Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Image Of The Day-" Big Muscles!"

Meeting Of Important People
Thunderbird Cafe
Friday February 19, 2010

For the next two days I am featuring MOIP in what turned out to be a pair of completely different sets. At the Thunderbird, they closed The Wreckids CD release show with the most ferociously blazing show I have ever seen them do. Coming out of the gate with a blistering take on their bona fide hit 'Brittney Lane Don't Care', they didn't let up at all. I was literally sweating buckets after a few songs. Great stuff. Tomorrow I'll highlight Josh solo acoustic that was just as (if not more so) awesome.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Mr. Blue Sky"

Calliope Center Stage
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Thursday March 11, 2010
Point Breeze

It seems like forever since I have seen Lohio play. Their newest EP has REALLY been growing on me. Not that I wasn't enjoying it when I first heard it, it's just that it has quickly become my favorite release of theirs. They started off the set with a couple slow tunes from said EP and semi-apologized for the lack of rock which was not necessary at all. I love a kinder, gentle Lohio!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Image Of The Day-"This Town"

Emily Rodgers
Calliope Center Stage
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Thursday March 11, 2010
Point Breeze

This was my first time at the newly opened Calliope stage in the basement of the PCA. Very casual space with killer sound which was perfect for Emily's music.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Show Preview-Dark Dark Dark

Saturday April 3, 2010
Morning Glory Coffeehouse

So do yourself a big favor right now and listen to the new EP by the band Dark Dark Dark called 'Bright Bright Bright' by clicking the title.

For reasons I cannot explain I have been absolutely FLOORED by this release. It's been a long while since music has affected me like this. I am really excited to be seeing them next week at MoGlo. So excited I tracked down Marshall LaCount for an interview.

When/how did you and Nona meet and begin making music together?

We met in Minneapolis, at a pizza collective where Nona was working. She liked crafting and playing songs for her friends, and she liked my weird band back then. We were friends for a while and came to a place where we had nothing else to do but play music together. The story goes that we traveled to New Orleans with our new "band" to make gas money. For some reason we didn't quit after two weeks like we'd planned.

How do you two write? Do you work out lyrics together and then music? Or do you bring your own ideas for the band to work on?
We either write our own songs and then edit each other, or one person will write the music and not have the words, and ask the other. After that, we go to the whole band for arranging.

Your previous release "The Snow Magic" seems to me to be more 'straightforward' in it's presentation. Most of the instruments and vocals are equally up front. It seems to me that you went for more complex arrangements on "Bright Bright Bright" resulting in a different, more ethereal listening experience. Was that intentional or am I hearing things?
We simply spent 3 years together as a band, learned more about what we are interested in, and gained a lot of experience. The Snow Magic is essentially an unedited sampler of all of our initial writing experiments. We were also recovering from playing acoustic, on the street, in basements, and in loud bars, where quiet arranging isn't heard. If our band name is about contrast, then we're realizing it in our sound with Bright Bright Bright and the LP that will follow this year. We're learning how to perform with a bigger dynamic range and all the textures that make up our arrangements in our minds.

You have great promotional photos accompanying the new release. Seems like a whole bunch of folks are involved in this record. Is that a reflection of you taking on band members as needed for various purposes (touring, recording, etc.)?
Well, on the cover of Bright Bright Bright, only a couple of those people actually make sound on the record. Most of them are friends, advisers, and influences on us in more ways than musically. In terms of our art and photography, we always include friends' work, and think of it as a very careful consideration. I approached that photo shoot not knowing exactly what I wanted, or what would happen. I trusted the photographer (Cameron Wittig) and I knew there was a bunch of great people in the room, and great art on the walls, by friends. Todd and I chose this photo after many mock-ups and different versions, because it has a level of mystery and drama that doesn't allude to just one thing. It doesn't quite make sense. No one on the front is even in the band. The main person on the front is actually in her own successful Twin Cities band, and in our choir. I appreciate that it can be mistaken for a large band photo, but to me it is like a soap opera of friends.

Todd Chandler is a musician in your band and a filmmaker. You provided the score for his movie Flood [Tide] (which also happens to be my favorite song on the EP). When will we be able to see the movie? Also, is the score instrumental or does it feature actual songs?
The score is a mix of instrumentals and songs. It is still being completed by the engineer and producer, our own Jonathan Kaiser. Todd is currently letting the cut sit and working on the live-soundtrack cut, which is due at the San Jose Biennial, and at the Hammer Museum in LA, in the fall. We are thinking of ways to tour with the LP and with the movie at the same time, potentially spending two nights in some cities, so we are considering a fall premier.

Is the new full length complete? Does it feature songs off of "Bright Bright Bright" or all new tunes? Do you have a title yet? How will that sound compared to your previous material?
Bright Bright Bright and Something For Myself are the gateways to the new LP (from Bright Bright Bright), and for that reason may make the cut to being included on it. We'll continue mixing it in the next months. It is not titled yet, and I don't feel like giving you a hint. Its like choosing baby names. It includes the choir, some of the sound from the church where we worked on Bright Bright Bright, and right now feels like a really dynamic and coherent group of songs that we're proud of.

What kind of set list can we anticipate on the upcoming shows?
We'll play most of the EP. Actually Flood is the song that is on hold right now...your favorite! We'll see how it goes. We'll play some of the LP, and we'll play something older, and we'll play something that is a surprise. A gentle surprise.

Image courtesy MoGlo

You have played here before, any interesting memories of Pittsburgh that you have, or were you quickly in and out?
We've spent a good amount of time in Pittsburgh and in Braddock. We have many friends there and love a lot of people. We came through on Why? tour and played at the college, but in the past we've played at the Nerve, at Morning Glory, at the Cemetery on Easter, and in basements. There is a really great community in Pittsburgh, doing interesting and important things. While I'm at it, I'll plug The Transformazium ( Its in Braddock, is a very great and ambitious endeavor, and needs lots of help and resources.

I just have to say Marshall, that your music is really affecting me in such a positive way. I haven't felt this moved by someones record in such a long time. I sincerely appreciate it and your time very much.
Thank you, I'm glad you say so. It is really due to all of us and the chemistry we fight to keep among us, and to the special voice each person has in the process. And to Nona.

Dark Dark Dark: Flood from hoovesontheturf (sarahana) on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Penny On The Floor"

The Clarks
Haiti Benefit Concert
Sunday February 28, 2010
Soldiers & Sailors Hall

The Clarks are the Godfathers of the Pittsburgh music scene. There can be a legit argument that they are THE most successful band to come out of town. They first released an album in 1988 and miraculously, with all the original members intact, keep playing and recording. Very impressive. Jeesh, I can remember seeing them playing bars at IUP in the early days. How old does that make me? More photos here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Appreciation-Alex Chilton

Paul Westerberg:
HOW does one react to the death of one’s mentor? My mind instantly slammed down the inner trouble-door that guards against all thought, emotion, sadness. Survival mode. Rock guitar players are all dead men walking. It’s only a matter of time, I tell myself as I finger my calluses. Those who fail to click with the world and society at large find safe haven in music — to sing, write songs, create, perform. Each an active art in itself that offers no promise of success, let alone happiness.

Yet success shone early on Alex Chilton, as the 16-year-old soulful singer of the hit-making Box Tops. Possessing more talent than necessary, he tired as a very young man of playing the game — touring, performing at state fairs, etc. So he returned home to Memphis. Focusing on his pop writing and his rock guitar skills, he formed the group Big Star with Chris Bell. Now he had creative control, and his versatility shone bright. Beautiful melodies, heart-wrenching lyrics: “I’m in Love with a Girl,” “September Gurls.”

On Big Star’s masterpiece third album, Alex sang my favorite song of his, “Nighttime” — a haunting and gorgeous ballad that I will forever associate with my floor-sleeping days in New York. Strangely, the desperation in the line “I hate it here, get me out of here” made me, of all things, happy. He went on to produce more artistic, challenging records. One equipped with the take-it-or-leave-it — no, excuse me, with the take-it-like-I-make-it — title “Like Flies on Sherbert.” The man had a sense of humor, believe me.

It was some years back, the last time I saw Alex Chilton. We miraculously bumped into each other one autumn evening in New York, he in a Memphis Minnie T-shirt, with take-out Thai, en route to his hotel. He invited me along to watch the World Series on TV, and I immediately discarded whatever flimsy obligation I may have had. We watched baseball, talked and laughed, especially about his current residence — he was living in, get this, a tent in Tennessee.

Because we were musicians, our talk inevitably turned toward women, and Al, ever the Southern gentleman, was having a hard time between bites communicating to me the difficulty in ... you see, the difficulty in (me taking my last swig that didn’t end up on the wall, as I boldly supplied the punch line) “... in asking a young lady if she’d like to come back to your tent?” We both darn near died there in a fit of laughter.

Yeah, December boys got it bad, as “September Gurls” notes. The great Alex Chilton is gone — folk troubadour, blues shouter, master singer, songwriter and guitarist. Someone should write a tune about him. Then again, nah, that would be impossible. Or just plain stupid.

Paul Westerberg, a musician, was the lead singer of the Replacements.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Sweet Salvation"

Bill Deasy
Haiti Benefit Concert
Sunday February 28, 2010
Soldiers & Sailors Hall

I used to see Bill's old band, The Gathering Field, all the time back in their heyday. I haven't seen him for years but this guy's 'blue collar working man' ethic still appeals to me. Cool dude. More pics here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Glass Tiger"

Good Brother Earl
Haiti Benefit Concert
Sunday February 28, 2010
Soldiers & Sailors Hall

Being a 'Burgher born and bred myself, I can bet my mortgage that I have seen GBE at least once before. They have seemingly been around town forever and although I didn't know a note, they were still entertaining. The crowd was eerily silent between songs which is always kind of weird. More pictures here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Image Of The Day-"The Roses"

Morning Glory Coffeehouse
Sunday March 7, 2010

It's no secret that I have been a huge fan of Local Honey for years now. This was my first opportunity to check out Becky's other band with Leah McManigle of local stalwarts Dirty Faces. A lazy Sunday brunch was probably a radical departure to where or more specifically when they usually play. Regardless, they sounded perfect for the setting. Hangovers be damned! More pictures here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Hanuman"

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
WYEP Studios
Tuesday March 2, 2010

So there seemed to be a ton of buzz concerning these two among some of my fellow bloggers about a somewhat surprising Pittsburgh appearance. Frankly, I never even heard of them before and this studio session (as with most of them) offered a nice opportunity to get a taste of the band without shelling out $50 to find out. I have to say they conducted one of the more enjoyable interviews I have heard at the station in a while, Gabriela even dropping and F-bomb on air live! They were also some of the nicest, most humble musicians I have met. Very sweet people. As for the music, there was no denying their musicianship. Pretty impressive but I could not tell one song apart from the other and I don't know if I would be into listening to it for 90 minutes or so. Maybe, maybe not. Judge for yourself by listening to the session here. More photos here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Flood Season"

Horse Or Cycle
Play On Recording Studios
Sunday February 28, 2010

The band invited me to the studio while they finish up recording their debut. They were happy with the results and they should be, from what little I heard, it sounded great. Expect the album in spring/summer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Show Preview-Nik Westman

CD Release Show
Thunderbird Cafe
Friday March 5, 2010

So Nik and his band are releasing his CD tomorrow with a party at the Thunderbird. Unfortunately, I am ill and cannot make it, which doesn't mean you can't.
Also, there are a couple features this week in The Post-Gazette and The City Paper previewing the show. Thanks to Nik, they used my photo! Woo-hoo, a first of hopefully many instances my images are used. Thanks Nik!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Image Of The Day-"My Gun"

David Bernabo + Assembly
WYEP Third Thursdays
Thursday February 25, 2010

David Bernabo is as much as a Pittsburgh institution as any other musician I can think of. He's been playing interesting, 'DIY' music for years now. I've always appreciated him and with his latest release, he's really impressed me. His music has as many genres (and musicians) in it you can imagine and to me it's still quite accessible. Folk music it ain't. The set is posted here. More photos here.