Thursday, March 31, 2011

Artist of the Month March 2011

The Sorry Kisses-Keep Smiling

Music-wise, March came in like a lion and stayed that way. IMO, there were many releases that were 'AotM-worthy' and it was no easy feat picking one. Did you hear that R.E.M. released their latest? Did you hear that it's a return to form? Yeah, I heard that too. Hopefully, you haven't heard of some of these artists and will take some time to seek them out.

The Sorry Kisses are a duo from the UK. This is their third album and it rocks. They really have me hooked. They have a power guitar crunch topped off with spirited female vocals. Think 'Opal meets Elastica'. I love discovering new bands. More from Hayley and Sam tomorrow, or the next day.

Other artists of note:

Telekinesis-12 Desperate Straight Lines
This is Michael Benjamin Lerner's second album under the Telekinesis name. He plays every instrument and I was lucky enough to catch his first tour. This album, along with many on this months list could have easily been in the top spot.

Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring For My Halo
I just saw Kurt play a few days ago and this feedback drenched album translates really good live. Pictures coming soon.

Middle Brother-Middle Brother
'Supergroup' made up of the songwriters from Dawes, Delta Spirit, and Deer Tick. Monsters of Folk Jr.? That's unfair, I know. I was expecting more during the first listen but it really catches on after that. Can't wait to see a live show. Oh yeah, we're in Pittsburgh. I'll be waiting awhile.

Alex Turner-Submarine
Alex Turner's band is Arctic Monkeys. I actually don't know anything about them. What I do know is that this solo EP is a soundtrack to the film Submarine and it's really, really good. Maybe I should start listening to Arctic Monkeys?

Marcellus Hall-First Line
I saw Marcellus open for The Hold Steady back in 2007. He was good but quickly forgotten. This new release changes that with his 'Dylan-esque' delivery and outstanding songwriting.

The Rural Alberta Advantage-Departing
This sophomore effort is pretty much a Part 2 to their fantastic debut. I love their live show and fingers are crossed for an upcoming Pittsburgh date.

The Baseball Project-Volume Two: High & Inside
This is a solid band making solid records. You would think the whole baseball theme would be corny after awhile but somehow it keeps working.

The Sandwitches-Mrs. Jones' Cookies
A female trio from San Francisco making spiritually dark lo-fi folk songs. The rudimentary production value adds to these hypnotic tunes.

The Liptonians-Let's All March Back Into The Sea
Cool Canadian quartet that mixes up rock with pop with folk get the idea.

Those Darlins-Screws Get Loose
Why did I think this band was a bunch of girls playing jug music? This is anything but. The girls part I got right (with a dude in there for good measure) but hillbilly music this ain't. Catchy garage pop with 'tude to spare. Hope they are as good live. I'll find out soon enough when they hit Brillobox in June.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Image of the Day-"Reminder"

PGH Garage Pop Revue
The Andy Warhol Museum
Friday, March 18, 2011

My last post of coverage from the night featuring the retro band Neighbours. I was talking to MOIP's Aaron and asked what tunes these guys were planning for the night and he plainly stated that he can't ever tell if the band is playing old covers or their own tunes! Now that is retro.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Image of the Day-"Boys"

Meeting Of Important People
PGH Garage Pop Revue
The Andy Warhol Museum
Friday, March 18, 2011

There is a 'sort of' running joke in my home. As I leave the house, my wife always asks me what band I am shooting that night. Everytime I reply MOIP, she naturally and quizzically shoots back, "AGAIN!?!" Yes dear, again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Image of the Day-"Answers On A Postcard"

New Shouts
PGH Garage Pop Revue
The Andy Warhol Museum
Friday, March 18, 2011

Over the next few days I will focus on this show that was just pure fun. I love it when bands mix things up for a concert and this was no exception. Three bands playing three song rotating sets for the night. It kept things fresh and moving along briskly. I have said it before and I'll say it again, support Pittsburgh music people!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Image of the Day-"Man-Sized Wreath"

First/Last-Adam Rousseau

Howler's Coyote Cafe
Saturday, March 26, 2011

When I finally caught this band a couple months ago, I was blown away by how good they were. They have been around the local scene for awhile now and I criminally haven't seen them play since that last and only time. That changes this Saturday where they play a bill with School of Athens and Thee Audience at Howlers. Hopefully the guys found their merch bin and will have some music for sale this any case, I am grateful that guitarist Adam took a little time out to play this week's edition of First/Last Friday.

The first album you ever bought?
First album I remember actually purchasing was probably the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack on cassette.

Your last album bought?
The Roots - How I Got Over.

Favorite album of all time?
This is a tough one, though the record that remains still holds the most significance to me has to be Pearl Jam - Vitalogy.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Probably the last few Weezer records, though I haven't heard Hurley yet.

First concert attended?
Beatlemania with my parents when I was very young. I thought they were the real Beatles.

Last concert?
Aside from shows we've played, I went to see Rooney when we were out in LA recording last fall.

Favorite concert ever?
Wow. This is a hard one. Probably when I saw The Strokes at Nick's Fat City in 2001.

Least favorite concert?
I was dating a girl that convinced me to go see Dashboard Confessional once. Wasn't particularly thrilled with that one.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I think Pittsburgh has some tremendously talented musicians and bands, and I've always hoped that it would gain some sort of national recognition as having a vibrant music scene ( a la Austin, Portland, Omaha etc ). There's definitely a sort of evolution happening with places like Brillobox and other Lawrenceville venues popping up in the last few years and I'm happy that Triggers have been able to be a part of that. Pittsburgh is great as it is now, and I believe it's only going to continue to grow and flourish as a center for music (and the arts in general).

Thanks Adam. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack! Since I've been doing these, that might be the best answer I've heard yet! See ya Saturday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Image of the Day-"Bet On Me"

The Slow Reel
The Park House
Friday, March 18, 2011

One of my favorite bands in the city playing a tiny corner of the room. I was desperately trying to hang for the whole set but was so tired from a long week. As always, they sounded great, even in a noisy Northside bar on a Friday night. Coming up in April, they are playing in a quiet library on a Sunday afternoon and I hope they take my advice and rock out the grannies trying to read their books!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Image of the Day-"Canine Teeth"

James Hart
The Park House
Friday, March 18, 2011

Not many musicians have what it takes to be able to tear me away from the end of the awesome concert I was enjoying down the street at the Warhol (more on that show soon). James Hart is one of them. Playing a rare solo 'wooden' set he proved I made the right choice in not missing it. He provided the perfect vibe to sipping a beer and letting a long work week wind to a close. Thanks buddy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Image of the Day-"Rosin Og"

Mark Dignam
WYEP Studios
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mark is an Irish born and raised singer-songwriter who now calls Pittsburgh his home. What a better way to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day than a free set with Mark, his band, and his joyously infectious tunes. Listen to the set here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Between The Lines-Jimi Hendrix

This book chronicles the two photo sessions that a young British photographer had in 1967 with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in a section of London named Masons Yard. With a recollection from Gered Mankowitz himself and essays from original Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and music writer Richie Unterberger, this book attempts to capture the essence of the times. It is ultimately the incredible photos that convey a sense of the brilliance that Hendrix possessed. I was highly impressed with how these now iconic photos are beautifully presented and although there were two sessions months apart, the first group of photos are undeniably the best of the bunch. As a bonus, all 96 images that Mankowitz took of the group are included in the appendices.
Any fan of Hendrix will no doubt enjoy this book and the wonderful layout will please even the casual fan of rock music as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two Days in Pittsburgh Music

Thursday and Friday, March 17-18, 2011 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Friday, March 18, 2011

First/Last 'The Essentials'-Will Johnson

I strongly believe that there are certain stages in a music fan's evolution. Definitive bands or musicians that act as benchmarks in a music lovers growth. To put it simply, think of the albums or shows that 'changed your life'. I am attempting to chronicle my milestones by offering up a series of First/Lasts featuring musicians that have done that for me. I am dubbing them 'The Essentials' and I begin today with Will Johnson.
In 2004 I stumbled upon the website for Misra Records. I streamed two songs they had available that exposed and introduced an incredible path of musical awareness for me that continues to this day. The first song was "A Damn Good Disguise" by The Mendoza Line. My affection for that band is no secret to those who know me and my history with the songs author, Timothy Bracy, is for another post.
The other song was "Just To Know What You've Been Dreaming" by Will, included on his second solo album, the amazing 'Vultures Await'. I was obsessed with the tune and it didn't take long for me to track down info on his two bands, Centro-matic and South San Gabriel. Thanks to an online buddy who graciously sent me a healthy mix, it didn't take long for me to agree with the statement, "Centro-matic is better than your favorite band!" My woefully limited interaction with Will and his music can be viewed here. It thrills me that he was kind enough to participate in this inaugural edition of 'First/Last Essentials'.

The first album you ever bought?
AC/DC – “Back In Black”.

Your last album bought?
Carl Broemel – “All Birds Say”.

Favorite album of all time?
The Beatles – “Revolver”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Seems like even the most offensive albums I've heard have some merit, some shade or corner of humanity that's worth considering. Even if inadvertently.

First concert attended?
John Denver. Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN. 1974.

Last concert?
Daniel Higgs - Heliogabal/Barcelona.

Favorite concert(s) ever?
The Replacements - Liberty Lunch, Austin, TX. 1987.
Flaming Lips - The Tiger's Den (a gutted Dairy Queen) in Noble, OK. November 1991.
The Dirty Three - Orbit Room (front room), Dallas, TX 1997
Guided By Voices - Oklahoma City, Spring 1996
My Morning Jacket - Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, Denton, TX. 2002
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Pukkelpop Festival 2005.
Nirvana - Cannibal Club, Austin, TX 1990.
Neil Young at Bridge School Benefit - Oct. 2009.

Least favorite concert?
Probably Van Hagar - Austin, TX. Fall 1986.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
It's built into its geography and natural beauty as well as any city I've been to. One of the most underrated cities I know of, and one of my favorites in the country.

Thanks so much Will. It's been way too long since you've been to Pittsburgh and I know I am not alone in wishing that you return soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Image of the Day-"Death Is A Warm Bath"

Dan Lefkowitz
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Did I say in my last post that The Low Anthem was one of the darkest shows I attempted to shoot? Well, Dan opened the night and I was barely able to get one good photo out of his set due to the fact that it was even darker! He actually used to be in the band and joined them onstage for a tune which...I couldn't get a photo of because I was sitting on the floor. No worries.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Image of the Day-"Hey, All You Hippies!"

The Low Anthem
Saturday, February 26, 2011

This was probably the most difficult concert I have ever shot for several reasons. First off, Brillobox is dark as hell to begin with and even though I implored my man Justin for some light, any light, I think the band was going for a vibe that left it a virtual dark room. Add to the fact that by the second song, half the audience was sitting on the floor which left me sort of immobile for the rest of the set. Finally, there were some songs that were so hushed, you could hear my shutter! I honestly try not to break the atmosphere so some choice image opportunities were gone forever. Kudos to the crowd who were amazingly respectful and attentive, even during the quiet tunes (exception being one local singer-songwriter's awesome accidental throat gurgle that could have derailed the encore...nice!). My third time seeing them play but my first full set proper from the band and they couldn't have been any better. Great performance from some incredible musicians. NPR has their show from two nights earlier here. More photos here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Image of the Day-"Save Me"

New Shouts
Rehearsal/Recording Space
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Penn Hills

This band is quickly becoming a staple of this blog, and Pittsburgh itself, for good reason. They are fresh, fun, and are seemingly recording new material constantly. They were cool enough to have me drop in and chillax a few weeks back and watch the magic happen. If you call running over the same guitar part for two hours magic then Houdini got nothing on these guys. Seriously, I love seeing how music is made and it was way good times. My only regret is that Jonathan wasn't around to spread his usual cheer. I will thank the guys personally this coming Friday, March 18 at The Warhol Museum when they co-headline the Pittsburgh Garage Pop Revue with MOIP and Neighbors and GO-GO DANCERS?!?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Between The Lines-Radiohead

Bulletproof...I Wish I Was
The Lighting & Stage Design of Andi Watson

Christopher Scoates
Chronicle Books

This beautiful book details the component of concert going most fans take for granted, lighting design, concentrating on the work and art of Andi Watson. He is best associated with his decade long collaboration with Radiohead and their increasingly innovative tours, from 'Kid A' to the 'In Rainbows' shows of 2010, which are very well represented here. Among the other bands that Watson has worked with and are generously covered in the book are Counting Crows, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, Dido, and Arctic Monkeys.
This is a very specific aspect of live music not usually given it's due and the three narrative essays are highly informative, albeit extremely technical, almost textbook-like in their language. What you do get as a casual fan is an amazingly designed book with literally hundreds of photos and schematics that showcase the art and history of modern day lighting design. The pictures included are gorgeous and any fan of Radiohead would love to have this impressive book in their collection.

Radiohead World Tour 2006

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Image of the Day-"Backwards Down The Number Line"

Trey Anastasio
Stage AE
Friday, February 25, 2011

Walking into the crowded venue, I asked the manager if it was a sell out. He said that there were 11 tickets left. With 2400 capacity, there were a lot of people psyched to get their weekend party started. Believe me, I am no stranger to the concert party scene but when I shoot, I am (usually) sober and see a totally different side to things. One thing that struck me were the long lines for the expensive booze in the place. I have heard this complaint from others and it didn't look like they fixed this particular problem since opening night. Also, when it's a sold out show, it's not easy navigating around the room. Hopefully when they open the 'outside' in the Spring, things will be more 'roomy'. Seriously minor quibbles when you take into account that the acoustics and sightlines are really incredible there. That is all that counts anyway.
As for the show, we (me and another guy) got the first song of the acoustic set to shoot. The other dude was sort of freaking out and wanting more time but I am more than comfortable to get what I need in the four minutes they allotted. I guess all my practice is making me near perfect. Key word 'near'!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Image of the Day-"Live Out Loud"

Patti Spadaro
WYEP Studios
Thursday, February 17, 2011

I cannot say enough about these monthly local music happy hours. You get a free show (along with free brews!) and can discover an artist that plays right in your hometown. Not ever hearing a note from her, Patti came out ripping on her guitar. It really doesn't get better than a lady jamming the blues. Listen to the set here. More photos here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Image of the Day-"Totally Fatalist"

A follow up shoot for the new Host Skull video. Working with David and Lohio's Liz is always fun. It's even more fun watching someone chug black water! Ha! David is almost done editing and I will have screening info here soon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

First/Last-Justin Andrew

Justin Andrew
The Smiling Moose
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This is going to be one sweet show. Justin is supporting the next big buzz band Miniature Tigers, along with The Show. Purchase tickets here. You can check out some of Justin's music here. As sound/light guy for Brillobox, I get to see Justin a lot, and have to give him big ups for bumping up those lights when I need it. He was cool enough to take some time out to participate in this edition of First/Last Friday.

The first album you ever bought?
This is a hard one for me because my memory is just the worst! I bet it was a Beach Boys or other surf record. I was really big into the Beach Boys LP's my dad had and this carried over into when I started buying tapes of my own. Shortly after that I found rock and bought Gun's and Roses' “Appetite for Destruction”.

Your last album bought?
I use Rhapsody for virtually all of my music listening lately but when I couldn't get the Sneaker Pimps' "Becoming X" on there, I went out and downloaded that. Does that count?

Favorite album of all time?
Favorite (singular) is always very difficult... can I say Favorite(s)? (in order and 3 and 4 are really tied):
1. Cat Stevens: “Teaser and the Firecat”
2. Fleetwood Mac: “Rumours”
3. Nirvana: “Nevermind”
4. Elliott Smith: “XO”
5. The Weakerthans: “Left and Leaving”

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I used to LOVE Bruce Springsteen's “Born in the USA”. I can't listen to it anymore and that is upsetting.

First concert attended?
The Beach Boys!

Last concert?
I work watching bands play as you know so I tend to go see bands play less either because I'm busy or need a break from live music now and then. That said the last show I went out to see was Chet Vincent, Lohio, and Ben Arnold at Howlers. The last big national show I went to see... gosh maybe that was last years' Weakerthans show at the Rex. Maybe that's wrong... again, my memory.

Favorite concert ever?
When I saw Wilco play 3 hours that felt like 45 minutes I left feeling exhilarated for days. Next to or equal to that would be seeing Elvis Costello play Lupo's in Providence Rhode Island. This show was a huge undersold (obviously sold out) show that I managed to get into by just standing outside hoping someone would sell me a ticket. It was only $35 and it was two of the best hours of my life.

Least favorite concert?
I was pretty let down by Matt Prior last time I saw him on the 'where's the band tour' (Dustin Kensrue (of Thrice), Matt Pryor (of The Get Up Kids), Chris Conley (of Saves The Day) and Anthony Raneri (of Bayside)). As good as the show was, it's really about nostalgia with those guys and it's hard to be nostalgic for The Getup Kids when he played maybe 2 songs of theirs!

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh took me about a year to begin to appreciate. I hear that's common. As welcoming as it is, it's equally as difficult to FIND the things you're into here. Once you start to though, it's a big snowball effect and the city takes hold quickly. I'm not sure if I'll stay here forever but I will love it forever.

Thanks Justin. It's funny about certain albums like "BITUSA". They mold our musical tastes growing up but after listening to them ad nauseum, you would never care to hear them again. That's exactly like "Dark Side of the Moon" to me. Have fun Tuesday brother.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Image of the Day-"This Modern Age"

Rangos Hall
Carnegie Mellon University
Sunday, February 12, 2011

This is a relatively new band on the local scene. They have been playing out to some high praise lately and have a gig coming up at Brillobox on April 2nd. Discovering new Pittsburgh bands people...that's what it's all about!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Image of the Day-"Say Something"

Dr. Dog
Mr Small's Funhouse
Thursday, February 17, 2011

The band came to town last November and considering that the show was at CMU, it might as well as been in another state for all (or lack thereof) of the publicity around it. I wasn't able to go then but was geeked for the show this night. My second time seeing them and they are steadily graduating to bigger venues as the hip indie bands of the day seem to be. Can they get 'Death Cab For Cutie big'? Time will only tell. More photos here.