Thursday, January 31, 2013

First/Last-Arlo Aldo

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Arlo Aldo is the new music project by Kadman creator, David Manchester. Teaming up with Ariel Nieland on vocals and keys and Brandon Forbes on drums, the group brings a unique and gorgeous twist on modern American alt-folk. The mellow, intimate songwriting for which David is known mix with lilting harmonies, finger-picked guitar, subtle percussion and cathedral-like organ to provide a music experience somewhere in the nexus of Low, Dirty Three & Jason Molina."

Check out the band at it's official Website, Facebook and ReverbNation. They are celebrating their debut release, "Selie", this Saturday night at Brillobox with my pals in the Emily Rodgers Band and Sleep Experiments along for support. My thanks to David Manchester (Vocals/Guitar), Brandon Forbes (Percussion), Ariel Nieland (Vocals/Keys/Bells/Melodica) and Susanna Meyer (Vocals/Bass) for taking a few minutes to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
David: Primus, “Sailing the Seas of Cheese”.
Brandon: “Ace of Base, “The Sign”.
Ariel: Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl” on cassette, obviously.
Susanna: Amy Grant, “Heart in Motion”, the tape.

Your last album bought?
David: Andrew Bird's “Hands of Glory”, but I did just put in my preorder for Retribution Gospel Choir, “3”.
Brandon: WIld Nothing, “Nocturne”.
Ariel: Grizzly Bear’s “Shields” and Menomena’s “Mom”.
Susanna: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, “The Harrow and the Harvest”.

Favorite album of all time?
David: I don't know if I can limit this to just one. Anything in the Low catalog between “Secret Name” and “Drums and Guns”. Bonnie 'Prince' Billie's “I See a Darkness”, Cotton Jones’ “Paranoid Caccoon” and Yo La Tengo, “I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One”.
Brandon: An impossible question to answer. Somewhere between The Beatles' “White Album”, Weezer's “Blue Album”, Wilco's “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and any Radiohead album, excluding “Pablo Honey”.
Ariel: Elliott Smith, “Either/Or”.
Susanna: “Crosby, Stills, and Nash” (self-titled).

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
David: Sun Kil Moon. Anything past “Ghosts of the Great Highway”. Really, Mark Kozelek in general after that. I think he just stopped trying. I think a lot of people may disagree with me on that, though.
Brandon: There are plenty of disappointing albums out there. I was really bummed about Damien Jurado's “Maraqopa” from 2012.
Ariel: Hmmmm, nothing coming to mind.
Susanna: Most recently disappointing, Grizzly Bear’s “Shields”.

First concert attended?
David: I can't remember if it was Soul Asylum/Screaming Trees/Spin Doctors or The Toasters and Dance Hall Crashers as part of Ska Night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. Both were circa 1993.
Brandon: Sandy Patti, live at Thompson Bowling Arena in Knoxville TN, circa 1987.
Ariel: Bush in Boston, Massachusetts in 1996.
Susanna: They Might Be Giants at Metropol.

Last concert?
David: That I wasn't playing in? I think it was probably the Big Snow Big Thaw CD release show. This is a disappointing realization that I just don't get to go to many shows anymore.
Brandon: Sharon Van Etten.
Ariel: Damian Jurado at the Warhol.
Susanna: Great Lake Swimmers/Donora.

Favorite concert ever?
David: Low at the Black Cat in Washington DC, 2005. Alan Sparhawks final show before a mental breakdown. He was a lunatic-genius on guitar that night.
Brandon: Tie between Joanna Newsom, Chicago Symphony Hall in Chicago in 2009 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Sigur Ros, Black Cat in Washington DC in 2002. Both were absolutely transcendent.
Ariel: Iron & Wine at a tiny lil' church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Susanna: Gillian Welch/David Rawlings at Merlefest in the early 2000’s.

Least favorite concert?
David: Tibetan Freedom Concert from 1997. So much talent. Such horrendous sound.
Brandon: Cat Power, Cat's Cradle in Durham, NC in 2003. I've seen her two additional times, both of which were amazing. She was really neurotic at this show and people were talking incessantly. It was painful to watch.
Ariel: Our first show at Club Cafe because I invited a whole bunch of people without realizing that having them there would make me even more nervous!

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
David: There are some great beards and great musicians in this town. Now that I've been here for a while, I can really see the musicians as a huge family with a great support system of venues, galleries, and alternative performance spaces. Pittsburgh has so much talent it's amazing.
Brandon: Great town, great music scene.
Ariel: It's my hometown and all throughout my childhood and teenagedom, I would always have to mentally prepare myself for the cringe on people's faces after hearing my response to the question, "where are you from?" In recent years, I've noticed that people's reaction is much more positive, intrigued, even (dare I say it) impressed. Seems like the word is finally out...
Susanna: This city is just country enough to keep me from moving to the country.

Thanks, all. Seriously, what a line up you gathered for Saturday night. See ya there!

First/Last-The Weber Brothers

"1980-83: Ryan and Sam Weber born in Baltimore, MD.
1992: Sam receives a guitar for Christmas, Ryan gets a bass  soon after.
1992-2000: The brothers play in various local bands in and around their hometown of Westminster, MD: A.W.O.L., Illegal Aliens, and Northern Lights. Sam playing in bars by the age of fifteen, often before having to get up for school the next day.
2001: On a whim, Ryan emails rock-a-billy legend Ronnie Hawkins. Hawkins responds and they send him a demo tape. They are eventually invited to his home in Ontario to audition for his acclaimed band 'The Hawks'. After traveling on their own to Chicago, Nashville, and Amsterdam in the following months, they get the call from Hawkins to come back to Canada, saying he had jobs for them. Ryan and Sam leave everything behind the next morning and head north to Hawkins' farm to begin his infamous 90 Day Boot Camp. To earn their keep, they do farm work during the day, and, under Hawkins' watchful eye, play music in their free time. They go through the same process many ex-Hawks had gone through years before: farm hand, roadie, driver, merchandise handler, before eventually joining the band and becoming official members of 'The Hawks'. Touring begins."

Check out the band at it's official Website, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. My thanks to brother Ryan Weber for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
That's a tough one for me to remember right now, tough to exactly recall. I remember the first album I had though, just not sure if I bought it or borrowed it and that was "Appetite for Destruction", Guns n’ Roses first album. I know I had to sneak listening to it because of all the cuss words in it, Mom and Dad didn't want me listening to words like that at that time. I think I was seven and Sam was about four or five. We used to sneak off into my room when Mom and Dad were in the yard mowing the grass to listen to it, we figured with the lawn mower going it would be loud enough they wouldn't hear what we were listening to. They would inevitably find it, but I would get copies of it from friends.

Your last album bought?
I got Springsteen's newest album and Dylan's newest one too. Love them both.

Favorite album of all time?
You know, that can change depending on the mood I'm in, I think. “Plastic Ono Band” would be way up there by John Lennon. “Songs in the Key of Life” from Stevie Wonder. Any Beatles album too.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I'm not the best to ask on that, it's rare that I don't pick up something good on anything I listen to. It's all got soul that I hear, and there's good things about it. There is one song I really can't stand and that's ‘Waiting On the World to Change’ by John Mayer. He is a great artist and everything I know and his other stuff is good, but that song bugs me. I can't relate to that kind of idea. You got to pull the weeds out of the garden if you want a flower to grow.

First concert attended?
Two come to mind, not sure which was first. Asleep at the Wheel and Aerosmith. Saw Asleep at The Wheel with Mom Dad and Sam at a festival, they were just great. I remember thinking that, but I don't remember the show that much or the sound, just that I enjoyed myself. Aerosmith we saw at Hershey Park. Spent the whole day riding rides and eating funnel cakes and then saw one of the best bands play one of the best shows. What is not to like about that day for a boy around ten years old? It was the best. It was around the “Get a Grip” album, whatever year that was. They had so many hits on that album and we loved them all and they played them all, just a great concert. I might have known right then that this is what I wanted to do, that we could do it and that we could do it as good as anybody.

Last concert?
 I saw Springsteen twice this past summer. Probably the greatest show on Earth, musically speaking. There is no one like him and no show like his. He gives so much, its always 150%. Plays for so long and so hard and just so fantastic. True inspiration, makes me think if he can do it at 64 or however old he is, than we have got to be able to do it now. He remembers that it’s about fun, and that it IS fun to do what we do. What it’s about is celebration, celebrating life and freedom and rock and roll, it’s that. For however long the band plays, you can put down your worries and your cell phones for that time and be free. That is what we have always been about, something I too realize. The band and the audience are one, not separate, takes both of them to make the magic of the night really happen, and there is no one better at not only realizing that, but magnifying that than Bruce and the E Street.

Favorite concert ever?
Another one I'm not the best at answering. People who know me know that every time I come back from a concert I say, "That was the best concert ever" and I mean it each time. If someone really gives it and really moves me than there is no better or worse, I gauge it on the emotion it made me feel. I have been fortunate to have been very, very moved many time at concerts. And not just big time ones, I have seen things in a club that make my hair stand rigid.

Least favorite concert?
Maybe the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was once in Toronto. Nothing against them either. I took my girlfriend at the time with me, they were her favorite band and one of mine too, but she wasn't having the best time. Our seats weren't the greatest, she wound up wanting to leave before the encore. I was like "How can you leave before the encore?"

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Played some very good gigs there, met some very great people there. Really good rockabilly scene from what I've gathered. which I always love, playing with Ronnie Hawkins and loving rockabilly like I do. Always great to find a place that is keeping it alive and Pittsburgh is one of those places. It's a real rockin’ town. Can't wait to get there again actually, to reach for the stars with some new and old friends. Pittsburgh, The Weber Brothers are comin’ to town!!

Thanks, Ryan. I've heard some raucous things about your live show! Also, I second the praise of all things Springsteen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First/Last-The Lopez

"If there's one thing that's for sure about music from The Lopez, it's the fact that your kindergarten teacher would absolutely loathe it.  Frontwoman Stephenwolf and everything-else-guy Jesse, collectively The Lopez, have failed to retain any notion of "inside voices" from their elementary school days, a move that seems to have worked out in everyone but Mrs. D'Amato's favor.  While "loud" alone can't adequately describe the noisy duo's blend of fuzz-laden garage pop and synth-punk, it's tough not to become immediately engrossed in the high volume ferocity of their craft.  Combining the acid-drowned noisiness of an act like Wavves with some true blue shoegaze a la No Age, The Lopez bring California's lazy blue waves to Rust Belt Way, USA.  Stick it to grandma's eardrums with head-spinner 'Obedience', or get lost in the unrelenting drum machine cacophony of 'Dougie' (minus the silly dance) - either way, be sure to check out the Pittsburgh duo's self-titled EP before Ma and Pa make it home from work."

I really dig this duo. If you live in Pittsburgh and have never seen them play, please do yourself a favor and check them. What better time than tomorrow night at Howler's on a bill with pow wow! and my buds in Neighbours.You can also find them online at FaceBook, BandCamp, ReverbNation, and MuzicDizcovery. My thanks to Stephenwolf (Vocals/Synth) and Jesse Lopez (Guitar/Vocals/Programming) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Steph: I can’t remember the first full-length album I ever bought, but I know the first music I ever owned was Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’ single cassette tape.
Jesse: It was either the first Naughty by Nature or the first Cypress Hill. That Cypress record is still crazy good. Some of those beats are mind blowers. Someone should reissue that shit.

Your last album bought?
Steph: I got two Sleater Kinney albums from Santa this year, “All Hands on the Bad One” and “The Hot Rock”.
Jesse: I just picked up (with a gift certificate to the wonderful Sound Cat Records) a 5LP box of this band Witch, a sweet  psych/rock/funk band from Zambia and also the reissue of the first NEU record.

Favorite album of all time?
Steph: I don’t think I could pick a number one favorite album, but Beck’s “Mellow Gold” and The Breeders’ “Last Splash” are two albums that I will always love.
Jesse: Fuck. Today the answer is “Billion Dollar Babies”?

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Steph: Crash Test Dummies, “God Shuffled His Feet”.
Jesse: These are different questions. Least favorite?  Hmmmmmmmm…Like, something I could just throw away? That jive turkey Elvis Costello gets on my nerves. I have some of his records. Most disappointing? Since Steph mentioned him, Beck’s “Sea Change” record. Man, that fucking sucked. Big disappointment.

First concert attended?
Steph: Elastica at Metropol.
Jesse: Lollapalooza ’94 at Starlake.

Last concert?
Steph: Weird Paul Rock Band, South Seas Sneak, Duo, and Tron Ate My Baby at Garfield Artworks.
Jesse: Hmmmm…It may also have been WPRB. But not the same one Steph said. Rock & Bowl maybe?

Favorite concert ever?
Steph: Guided By Voices.
Jesse: We saw Fogerty a few years back at the Tower Theatre in Philly and he just fucking killed. The set was relentless. One of the most fun times ever. Springsteen and the Band at the Arena in ‘99 or 2000 was also a banger. I went with my fam and my Dad was hoping he was gonna play this song, a Jimmy Cliff cover, that was on the “We are The World” record. I was like “You’re nuts if you think they’re playing that”. I had been checking out setlists online. But this was the second show out of two and the set was nothing like the night before and of course like five songs in they play ‘Trapped’. My Dad marked out hard.

Least favorite concert?
Steph: Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Jesse: I fell asleep at two shows in my life. One was obviously the Dave Matthews Band at Three Rivers. The other was Stereolab at Laga. But the Stereolab show was actually O.K.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Steph: There are a lot of good shows going on here in the ‘burgh…you just have to get out and go to them!!
Jesse: I like food. Food tastes good.

Thanks, guys. Turns out I was at BOTH your first concerts. And funnily enough Jesse, my Dad loved Springsteen and his favorite song was 'Trapped'.

First/Last-Ellis Paul

Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Ellis Paul is a critically-acclaimed singer, songwriter, poet, and troubadour originally hailing from a potato farming family in northern Maine. He is the recipient of thirteen Boston Music Awards, second only to multi-platinum act, Aerosmith. Over the course of fifteen years, Ellis Paul has built a vast catalog of music which weds striking poetic imagery and philosophical introspection with hook-laden melodies."

Check out Ellis at his official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and MySpace. He is performing tomorrow night at Club Cafe in support of his latest release, "City of Silver Dreams". My thanks to  Ellis for taking a few minutes to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Your last album bought?
Pretty sure it was a LP by Chuck Mangione, called “Children of Sanchez”.

Favorite album of all time?
“Harvest” by Neil Young.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I've never been disappointed with a purchase. I only buy artists I respect, so I tend to accept what they present with the same respect. Sometimes there are surprises that don't feel right. Bob Dylan's ‘Christmas’ album would be included here.

First concert attended?
Doc Severensen around 1975.

Last concert?
I saw many shows at festivals this past summer. Chris Smither was my most recent favorite.

Favorite concert ever?
Probably U2 at Live Aid, late 80's.

Least favorite concert?
A Dylan/Petty double bill at Red Rocks. I was too far back, and they weren't reaching me, though I love them both.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Played there for years, love WYEP!

Thanks, Ellis. Live Aid, huh? Too cool!