Friday, January 31, 2014


"Pairdown is the folk-blues & experimental group co-founded by singer-guitarists David Leicht & Raymond Morin. They've released two albums, the eponymous EP (2006) and Holykyle (2009), both featuring inter-dependent fingerstyle guitar work blended with inventive songwriting. Leicht and Morin usually perform live as a duo, drawing from a repertoire that includes both guitar duets and songs."

Check out the band on Facebook, BandCamp and SoundCloud. These two guys play the most intricate finger-style acoustic folk I have ever seen live and I am always left somewhat slack-jawed in amazement after I see them perform. You can get the chance on Monday as they host and open for Gabriel Birnbaum (of Wilder Maker) and Milo Jones at their Acoustic Music Works store in Squirrel Hill. My thanks to Raymond Morin and David Leicht (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Raymond Morin: 'Weird' Al Yankovic, “Dare To Be Stupid”.
David Leicht: Billy Squier "Don't Say No" 8-track tape.

Your last album bought?
Raymond: Micah Blue Smaldone, “The Ring Of The Rise”.
David: Ralph McTell "Streets Of London".

Favorite album of all time?
Raymond: Archie Fisher, “Orfeo”.
David: "Bernstein Conducts Copland & Gershwin: Appalachian Spring, Rhapsody In Blue".

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Raymond: I remember “Around The Sun” by R.E.M. being a massive letdown at the time. Quite boring.
David: Ralph McTell "Streets Of London".

First concert attended?
Raymond: Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Liberty Hall, Lawrence KS.
David: Rush, ‘Grace Under Pressure’ Tour at Cleveland Coliseum.

Last concert?
Raymond: Ryan Lee Crosby at Acoustic Music Works, unless I make it to Triggers.
David: Daniel Bachman/Read Connelly/Aaron Lefebvre at Acoustic Music Works.

Favorite concert ever?
Raymond: Bert Jansch at The Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh.
David: U.S. Maple, an unannounced gig at Rainbo Club, Chicago.

Least favorite concert?
Raymond: Probably tied between several drone and harsh noise concerts.
David: P-Funk All Stars at Metropol.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Raymond: Easy town to get to know folks, easy to find like-minded musicians, easy to get on good shows as an opener. Pairdown has had our fair share of such opportunities, and we're always glad when people think of us.
David: It's not so hard to have a nice little life here.

Thanks, fellas. Again with the 'Weird' Al!?! I never 'got' that dude's stuff. It was 'cute' but never in my dreams would I think of listening to it on purpose.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

First/Last-Through a Glass Darkly

"Sometime around 900BC Dave and Lachy were playing as an acoustic duo just outside the lost city of Atlantis, when they were introduced to drummer Amelia by Poseidon, a mutual friend. In March 2011 the three piece played their first live set together, and since then ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ have risen to the dizzy heights of stardom. Constantly referred to as 'better than The Beatles' and 'worth starting a religion about', all three band members now live in private mansions and rarely speak to each other due to fame and fortune destroying their souls. Dave brings shoddy guitar work but amazing hair-work to the bargain, Lachy’s melodic bass lines and terrible attitude bring texture and fistfights to every song, and Amelia’s drumming is pretty much the only thing the band has going for it artistically. TAGD’s live shows are well known for their intensity, and it’s common to hear that audience members have run out screaming from their shows."

Check out the Australian blues-rock band on Facebook, BandCamp, Twitter and YouTube. Their latest is the "Double Standard", full-length from last year, full of 'punchy, fun rock 70s style with a fuzzy blues edge to it'. Ummm... Yes! I want to thank Dave Low (Guitar/Vocals) and Amelia Sim (Drums) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Dave Low: “Automatic for the People” R.E.M.
Amelia Sim: “Aqua” Aquarium.

Your last album bought?
Dave: Of 2013 releases: “Modern Vampires of the City” Vampire Weekend. Last catalogue purchase: The ‘Death Wish II’ soundtrack, Jimmy Page.
Amelia: One Direction “Take Me Home” and One Direction “Up All Night”, simultaneously.

Favorite album of all time?
Dave: “Elephant” The White Stripes.
Amelia: I can't even.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Dave: “Van Halen III” (urgh) or all Smashing Pumpkins after “Adore”.
Amelia: Not least favourite, but definitely most disappointing, every John Mayer album after “Continuum”.

First concert attended?
Dave: R.E.M. (1995).
Amelia: Bernard Fanning.

Last concert?
Dave: Not counting local acts which I go to every week, Black Sabbath.
Amelia: Big Day Out (music festival, in Sydney).

Favorite concert ever?
Dave: Tenacious D. Almost a full pantomime as well as concert.
Amelia: Nigel Westlake.

Least favorite concert?
Dave: I basically quit Ben Harper because of an extremely self-indulgent show. I was a pretty big fan until then.
Amelia: Wayne Shorter Quartet at the Sydney Opera House.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Dave: I come from a region (the Illawarra) where when I was a kid the local football team was also called the Steelers, because it also was a steel producing area!
Amelia: Anna was originally from there before she moved to The OC and went to school with Seth, Ryan, Summer, Marissa, and Luke.

Thanks, guys. Love what you are doing and the album is kick-ass. You had me at 'fuzzy'. Also, before I Googled it, I was all, "Who the hell is Anna?"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

First/Last-Nude Human

"A new collaboration between two prolific and innovative Madison musicians, Pat Reinholz (Weather Duo, Lovely Socialite, Crane Your Swan Neck) and John Praw Kruse (Pushmi-Pullyu, Fambly Fun, John Praw). Reinholz is a music educator, composer, and improvisor, who has been working in the Madison area for several years, collaborating with dancers, filmmakers, and other artists. Kruse is an accomplished ambient artist, and owner of Mine All Mine Records, a Madison-based label. This collaboration will bring the two of them together in performance for the first time."
  - Surrounded By Reality

Check the band out on their Facebook, BandCamp, SoundCloud and Tumblr. Their latest is the single 'Is Is Is Not Is Not' via Mine All Mine Records. I want to thank John Praw and Patrick Reinholz for taking a few to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
John Praw: With my own money? Probably “Stunt” by Barenaked Ladies. I loved that band as a kid.
Patrick Reinholz: Ace of Base “The Sign”.

Your last album bought?
John: A split 12" 45 between Golden Donna and Cc on CGI Records. Joel Shanahan (Golden Donna) is a great guy, and he makes a lot of sounds that I'd never think to make.
Patrick: Chris Thile “Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1”.

Favorite album of all time?
John: This is a hard one, but the album I've listened to the most has to be “Alopecia” by WHY?. I just loved everything about that album the first time I heard it, and still do.
Patrick: “Kid A”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
John: It's not my least favorite, but I was initially pretty disappointed by “Mumps, etc.”, WHY?'s first full-length after “Alopecia”. It's really grown on me since then, though.
Patrick: I don't know if I have one.

First concert attended?
John: The first real concert I ever attended was a ‘Weird Al’ show with my uncle. I've since seen him twice, and even though I don't really listen to him as an adult, I'd recommend everyone see the amazing show he puts on.
Patrick: Chumbawumba.

Last concert?
John: The last show I went to was the release show for Golden Donna's split (mentioned above). I go to a lot of shows.
Patrick: Unrehearsed MKE #11.

Favorite concert ever?
John: My absolute favorite was seeing Joanna Newsom with a full 28-piece orchestra. I was hesitant to spend $35+ on a ticket, but it turned out to be one of only a handful of performances with an orchestra. She played the entirety of her album “Ys” from start to finish with the orchestra, then took an intermission. After the break, she came back and played an equally long second set with a two-man backing band. It was amazing.
Patrick: Too many to count...

Least favorite concert?
John: I played a show with some terrible high school kids making noise stuff on their synths. They only played The Black Keys, and they played for well over an hour. Eventually people just left.
Patrick: The Kings of Leon were pretty boring in 2007.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
John: Everything I know about Pittsburgh would be on the Wikipedia page. I'd like to see your museums, but I've never been there. Hopefully soon?
Patrick: I had a really good hummus plate when I was on tour...somewhere near Carnegie Mellon.

Thanks, guys. If I ever made a word cloud with all the answers musicians have submitted over the years, 'Weird Al' would be one of the largest words. Seems like everyone (and their father) went to see him when they were young.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First/Last-The DuPont Brothers

"Two brothers reunite after years of geographical separation by a fortified collaboration in music. Blending the contemplative winters of the northeast with the solitary beauty of southwestern desert, Sam and Zack DuPont are now coconspirators in a shared passion that runs deep in their family. This Burlington Vermont made duo has hit the ground running since the formation of the group in March of 2013. The brothers have recently shared the stage with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Ben Sollee, Gin Wigmore, Chris Thomas King, Langhorne Slim, Howie Day and The Lone Bellow to name a few. Lush finger-style guitar work is complimented by elegant prose and a vocal blend that could only be matched by blood relation. The sound is Vermont made Folk-Americana."

Check out the brothers at their official Website, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The bros latest collaboration is their debut self-titled effort recorded live in the studio. Check the guys out as they hit Pittsburgh tomorrow night (2/29) at the Thunderbird Cafe with local openers Guests of Guests. I want to thank Zack and Sam DuPont (Guitars/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Zack DuPont: Nirvana, "Nevermind".
Sam DuPont: Eiffel 65, "Europop".

Your last album bought?
Zack: The Wood Brothers, "The Muse".
Sam: Father John Misty, "Fear Fun".

Favorite album of all time?
Zack: Paul Simon, "Rhythm of the Saints".
Sam: Ben Howard, "Every Kingdom".

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Zack: Raffi, "Bananaphone".
Sam: My first solo album that will forever remain nameless.

First concert attended?
Zack: Phish, 1998 at the Spectrum in Philly.
Sam: Talib Kweli and Soulive, 2006 at the Electric Factory in Philly.

Last concert?
Zack and Sam: Michael Chorney and Hollar General at First Night 2014, Burlington, VT. Michael is a dear friend and musical guru.

Favorite concert ever?
Zack: Patrick Watson at Higher Ground in 2012. He's a MUST see!
Sam: Dave Matthews Band at the DMB Caravan Festival in Chicago, 2012.

Least favorite concert?
Zack: Disco Biscuits 2005 at The Electric Factory in Philly. I probably would've enjoyed it if I took ecstasy like all the other attendees.
Sam: Rebelution at the Rialto Theater in 2011. They had sweet, giant, plastic pot plants onstage though...

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
We've never been, but we're really looking forward to breaking a new market and working with the kind folks at The Thunderbird Cafe.

Thanks, fellas. Looking over your answers, it totally confirms why I still appreciate this little questionnaire of mine. I can really get a sense of where you are coming from musically from your 'experiences'.

Monday, January 27, 2014

HughShows 10.2

The Wilderness Recording Studio presents HughShows Live @ Eide's 10.2

Saturday, February 8, 2014
2-5 PM
Eide's Entertainment 3rd Floor Stage
1121 Penn Avenue in the Strip

A free monthly family-friendly Pittsburgh concert series featuring:

The Chad Sipes Stereo (Rock) 2pm

Western Pennsylvania (Country) 3pm

The Harlan Twins (Yinzer Pastoral) 4pm

presented by The Wilderness Recording Studio

If you are attending, please consider bringing a new school supply item (listed below) for the Homeless Children's Education Fund's GEAR FOR GRADES BACKPACK DRIVE.

-Pocket Folders
-Spiral Notebooks
-Small Boxes Crayons
-Washable Markers
-Glue Sticks
-Colored Pencils
-Pencil Pouches
-Small Scissors
-Pencil Sharpeners
-Flash Drives
-Small Tissue Packs