Thursday, January 18, 2018

First/Last - The Pump Fakes


"Artists We Also Like: Most of the bands Jack White plays in."

The Pump Fakes are are Pittsburgh's premiere 'combat rock' band who aren't afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve. Fans of Keith Richards, Ryan Adams, Springsteen and The Replacements will find something to love in their original rock and roll. Returning to the stage after a short absence, the band will be celebrating the impending release of their upcoming new album by shaking off the cobwebs and playing most of their 2007 album Trouble Honey this Friday (1/19) at the cozy Kollar Club, along with a handful of new songs. I want to thank the band's main songwriter Patrick Maloney (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Little Richard Grooviest 17 Original Hits.


Your last album bought?
Jason Isbell The Nashville Sound.


Favorite album of all time?
Exile on Main St.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Springsteen's Working on a Dream.


First concert attended?
The Who in 1982, Civic Arena.


Last concert?
Marah.


Favorite concert ever?
Tom Petty/Bob Dylan/Grateful Dead in 1986, Akron OH.


Least favorite concert?
Freedy Johnston.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
The camaraderie of local bands playing in an environment that hasn't always been the best for cultivating live bands - but it's getting better.

Thanks, Patrick. Glad to have you back, man. Have we discussed both seeing that crazy Dead/Dylan show before? Those 80's Dead shows were unbelievable, mainly for the scene and not necessarily the music.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

First/Last - Distant Futures


"Listen and linger all around me 
I am the shadow of your step 
I am the taste of a dream 
Your Grandma fed you at only 13 
Oh, those bells may ring 
But not for me "

Distant Futures is an alternative emo band from Pittsburgh who released a three song EP late last year entitled were, which you can snag on cassette as well as digitally. The band has a gig this upcoming Saturday (1/20) at The Glitter Box Theater with Garter Shake and Brittney Chantele so go support local music and check them out. I want to thank Connor Schweisberger (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World at a Tower Records!


Your last album bought?
I pre-ordered the new Camp Cope album. They are one of my favorite bands to come up in the last couple of years.They are playing at The Rex Theater in April, I would advise anyone to check out their music and go to the show!


 Favorite album of all time?
This is a tough one! I am bad at being decisive so I am going to give a top 5.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Ms. Lauryn Hill
Small Steps, Heavy Hooves - Dear and The Headlights
Peripheral Vision - Turnover
Transatlanticism - Death Cab For Cutie
To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I would say our first album. It was important for us as a band to make it, but there are so many things we would have done differently.


First concert attended?
The Rolling Stones at The Hollywood Bowl.


Last concert?
Emily Yacina, Scratchy Blankey, Yrs, and Yohana at Roboto. Brett Shumaker, among many other promoters in the scene, consistently books great shows.


Favorite concert ever?
I saw Rage Against The Machine play their last show at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. That was a very special show to me because I got to go with one of my best friends.


Least favorite concert?
Not because of the music, but I would say Roger Waters at the Hollywood Bowl. My high school psychology teacher was sitting in front of me and was making out the entire time with his date. He never saw me.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
The people, the positivity, and my personal progress as a person/musician. I am thankful everyday that I took a chance and moved here.

Thanks, Connor. Roger Waters at the Hollywood Bowl actually sounds incredible. As a teacher myself, I disapprove of  your teacher's actions along with you. Just too awkward.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

First/Last - Anthony Heubel

"Anthony Heubel takes care of a cemetery in the daytime and writes songs at night. Sometimes accompanied by a band and sometimes alone, he makes music that meets somewhere at the intersection of Folk, Country, and Americana."

Anthony Heubel is a Pittsburgh based musician who will be releasing his first eponymous solo album on cassette in the upcoming weeks. Having been around the local scene in bands Run Forever and Cotopaxi, Anthony is readying the release by putting together a full band to debut his songs this Friday (1/19) at a local music showcase in Millvale. I want to thank Anthony for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


 
The first album you ever bought?
I think it was a four way split 7" called Dangerous Intersections. All four bands songs on the compilation are great but I bought it for the song “No Spark” by New Creases.

Your last album bought? 
Hmm, it was either Conor Oberst's Salutations or an Eric Andersen record. Jerry's in Squirrel Hill is my go to spot for all the good older stuff.

Favorite album of all time?
Probably In My Own Time by Karen Dalton. All of the songs on it are traditional songs but her voice is just so amazing and heart breaking. Definitely worth checking out. I look for her records everywhere I go and I've only found one repress in a book store in Texas that I bought immediately.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I'm not sure on this one. I'm really bad at keeping up with current releases so I can't think of anything I've been let down by recently. What usually happens is a band I like puts out a record and I think it’s awful the first time I hear it and then a week later I realize that it's amazing and it becomes my new favorite.

First concert attended?
Godsmack at the Erie Civic Center with my Mom when I was maybe 12. We thought the opener that played was Godsmack so when they finished we left. I didn't realize what had happened until a little later when I started going to local shows and saw the way it worked. No regrets.

Last concert?
I just saw my friends in Soft Gondola play a few days ago. All of the members are in some of my favorite Pittsburgh bands and Soft Gondola just released a tape called Where I Go that's excellent.

Favorite concert ever?
One time I saw AA Bondy, Deep Sea Diver, and Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band, probably around 2009/2010. It was my first time seeing all of them and I was blown away the entire time.

Least favorite concert?
Godsmack. Or this one crazy show I played in Colorado once on New Year’s Eve. The doorknob broke and we got locked in our hotel room right before we had to play and then while we were playing a drunk guy started being real sketchy to some people in the crowd and this big fight broke out. We ended up rushing off the stage with all of our instruments feeding back to help break things up. Then we had to get back on stage and play like nothing happened, it was horrible.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Things have changed so much since I moved here in 2008. I remember playing the first show ever at 222 Ormsby in Mount Oliver with my friend Roger Harvey. It was his album release and there was no PA and people just partying everywhere. No one really knew what to do with themselves yet because the space was so new. Meanwhile we were trying to play soft folk music on acoustic guitars while five or six people were huddled around us in a circle. Roger sold out of all of his records that night though and Ormsby went on to be one of the best venues around for a long time. I’m so proud of the music community here and everyone that books shows and are constantly searching for new venues or opening up their homes to bands. I was just at Babyland for the first time (way too late to the party) and I couldn't believe that I hadn’t been there sooner. The sheer scale of it is impressive, and all of the artists there are so talented. Even after almost ten years there are so many parts of the city that I'm still finding out about and so much new stuff happening all the time.

Thanks, Anthony. I am still regretting that I never saw a show at 222 Ormsby. Believe me, I had plenty of invites and opportunities to go but weirdly, something was always preventing me from going and now I wish I hit the place up at least once.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

First/Last - Making Movies


"Making Movies thought for a while that their new album I Am Another You was cursed. Finishing the 20-track record got so complicated that supernatural interference started to seem like a legitimate possibility to the American rock ’n’ roll band — and no wonder. Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, with guest appearances from Hurray for the Riff Raff and members of Tennis and Ozomatli, I Am Another You is the group’s second LP. It’s a bold mix of sounds: psychedelia, experimental rock, son cubano, cumbia and various rhythms descended from Yoruba music, an African tradition that slaves carried to the New World as part of religious rites that evolved into Santería. Clearly, Making Movies was messing with some powerful juju."
Making Movies is an Latinx Alternative band from Kansas City, MO / Santiago, Panama who are currently touring with the Immigrants Are Beautiful tour 'bringing their pulsing Afro-Latino rhythms, psychedelic jams, and rock and roll swagger' to every city they hit. Socially active outside the band, they are commendably raising awareness and assisting with one of the most prescient issues of our time by giving away free tickets to the shows to DACA recipients who sign up on their website including their Pittsburgh stop next Tuesday, January 16 at The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. I know it's only rock and roll but this is an amazing gesture that transcends music. I want to thank Enrique Chi (Guitar/Lead Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?I think it may have been an Oasis album, they were one of the first bands that I could claim as my own, where I was not just mimicking my Dad's taste in music.

Your last album bought?
The last album I received was a Christmas gift, my brother bought me the vinyl release of Kendrick Lamar's Damn. I think the last album I bought myself was George Harrison's Dark Horse.


Favorite album of all time?
Oh man that is a loaded question. I think I have seasons where an album is my favorite and then it evolves. Currently the White Album by the Beatles holds that spot.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
You know, I don't think I have a least favorite album. If music speaks to me, I listen to it and if it doesn't I'm pretty oblivious to it or indifferent. I do have artists that I know I should be a huge fan of, true geniuses, that I just can't seem to get into. One of those is Stevie Wonder. He's a brilliant mind, composer, singer and musician and I can appreciate everything about his music, but I never want to listen to it. I'm not sure what’s wrong with me!


First concert attended?
I saw the Steve Miller Band, I think my Dad thought of it as a "wholesome" enough show to take an 11 year old to. As a kid I only liked old music, I was basically not into anything past 1978, so I was happy with it.


Last concert?
I think the last concert I bought a ticket for was Little Dragon at Stubbs in Austin, TX.


Favorite concert ever?
I think seeing Kendrick Lamar perform at the Kennedy Center alongside the National Symphony during his TPAB tour is the most significant concert I've seen. The whole room could tell that he was having a moment as the symphony played an overture featuring the motifs from his album. Here is a young man, a gifted writer from humble beginnings, dreaming of taking his message all the way to the White House. That night those lyrics had palpable weight, and Kendrick seemed to hinge a lifetime of work upon them. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.


Least favorite concert?
As a teenager I went to a Brooks and Dunn concert to appease a girlfriend. The people at that show were not the most tolerant or open minded human beings. I remember feeling that the vibe was absolutely gross. I enjoy great country music, but I did not enjoy that show.


Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I don't have any history in Pittsburgh so I think we need to make some this time around!

Thanks, Enrique. Kudos to you and your band for fighting that good fight and reminding us all what is most important in our lives, namely family and caring for others.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

First/Last - Two Birds

"We play music together. There are four of us."

Two Birds are pop rock band band from Wexford who's fantastic debut EP entitled The Great American Northeast was released last Summer at the hard to pass up pay your price option (although I strongly recommend you do chip in something to support local music.) A stand out track "Jelly" has been recently remixed by electro-popster Badboxes and features Mars Jackson, which you can stream below. Talk about a Pittsburgh musical powerhouse. Hopefully this isn't the last musical collaboration this band has up it's sleeve. I want to thank Dan 'Jellyman' Garrighan (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
I think it was Nirvana . I’m not certain but it was definitely a tape deck that I listened in the bus on the way to school. It’s either Nirvana or The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Probably my two favorite acts as a child.


Your last album bought?
I stream most of the music I listen to but I bought our record on iTunes on my son’s phone because he doesn’t have Apple Music or any of that and he wanted to listen to it. So honestly, it was our record.


Favorite album of all time?
Oh wow, probably Rancid “...And Out Come the Wolves”. I feel like that album has defined me, shaped me as a songwriter, musician.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I try to find good in every musicians/artist attempt at bringing whatever it is they have to offer to life...  however, my kids watch these youtubers and then they release these songs and they are just terrible - see “Jake Paul - Everyday Bro”. Probably the worst song ever. I also was really into everything Childish Gambino has done until his most recent release. Not that I found it bad by any means it just didn’t sit with me the same way his previous releases did.


First concert attended?
It was Warped Tour, I can’t recall the year though. I believe I was 9 or 10 so that’s like 96 maybe? I went because The Mighty Mighty Bosstones we’re on it. I went to some local shows before that as my older brother played in a punk band and my dad also was into punk rock so I kind of had it made. I got to see a ton of amazing bands at such a young age.


Last concert?
I think The Menzingers was the last band I went to see. Wait no, The Interrupters were just in town and I went to see them with my dad. 22 years later we still go see punk bands together!


Favorite concert ever?
As of late I really loved Rancid / Dropkick Murphys tour with Bouncing Souls as support. I mean that’s a pretty ridiculously awesome line up.


Least favorite concert?
I took my little sister to see The Jonas Brothers when she was like 8. That was kind of weird. They weren’t terrible but the whole thing just felt weird.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I really value being from a town where we have such an eclectic array of talented musicians and how willing everyone is to support each other. Just over the past year we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with artist like Badboxes, Mars Jackson and Gabby Barrett. I mean, that’s insane.

Thanks, Jellyman. This remix is insane in that all three different artists are coming together to create something unique which epitomizes Pittsburgh music for me in one track. So cool.

Friday, December 22, 2017

First/Last - Sleep Movies


"Too much medicine makes you sick. 
Sleep Movies Drinks The Potion is a lo-fi scrapbook and the cathartic product following a long period of unhinged self-exploration and inactivity. Oscillating between experimental soundscapes that are at times frightening and enchanting, Sleep Movies Drinks The Potion occupies a colorful but detached space; looking out at a world-turned-inward, distorted through the hazy lens of self-delusion & paranoia. 
Making the most of cheap keyboards and utilizing effects pedals to build the sonic palette, Sleep Movies Drinks The Potion captures the playful, elementary nature of bedroom production. "

Sleep Movies is the moniker for Pittsburgh independent musician Skyler Brimmeier, who so hit the nail on the head with the perfect band name to accompany his lo-fi electric haze sounds. Unmistakably cinematic, the new album entitled Sleep Movies Drinks the Potion (available on cassette via Crafted Sounds) offers up a vibe that wouldn't be out of place as a soundtrack to a low budget indie film. I want to thank Skyler for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Metamorphosis by Hillary Duff. I was like 10 and a big Lizzie McGuire fan.

Your last album bought?
Building a Family by Spish.

Favorite album of all time?
Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
The B.E. Taylor Christmas album that we have to listen to endlessly at work.

First concert attended?
I believe it was X-Fest 2004. Of my own volition: Yeasayer & The Smith Westerns at the Trocadero Theatre in Philly.

Last concert?
(Sandy) Alex G + Crumb at Mr. Smalls Funhouse.

Favorite concert ever?
Youth Lagoon during the Wondrous Bughouse tour.

Least favorite concert?
Small Black (huge fan of their music though.)

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
My friends and I used to ride the bus up to the city to go skateboarding when we were in high school. After spending an entire day skating around the city, I was always left with an afterglow and sense of wonder for city life.

Thanks, Skyler. Nothing against B.E. Taylor at all but any Christmas album, or any album on repeat for that matter, is my hell. I once hitched a ride to a Dead show out of town and the driver INSISTED we play the same bootleg over and over again the entire trip. I was ready to kill him and every hippie in that van if I heard that same "Truckin'" one more time.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

First/Last - The Stars of Disaster


"Hi, I'm Anthony. I make music under the name The Stars of Disaster. I'm often joined by friends, acquaintances, and occasionally a complete stranger. I love loud rock and poppy hooks."

The Stars of Disaster is the moniker of musician Anthony Schiappa, who creates catchy garage pop hooks which is evident on his latest single "Adderall b/w On Yer Feet" which was released this week. 'Catchy' is the key word as I have been playing this a lot in the last week. I want to thank Anthony for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Can't remember which came first, either the first Porno For Pyros record or Automatic for the People by R.E.M., both of which I still like. This does not include the records I stole from my older siblings.


Your last album bought?
Ted Nugent’s Greatest Hits. It was in one of those giant bins at a supermarket for like 6 bucks. A loathsome person, but he is one of the best rock guitarists ever. “Great White Buffalo” is worth the price of admission for me.


Favorite album of all time?
There’s A Riot Goin’ On by Sly & the Family Stone. To this day, it sounds like it’s from another planet.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Ween has been one of my favorite bands for pretty much my whole music-listening life, and I was really disappointed by La Cucaracha. It didn't even suck, it was just kind of unremarkable, which I guess is the most damning thing you can say about a record.


First concert attended?
They Might Be Giants at Metropol in 1994.


Last concert?
Elvis Costello & the Imposters at Heinz Hall this past summer, doing Imperial Bedroom in its entirety.   always saw him more as a singer/songwriter than a guitarist, but he's really good.  I managed to snap a pic of his pedal board, like a true nerd (see below).


Favorite concert ever?
Prince at the Gund in Cleveland on the Musicology tour. It was unreal. He did a 5-song solo acoustic set in the middle, including the best version of “Cream” I’ve ever heard. And he was super casual, interrupting songs to joke with the audience and tell stories. He used to get flack for taking himself too seriously, but he didn't, really. Watching old TV clips of him, you see he had such a great sense of humor, especially when it came to slapstick.


Least favorite concert?
A Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis double bill at the Fox Theater in Detroit in the early 2000s, after eating a bunch of pot brownies. The audience was a mix of ruthless hecklers, drunken affluent suburbanites, and people who were obviously there on some kind group tour. I've never seen a show go that sideways, ever. It was a complete train wreck in every way imaginable. About halfway through, it felt like a riot was imminent. People were jumping up on stage and messing with Chuck's guitars and amps during the songs, which to me is grounds for summary execution. During one song, he was actually begging people to get back in their seats instead of singing the lyrics. It's the first and only time I've been frightened at a concert. If you've ever seen the film “Jacob’s Ladder,” that about sums it up. Gorgeous venue, though.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, about 45 minutes away, but came here a lot as a teenager for shows and to buy records you couldn’t get at NRM. Since moving back, into the city, several years ago, I’ve gotten to play with many people in lots of one-off gigs. Not only were those all a blast, but they afforded me the opportunity to meet, befriend, and collaborate with Pittsburgh musicians, writers, and visual artists whose work I admire.  A little kumbaya, perhaps, but I’m having fun.

Thanks, Anthony. That Chuck / Jerry Lee show sounds absolutely horrible, in the best way possible.