Words by Brendan Sullivan
There’s a lot of shit going down in the next three days. Like, a ton. It’s a good weekend to be in Pittsburgh, that’s for sure. Stream the mp3s right off the bat and read on after the jump for all the details. I guarantee you’ll find something that strikes your fancy.
The Decemberists / Down By the Water
Big Hurry / Gets Me Low
Wifebeater / Can’t Seem to Remember
Pepper Rabbit / Older Brother
Nik and the Central Plains / King of the Bridge
Strand of Oaks / Last to Swim
The Caribbean / Mr Let’s Find Out
Low / Try to Sleep
The Decemberists / Justin Townes Earle / Benedum Center / 8:00 / $37
What can we say about The Decemberists that you don’t already know? They’re indie rock stalwarts at the bright young age of nine-ish, having released six LPs in total on Kill Rock Stars and Capitol, plus a handful of EPs. There’s something perfect about their folk-rock leanings that makes them endlessly listenable, even with an 18-minute song based on Celtic myths and a Shakespeare-esque rock opera concept album. Their most recent album, The King Is Dead (released January 14, 2011), prompts me to make the SAT-style analogy The Decemberists : The King Is Dead :: The Byrds : Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and you’re welcome to read into that as much or as little as you see fit, but understand this: I’ve never met a Decemberists album I didn’t like. I caught them live once in college, in the Crane Wife era, but I was too blissfully unaware of their work to appreciate the experience. Tonight, you can catch them in the beautiful Benedum Center in downtown Pgh and make up for my “missed” opportunity. So yeah, please do that for me, thanks. Oh yeah, you’ll probably love it, too. On tour with them is Justin Townes Earle, an Americana Music Award-winning singer/songwriter. Should be a lovely night of folk tunes, folks.
The Decemberists on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Justin Townes Earle on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Benedum Center on the web: Venue Website, Event tickets, Last.fm event, Facebook event, Phone #: 412-456-6666
Big Hurry / Neighbours / Thunderbird Cafe / 9:00 / $5
We love Big Hurry and you know it. We’ve shared a few pints, they’ve Echoed in our Chamber, and we’ve seen them live a bunch. Here’s your chance to do at least one of those three. They hit the stage at Thunderbird in Lawrenceville, sharing it with the recently-Britishized locals Neighbours (formerly Neighbors) and D.C.’s Stripmall Ballads. Folk-rock, Brit-rock revival, and dance rock/pop: this show has it all. Keep an eye out for Jim and Brendan at this one, too.
Big Hurry on the web: Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Blog
Neighbours on the web: Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Stripmall Ballads on the web: Facebook, Bandcamp, Blog
Thunderbird Cafe on the web: Website, Event tickets, Facebook event
222 Ormsby Acoustic Fest
This is just a fun idea: get a bunch of local bands and friends together, grill some meat and veggies outside, and listen to some acoustic tunes. This event is ongoing from 5:30ish til 10:30ish, so stop by and check it out if you’re in the vicinity. I’ll recommend sticking around to catch Wife Beater‘s lovely folk/punk tunes at the very end, and Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs! earlier on if you need some comic relief. Check out the venue’s blog post here for the two-dozen-band lineup and more info.
Pepper Rabbit / Garfield Artworks / 8:00
This will be Xander and Luc’s second visit to Pgh in one year’s time, and their last show at the Brillobox was awesome but woefully emptyish. Let’s chalk that up to everyone being sick that night or something, okay? Since then, they’ve signed to Kanine Records, put out a lovely LP, and have another one waiting in the wings already. So we’ve all come around now, haven’t we, and we will be sure to head out to Garfield Artworks and witness them loop all sorts of exotic instrumentation to craft their indie folk/pop tunes right in front of our eyes, amiright? If you need inspiration, check out our past feature on them and their video for “Harvest Moon”.
Nik & the Central Plains CD Release Show #1! / Thunderbird Cafe / 9:00 / $10
I’ve been jamming Nik & the CPs‘ tunes hard since seeing them live back in December. They describe their sound as “garage folk rock and roll” and that’s perfect. Their second album, Walk On Beaches, is officially released this weekend and they’re celebrating with two (count’em, two!) straight shows at the Thunderbird, with two fellow local bands each night. On Friday, they play with Harlan Twins and Chet Vincent & the Big Bend, rounding out the folk rock vibe. CDs of the new rekkid will be on sale for $5 and you can buy some t-shirts, too, to support the band’s upcoming tour.
Nik & the Central Plains on the web: Website, Facebook
Harlan Twins on the web: Facebook
Chet Vincent & the Big Bend on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Thunderbird Cafe on the web: Tickets, Facebook event
Strand of Oaks / Joe Pug / Club Cafe / 7:00 / $10
Tim Showalter plays outstanding music and is an all-around nice guy. What more do you want to know? We’ve touted his tunes left and right, with an album review, an interview, and even some photos. We’re even proud owners of some vinyl copies of Pope Killdragon, thanks to his Kickstarter campaign. Now he’s touring the U.S. with Joe Pug, a Chicago-based singer/songwriter with lovely acoustic tunes and a strong Dylan-esque vibe, which is never a bad thing.
The Caribbean / Mariage Blanc / Howlers / 9:00 / $5
Now together for ten years, The Caribbean have 5 LPs under their belt, plus a couple of EPs and a “retrospective compilation”, and even with their three members’ families and professional jobs, the band is going strong. Their songs are incredibly rich, filling little sonic nooks and crannies with surprisingly few instruments and spotlighting Michael Kentoff’s dense and intelligent lyrics. A recent article in their hometown of D.C.’s City Paper describes how much of the impetus for their latest album, Discontinued Perfume, came from Kentoff’s breakdown surrounding a trying (hah) court case he was lawyering on and the city-closing blizzard that hit around the same time. Listening to these songs on record is an engaging experience, and I’m sure the live show will be just as engrossing. They’re playing with one of our local faves, Mariage Blanc, and ex-Pghers/now-D.C.ers More Humans, who will surely play their wonderfully catchy rock song homage to South Oakland.
The Caribbean on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Mariage Blanc on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter
More Humans on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Howlers on the web: Website, Facebook event
Low / Warhol Museum / 8:00 & 10:00 / $15-$18
I just learned a lot about Low on Wikipedia while listening to their 7th of 9 albums, 2005′s The Great Destroyer. They apparently don’t like the term slowcore, but it seems pretty appropriate. They’ve toured with Radiohead, released music on Kranky and Sub Pop, and charted in the UK. They seem pretty popular, and they’re here for two (count ‘em, two!) consecutive shows at the intimate and wonderful-sounding Warhol Theatre. If you’re even remotely a fan of this band, this would be a great time/place to see them.
Nik & the Central Plains CD Release Show #2! / Thunderbird Cafe / 9:00 / $10
The party continues on Saturday night, when Nik & the CPs hit the stage with friends Meeting of Important People and Boca Chica to celebrate their new album. We’ve chatted with Boca Chica before, and they played some lovely holiday tunes in our Echo Chamber. I doubt I need to say anything about my MOIP fandom; suffice it to say it’s pretty damn crazy. They’ll have copies of the super-recent vinyl pressing of their debut s/t album, so be sure to grab one there!
So many choices, so little time! Where will yinz be this weekend? Let us know, and see ya around town.