Tuesday, January 17, 2017

First/Last - The Lone Pines

"We changed our name from The Running Men to The Lone Pines. This is because when we named ourselves The Running Men, we were in a bit of a time crunch to come up with a name. We think The Lone Pines sounds cooler."

The Lone Pines is a folk rock trio from Pittsburgh who released a live EP last week entitled For These Reasons. You can catch them playing out all around town this upcoming year and I want to thank Anthony Lupinacci (Drums/Percussion/Harmonica), Josh Chamberlain (Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals), and Ricky Lagnese (Bass/Backing Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Tony Lupinacci: I was given a Buddy Rich album, I believe it was No Funny Hats by my father when I was 6 or 7. But I think the first album I ever bought with my own money was a compilation of Howlin’ Wolf’s best hits. My family had a really big Jazz and Blues thing going on at the time.

Your last album bought?
Josh Chamberlain: I recently bought two albums on the same day. One was Give It Back To You by The Record Company. I saw them live this summer, and they were badass. I’m surprised it took me so long to actually buy a record of my own, actually. I also bought Hello, I’m Johnny Cash. There are some gems on that record; “Sing a Travellin’ Song,” “The Devil to Pay,” and “Jesus Was a Carpenter” are all great. Found it at Jerry’s.

Favorite album of all time?
Ricky Lagnese: Axis: Bold as Love is definitely my favorite album of all time. As a guitarist this album is loaded with fantastic songs and the other nice thing is that there isn’t a single filler song. I wish I could have been around for the live versions of these songs because you can feel the energy even through the album audio.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Ricky: Even though this isn’t an album, I think that “Love on the Weekend” was fairly disappointing considering that John Mayer is known for his guitar playing. I found that this was upsetting to see him move away from his guitar prowess.

First concert attended?
Tony: The first concert I can remember was the Doobie Brothers when they came to Pennsylvania. I think I was 6 or 7. It was outdoors. I remember slapping my thighs and dancing on the picnic blanket with my mom and little sister. My little sister asked what Doobie meant and got a pretty long-winded explanation about modern law from my Father.

Last concert?
Josh: Joe Jarski, Vit Debacco, Morgan Erina, and us last week. Last one I went to and didn’t play at though was Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors. It’s always fun to see them because of the crazy percussion stuff they do in their shows. I think Jim Donovan did some throat singing or overtone singing too. That’s the technique that the Tibetan Monks do where they hit a note, but you can hear the fifth harmonic above the note too because they sing it a certain way. So essentially, they’re singing two (or even more) notes at once, and it’s really cool. I’ve been trying to do it ever since I heard Jim do it, but I haven’t had the same success. YouTube it if you don’t know what I’m talking about. You won’t regret it.

Favorite concert ever?
Tony: Probably a tie between Tame Impala and Alt-J. They both still put on an incredible live show with tons of passion and energy.
Josh: Mumford and Sons at Firefly. They had some of the guys from their Johannesburg EP collaboration, and the energy on stage was at a spiritual level. That EP came out the weekend of Firefly too, so a lot of that music was completely new to me. At one point during the show, there were 9 or 10 people on stage, and that was incredible. Bought the EP on vinyl as soon as I got home.

Least favorite concert?
Josh: My least favorite concert was a show that I was supposed to go to, but wasn’t able to. My buddy and I were going to go see a house show on New Year’s Eve, and this band called Jack Swing was playing, and they’re really cool. But my buddy got really sick beforehand, so I just ended up giving him Pepto Bismol and ginger ale while we watched the lackluster New Year performances on TV.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Tony: I just recently moved to Pittsburgh for college, although I have been coming here my whole life because this is where my family hails from. I’ve always loved this city because I think it has been through incredible hardship (since the closing of the mills), yet is currently as thriving and full of life as ever. I believe Pittsburgh is a truly blue collar, hard-working city. There’s a lot of pride here and that makes me feel lucky to be a part of it.

Thanks, fellas. I have to say, Josh. I share your enthusiasm for Jim Donovan and his band. Such a great local album from last year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

First/Last - Ancient History


"The story of two old friends fighting in a strip-mall parking lot."

Ancient History is an indie fuzz rock band from Pittsburgh who are dropping their sophomore release entitled Good Friend Electrical on Saturday night with a banging lineup featuring fellow Wild Kindness labelmates at The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. with the first 150 through the door getting a complimentary copy. Much thanks to Donald Ducote (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Aerosmith Get a Grip.


Your last album bought?
Pulp Different Class (found it on vinyl).


Favorite album of all time?
Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I ditched my high school graduation rehearsal to buy the Green Album by Weezer as soon as the record store doors opened. I waited a long time for that record and it was 25 minutes long and totally lackluster.


First concert attended?
Cheap Trick/Meatloaf (Bat Out of Hell II tour).


Last concert? (that wasn't a local show?)
Death Grips in Chicago.


Favorite concert ever?
Beta Band/Radiohead (2 weeks after they released Amnesiac) but I've never danced as hard as did during Daft Punk's 2005 Coachella performance.


Least favorite concert?
I saw Live open for Counting Crows and they covered “Imagine”... that was rough. Also, Kanye sucked live.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
The many nights spent drinking in the Allegheny cemetery at 4am with Angry Dan.

Thanks, Donald. Being the GM of Wild Kindness Records, I am betting your last local show was probably yesterday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First/Last - String Machine


"String Machine is the solo project of musician David Beck, a Pittsburgh area native whose neo-folk music can be described as eclectic, philosophical, experimental, sincere, and diverse in texture and emotion. String Machine’s debut album Threads from the Youth Fossil is a mosaic of sonic textures and poetic imagery, with lyrics drenched in the visceral wisdom of lost youth."

String Machine is the moniker of experimental folk musician David Beck who just released his debut Threads from the Youth Fossil which is now available to buy in physical form which comes with free shipping and will include "some sort of interesting little thing." BONUS! I want to thank David for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
Blink 182's self-titled album.

Your last album bought?
David Bowie's Blackstar & RTJ3.

Favorite album of all time?
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel.
To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted.

First concert attended?
Steve Miller Band.

Last concert?
Danny Brown.

Favorite concert ever?
Neutral Milk Hotel at Carnegie Music Hall.
Danny Brown at Bonnaroo.
Weatherbox at Smiling Moose.

Least favorite concert?
Tyler, the Creator.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Grand View Park with friends. Also, when I was younger, playing in South Side was always a good heartwarming thing. Those were the first times I ever ventured out of the small town to play shows.


Thanks, David. Interesting you listed Slanted and Enchanted. I am just starting to get into Pavement and from these fresh ears, S&E is the most... 'raw' of their albums? I would like to hear more of your take on why it doesn't float your boat.

Monday, December 19, 2016

First/Last - Honey


"guitar / bass / drums / dreams"

Honey is an Pittsburgh based rock trio who are steadily gaining a following based on their early releases and energetic live shows. discover yourself what the buzz is when they host thier annual Holiday blowout lovingly called  'A Crustmas Miracle' this Friday at Brillobox with newcomers Jiant Eagle and Good Sport.
I want to thank Joe Praksti (Guitar/Vocals), Pat O'Toole (Bass), and Evan Meindl (Drums) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Joe Praksti: A terrific twofer from my favorite record store in my youth, Monroeville's Target. Went in to buy American Idiot by Green Day and nabbed Demon Days by Gorillaz based on cover alone in one fell swoop. 2005 never looked so good.
Pat O'Toole: I think it was Make Believe by Weezer. Have to start somewhere.
Evan Meindl: I actually believe it was Off the Deep End by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.

Your last album bought?
Joe: I've been doing some Christmas shopping and got an unopened copy of Utopia's self-titled for a friend - highly, highly, highly recommend "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" for the uninitiated. But for myself I recently purchased Wu-Tang Forever by, y'know, Wu-Tang Clan. Picked it up at this thrift store in Boston called Urban Renewals for 99 cents. Still haven't gotten the chance to spin it, but it is apparently an enhanced CD that features an interactive tour through the "Wu Mansion" when inserted into any CD-ROM system! My disc drive is kaput though, unfortunately, so if any good Samaritan out there wants to spend an afternoon with me touring RZA's movie collection and the rest of the Wu Cru's closets, hit me up!
Pat: Last one was Speed of Sound by Wings. “Silly Love Songs” is my JAM!
Evan: The conformist that I am, I have become an online streaming advocate through Spotify. Sadly, I don't remember the last physical record I bought. I'm a bad person.

Favorite album of all time?
Joe: Chipmunk Punk is pretty damn good if you ask me.
Pat: ....Album by Girls.
Evan: Nearly impossible to narrow down one, but possibly I'm Wide Awake It's Morning by Bright Eyes.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Joe: Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse by none other than the Chanteuse herself, Mimi. You know, with a title that good, you really got to deliver, and unfortunately she came off way short of the mark. Losing another golden standard to becoming another cog in the industry machine, trying to adapt with the times. A tear comes to mind. At least it wasn't as bad as Rebel Heart by Madonna though. That album is truly trash.
Pat: AM.
Evan: The last three Say Anything albums have broken my heart. Their first full-length is still one of my all-time favorites, so it's hard to believe how rough the last few years have been for them.

First concert attended?
Joe: The phenomenal Backstreet Boys, my favorite group of my youth, played the abbo fabbo Mellon Arena  (r.i.p. bb) during the first leg of their oft-praised, star-studded, yet tumultuous Black & Blue Tour (a prophetic title for the strain it put on the group). The woefully forgotten Krystal Harris opened the show playing easily forgettable tunes on a grand grand piano - she'd go on to score some would-be hits for the Princess Diaries, Legally Blonde, and Country Bears soundtracks to a less than crystallizing reception. Allegedly Destiny's Child also played this show, but being 8 I must have been too busy picking the salt off of my pretzel to pay attention. However I do recall the Backstreet Boys treating the audience to a view of their backstage dressing rooms halfway through the show, and I believe it was the homie Brian Littrell whose room was filled with stuffed animals. Totally adorable. Would recommend for time machine enthusiasts: 5 out of 7 grapples. The pretzel was a little stale.
Pat: I was late to the game when it comes to my first concert. New American Music Union in 2008. Went with Joe and Evan's older brother Cam. Saw Spoon, Gnarls Barkley, The Black Keys before the Arena days, and The Roots.
Evan: I saw Styx when I was four years old with my parents. I fell asleep during the show; I kid you not.

Last concert?
Joe: Honey just finished a weeklong tour of the East Coast with our good friends the Brooklyn-by DC-by Philly band Boon at the legendary house venue Kokomo (there's a song written about it somewhere featuring heartthrob John Stamos) in the fair District of Columbia. Thoroughly good chaps with totally exceptional music - highly recommend, but you don't have to take my word for it! I believe the last big production performance I saw though was The 1975 with Evan on Halloween. So good!
Pat: Saw Kurt Vile and Wilco in August at Hals Island in Minneapolis. So good!
Evan: The 1975, two nights in Pittsburgh. So good!

Favorite concert ever?
Joe: Hm, hm, hm, so one concert in particular really stands out to me - Cursive opening for Alkaline Trio at ye olde Club Zoo on March the Fifth, 2010. Right around the time of Mama, I'm Swollen, the greatest album title ever. Just a month shy of 17, Evan and I went without having any knowledge of Cursive whatsoever, and both came away from the concert completely floored by their performance. Seriously one of the most visceral, passionate performances I've ever seen a band give - they had the whole crowd in the palm of their hand, seemingly all attendees completely standstill and mystified throughout. After the show was over Evan and I decided to form a band together, and the rest, as the poets say, is history (not his story).
Pat: Deerhunter at Bonnaroo 2011. Life changing.
Evan: I remember being floored when I saw St. Vincent in Cleveland in 2014. That one has really resonated with me. Arcade Fire on the Reflektor Tour was pretty fantastic as well.

Least favorite concert?
Joe: I saw Bob Dylan play at the New American Music Union with Pat and Cam (Ev's older bro). He was the last to go on for the whole event, and my expectations were pretty high. Age having taken it's toll, however, the frog in his throat finally won the battle over his vocal chords and sang instead of Dylan. I finally realized what song he played by the time the last note of his swing-blues rendition of “Like A Rolling Stone” faded away into the distant ephemera fog of the South Side sprawl. Conversely, this may be my favorite concert I've ever seen, just for the sheer absurdity of watching an aged Bob Dylan sing completely rearranged songs to a crowd of teenagers who can't even name all four members of the Beatles... or the Rutles, for that matter.
Pat: The Shins. Highlight of the show was the guy in front of me doing coke off of his iPhone.
Evan: I saw Kendrick Lamar in 2013 and the woman screaming at the top of her lungs directly in front of me for the entirety of his set really made it one of the most insufferable concert sets ever.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Joe: While moving to the city has certainly emptied my pockets, it has repaid me back with so many different experiences that just keep multiplying each week. Pittsburgh may not be on the cultural map per se of current music trends, but I think, in my humble opinion, it is a hub for some of the coolest bands in the States - personal bias notwithstanding. You really only need to spend a weekend here to get a feel for that, so living here is quite the treat. Having been around the States a bit, I can say with certainty that Pittsburgh is totally my favorite city to be in, bar none. I'm a total sucker for this town, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Pat: It’s been great getting involved in the music scene here. Everyone here is super homie and kind. Bloomfield is the greatest place ever!!!
Evan: I've loved seeing how the support here for local music is evidently present. The fact that artists have the backs of venues, other artists, and the general public is sincerely heart-warming. It is really fun to be a band from this town.
 
Thanks, fellas. This was one of my most enjoyable reads on the blog. Thanks for the picks and the 'flourishes.'