quiet confidence allows her to be the focal point of any show, mesmerizing a majority of the audience. We featured them here the last time when they played at Mr Smalls. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show courtesy of our friends at Stage AE. To enter just email us at with your name. 

From their press:

Haines first envisioned the word “Synthetica” as the name for a particularly resilient skin-job from Blade Runner, a female replicant who voices an inner monologue of all your human imperfections. “If you imagine a nightmarishly fake version of me as a pop star, that’s her,” she says. “And this record was about me saying, I’m going to give more to the music than ever, but there’s no way I’m going to turn into someone like that.” As she sings on the album’s hard-rocking title track, “We’re all the time confined to fit the mold / But I won’t ever let them make a loser of my soul.”

“Synthetica is about insomnia, fucking up, fashion, all the devices and gadgets attached to our brains, getting wasted, watching people die in other countries, watching people die in your own country, dancing your ass off, questioning the cops, poetic justice, standing up for yourself, sex, the apocalypse, doing some stupid shit and totally regretting it but then telling everyone it made you stronger, leaving town as a solution to unsolvable problems, owning your actions, and owning your time.”

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $29 and can be found here. More information about the band can be found here:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Callers w/ Wye Oak - Mr Smalls - 9.13.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Callers will be opening for Wye Oak next Thursday, 9.13 at Mr Smalls Theater. The band is touring behind their third proper LP entitled Reviver, which will be released this October 9th on Partisan Records. Sara Lucas and Ryan Seaton are the mainstay duo of the project which had roots in New Orleans and now resides in Brooklyn. The group feels this is their most fully realized album to date. 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. Sara was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new album, the album's connection to Gwendolyn Brooks and her connection to Pittsburgh.

Reviver is your third studio LP. How does this differ from your past output?

We were really able to focus on tone this time in a way that we haven't been able to in the past. In the past we developed songs by hashing ideas out in a live setting, whether that was our rehearsal space, sound checks or shows, and then recorded as quickly as possible. With this album, we focused a lot more on sound and tone during the writing process and that is reflected in the outcome of the overall sound of the record. In the end though, it is an album about the songs themselves-and they are less abstract and more personal this time. We felt like speaking of the present instead of reaching for nostalgia. We wanted this album to be very immediate. 

In your bio it states this album was influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks. How did her work influence the album? Lyrically? Aesthetic?

The first song that we wrote together was "Reviver." It was a starting place for the album as a whole. I had been rereading Gwendolyn Brooks' poetry at the time and felt a pull towards her use of language and rhythm. It was very personal for me, and served as inspiration for the rest of the record. Its not as if our songs touch on the communities or subjects that a lot of her poetry spoke of, it was more about "telling my own particular truth as I have seen it," as she once said. That statement in itself was enough to propel the lyrics of the album into a space of present, personal truths and how one makes sense of the world through experience and observation.

Are you the only two that create the music? Or do you bring other players in to assist? How does this work for your live setting?

Ryan and I have always been the primary writers in the band but when others want to be involved creatively we welcome that. Don Godwin, our last drummer, was involved creatively. Keith Souza and Seth Manchester, who engineered and helped produce Reviverand recently joined the band, are helping us translate the sound of the album in a live setting.

This is described as your most mature record to date. Do you think that is an accurate assessment?

We hope that we are growing as writers, musicians and producers. If maturing comes with that, we'll take it.

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

It's incredible that we can constantly connect with others about music and ideas and hear any kind of music in the world. But it is exhausting to use social media- though it's a great tool and helps us as musicians, I think it's always nicer to hang with or meet people in person.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

To tour as much as possible and meet the best people. We can't wait to make the next record.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?
None of us can remember a time when we weren't playing music or completely obsessed with making sound. I can't remember not singing and Ryan can't remember not writing music. I feel like we never really had a choice- we would be so unhappy not dedicating our lives to music. There are too many albums and shows- hard to pinpoint a moment really. Some of the most important albums to us: George Harrison- All Things Must Pass, Carole King- Tapestry, Betty Carter- Finally, anything that The Band ever did, ever. Same with Nina Simone, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Mahmoud Ahmed. Ten years ago I saw Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Etta James two nights in a row in New Orleans. Both of those shows were life-altering for me. I saw Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt perform together when I was 9 and I'll never forget that day. I'll never forget every day that I saw musicians play music when I was living in Ghana, West Africa or watching a Second Line in New Orleans. Or the day I saw Ornette Coleman, Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?
My sister went to school here and my father is from New Castle, so for me, I've known the city my whole life. This is the fourth time Callers will have played in Pittsburgh and it gets better and better every time we return.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $18 and can be found here. More information about Callers can be found at these sites:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - MONO - 9.11.12 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Concert Preview

MONO will be appearing next Tuesday, 9.11 at Mr Smalls Theater in Millvale. They are touring behind their new album For My Parents that will be released on 9.4 on Temporary Residence LTD Records. The post rock band is again using a full orchestra in recording the new LP as they did the last. This is their first studio album since 2009's Hymn to the Immortal Wind. Their music is characterized by guitar driven soundscapes with emotions of both joy and sorrow. The band likes to describe themselves as 'contemporary classic music', but is much more than their backing band. We are please to be offering a pair of tickets to the show courtesy of Opus One Productions. As usual, just email us at to enter with your name. 

From their press:

Japan’s Mono is back with another album of instrumental beauties entitled “For My Parents” and featuring help from Wordless Music Orchestra. “Dream Odyssey” is a taster of what awaits on the album and let’s just say that it’s a sweeping, heartbreaking, beauty that haunts with it’s widescreen cinematic sounds in the same way as the best work of Explosions in the Sky. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, this is a great place to start. They have a wonderful ability to create epic visions and classic orchestrations within the confines of a single song. The forthcoming album is intended as a gift to the songwriters’ parents. In the album’s press release that had this to say about the compositions, ““We hope that this album serves as a gift from child to parent” … “While everything else continues to change, this love remains a constant throughout time.” Highest recommendation for fans of Sigur Ros, Mogwai, and This Will Destroy You. It’s absolutely stunning.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $15 and can be found here. More information about the band at these links: