Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ticket Giveaway -- Copeland at Altar Bar November 13 and July Talk at the Rex Novemer 12

It seems like forever since we ran a ticket giveaway, so we're making up for it with a pair of them: Copeland at Altar Bar Friday, and July Talk at the Rex Thursday:


First up is Copeland at Altar Bar, who are visiting Pittsburgh for the first time since the release of their most recent LP Ixora, their first in six years. In some ways the album is a gift. The band broke up in 2008, did the whole farewell tour and everything. But Aaron Marsh & co reformed last year -- all the original members are back -- and Ixora is the result. 

The guys are in their 30s now, a little bit wiser (presumably), and so its no surprise the album has a more mature and complete feel to it. Allmusic says that Ixora has "the same moody and thoughtful musical approach that marked their best-known work." Absolute Punk gave the album a perfect 10, stating that "quite simply, there hasn’t been a Copeland album as complete as Ixora." Listen to the track "Ordinary" and judge for yourself:



Next up, from Toronto, is July Talk. You can't listen to a single track without thinking, wow, that guy sounds like Tom Waits. In fact, you can't read anything about July Talk without hearing a reference to lead singer Peter Dreimanis's Waits-ian growl.  But what really makes the band unique is that there are two lead singers, Dreimanis and Leah Fay, the latter of which plays the yang to Dreimanis's yin, the light to his darkness, or whatever other dualism you want to use. "It just works," says NPR, calling the contrasting vocal styles "remarkable."

The band plays scowling, rip-roaring blues-rock. Despite only releasing a self-titled LP so far they've already made a name for themselves. They were nominated for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2014 Juno Awards. Their live shows are as raucous and energetic as their music. Check out lead single "Paper Girl"for a taste of what's to come:



To enter, simply email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com and put the name of the show you're entering to win in the subject line. We'll announce a winner the morning of the respective show. Tickets are available online for Copeland for $20 and July Talk for $13

Eisley and We are the City are opening for Copeland; Little Hurricane and Daly Grind for July Talk. 

-- Brian Conway

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Photos from Ghost at Stage AE - September 25, 2015


Swedish metal band Ghost brought their Satanic Mass to Stage AE late last month in support of their new album, Meliora. Exclaim said it best in their review: "Ghost isn't for everyone; they are deliberately, deliciously over the top and unapologetically dramatic, but if you dig their smoke and mirrors, then Meliora is just the indulgence you've been craving."

Check out lead single  "Cirice," then scroll down for some photos from their performance here in Pittsburgh.




Friday, September 4, 2015

NEW MUSIC PREMIERE -- WIlliam Forrest's "Numb/Her"

William Forrest, from Pittsburgh

I like my indie rock with some muscle behind it. William Forrest is a four-piece rock band who just moved to Pittsburgh from Indiana, PA. "Numb/Her" is the band's first single but there's no trace of timidness. This slow-burner packs an EP's worth of highs and lows into just under 5 minutes. It's full of fuzzed out guitars and hefty, plaintive howls -- one of the more mature debuts in recent memory. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen:


Catch them next month at Cattivo when they perform with Nevada Color, The Nox Boys and Emerson Jay October 9. Fingers crossed their new EP will be ready in time for the merch table.

-- Brian Conway

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Herbcraft Interview - Performance Friday, September 4 at Howler's

Herbcraft
When I listen to Herbcraft I feel like I'm listening to one of those Sublime Frequencies releases from another era -- Far-East Psych, 1966-1969. Herbcraft started off as the bedroom project of Matt Lajoie, who now leads a full ensemble. Herbcraft is signed to Woodsist, the great Brooklyn psych label of Jeremy Earl, of the band Woods. They visit Pittsburgh Friday in support of their new LP, Wot Oz

Lajoie answered some questions for us in anticipation of the show:

Pittsburgh Music Report: Your songs have so many layers and textures. How do you begin to go about crafting such soundscapes? What do you usually lay down first?

Matt Lajoie: The first two records were recorded solo, and usually started with a guitar riff as track one and the base of the song. Everything would be built off of that. But the two most recent records (The Astral Body Electric in 2013 and Wot Oz) were recorded with full bands, and mostly tracked live with minimal overdubs. "Au's Nation" was a little different, starting with a bass and Wurlitzer improvisation that we put a couple overdubs on, and "Push Thru the Veil" is the only track with mostly overdubs in the final mix. But in general we prefer to have the final mix be as "live" as possible.
PMR: Did you approach the recording of this new album any differently than previous recordings?

ML: There's always been a big focus on improvisation in the recording process, but this one is definitely the most extreme example. There really wasn't any rehearsal at all, and we scrambled to set up mics as soon as a jam felt like it was something we wanted to remember. They were almost more like rehearsal tapes that we planned on re-recording for an album later on, but once we listened back to the tapes we knew that that was exactly how we wanted our record to sound - capturing the freshness of that moment. The record begins with 14 minutes of the first time the three of us ever played together, and once we heard how it turned out we knew we had our method for recording this album. I had really gotten into stuff like the raw Velvet Underground bootlegs, Les Rallizes Denudes, and live Grateful Dead audience tapes, and those were kind of a guide to how i was hoping this record would sound.

PMR: Besides lending a cachet, what are the benefits of being signed to Woodsist?

ML: Jeremy's been a huge supporter in terms of trusting our instincts and letting us go for it without any intrusion whatsoever. The  freedom he gives us to do whatever feels right is huge.

PMR: Tell us about some of your labelmates we should check out.
 
ML: I was drawn to Woodsist early on with those Raccoo-oo-oon, Woods, Sun Araw, Moon Duo, White Fence, and Blues Control records. MV & EE did a couple excellent LPs with Woodsist around the time Herbcraft started up, and that was a huge attractor to the label for me. The first two Herbcraft records were actually on the sister-label Hello Sunshine, and I can highly recommend all the other LPs in that series (Jovontaes, Polyps, Ryan Garbes). Jeremy's a real curator, and though there's not a specific "Woodsist sound", his vision for the label stretches across microgenres and ties it all together subtly.

PMR: What's the ideal set and setting in which to listen to Herbcraft?

ML: More and more I think a live set is what I'd like people to experience first. But for the recordings, I don't think you get the full vibe unless it's on vinyl and listened to all in one sitting. Turn the lights low, spark some incense if you've got it, and get comfy.

PMR: Tell us about Maine. What's the scene like in Portland? 

ML: It's very small and because of that everyone is pretty supportive of one another. If anything cool is happening in town, everyone knows about it instantly. There aren't too many touring bands that come as far north as Maine, and few Maine bands tour outside of New England, so most shows are by and for locals. There really isn't much worry about fitting into "a scene" here, and most shows have a combo of bands that stretch pretty far beyond a genre bracket.

PMR: Talk about the scorching guitar work on "Bread Don't Rise." How much of it was improvised?

ML: Except for the basic repeating riff, that one's completely improvised. The song was originally in a different key, and it kind of fell flat the first time we tried it. But within a few seconds of playing it in a new key, the groove clicked and we immediately hit "record", so the version on the LP is the first time we ever played it through. It was also intended to be much shorter--three or four minutes--but we wound up riding it out until the tape ran out! I like the idea of something being circular but also constantly moving forward, and I think "Bread" is the best example of that. It keeps returning to the beginning, and we explore a new path forward each time through the cycle. Actually, we once played an entire 30-minute set of just variations on "Bread"!  The possibilities are endless.
 
 
Tickets to the show are just $6. Opening is The Garment District, project of Jennifer Baron, formerly of New York's The Ladybug Transistor (Merge Records). The Garment District are also celebrating their new album, Luminous Toxin, which was released on Kendra Steiner Editions. Also performing is Sagas, aka Pittsburgh singer/wongwriter Matt McDowell

-- Brian Conway

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Yetis at Teenage Takeover 3 - Interview and Poster Giveaway

The Yetis
This Friday is Teenage Takeover 3, featuring local rock bands The Nox Boys, Chase the Monkey, and Pachyderm. The Yetis headline the event. Hailing from Allentown, PA (the city, not Mt. Washington), the band is made up of Christian (lead guitar), Nick (rhythm/vocals), Patrick (drums), and Freddy (bass), four guys situated between high school and college. Their classic surf-rock sound gained the attention of LA's Lolipop Records, who released the band's demos on cassette. We spoke with Nick about the band's new LP, their love for California, and what it's like to party in Allentown.

PMR: First of all, you are performing at "Teenage Takeover."  How old are you guys? Can fans buy you a beer after the show?

Yetis: Yeah! We're really excited to play in Pittsburgh for the first time. I, Nick (bass guitar/vocals), am 20 years old, Patrick (drums) is 17 and Christian (lead guitar/vocals) is 22. Fans can buy us a beer after the show but Patrick and I just can't drink it at the bar! [ed. note, PMR does not condone underage drinking. Buy us beer instead.]

PMR: You've obviously got a west coast, surf-rock kind of vibe going. Is that just the type of music you guys grew up with? 

Yetis: We definitely grew up with The Ventures and The Beach Boys but I think we got into the west coast, surf-rock sound when we were older. It was something that was just funny and exotic to us. We never tried to be a full-on surf-rock band, we just wrote a couple surf/beach songs for fun.

PMR: Who are some of your favorite bands, both new and old. 

Yetis: We love Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, The Sonics, The Beatles, Serge Gainsbourg and Chuck Berry! We really love rock 'n' roll mainly -- some new favorite bands that are around our age are Hidden Charms, Iceage, The Parrots and Twin Peaks.

PMR: I dig that line at the end of "Little Surfer Girl," where it goes "surfing's not the same out in the snow." How long do you plan to stick around in Allentown? Is it inevitable you end up in Cali?

Yetis: Thanks! That line came up because we wrote "Little Surfer Girl" in the dead of winter when it was really snowy. Our practice space has no heating so we were freezing in pea coats and scarves and everything. We like the snow but at the moment of inspiration it was kind of a drag! We want to move out of Allentown as fast as possible -- California is definitely in the cards!


PMR: Do you have a date yet for your debut LP?

Yetis: We are currently demoing songs right now. Hopefully new stuff will come out pretty soon!

PMR: How'd you get hooked up with Lolipop Records, who are way out in LA?

Yetis: We e-mailed them our demos and Wyatt was touring the East Coast at the time. They listened to the demos in the van and told us they wanted to put them out right away. Lolipop has been so great for us, we got a lot of new fans in LA and it's been so cool to see our demo tape part of so many Lolipop cassette collections.
PMR: What do you do for fun in Allentown? Is it pretty much the same as the "Little Surfer Girl" video? What's the music scene like?

Yetis: It's totally like the music video, but the most fun thing for us to do in Allentown is to play music. Patrick, Christian and I get together every morning and we work on songs, go swimming, renovate our practice space and pack up for shows. We play three-hour sets at bars and restaurants in Allentown every week but we drive to New York and Philly to play "real" shows. The cool thing about Allentown is that it's really close to those cities. But speaking of music scenes, we were just in Chicago and we were blown away by the camaraderie and sheer amount of great bands they have there...lots of young, talented garage rock bands supporting each other and playing together. We played with Modern Vices and Liqs. Along with letting us sleep at their house, Alex from Modern Vices invited us to a party at The Orwells' house where they had a band called The Symposium play and all the kids watching the band were freaking out and knew all the lyrics. It was such a great time.


Teenage Takeover takes place this Saturday, August 1, at The Shop in Bloomfield. Tickets are just $5 and available at the door.

We are very pleased to announce that we are giving away a copy of this fabulous Teenage Takeover poster, designed by Joe Mruk, and signed by the bands and Mruk himself. To enter, email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com.  The winner will be announced at the show on Saturday.

-- Brian Conway

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Songwriters in the Cellar, Hosted By Brooke Annibale - Pittsburgh Winery - July 10th, 2015 - Photos



Judith Avers, Casey Hanner, Brooke Annibale & Mark Ramsey - Photo Credit: Long Hong 

One of the ongoing series that the Pittsburgh Winery hosts every so often is the Songwriter In The Cellar series, each hosted by different local Pittsburgh artists. July's edition of these series was hosted by singer/songwriter Brooke Annibale, who was joined on stage by Judith Avers of The Early Mays, Casey Hanner of Donora, and Mark Ramsey of Cold Weather.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Árstíðir - Pittsburgh Winery - July 8th, 2015 - Photos



Árstíðir - Photo Credit: Long Hong

Only days ago at the Pittsburgh Winery, our city was graced by Icelandic indie folk rockers Árstíðir as part of their first ever headlining tour in North America. Straight from their solar-powered tour bus in support of their most recent release, "Hvel", the quintet charmed a captivated Pittsburgh audience. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Christina Perri and Colbie Caillat at Stage AE, w/ Rachel Platten - July 12th, 2015 - Photos and Concert Review




It was a powerhouse of a night for female singer-songwriters at Stage AE Sunday night as Rachel Platten, Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri delighted the Pittsburgh crowd on part of their “The Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too” Tour. As it turned out, many boys did come along this evening.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mondo Drag w/ Electric Citizen, Slow Season, and Carousel - Interview and TIcket Giveaway - July 12, 2015 at Club Cafe


Inevitably, as a person falls deeper in love with a certain genre of music, they will become fans of a particular record label that shares their same aesthetic sensibility. As a fan of psychedelic rock, I'll listen to pretty much anything put out by Subliminal Sounds, a Swedish label that's home to Dungen and The Amazing.

Tuesday at Club Cafe is showcase for RidingEasy Records, based out of Hermosa Beach, California. The label churns out great, heavy psych rock and metal, including a recent compilation of vintage stoner psych, Raw Meat, that drew some press from the AV Club. Electric Citizen, Mondo Drag, and Slow Season are all signed to the label, and all three are in the middle of a nationwide tour together. 

All three play a variation on early-70s hard rock/heavy metal. We were fortunate to have the guys from Mondo Drag answer some questions before the show:


Pittsburgh Music Report: You're on a great label for fans of hard rock and heavy psych.  Did you know labelmates Electric Citizen or Slow Season before this tour?
 

Mondo Drag: Yes, we did know both bands prior to this tour. They have both played in the bay previously, so we've had the pleasure of seeing them and meeting them prior to touring together.

PMR: Out of all three bands, who is the heaviest? 

MD: Well, that is a hard question to answer.  Although we all three share some common musical threads throughout our music, we are very different from each other - this tour package is very well-rounded.  In regards to our heaviness/lightness, we like to display a broad spectrum of aural ideas and dynamics in our songs and live performances. Variety is the spice of life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel.

PMR: Your new album was 5 years in the making.  Why such a long gap between albums? I know that there was a cross-country move, at one point.
 
MD: Yes, there was a significant amount of time between the recording of the album and the eventual release of it. This delay had to do with a number of reasons:  
  1. We could not find a rhythm section to join the band / tour to support a new album
  2. We ended up moving to California in search of said rhythm section
  3. We had to seek out a label to release it
Sometimes you have to let things sit and ferment for an extended time to let unseen flavors appear.


PMR: This album feels more muscular than the previous. Did you go into the recording with any particular goal or vision in mind?

MD: Our sound is constantly developing and evolving and at the time of the writing and recording of the self-titled album, there were definitely bands, films, and approaches to songwriting that were really turning us on. We really delved into these areas of art to extrapolate what it was that made them appeal to us.


PMR: How's the Bay Area psych scene now that Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall have packed up and moved to LA?

MD: It's doing just fine! People get too hung up on a couple of familiar names and ignore the fact that the bay area has an ever-present wealth of artistry.  There are a handful of bands, mostly based in Oakland, that have really served as sources of inspiration for us and in turn have caused us to push ourselves to write better, play better, and step up our game in general.

PMR: Did you pack the acoustics for this tour? I love some of those tunes like "Black River" off your first album -- they sound like something off of Zeppelin 3

MD: I wish we could have brought them along, but on this run there was just no room in our van for them.  We keep getting more synthesizers and seem to amass more "essential" gear with every passing year, but the acoustics have certainly not been forgotten.

PMR: Lastly, Mondo Drag -- Does that mean what I think it means?

MD: Sure it does.
 
 
 
 

Tickets to the show cost $10 and are available via ticketweb. Or, try your luck and enter our giveaway. Simply email your name to pghmusicreport [at] gmail.com and put "mondo drag" in the subject line. We'll announce a winner by 10am Tuesday, the day of the show. 

Local metal favorites Carousel open.  Expect to hear some songs from their soon-to-be-released new album, 2113

-- Brian Conway

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Red Western and Andre Costello at Brillobox, w/ Seafair - Photos - May 29, 2015


Lauren DeLorenze of the Red Western. Photo credit: Long Hong
Who is ready for some great local music this weekend? Deutschtown Music Festival is of course this Saturday. Over 125 Bands spread out over 24 stages. All day long, all of it free. Read a preview over at NEXTpittsburgh: http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/events/deutschtown-music-festival-rocks-northside/

You can catch André Costello & The Cool Minors at Deutschtown at 4pm at the Penn Brewery. Click here for the full schedule.

To tide you over, here are some photos taken at Brillobox of Andre and the Red Western, along with Seafair, from Cleveland. All photo credit/praise belongs to Long Hong (@longqhong on instagram)

RED WESTERN

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Mowgli's at Mr. Smalls, w/ Vinyl Theatre and Handsome Ghost - June 24, 2015 - Photos

Katie Jayne Earl of the Mowgli's. Photo Credit: Long Hong

The last time The Mowgli's came to town they opened for Manchester Orchestra. I had commented that it was an odd bill, given The Mowgli's sunny disposition and Manchester Orchestra's heavy, post-hardcore sound, especially in support of their album Cope. Anyway, about one year later and The Mowgli's were back at Smalls as headliners, with an equally sunny band, Vinyl Theatre, in support. It was an ideal bill for a summer evening. Relive the show with these glorious photos from Long Hong. (Handsome Ghost opened.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Three Rivers Arts Festival Photo Recap

Thanks to Long Hong for these excellent photos from Three Rivers Arts Fest.  From Jenny Lewis, to Alvvays, to a rain-shortened Benjamin Booker -- not to mention a ton of great local acts in between -- the week was a success. How could it not be? It's a week of free music at Point State Park!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Bad Suns at Altar Bar, w/ Nevada Color and Kiev - Photos - May 4, 2015



OK! Hopefully this post signals that I am finally beginning to get caught up on this TREMENDOUS BACKLOG OF PHOTOS that I have. Up first: some killer shots Long took at of Bad Suns at Altar Bar, with support from Kiev and Nevada Color.

BAD SUNS: 












KIEV:










NEVADA COLOR: 












Photo Credit: Long Hong