Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First/Last-Roulette Waves

"Roulette Waves is a American grunge rock band formed by singer and guitarist Heather Donovan and lead guitarist Jared Augustus Creighton in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September 2013. Roulette Waves first started out as a three piece with former drummer Aiden Angle. The three piece released a five track EP called "Move, Feel, Live, the Message." Daniel Gray former bassist also played in the beginning of 2014 with the band. In July 2014, Greg Brunner joined the band as the current drummer along with bassist Gordy Brash in November 2014. Creighton has decided to enjoy music behind the scenes as a recording producer. Derrick Davila will join the band as the new lead guitarist on August 8th. Roulette Waves have played with bands such as Hank & Cupcakes, Shellshag, Kind of like Spitting, Free Throw, and The City On Film."

Roulette Waves is an 'in your face, make no apologies' grunge band from Pittsburgh who will be celebrating the release of their latest (and I might add, excellent) album "Blown Out" this upcoming Saturday (8/1) with a show at Spirit in Lawrenceville with local faves Dumplings, KHeeS and Swampwalk as support. Much thank to Heather Donovan (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Greg Brunner (Drums), Derrick Davilla (Lead Guitar), Gordy Brash (Bass) and Jared Augustus Creighton (Lead Guitars) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Heather Donovan: Blink 182 “Enema of the State”.
Greg Brunner: Green Day “Dookie”.
Derrick Davilla: Nine Inch Nails "Broken".
Gordy Brash: Oh man, I think either Incubus "Fungus Amongus" or Sugar Ray "14:59".
Jared ‘Gus’ Creighton: Micheal Jackson "Dangerous".

Your last album bought?
Heather: Jamie xx "In Colour".
Greg: Jim Croce “Greatest Hits” (it was 50 cents!!)
Derrick: Dead Batteries "Sessions in the Red".
Gordy: Screaming Females "Rose Mountain".
Gus: The Decemberists "Terrible World, Beautiful World".

Favorite album of all time?
Heather: Taking Back Sunday “Where You Want to Be” or The Used “The Used”.
Greg: Queens of the Stone Age :Songs for the Deaf”.
Derrick: Red Hot Chili Peppers "Blood Sugar Sex Magik".
Gordy: Super hard question so I'll just go with some albums I've been digging a lot lately! Ava Luna "Infinite House", Unknown Mortal Orchestra "Multi Love", Thee Oh Sees "Castlemania", and Screaming Females "Rose Mountain".
Gus: “Get Behind Me Satan” The White Stripes.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Heather: Taking Back Sunday "Happiness Is".
Greg: Hmmm... Green Day “Warning”. That's when Green Day started to suck.
Derrick: Mars Volta's "Frances the Mute" only because it followed such an epic 1st album "Deloused in the Comatorium".
Gordy: GetGo - Our Food Sucks (you're welcome, Gordy - Greg).
Gus: “Newer” of Montreal.

First concert attended?
Heather: Three Days Grace in Pittsburgh, 2004.
Greg: Ha-ha, oh goodness. Skillet with my Dad in 90-something. First big one on my own was Blink 182 in 2002.
Derrick: Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers 99'.
Gordy: Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Japan, 2003.
Gus: No idea.

Last concert?
Heather: Interpol got cancelled... BUSH before that.
Greg: Bush in Pittsburgh, 2015.
Derrick: Heartless Bastards.
Gus: Dumplings.

Favorite concert ever?
Heather: No Doubt at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pavilion in 2009 or Brand New at AJ Palumbo Center in 2007.
Greg: Queens of the Stone Age in Pittsburgh, PA in 2013. Hands down. Followed closely by MXPX at a house show just outside of Pittsburgh. That was nuts.
Derrick: The Dead Weather at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI.
Gordy: Super hard question once again. Either The Dead Weather's first show ever at 9:30 club in D.C. in 2009 (Screaming Females opened!!!), St. Vincent and Radiohead back to back at Bonnaroo 2012, or Deerhoof at the Andy Warhol Museum.
Gus: The White Stripes at the Boston Opera House in 2005.

Least favorite concert?
Heather: Alt-J at The Benedum in 2015. They're amazing but the show was too long and I wasn't in to the performance. They're more of a chill and listen band but the concert was huge so it wasn't intimate.
Greg: I'm sure I've been to worse, but BUSH was pretty boring. Wanted it to be wayyyyy better.
Derrick: Ozzfest 2000.
Gordy: I saw NIN and Jane's Addiction at First Niagara about 6 or 7 years ago for like 5 bucks. NIN was pretty cool but Jane's Addiction just sucked. Ha-ha.
Gus: Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Heather: I love Pittsburgh and its music scene. I'm only about two years into the multiple scenes of music (DIY, open-mic, big promoters, or local cliques) and I enjoy experiencing everything. I've learned to be strong and true to myself. Musicians can easily get taken advantage of by promoters or writing songs that aren't really them to please people. Networking is something that is very important and can make or break a band depending on your audience; however music has and always will be a way to express myself. When people are impacted or feel something when we step on stage that's the response I hope for. Support your local bands and make Pittsburgh a place where musicians come from, because there’s a lot of talent here!
Greg: Black and Yellow. Black and Yellow. Black and Yellow.
Derrick: I've moved here, moved away, and came back two years ago. I like this city's contagious team spirit, ultra-supportive art & music scene. It's a great city to experience a mixture of good old Pgh. Staples, budding venues & small businesses. It's an exciting city of steady growth of art, music, and culture.
Gordy: I've been living in the city for a little over 1 year now. I love it here, it's a small town atmosphere just magnified about a thousand times. Just watching the music scene explode over the past year has been super cool. I'm really excited about what Pittsburgh has to offer with all of its "up and coming" hype actually becoming reality.
Gus: Gum bands, yellow everything.

Thanks, all. Congrats on the record, it is kickin'! Saturday should be a very sweet time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First/Last-we speak in colors

"bummer-rock band filtered through a bunch of different people at different times. just wanna move around the earth."

we speak in colors is the moniker for songwriter Andrew Armstrong. With a couple of very good songs under his belt, Andrew plays two shows this weekend in Pittsburgh before heading out out to Abu Dhabi. Catch him at Spirit Friday night (7/31)  and then Saturday night (8/1) he's at The People's Warehouse for a rager with local heroes Skull Kid. I want to thank Andrew for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Hanson's cassette single for ‘Mmbop’, Third Eye Blind's self-titled record, and Mxpx's “Life in General”. Spun ‘em all dead on the walkman.

Your last album bought?
Ratboys' “Aoid” on cassette. They just got signed to Topshelf Records. Julia is a ridiculous songwriter.

Favorite album of all time?
Albums that I return to consistently are “Good News” by Modest Mouse, “Bleed American” by Jimmy Eat World, everything that The Weakerthans have done, Phosphorescent, Counting Crows, I mean I could just keep going.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Hmm… I get so invested in artists that I seem to be often disappointed in new records, but many times, years later, I end up coming back around to them. Some of my favorite Margot and the Nuclear So and So's songs are from records I didn't get at first. Same with a lot of Death Cab.

First concert attended?
The first shows I remember going to that really affected me were at a Christian music festival called Creation. I went in 7th grade with my youth group and the music grabbed me. While I keep my distance with that culture now, I have fond memories. Right after that I started going to small-town DIY shows which lead to club shows in the city. I didn't know it then, but it seems that was one of the beginning markers of the we speak in colors story.

Last concert?
Last show I went to was Ike Reilly. Dude and his band floored my friends and I. I'd never heard of him, but my friends promised a good time. They were right.

Favorite concert ever?
Will never forget seeing The Avett Brothers at 123 Pleasant St. in Morgantown. 9/2006. Thanks, Jon.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I adore the international community in the city, the small theatres, the polish hill steps, and the endless neighborhoods/streets to wander. I'm enjoying seeing a lot of artists and businesses stepping into community spaces and not just being tied to one insular pocket. That's encouraging to me and my little journey.

Thanks, Andrew. I have to say, the few songs you have available sound really amazing, man! Can't wait for a full release from you.

Monday, July 27, 2015

First/Last-The Oyster Murders

"The Oyster Murders' name often raises curious looks from those hearing it for the first time, until they realize it derives from Lewis Carroll’s classic novella Through the Looking Glass. The band enjoys this esoteric approach to writing, often weaving in subtle pop culture references into their lyrics. The backdrop for this lyrical collage is a sound punctuated by large pop moments, reverbed guitars, innovative synths and, at times, densely layered instrumentation. After a busy 2012 with live performances in New York and the release of their debut album."

The Oyster Murders is an Australian alt-rock band with a moody-pop vibe who are busy readying their sophomore effort. To tide fans over, the band has released a stand alone single today entitled "When You're Wrong". Self described as a cross between R.E.M. with Elliott Smith and you'll get a hint of what this band is all about. I want to thank Grant Redgen (Guitars/Lead Vocals) for taking the time to partcipate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
This is really embarrassing but I’m pretty sure it was Martika’s first album… I wish it was something cooler like “The Wall” or The Beatles “Revolver”.

Your last album bought?
I recently bought both Deerhunters “Monomania” and Becks “Morning Phase”. I liked both albums, probably Beck’s a bit more though.

Favorite album of all time?
Man, that is a  tough question, so many great records. Nirvana’s “In Utero” was something I really got into when I was a teenager but honestly it’s more of a nostalgia record and not something I’d listen to as much now. Something I can still listen to though is “Kid A”, by Radiohead. That album had a huge impact on me and I still get shivers when I hear ‘How to Disappear Completely’, so sad and haunting it makes me feel good… weird right?

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Every record Billy Corgan has been involved in since “Machina”… Who is this body snatcher masquerading as Billy??

First concert attended?
That was probably an Australian band called Grinspoon, I don’t remember much. It was also one of the first times I got drunk. My friends and I had snuck some cooking Sherry out of one of our mother’s pantry, a terrible hangover, I do remember that.

Last concert?
Sun Kil Moon, great show but not just for the music. The singer Mark Kozelek is a genuine entertainer with a wonderful depreciating sense of humour, I’d go and see Mark just to hear him tell stories and crack jokes.

Favorite concert ever?
David Bowie when he last toured Australia back in 2004 I think. For me it was amazing seeing him in the flesh, until then it was like he didn’t really exist in my mind. When he walked (or should I say strutted?) onto the stage it was like a fictional character in a book had come to life.

Least favorite concert?
Out of curiosity I saw Marilyn Manson play 3 or 4 years ago, it was before the most recent album. He was pretty washed up, everything he did on stage seemed very contrived and tired. People I know who have seen him play on his most recent tour seem to think he has got it together again though.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Bridges right?.. I’d like to see all the bridges!  Honestly though I’ve only been to the States once when we were briefly in NYC playing some shows. I did manage to develop a pickle addiction while there, I had pickles with everything, here in Australia we just don’t eat pickles as a side that much… Sorry I’m getting off topic, it’s the pickle addiction, clouds my mind! We are hoping to bring the band back though and experience a lot more places including Pittsburgh.

Thanks, Grant. Yes, bridges. More bridges than any other city on Earth, in fact. That's how we roll...

Friday, July 24, 2015


"Her amazing voice could lull any of us. Simple beauty is my favorite beauty."

Prayher is the moniker for Pittsburgh based 'R&B lo-fi' songwriter Phoebe Rayher, who's music transcends genre categorization as you can hear from her self-tilted debut EP. She occasionally plays out so if you get the chance to see her perform, take it. I want to thank Phoebe for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
My grandmother has a recording of me when I was four years old singing Whitney’s version of ‘I Will Always Love You.’ If I knew to ask for recorded music at that time I probably would have acquired ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack and played it on repeat. However, for better or worse I had to wait until third grade to receive “Spice” and “Spiceworld” by the Spice Girls as my first albums. To this day I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as free as when I put on ‘Wannabe’ and danced around my living room.

Your last album bought?
Lately I’ve been getting into Jessica Lea Mayfield’s “With Blasphemy So Heartfelt”, but I can’t listen for very long without getting really sad.

Favorite album of all time?
This one’s a tie. Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville” never ever gets old. There is a rawness to her songwriting, in that album in particular, that makes you feel as if you are hearing your own voice come out of the speakers. The themes of sex, femininity, loneliness and aggression are still pertinent and validating more than twenty years later. And as for Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” well, that album is so ingrained I could sing it in my sleep.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I couldn’t get into Azelia Banks’ “Broke With Expensive Taste”, which was a big disappointment. It just sounded too produced. Then her homophobic twitter rants kinda sealed the deal. Too bad since she is probably one of the most talented rappers around.

First concert attended?
My parents have been taking me to jazz and classical concerts since before I can remember, and I am very grateful.

Last concert?
I just went to a show at The Mattress Factory. Half gender bending acts with Layne James & the Bang Gang and Leslie Rogers, half amazing ambient sets by Nelly Kate and the incredible Ivory Weeds.

Favorite concert ever?
That’s a tough one. I went to a tUnE-yArDs show in Philly last summer and she was every bit as marvelous live as she is in her albums.

Least favorite concert?
I saw the Black Keys from way too far away.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh’s accessibility is not to be taken lightly. Anyone who is interested in self-expression should seriously consider residing in this city, which is incredibly affordable and at the same time so well connected to education, the arts, and social progress.

Thanks, Phoebe. I really love your music. What you do makes this music community so amazingly enriched and diverse. I truly believe that it is because of artists like you that we even have a 'scene' and I thank you so much for that.