[The Lookahead is a monthly segment where we get to be all newsy and point out cool stuff going down in the next 30 days or so. We'll have cool Pittsburgh music shows and events, local album releases, and some national releases of interest. This is the good stuff we've heard about. Come back on the 1st of each month for more!]
Spring is here and concert season has definitely sprung. In this April edition of the monthly Lookahead, we have a long list of upcoming concerts and events in Pittsburgh that we’re eager to attend, and we bet you’ll want to join us! We’ll also share our thoughts on some upcoming releases by Pittsburgh bands, and some other records that have recently come to our attention. As always, leave some comments and let us know what we’ve missed!
First, some upcoming concerts/shows/musical events we’re psyched about, in chronological order. Some local bands, some national acts, some rock, some folk, some of this, some of that. You’ll probably find something new and interesting here, and you’ll probably find one of us at these shows. Check our concert calendar for other listings, too!
Jim already gave us a (deservedly) glowing review of the new Good Night, States album, Country/Static. Great songwriting, innovative combinations of acoustic folk and electronic blips, powerful lyrics—just more solid stuff from this band. But hey, who expected anything else? This all-out celebration of the new record will feature singer/songwriter Brett Staggs, as well, and will happen at this gorgeous black-box theater on the North Shore. Not to be missed, folks. Go all out with the VIP package and get some great goodies from the band: a deluxe book about the record, a pre-show hangout, food and drinks, the whole shebang! Stream the album here, and grab an exclusive download of our fave song, “Fog in the Valley”.
Holy moly, another record release this week! We’ve been psyched for this one for awhile, since getting a peek at some of these songs in their outstanding Echo Chamber session. Howlers will be a great spot for these dudes and their foot-stompin’ live show, and it should all be even better with sets from the fun fellas of Meeting of Important People—hard at work on their new album, too!—and the artful rockers of Dazzletine. Stream the whole EP here and pick up a CD at the show!
Iron City has been stepping up their game and supporting some excellent local acts. Thanks to them, this FREE showcase of local talent will feature three excellent bands, with indie rockers 1,2,3 and grungy rockers Pet Clinic and a somewhat rare appearance by pop-rockers Mariage Blanc, who have been hiding out in the studio as of late, we hear. An earlyish show, from 8-11 pm, so you can get out of the South Side right quick and hop over to the Howlers show.
Nik Westman no longer lives here in Pgh, so we think it’s a treat when he swings back to town for a show with The Central Plains. Teaming up with folk rockers Boca Chica and quirky folk-poppers The Wreckids is just icing on the cake.
Carnegie Mellon University’s student-run music mag, The Cut, is throwing a fundraising party/concert and featuring five local bands. Just $5 at the door will get you in for this early show, starting at 6:30pm. You can find more details at The Cut‘s website, too.
This guitar rock trio is already on its fifth album in about as many years, and producer Steve Albini has done a great job of capturing their raw energy and quirky yet grungy melodies on Ugly. You can stream the entire album over at SPIN and download a song below. Two Pittsburgh bands will join them for this show: guitar rockers Sports Metaphors and power poppers Crooked Teeth. We’ll have a more in-depth preview of this awesome show later this week, so stay tuned!
200 Years is a brand new duo project, with Ben Chasny (from Six Organs of Admittance and Rangda) on guitar and Elisa Ambrogio (from Magik Markers) on vocals. This is quite different from Ambrogio’s work in Magik Markers, and is actually really mellow and calm, a kind of pastoral folk tinged with her imagistic and inventive lyrics that “burn color out of the walls and the ﬂoor around her” (a press release phrase, not mine, but I wish it were). Stream their entire self-titled LP on the Drag City website, and download “Solar System” (which has a lo-fi music video) below. Local musician Mike Tamburo will play as Brother Ong on the dulcimer and gong, and Chris Niels will play, as well.
This Pittsburgh psychedelic rock band is releasing another 7″ record on local label Velocity of Sound Records, after a solid split single with West Virginia’s The Super Vacations last year. The two songs on this single find them morphing from their keyboard-heavy, fuzzy drone pop nature into a little more bass-heavy punky psych, and I’m digging these new sounds (and the old ones, too!). Stream the A- and B-sides here and pre-order the vinyl at Velocity of Sound. A handful of other local bands (see below) will join in the fun and loudness, so don’t miss it!
Trampled By Turtles aren’t nearly as violent as their name suggests. Rather, their upbeat folksy/bluegrassy tunes will tug at your ears, and their lyrics will tug at your heartstrings. You can stream their new album, Stars and Satellites (released on April 10), over at Paste Magazine and hear for yourself. Be prepared for an awesome live show at this great-sounding venue, too, and stay tuned tomorrow for a ticket giveaway for this show! Folk-pop band These United States, whose albums full of inventive tunes and story songs I have fully enjoyed, are also playing, and you can check out one of their tunes below.
We’re totally digging Triggers‘ new album, Forcing A Smile, and our pal Raymond from Pairdown gave us a great review of the record, too. You can already buy the album at various digital locations (and stream it below), but this show will celebrate a proper physical release. Super great pop band and all-around nice folks TeamMate will play, as well as awesome psych-poppers Delicious Pastries.
Woods have been at the forefront of the lo-fi psychedelic pop scene over the last few years, and their Woodsist label continually puts out interesting records. Their spring tour with freaky psychedelic folk band MMOSS takes them back to Pittsburgh, and you’ll definitely want to see them, trust me. Chicago band Unicycle Loves You, whose sound fits right in with the others, is also playing. Advance tickets are on sale at Sound Cat, Caliban Books, Dave’s Music Mine, The Exchange Squirrel Hill, and The Exchange Downtown, and you’ll probably want to grab one if you’re thinking of going.
Adam Pierce’s percussion drives the music of his band, Mice Parade (an anagram of his name, hah), but it’s the lush, acoustic atmospherics and quiet, breathy vocals that are the most noticeable, at first. It adds up to an interesting mix of folk and shoegaze, and it’s truly unique. Their records feature a large full band, but this spring tour will have an acoustic trio only, interestingly. Singer/songwriter Kiernan McMullan joins them on tour, and amazing local guitar-picking duo Pairdown will also play. (Be sure to check out the great videos from their Echo Chamber session!)
After our last big blast at the Brillobox, we’re bringing in another mix of local and national bands to showcase. Philadelphia singer/songwriter Zachary Cale draws natural comparisons to a young, plugged-in Bob Dylan, in both voice and talent. He has a keen ear for melodies, and his lyrics seem effortlessly perfect. The intimacy of the Club Café will be a super spot to see him in action, too. Our local pals The Whiskey Holler and Meeting of Important People (playing as an acoustic duo) will join us for some foot-stompin’, stripped-down sets, as well. So much good music! This is gonna be a great one, folks!
The fine folks at the Andy Warhol Museum have really outdone themselves this year with their Sound Series selections. In particular, we’re glad Sharon Van Etten is coming back to town, this time as a headliner at the beautiful Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland. Check out our positive thoughts about her new record, Tramp, in this roundtable review post, and a fun and informative interview we did with her last year, too. What’s more, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak is opening the show with her new solo project, Flock of Dimes. SWEET!
There are a BAJILLION other shows we want to go to, so here are a few that we recommend but just couldn’t fit into the list, with links to buy tickets, when applicable:
Emily Rodgers + Shivering Timbers + Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo / Howlers / Saturday 04.07 / $5
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s + Writer + Sveta Bout / Brillobox / Saturday 04.07 / $12
Pomegranates + Neighbours + The Red Western / Shadow Lounge / Saturday 04.07 / $8
WPTS presents Shabazz Palaces + Expensive Shit + Tracksploitation / Shadow Lounge / Sunday 04.08
Donora + Cheyenne Marie Mize / Brillobox / Tuesday 04.11 / $7
Chet Vincent & the Big Bend + The Hawkeyes / Howlers / Friday 04.14
Fang Island + The Big Sleep / Brillobox / Monday 04.17 / $12
The Dirty Faces + Majeure + Frizz / Gooski’s / 04.20
Lambchop / Club Café / Saturday 04.21 / $15
Passion Pit / CMU Carnival / Saturday 04.21 / FREE
Deer Tick / Rex Theater / Monday 04.23 / $15
Mittenfields + Caleb Pogyor + Elephant / Smiling Moose / Thursday 04.26 / $5
Into It Over It + Bluebird Midwest + Mace Ballard / Smiling Moose / Saturday 04.28 / $10
And don’t forget, Saturday April 21 is RECORD STORE DAY! Huzzah for physical media!
We’ve already mentioned some great upcoming albums by Good Night, States, The Whiskey Holler, Triggers, and Ceiling Stares, but here are a few more new releases by Pittsburgh bands, plus some other releases that slipped by us recently. If you know of something great coming out soon (or has come out recently), let us know via email, and be sure to mention it’s a Pittsburgh band. We’re more likely to listen in
I was woefully unfamiliar with any of Sam Pace’s experimental pop music under the Gangwish moniker until now, and I’m lamenting that. Originally started as a solo project for percussion and synths, these sounds have really flourished into some genuinely cool and strangely addictive pop sounds. Lead track “Mantle Rock” is probably my fave, with its bouncy and warbly beat, but all of those songs are crammed with inventive song structures and sounds, and they avoid that tendency to sound “overfull” and harsh. These are just perfect ditties. Available online (see below), or physically as a cassette/CD pack at Mind Cure and Sound Cat.
This EP was just put online yesterday, so I’ll be giving it another few listens, but at first blush I hear some bluesy, honky/tonk rock with with a bit of brass instrumentation. I like it, and will try to catch these guys live at some point. Speaking of which, they’re playing a FREE show on April 20 at Park House on the North Side, and they’ll also be at Brillobox on April 27.
This acoustic version of a tune from the band’s 2009 release, Desert Gold, gets a new treatment with a beautiful music video. They compiled a bunch of footage from a cross-country road trip in 2010 and cut it together to make an interesting and touching accompaniment to this lovely tune. Dig it, and check out the full-band version of the tune below, too.
If you’re jonesing for some far-out prog rock, these are your jams! The Reformation swirl in some kinda jazzy funk and grunge rock, too, making for a strange but really, really interesting listen. This is probably a hit-or-miss record for most people, but on the off-chance you really dig it, here it is. Recommended track: “Ghost House Funk”. I’m kinda into that one. The record was officially released last summer, but only recently appeared online, whence the delay.
That’s all she wrote! Well, actually, that’s all I wrote. You know what I mean. Here’s to a great spring, starting with a super month of Pittsburgh bands and shows. Stay tuned later today for the second part of this month’s Lookahead, and leave us some comments!