Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First/Last-Bye Bye Bird


Bye Bye Bird is folk singer-songwriter and guitarist Gray McClary who resided in Fairborn, OH. He is constantly releasing music at his BandCamp page as he preps his forthcoming debut entitled, "On Holiday". I want to thank him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
A Nirvana best of circa 2004.

Your last album bought?
Lou Reed's “Transformer”.

Favorite album of all time?
“Push the Sky Away” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Maybe Led Zeppelin's later work... those disco vibes.

First concert attended?
A local punk show in Ohio at a placed called Forever Sports.

Last concert?
Odd Future in Cincinnati.

Favorite concert ever?
Lamb of God in Columbus, at the LC Pavilion.

Least favorite concert?
Dream Theater, twice.


Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Growing up in a small Ohio town, Pittsburgh continually strikes me as this very austere, cosmopolitan kind of place. It seems like everyone you meet has some kind of artistic or creative venture they’re pursuing. The art scene is lively and I’ve heard some great street musicians there. A good friend of mine named Wyatt Bridgman earned his undergrad in math at Carnegie Mellon and lives in Shadyside, so he was my gateway to the city in a way. I visit Pittsburgh as often as I can and I'd love to perform there in the future.

Thanks, Gray. I second that later Zep disappointment. Those early albums set such a fantastically high bar that they were almost destined to fizzle out like that... and of course heroin never helps.

Monday, March 30, 2015

First/Last-Adeline Hotel


"Adeline Hotel (Brooklyn, NY) released debut LP “Leave The Lights” in September 2014 on Future Oak Records. Recorded throughout 2013-14 with producer and engineer Danny Rose (Steady Sun, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Vamanos!) at his studio in Bushwick, the record features members of Steady Sun, as well as Magnolia Electric Co.’s Mike Brenner on lap steel. Distinguished by a knack for eliciting the stylings of seminal Americana songwriters, “Leave The Lights” marries this influence with the lo-fi traditions of contemporary players like Angel Olsen and Blake Mills."

Adeline Hotel is the moniker for songwriter Daniel Knishkowy who recently relocated from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh. The folks over at the amazing Daytrotter released a set he did last week and he is beginning to play around town more and more so definitely go check him out. I want to thank Dan for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
I think "The Moon and Antarctica" at Cutler's in New Haven (RIP).

Your last album bought?
I just bought a couple - Ryley Walker's "Primrose Green", Jessica Pratt's "On Your Own Love Again", Jake Xerxes Fussell's self-titled and Mitski's "Bury Me At Makeout Creek."

Favorite album of all time?
"A Ghost is Born", Wilco.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Love the album, but I get annoyed every single time at how quickly they fade the sax solo in "Walk On The Wild Side". Let that shit play! Anyways...

First concert attended?
Not sure if it was the first, but my friend split his head open at a Taking Back Sunday concert when we were 13 so let's go with that.

Last concert?
Zachary Cale at Rough Trade. Can't wait for his new record.

Favorite concert ever?
Field Report in a barn in the middle-of-nowhere Iowa on one of those perfect early fall nights.

Least favorite concert?
Nothing comes to mind, but anytime I can tell the person I came with isn't really into it.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Still new to town, but I've been finishing up the songs for the next record and recording an EP in the meantime over at Wilderness Studio with Jay Vega. It should be out later this year on Pittsburgh's Future Oak Record Co.


Thanks, Dan. Great to hear you are planning on releasing new stuff and I must say you are working with the best people in town!

First/Last-Avi Diamond


"Avi Diamond is a Pittsburgh-based singer songwriter inspired by the musical styles of jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan as well as modern music such as Fiona Apple and Radiohead. She has been composing jazz-inspired rock music from the age of 16. She attended Duquesne University’s music therapy program where she studied jazz voice with Maureen Budway. Avi performs in venues all over Pittsburgh and collaborates with local musicians to create a unique alternative style of music."

Avi Diamond is a jazz rock singer from Pittsburgh who returns home to perform tomorrow night (3/31) behind her latest release "Down the Drain". I want to thank her for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first album I ever bought is probably really embarrassing. I think it might have been N’SYNC’s first album on cassette tape.

Your last album bought?
“Middle Cyclone” by Neko Case. I’ve been meaning to get this album for a while and finally got around to it earlier today. I actually got to see her perform over the summer at the Byham. She has one of the most engaging voices. It kind of feels like wolf howl that makes me you stop what you’re doing and listen. Her lyrics are poetry, and her are songs so stylistically unusual. I love artists who mix genres and pick creative instrumentation.

Favorite album of all time?
That’s really difficult. I can say that The Dresden Doll’s self-titled album was one of the most influential albums to me as a songwriter. The first time I heard their song ‘Girl Anachronism,’ it felt like a switch went off in my brain. I didn’t know that music could sound chaotic with hectic piano, creepy music box-sounding drum parts, and shouting vocals yet still work as a cohesive song and be relatable. The Dresden Dolls inspired me to play with multiple styles of music at a time and to test the boundaries of where emotion can take you in a song. Good songs aren’t always pretty songs. Sometimes they’re loud and dissonant.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I would have to say “Encore” by Eminem. I liked Eminem when I was a little younger but was really weirded out by that entire album.

First concert attended?
My first big concert was Green Day during their ‘American Idiot’ tour when I was 13. My mom drove my friend and I to Columbus, Ohio to see them. We were completely thrilled. Green Day was my favorite band in my early teenage years. I learned how to harmonize from singing with Mike Dirnt’s harmonies and making up my own.

Last concert?
The last concert I went to was on Saturday in Manhattan. I saw Banda Magda, which is a band associated with Snarky Puppy. Their music is difficult to describe. The band leader is an adorable woman from Greece named Magda. She plays the accordion and has a soft jazzy style of singing. She led a 14 piece band on a tiny stage, and sang in four different languages. It was probably the most musically impressive performance I’ve ever seen. Their rhythms and arrangements were so interesting and diverse. They played Columbian, French, Greek, and styles of music that were hard to generalize to one location (such as a song in Greek that had a samba feel to it). It felt like a party for my ears.

Favorite concert ever?
I’ve been too a lot of good ones, but I think I would have to say Brandi Carlile at Carnegie Lecture Hall in October was probably the most enjoyable. It was a part of the pin drop tour, which involved no one in the band having any amplification. It really made the audience feel like a part of the show. Every time we clapped along with the beat, we had to stop so we could hear the music. Our patience and attentiveness was a part of the performance. I love all of her music. I don’t think there is one song by her that I don’t like. Everything she writes feels genuine and strong. She has one of my favorite voices. The best part of the concert was she marched around the lecture hall with her band trailing behind her like a little marching folk band while she sang through an old fashioned blow horn. There were no frills and no flash. It felt very rustic and full of real talent.

Least favorite concert?
I don’t usually bother going to a show if it’s going to be a band that I don't love. I don’t really want to call anyone out because performing live is difficult, and it takes a lot of bravery to get up there and perform in front of people.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love Pittsburgh’s music scene. There are a lot of friendly generous people who I have met through jam sessions and open mics. It took me awhile to feel confident enough to put myself out there, but as soon as I did I really felt embraced by the community. The AcoustiCafe is one of my favorite weekly Pittsburgh events.


Thanks, Avi. I am really appreciating the power of the open mic scene here in Pittsburgh. I hear more and more about artists networking and making some waves through the many opportunities in town. Something to sure be excited about.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Image of the Day-HughShows 10.12 Hour Two


Weird Paul, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, Brewer's Row and Slim Forsythe at The Wilderness Recording Studio presents HughShows Live @ Eide's on Saturday, December 13th, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Weird Paul
  
 Fist Fight in the Parking Lot


   Brewer's Row


  Slim Forsythe
 

Friday, March 27, 2015

First/Last-Wicked Chief


"Wicked Chief features a wide array of sounds and influences spanning across the music spectrum.
No strangers to the Do It Yourself work-ethic and a “music first” mentality, the band plans to delve deep into touring and recording more extensively."

Wicked Chief are an indie-rock band from Pittsburgh who's excellent debut album "True Blue" was released last year. They are supporting friends of the blog Balloon Ride Fantasy tomorrow night (3/28) at the fantastic Pittsburgh Winery for their new album release. I want to thank Ben Armstrong (Bass/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first one I can remember buying would probably be “Dookie”.

Your last album bought?
Tame Impala “Innerspeaker”.

Favorite album of all time?
“Led Zeppelin”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Brand New “Daisy”. I am still trying to get to like it.

First concert attended?
Midtown and Armor for Sleep at Club Laga when I was 14.

Last concert?
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

Favorite concert ever?
Either My Morning Jacket or Bon Iver at Merriweather in Baltimore.

Least favorite concert?
Brand New, they’re one of my favorites and it was pretty bad.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Primanti Bros.

Thanks, Ben. Ah, Club Laga. That place is so missed, at least to me.