Friday, April 18, 2014


"Thrift is an innovative indie-rock duo consisting of Anna Carmela and Mark Malagise. The Pittsburgh, PA based “dirty disco” band recently released their debut concept EP in early 2014 to critical acclaim, and their songs “Mockingbird”, “Warning Signs”, and “Dead & Buried” have already gained popularity in both the United States and the U.K. Legendary Billboard editor and music journalist, Chuck Taylor, comments: “Thrift’s debut EP offers a sonic inferno opus packed with passion, as electrifying as a key jammed in a socket—and ultimately, an adept rock’n’roll paean.”

Check out the band at their official Website, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. The Pittsburgh based 'Indie-Rock/Dirty-Disco' duo have recently released their debut self-titled EP. You can catch them live when they play The Smiling Moose on Tuesday opening for Shilpa Ray. Much thanks to Anna Carmela (Bass/Vocals) and Mark Malagise (Guitar) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Anna Carmela: I think it was “Metallica”…
Mark Malagise: “Led Zeppelin II”.

Your last album bought?
Anna: Imaginary Future’s “Fire Escape".
Mark: Harrison Hudson’s “Curious".

Favorite album of all time?
Anna: “Nevermind” by Nirvana. I know that sounds pretty typical, but I have a lot of memories associated with that album.
Mark: Crosby Stills & Nash.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Anna: Pretty much all the “one hit wonders’” albums that came out all last year (i.e.- Lorde, Imagine Dragons, etc.). They all had one or two decent radio-friendly songs, but the rest of their album was usually pretty crappy.
Mark: “In My Mind” by Pharrell because for someone who can rattle off hit after hit, this album failed to include one memorable.

First concert attended?
Anna: Warped Tour. It was such a cool experience.
Mark: Spin Doctors in Pittsburgh.

Last concert?
Anna: Dropkick Murphy’s.
Mark: Citizen Cope.

Favorite concert ever?
Anna: I saw Enter Shikari, an English post-hardcore, electronica band, in L.A. a couple years ago, and it was so insane.
Mark: My favorite concert was when I went to see Buddy Guy in 2005. He was almost 70 years old and had more energy than any performer I had ever seen.

Least favorite concert?
Anna: Hmm… I can’t really say. I have found enjoyment in every concert I’ve been to.
Mark: The Police, only because I attended with my soon-to-be ex-fiancé.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Anna: It’s definitely a lot colder here than where I’m from (L.A.) - this winter wasn’t very welcoming - but I do like it here. People are very spirited and proud of their city, and I fell absolutely in love with pierogies during my time here.
Mark: Spending time with my family. WDVE.

Thanks, guys. Love that tag 'Dirty-Disco'. Sorry about that Police gig, Mark. Any show attended with a soon-to-be 'ex-fiancé' would definitely suck.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

First/Last-'The Essentials' The E Street Band

"The E Street Band has been musician Bruce Springsteen's primary backing band since 1972. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. When not working with Springsteen, members of the band have recorded solo material and have pursued successful careers as session musicians, record producers, songwriters, actors, and other roles in entertainment."
I am thrilled that two new members of the E Street Band are participating in my First/Last in anticipation of the big show this upcoming Tuesday in Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center. Tickets are still available so get them while you can.

Everett Bradley plays percussion and sings backup and has his own solo career as well. He has a cool project called "Holidelic" that puts a "flashy, bass-heavy retro-futuristic take on the holidays".

Barry Danielian plays trumpet in the 'beefed-up' horn section and is also an accomplished studio player that performs regularly on Broadway in NYC clubs.

Image courtesy of

The first album you ever bought?
Everett Bradley: Sly and Family Stone “Greatest Hits”.
Barry Damielian: Herbie Hancock "Thrust".

Your last album bought?
Everett: Pharrell Williams “Girl”.
Barry: Gregory Porter "Liquid Spirit".

Favorite album of all time?
Everett: “Songs in The Key Of Life” Stevie Wonder.
Barry: Too many to pick just one!  Probably John Coltrane " A Love Supreme" or Miles Davis "Kind of Blue".

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Everett: ??? I can always find something I like or learn from a record.
Barry: Don't really have one. I can learn something from anyone, even people I don't dig! I'm not a fan of Heavy Metal.

First concert attended?
Everett: Shalamar Indianapolis.
Barry: Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1972.

Last concert?
Everett: Madonna Milan.
Barry: Ted Nash Big Band world premiere of "Chakra Suite" at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Favorite concert ever?
Everett: Prince ‘Love/Sexy’.
Barry: Earth, Wind & Fire, 1981.

Least favorite concert?
Everett: Janet Jackson ‘Velvet Rope’.
Barry: Can't remember... I left, and deleted those files from the memory banks.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Everett: I have fond memories of Pittsburgh, one of my dearest friends lives there, and I played the Ken Page role in ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ at The Pittsburgh Public Theatre in 2004-5.
Barry: I've played here with BS&T, The Jukes, Tower of Power, Queen Latifah, Eddie Palmieri and did a clinic/concert at Carnegie-Mellon. A great music town with lots of history.

Thanks, Everett & Barry. It means a whole lot that you took the time.

First/Last-100 Watt Suns

"Listen to this: there’s a new EP by a new New York City band coming straight out of Connecticut. That’s right: Connecticut. The 100 Watt Suns, with their singer Steve Broderick who is a seen-it-all Lower-East-Side-after-hours veteran, has traded in the Manhattan apartment for a suburban spread in Mystic, Connecticut. And yeah, maybe any right minded guitar hero would consider that deal some kind of admission that working those Bleeker Street clubs on your way to the Beacon and then one day sitting in with Steven Tyler at the Meadowlands like Steve did back in the day—all that is for a younger crowd, so let me hand over my six-string, the Marshall stack, and the fifth of Jack, along with that iPad with the Garage Band software we downloaded to demo our next ground-breaking track, and you can issue the keys to my brand-new ride-on lawn mower."

Check out the band at their official Website, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube and Twitter. We continue to chillout in Connecticut on the Paste 50 States Project tour with 100 Watt Suns. The band latest is their self-titled debut and I want to thank songwriter Steve Broderick for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Cheap Trick “Heaven Tonight”.

Your last album bought?
Brett Dennen  “Smoke and Mirrors”.

Favorite album of all time?
The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” (“Exile…” 2nd!).

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Do unto others.

First concert attended?
Iron Maiden.

Last concert?
The Lone Bellow.

Favorite concert ever?
Etta James.

Least favorite concert?
Do unto others.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Some great shows at the Mellon, hanging out with singer James' Lewis' family, and Primanti Bros. sandwiches.

Thanks, Steve. Can definitely hear the Stones love/influence on your music. Good stuff, man.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First/Last-Speedy Ortiz

"From their start as a full band, Speedy Ortiz found a warm reception in the Bay State’s rock underground, from Boston’s basements to Western Massachusetts’ experimental scene. In March 2012, the band recorded and self-released a two-song single (“Taylor Swift” / “Swim Fan”) with Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies, Hole) and Justin Pizzoferrato (Chelsea Light Moving, Dinosaur Jr.). Establishing both creative momentum and a fanbase earned through near-constant U.S. touring, they continued with the Sports EP, a loosely conceptual 10” released on Exploding In Sound that June.
Their debut album Major Arcana, named Best New Music by Pitchfork, saw the evolution of Speedy Ortiz from a lo-fi project into a wholly collaborative effort, marked by Darl Ferm’s thick bass lines, drummer Mike Falcone’s boisterous fills, and the counterbalance between guitarist Matt Robidoux’s anti-melodic playing and frontwoman Sadie Dupuis’s angular riffing. The end result is a band able to distill their influences and impulses into something at once dissonant and melodic."

Check out the band on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and BandCamp. The 'snack-rock' quartet has two albums and three EP's under the belt, the latest being "Real Hair" via Carpark Records. You can probably hear most of it live when the band returns to Pittsburgh this Thursday at The Smiling Moose on a bill with local Legs Like Tree Trunks, The Fledgelings and Wicked Chief for the early show. Much thabks to Matt Robidoux (Guitar), Mike Falcone (Drums), Sadie Dupuis (Guitar/Vocals) and Darl Ferm (Bass) for taking a minute to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Matt Robidoux: “Amish Paradise” by ‘Weird’ Al.
Mike Falcone: “Different Light” by The Bangles.
Sadie Dupuis: “Ready to Die” by Notorious B.I.G.
Darl Ferm: The ‘Little Nicky’ Soundtrack.

Your last album bought?
Matt: “3 Listening Events” by Matthew P. Hopkins.
Mike: ''05 Fuck 'Em'” by Lil' B/
Sadie: “Surfing Strange” by Swearin'.
Darl: “Collison” by Ex-Breathers.

Favorite album of all time?
Matt: Ummm…
Mike: “Alien Lanes” by Guided By Voices
Sadie: Aqua's seminal album “Aquarium”.
Darl: “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Matt: Will Smith “Willenium”.
Mike: Jet “Get Born”.
Sadie: Aqua's seminal album “Aquarium”.
Darl: “Til the Casket Drops” by Clipse (but they are still the best rap group ever).

First concert attended?
Matt: Foreigner at Six Flags New England.
Mike: Waylon Jennings at Oakdale Theater, Wallingford, CT.
Sadie: I went to other concerts with my parents as a kid, but the first that I elected to go to of my own volition was No Doubt at the Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY. Or wait, maybe a Hanson live VH1 taping around the same time.
Darl: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queens of the Stone Age at Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA.

Last concert?
Matt: 4th annual Peskeomskut Noisecapades, Turner's Falls, MA.
Mike: Earl Sweatshirt, North Carolina.
Sadie: That we didn't play? Grass Is Green / Ovlov / Palehound / Krill / Trespasser at the Elk's Lodge in Cambridge, MA.
Darl: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queens of the Stone Age at Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA.

Favorite concert ever?
Matt: Christian Wolff at Wesleyan University chapel.
Mike: Weezer, The Get-Up Kids & Ozma, Boston/NYC, March 2001.
Sadie: Fat History Month, Florida=Death and Psychic Blood in a weird heatless garage in the dead of winter, 2011.
Darl: Big Boi at the Wesleyan University Spring Fling in 2010.

Least favorite concert?
Matt: This joint in Lake Villa, IL that I played in an old band. We played with Christian rock bands and the club had a "rule" that out of town bands didn't get paid.
Mike: The Vines, Hartford, CT.
Sadie: Third Eye Blind at MIT Spring Festival, 2008.
Darl: When I played at University of Southern Maine with my old band. There's video evidence of us watching TV during the entire set (mostly advertisements for the Speed Racer movie).

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Matt: Yeah! We played at 222 Ormsby two summers ago and it was awesome! I think that space is done though (R.I.P.)... One of my favorite small labels Unread Records is now based there.
Mike: Art Blakey rules.
Sadie: I wish "yinz" was national.
Darl: Black and Yellow.

Thanks, all. Not so fast on the mourning of 222 Ormsby, Matt. From what I hear, they are figuring out logistics and may be putting on shows again at the end of Summer? Finger's crossed.