Friday, August 18, 2017

First/Last - Brahctopus

There is a cool benefit show going down tomorrow (Saturday, August 19) at James Street Gastropub for the American Heart Association featuring a bunch of blog faves including Heavy Chest, Essential Machine and The Petals. Opening the night will be an acoustic set from some members of reggae jamsters Brahctopus. I want to thank lead 'Brah' Ethan Kovalcik (Ukulele/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
50 Cent- Get Rich or Die Tryin'. I was young and bought it from a kid on my school bus thinking I was cool since it had a "parental advisory". I absolutely hated it.
Your last album bought?
State of Mind by Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why. Great funky friends from Asbury Park, NJ!
Favorite album of all time?
Sublime - Freedom. Bradley Nowell is one of my biggest influences; without that album I wouldn't be playing the style of music I am today.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Anything from Nickleback or Buck Cherry... Or maybe the 50 Cent one. That's a toss-up.
First concert attended?
*NSYNC when I was 9 years old at Star Lake Amphitheater. And no, I'm not embarrassed by that!
Last concert?
Phish at Petersen Event Center July 19, 2017. Un...real...
Favorite concert ever?
Has to be the first time I saw Phish. I was a freshman in college and traveled to Cincinnati with some close friends. It was quite an epic trip!
Least favorite concert?
The time I went to Warped Tour in high school. I didn't really enjoy any of the music and I also had a minor run in with the police.
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is how the local music scene is coming together. It's really starting to flourish for all genres of music. Everyone is working together to set up gigs, festivals and we're starting to see a huge burst of combining the visual arts with the music. It's a great time to be a Pittsburgh Musician!

Thanks, Ethan. Should be a sweet time tomorrow. So tell me how you define 'minor' run in?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some Kind of Animal Music Video - "Midnight"

Some Kind of Animal is a Pittsburgh based neo-folk band who released their latest eponymous album this Spring via the Get Hip Records Folk Series.
After killing it at the Deutschtown Music Festival a few weeks a go, this week they are all over WYEP as the featured band on The Local 913. as well as cover band to this month's print edition of Sound Scene Express.
Today I bring you the music video to my bud's Ben favorite track on the album, "Midnight." Created by Nick Francis and starring actress/dancer Hannah Vassallo, the images match the mood and atmosphere to the song perfectly.
The band has been a blog fave for awhile and I am really looking forward to what they do next.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

First/Last - The Beagle Brothers

"The hardest working band in Pittsburgh. The Beagle Brothers have been Pittsburgh's premiere country band for over 10 years. They are the foundation of the "Bloomfield Sound," which mixes honky-tonk and classic country with an accelerated, high energy performance."

The Beagle Brothers area Pittsburgh institution. Don't believe me? They have their own day in the City of Pittsburgh (December 12th, 2015.) They are the house band up in Punxsutawney during the annual Groundhog Day festivities. They even made the cover of the City Paper to mark the release of their 4th album, Dancers of the Drunken Two-Step. Now the Brothers are set to release their latest offering entitled Hearts Go By this Friday (8/4) with a banger at Howler's bringing along blog faves André Costello and the Cool Minors and Kayla Schureman for the ride. Much thanks to Ezra Smith (Drums), Gabriel Smith (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar). Kyle Kline (Bass), Noah Smith (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar), and Read Connolly (Pedal Steel) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Ezra Smith: Beggars & Thieves - Beggars & Thieves.
Gabriel Smith: Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry.
Kyle Kline: Michael Jackson - Thriller. My memory of this is foggy, but my mother clearly remembers the night we purchased the cassette at National Record Mart.
Noah Smith: Starship - Knee Deep in the Hoopla.
Read Connolly: "Weird Al" Yankovic - Bad Hair Day. I liked it so much, I bought it twice, so I could have a cassette version to play in the car.

Your last album bought?
Ezra: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Living with the Living.
Gabriel: The Biters – The Future Ain’t What I Used to Be.
Kyle: The Sons of the Pioneers - Cool Water and Seventeen Timeless Western Favorites. Total "old man" crooner Country and I love it!
Noah: Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker.
Read: Charley Pride - In Person. I've been obsessing over the pedal steel playing by Lloyd Green on this record. Last week I found a mint copy on the shelves at Jerry's Records for $3. Miss you already, Jerry.

Favorite album of all time?
Ezra: The Clash - London Calling.
Gabriel: Rocket From the Crypt – RFTC or The Hellacopters – Rock and Roll Is Dead.
Kyle: Lately it's been a toss-up between Fela Kuti - The Best of the Black President and Merle Haggard and the Strangers  - Swinging Doors...
Noah: Urge Overall - Exit the Dragon.
Read: I'm too mercurial to commit to a favorite record. My favorite right now is Nicole Atkins - Goodnight Rhonda Lee.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Ezra: The Dismemberment Plan – Change.
Gabriel: Robbie Fulks – Upland Stories or Happy.
Kyle: I was excited about Drake - VIEWS, but thought it ended up being a dud.
Noah: Weezer - Blue Album.
Read: Most recently, Katy Perry - Witness. I am a big fan of her last two records, especially her work with Max Martin. They've made great pop music together! Unfortunately, Witness has none of the fun or staying power of her last two records.

First concert attended?
Ezra: The Everly Brothers.
Gabriel: The Everly Brothers.
Kyle: Tommy Page / Sweet Sensation / Linear at the Crawford County Fair. Someone came onstage during Sweet Sensation's set to let them know their single had just hit #1.
Noah: The Everly Brothers.
Read: "Weird Al" Yankovic at the E-Centre in Camden, New Jersey.

Last concert?
Ezra: Robbie Fulks.
Gabriel: Neurosis / Converge.
Kyle: Neurosis / Converge.
Noah: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Read: Nikki Lane.

Favorite concert ever?
Ezra: The Posies (2005) at Grog Shop in Cleveland.
Gabriel: Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Faith No More.
Kyle: Guns N' Roses, Femi Kuti, Nick Cave: all amazing, all seen within the last year.
Noah: Bad Religion (1995) at Metropol.
Read: The Marked Men with Kim Phuc opening at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Both bands played early and late sets, it was an awesome day.

Least favorite concert?
Ezra: Riot Fest 2011.
Gabriel: Riot Fest 2011.
Kyle: Riot Fest 2011.
Noah: Michael Bolton.
Read: B.B. King at the Benedum Center. I don't want to speak ill of the dead... RIP.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Ezra: Partying in the iced-over streets of Bloomfield after the Steelers' 2005 Super Bowl victory; watching the city grow and change in the 15 years since I started college here.
Gabriel: Playing music with my brothers and closest friends. Seeing new vegan restaurants pop up in the city.
Kyle: Making music with my best friends, playing in front of 20,000 people at 4 AM, "Beagle Brothers Day," playing "Big River" with Bill Peduto, stage diving/crowd surfing at Pittonkatonk and Howlers, running the Great Race and the Half Marathon.
Noah: First Karl Hendricks sighting after moving to Bloomfield in 2005, Slim Cessna at the Sunday Night Hayride, Johnny Cash Day, Using my awkward flirting skills to court a particular Whole Foods cashier, the birth of my daughter.
Read: The 2013 National League Wild Card game, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016 and 2017, Working with Rick Sebak, Learning how to remodel a kitchen, Being made fun of on "The Daily Show" with my best friends.
Thanks, fellas. Very cool resume there, guys. Friday should be a blast. Here's a fun fact, I technically saw you for the first time in 2006 as I walked in Belvedere's during the last few seconds of your final song. To this day, I am still miffed that I missed your set.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Exclusive: Bat Zuppel Single Premiere "The Witch"

I am excited to share with you the lead off single to the upcoming album Dylar by Pittsburgh noise rockers Bat Zuppel which drops September 22nd via Wild Kindness Records. You can actually score it early when the band has their CD release a week prior at Spirit on September 15th with special guests Langston Kelly Human DJ and It It.
The track is called "The Witch" and it's a 7 minute epic smack dab in the middle of the album.
Check out the full album tracklist and enjoy the stream of "The Witch" below

Dylar Tracks:
Dylar VII
Something Else
Her Favorite Song
The Witch
Away To Drown
Living Without Blues
Sneaky Tack


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

First/Last - Chase and the Barons

"Chase and the Barons bring rock n’ roll back out onto the dance floor, donning paisley ties, brightly colored jeans, and a generally groovy look. Since their formation in 2016, the band has been hitting the Pittsburgh music scene hard with memorable shows, filled with energy and style."

Chase and the Barons is an up and coming Pittsburgh rock and roll band who's latest offering is the Propose a Toaster EP via Pioneer Records. Get a 'taste' of what the band has to offer tonight (6/28) as they participate in the Rock 'N Ramen show at Spirit along with blog faves Meeting of Important People (Duo) and upstarts Bikini Islands. I want to thank Tyler Handyside (Saxophone) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
I unfortunately don't buy a whole lot of music (damn millenials), but I think the first CD I actually bought was Radiohead's Hail to the Thief. I think that record is certainly the band's most underrated work and has some incredible songs. All of Radiohead's releases feel so cohesive as individual works of art, and this album is no exception.

Your last album bought?
The most recent album I bought was one of saxophonist Joshua Redman's latest albums, Walking Shadows. The release is a ballads album, and features gorgeous arrangements of everything from jazz standards to Beatles tunes. The production on the album is excellent, as the ballads really give a lot of open space for strings, horns, and percussion.

Favorite album of all time?
Every musician has struggled to answer this question at some point... I would have to say my favorite record ever is Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else. This album made me truly fall in love with jazz, the saxophone, and music in general, all at once. It is one of few albums I remember exactly where I was the first time I listened to it. The musicianship and general mood of this record is truly transcendent.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
A record that I remember being disappointed in recently was Circa Survive's 2014 release Descensus. The record was a transition from atmospheric, catchy, vocal-driven alternative music to a more hard-rock, accessible feel. Their excellent musicianship and lyrics were still present, and I would never expect a band to release the same kind of music forever, but this record just didn't vibe with me, and I was super excited for it to come out.

First concert attended?
The first concert I attended was Rise Against and Bad Religion when I was 14 or so. It was a cool show to see my favorite band at that time, in addition to an act as influential as Bad Religion.

Last concert?
The most recent concert I attended was the band Knuckle Puck at Altar Bar. They had just released their most recent album and they played a great high energy set. The Altar Bar was a cool venue and I was happy to see a few shows there in the months before it closed.

Favorite concert ever?
My favorite concert ever was seeing my favorite band, Title Fight, at the Smiling Moose when I was in high school. I was just starting to really dive into music in general, and they quickly became one of my favorite alternative bands. They had just released another great record, and the small space at the Smiling Moose was perfect, as it made the 100-or so person crowd feel like a few thousand. This show was more than worth all the stage dive kicks to the head I took.

Least favorite concert?
My least favorite concert ever was actually seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Consol. They played a great show, and I was super stoked to have floor seats, but I could hardly see the stage at all and mostly had to watch the giant video screen that they were showing a camera stream on. I was disappointed to not be able to see all of the band interaction and shenanigans as a whole, and just felt like I didn't get the full experience.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
On a non-music note: As a huge sports fan, the first thing that comes to mind is the Penguins' recent run of back-to-back Stanley Cups. It probably hasn't registered with me how fortunate I am to have experienced such a legendary stretch of hockey. I've been able to witness some really cool hockey games here, including the Winter Classic and a few playoff games, and I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. The city of Pittsburgh is the greatest sports town in this country, and I could not imagine living somewhere where sports aren't such a huge part of daily life for an entire city.

Thanks, Tyler. I am guessing that you weren't really around for the first Penguins Cup run in the early 90's? That was super fun, too.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

First/Last - Brother From Another Mother

"At the core of Brother From Another Mother is the Dyjamic Duo of Dave Hamilton and Dennis Malley.  Each of them singer-songwriters in their own right, they discovered a musical chemistry that necessitated the forming of the BFAM collective.  BFAM uses the written song as a launch vehicle into the magical improvised moments that are not duplicated from one performance to the next.  In the 15 months since they started playing together, multiple talented artists have joined Dave and Dennis for full-band performances, including drummers Sam Hogan and Dave Resto, and bass players Dustin Becker, Brandon Walsh, and Brian McStay."

Brother from Another Mother are a Pittsburgh based acoustic duo who will be playing today (6/17) at 4pm at James Street Speakeasy as part of the 24 band lineup for my #HughShows50 blowout. The bands are celebrating 50 Years of the Summer of Love by interpreting songs from the era. This show is free and all-ages. I want to thank the band for specifically playing the gig and for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Dennis Malley: Ever actually bought?  I don't know, do those 10 albums for a penny deals count?  I'd say my first memory of a "transition" album was Motley Crue's Theatre of Pain since that was my first transition from easy going poppy stuff of my tween years into the great big world of heavier stuff that would follow.
Dave Hamilton: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication.

Your last album bought?
Dennis: The pledgemusic campaign for the new Wreck Loose album, looking forward to the release show this week!
Dave: Clutch - Psychic Warfare.

Favorite album of all time?
Dennis: Hoo boy, so may albums were spun into my DNA over the years, on constant rotation over the course of several months at different times in my life.  Jane's Addiction Ritual De Lo Habitual, Frank Zappa Joe's Garage, Phish A Picture of Nectar, Ben Folds Five The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, Mr. Bungle's eponymous release, just to name a few.   But I'd say Billy Joel's The Stranger is one that has stuck with me through the days when my mom would blast it on the 8-track way back when.
Dave: Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Dennis: Not sure I can think of a specific example here, but I'm usually disappointed by a new release when I realize the band is going to stick to a formula instead of growing and evolving and showing some new facet of their songwriting and composition.

First concert attended?
Dennis: Dokken opening for Aerosmith, I think I was 14.  Went for Dokken (they were my all-time favorite at the time), but Aerosmith also really rocked the joint.
Dave: P.O.D. HED P.E. Project 86 and Linkin Park at Metropol in, I believe 2001. Linkin Park was one of the opening bands. No-one knew who they were!

Last concert?
Dennis: Kishi Bashi with Tall Tall Trees.  Got to hang with my buddy, Tall Tall Trees' Mike Savino, after the show!
Dave: Raggoo Festivoo 8 in Slippery Rock, Pa featuring some of the best local bands Pittsburgh has to offer.

Favorite concert ever?
Dennis: I'd have to say Phish at Palumbo Center in 1994.  I was a big fan of their studio stuff and had no idea what their live show was like. They opened my eyes that night.  A close second was Jane's Addiction at The Metropol,  just because it was so random that a group of my friends showed up to pick me up unannounced and said "you need to go to this show!"  And indeed I did.
Dave: When I opened for The Devil Wears Prada at Mr. Smalls with my metal band Oh No! The Afterlife.

Least favorite concert?
Dennis: Probably Bon Jovi with Nickelback, it was a bucket list concert for my Mom, but my god we were unfortunate enough to get there early enough for the opening act.  And honestly this isn't the typical fashionable Nickelback hate -  the sound for these guys was just an awful, boomy mess.
Dave: Anything country.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Dennis: Over the past several years I've put some serious effort into getting "out there" more in the music community.  Whether it's setting up a gig, playing at a festival, open stages, or running sound - I'll tell you, the musicians in Pittsburgh are not only super talented, but they are all super friendly as well!  We have something really special going on in this city and I'm so glad to be here to watch it grow.  Every time I go to check out a local band I'm just floored by the fresh original sounds that keep coming from all of these amazing beautiful people and I'm glad to be getting to know so many of them!
Dave: The evolution of venues, artists and the music played within city venues such as The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. There's a passion and love for the scene that seems to grow.

Thanks, fellas. See you soon!