Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Mr Gnome - 5.5.12 - Brillobox - Show Preview - Concert Preview

One of our favorite bands is playing this Saturday, 5.5 at the Brillobox...that is right, Mr. Gnome is back! We have featured this band so many times here, here and here because they are well worth the attention. I have always wondered if this couple was from Brooklyn, or received a feature from Pitchfork, would the rest of the fucking phony hipsters in this town actually come out and support? They have been recently highlighted in my favorite published magazine Magnet along with industry standard Rolling Stone. One of the most consistently jaw dropping live sets you will see, these two execute the right vibe and atmosphere to a show. Bringing their own lighting, rug and Sam (drummer) playing barefoot with a baseball cap hiding his face, it's akin to experiencing a set via your own personal living room. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, the band plays a distinct style of psychedelic rock, balancing heavy and dark with light and melodicBefore we go on, we of course have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the show. As the usual, just email us at pghmusireport@gmail.com with your name to enter.




Mr Gnome's music is a bit schizophrenic; it starts one way, then completely switches directions, before righting itself again 180. The band is now touring behind their b-sides, Softly Mad, released this past March as a follow up to their fantastic LP Madness In Miniature. We didn't catch them in time for a interview before their show this past October, but here is a snippet they were able to give us post-show:

How is your new album Madness in Miniature different from your previous? Was there something you were striving for? You used the same producer and studio so I assume it's something you wanted to maintain.

It's hard to say exactly how it's different, especially after spending so much time on the record...it's a little difficult to analyze it in that way. What we hope for it to be is an extension of where we left off with Heave...hopefully a progression of our sound. We're always trying to evolve as songwriters and allow songs to develop naturally and go wherever feels best. We love records that really flow and take the listener on a sonic adventure so that's definitely what we were going for. We actually did this one a little differently - we tracked the drums and most of the guitars at Pink Duck in L.A. and recorded the vocals, some piano, and a few more guitars at our place in Cleveland. That was a really awesome experience - doing all of the vocals in the same exact room where we wrote all of the songs so I think it helped the vocals to have a little more ease in 'em. We also did the interludes and both of the softer songs on the records ("Winter" & "Watch the City Sail Away") at our place…this gave us a lot more time to experiment and really tweak everything until we were totally happy with it.


So, there you have it. Fucking show up and you won't be disappointed. And as my personal pledge to you, come up and say you read this and I will buy you a beer, and not fucking PBR. You know who I am, say hi. Show begins at 10p with doors at 9:30p. Tickets are $8 and can be found here

www.mrgnome.com/

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Suckers - Stage AE - 5.3.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Suckers will be playing Stage AE this Wednesday, 5.3 with Turn to Crime opening. The band is touring behind their new released LP Candy Salad out on Frenchkiss Records this past Tuesday (4.24). The new album has already received tremendous praise from the likes of Pitchfork, COS and Paste Magazine. The band selected Matt Boynton to produce who had previously worked with the likes of Black Dice, MGMT. This record is more polished than their previous, with straight power pop chords and catchy hooks that should appeal to a wider audience. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter with your name.



From their press:

Besides being a signature song for Suckers, “It Gets Your Body Movin’” is a mission statement for the band as well. Ever since slowly coalescing in Brooklyn four years ago, they’ve been restless experimenters, thriving on creative momentum. And while the trio’s just-completed sophomore album Candy Salad, due April 24th on Frenchkiss, is a remarkable progression from their auspiciously far-flung debut Wild Smile, it’s every bit as indicative of how they’re powered by the uncertainty of paradox. It’s a more mature work than Wild Smile according to the band, yet mostly because of its directness and simplicity, a warmer record that’s the result of intense studio work, the product of a lot of time and effort, while seeming almost effortless. Indeed, the immensely tuneful and lyrically ambitious Candy Salad represents such a marked change in direction that even Suckers’ older records aren’t subject to the band’s aversion to replication. Unlike Wild Smile, which featured songs from culled together from various studio sessions, the band hunkered down at Vacation Island in Williamsburg with Matt Boynton. The intent was to formulate something more cohesive and warm and from the majestic Brit-pop of “Lydia” to the charging Eno-esque “Figure It Out,” to “Going Nowhere,” their most straightforward song to date despite removing the bass “When Doves Cry”-style, they’ve achieved something totally new for the band while maintaining the buoyancy and pop smarts of Wild Smile



Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are only $10 and can be found here. More information about the band can be found at these sites:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Oberhofer - 5.1.12 - Warhol - Show Preview - Interview



A little over a year ago, I sat with Brad Oberhofer upstairs at Brillobox and talked to him about finding a record label that was right for his music. His solo bedroom recordings of songs like “Away FRM U,” “I Could Go,” and “o0Oo0Oo” had translated into a growing legion of fans, national tours, and proposals from numerous labels keen on putting out an album of Oberhofer’s energetic, irresistible indie pop.

I thought he needed to find a label wouldn’t resort to needless overproduction of his raw sound. I offered Mumford and Sons as an example of a band that hit just the right note of a clean-sounding, professional recording. Brad broke into a smile. He had already spoken with some people at Glassnote (Mumford’s label, along with Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, and others). He was really hoping a deal with them would work out. It did.

In March, Oberhofer’s first full-length, Time Capsules II, was released on Glassnote. I spoke with Brad around that time as he and his bandmates (Matt Scheiner - guitar, Pete Sustarsic - drums, and Ben Roth - bass) were finishing up their second consecutive appearance at the SXSW festival. “I’m having the time of my life,” he said. The band was riding bikes around town and playing shows left and right.

For the album, Oberhofer snagged veteran producer Steve Lillywhite and spent twelve days on the album. They re-recorded many of the songs which had first garnered Oberhofer attention in the blogosphere. Several of the song versions on the album sound different from the early recordings. There are several reasons for the transformations of these songs which the band had played live and tinkered with for much of the past year. “Nothing is better than live instruments,” Brad explains. When he made the initial recordings, he played all the instruments on his own and used computer programs to fill in sounds. In the studio, he was able to bring in the full band, along with guest musicians on flute, cello, oboe, and various other percussion instruments. The result is a more lush, fuller sound—a step away from the intimacy of his earlier sound and toward something grander.

The reviews for Time Capsules II have been mixed, but it doesn’t bother Brad. Believe it or not, he thinks it’s great that people either love the album or hate it. I’ve spoken to Brad several times now about his music and his relationship to his audience, and he is nothing if not a consummate artist. He definitely sees his music as art, and believes that people should have varying opinions and relationships to all art. The album has catapulted the group to a new level of public appeal and mainstream press.

Recently, the band had their late-night debut of “Away FRM U” on the Late Show with David Letterman. They are in the midst of a US and UK tour for the new album. A few weeks ago, they also debuted an official video for “Away FRM U” It isn’t the first video they recorded, but it is the first video that Brad liked enough to release. He said he actively took part in the process. “I wanted to be really involved. I said, this video needs to have a lot of live footage, it needs to be energetic. I was really specific in what I wanted with the video. I talked to the directors and the editors, and I was very specific with detailed notes of what I wanted changed, or put in or taken out.” The result is a wild, flashingly colorful piece you can see below.


In the studio, some songs came easier than others. The recording of “Gold” was a breeze, Brad told me. “We'd been touring with Gold for a long time, and just playing it so much. And I love the way the band plays it. We just did that one. I think our second take was the one we kept. And there was very little editing on that. I recorded a ton of vocal harmonies at the end and they came together. Easily. It was really smooth.”

“I Could Go,” one of his best known songs, was a more difficult song to get right. The interlude just didn’t satisfy Brad. “I had to sit and think about it for a long time. I was like, man, this needs flute trills. This needs a choir. This needs a little bit of brass. And this need marimba rolls.” Now, Brad feels that they “made that interlude as awesome as it could be.”


At 20 years of age, Brad placed his college education on hold to pursue his music. When I talked to him last year, I asked him if he thought it was going to work out. It has to, he told me. I really think the songs we have are so good, it has to work. In a surprising way, Brad has compared the studio recording experience to the experience of playing live shows. He says both are snapshots of a moment in time. This came into focus in another interview Brad gave where he revealed that, despite the joyful feel of the album, he was in somewhat of a dark place during the recording. I believe this album’s songs are just as good as Brad does, and that this should be the beginning of a strong career for Oberhofer.

One thing I am certain of—having seen Oberhofer live four times now—is that he has one of the best live shows going. Love the album or hate it, when Brad and the band feel right, they play damn good music. And nothing makes Brad happier at the moment than playing a good show.

--Daniel Hammer

Catch Oberhofer live next week at The Warhol on Tuesday, March 1 at 8pm. Tickets here.

Also, we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the show. Just email us with your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Larkin Poe - 5.1.12 - Club Cafe - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Larkin Poe will be appearing next Tuesday 5.1 at Club Cafe in the Southside. The duo is made up of sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who had previously toured with a third sister in a bluegrass group. The band is touring behind 4 EP's all name after the seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.  The sisters reinvented their sound from bluegrass to more of an alt country. Still in their early 20's, the sisters are well accompolished musicians playing the guitar, dobro, lapsteel, mandolin and ukulele between all albums. They comparable to Ryan Adams in my opinion. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us at: pghmusicreport@gmail.com



From their press:

Our musical journey, which began for us as children playing classical violin and piano at the ages of 5 and 6, continued through our teenage years as we toured internationally from 2005 to 2010 as The Lovell Sisters. This incarnation, which included our eldest sister, Jessica, took us from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to wonderful summer festivals such as Bonnaroo and Telluride, and even gave us the opportunity to collaborate with the likes of Elvis Costello. In January 2010, after saying ‘farewell’ to The Lovell Sisters, the musical story of our young adulthood has begun in the form of our new band, Larkin Poe.

Larkin Poe released its debut EP, Spring, on February 17, 2010. As a brand new band, we were looking for a way to bring our friends, family and fans along with us on our musical journey as we discovered (and continue to discover) who we are as Larkin Poe. Looking for an answer – and always looking to do things in our own way – we decided to embark upon the quest of recording and releasing four seasonally themed EPs in 2010: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. What better way to let folks be a part of our development as a band than to record and release our newest experimentations every few months? After 12 months of non-stop work, all four EPs were successfully released in 2010 (and additionally compiled into a box-set: “The Band For All Season”) and continue to garner attention and good reviews internationally.



Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are only $10 and can be found here

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Local Spotlight - Yarn Wallows - April 2012 - Pittsburgh


Our local spotlight this month is an incarnation of one of our previous favorite local acts The Slant. The new spin off, Yarn Wallows, just began this past year. It features former Slant members Zach Dow and Brad Austin along with Zach's brother Adam. The group has already played out a few times around the city including at Club Cafe and the Shadow Lounge. Zach was kind enough to answer our normal local spotlight questions about their sound, their view of the city's benefit and their ties to the community.

How did the band come together? Were you all friends that went to school? or?

YW: We’re all from Coudersport, PA in Potter County. Adam and I are brothers and Brad and I have been playing music together since we were 14. Adam started playing with us as The Slant was on its way out and after all of that took place we started trying to figure out the next step. After some discussion the three of us realized we wanted the same things out of being in a band and the logistics worked out. We're all great friends and Yarn Wallows turned out to be what the three of us were after.



How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

YW: The ongoing joke during the recording process was to refer to the sound as ‘bombastic folk.’ Truthfully, we just focus on making songs we like, using sounds we like. If you enjoy things a little out of the ordinary, this might be for you.

Are you all originally from the Pittsburgh area? Families here as well?

YW: We don’t really have any family here unless you count Adam and I being brothers (which I do). We have some friends in the area, though.

Do you all create music full time or is this more of a part time venture?

YW: This band and this music are really important to us. I’m not sure what we’d call it in terms of the time we spend doing it. We’ve never really taken a conventional approach to being in a band. The best I can say is we care a lot about this and that we would love for it to be a full-time venture.



Do you have day jobs?

YW: I have a full-time job, Brad is working on his Ph.D. at Kent State, and Adam is working on his undergrad at Pitt. We’re pretty busy all the time with that, the music, and everything else.

How do you create your music? What is the song writing process?

YW: There’s no formula to how we make music. For each song on this project there was a different approach to getting it finished. One of us will come up with a part he really likes, he’ll play it for the other two, then we all get drawn into it. After that, we explore all the possibilities we can think of for the part; but from there it always ends up happening differently in terms of getting the final product. It’s important to say that without everyone’s contribution, none of the songs would have turned out as well as we feel they did. Everyone is important to the process.



What are your goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?

YW: The only goals we have for the band at this point are to keep it going and to try to get a lot of people into it. We really like this music and would be happy to find out other people feel the same. There’s no specific goal to get signed or anything like that; especially in a world where the music industry is changing as rapidly as we’re seeing it happen now. Sustaining the process is our goal.

What advice would you give to local acts trying to make it?

YW: Try to get in touch will a local band that has ‘made it’ and see how they did it. Then let us know.

Have you all toured nationally? Or do you usually stay more regionally?

YW: We haven’t appeared live as Yarn Wallows yet. We just released our first project a few weeks ago and are in the rehearsal process. Our first show will be April 14, 2012 at Club CafĂ© with our friend Mark.



Being in the Pgh area, do you find it more difficult to try and succeed?

YW: I think our mindset has changed about how an area can play a role in success. Though Yarn Wallows is a new thing, we’ve been doing this for a while. Success has taken on a much more personal meaning than getting signed, etc. Just making ourselves/other people happy with music we’re making is a big deal to us. If that happens, we’ll move on from there.

What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create some 'success' in Pgh?

YW: If you’re doing something a little out of the ordinary, but aren’t trying to pull one over on people with a gimmicky approach, it’s kind of difficult to get people’s attention. That has nothing to do with the area, though. Pittsburgh is just like any other place except maybe a lack in cultural demand for the kind of thing we do. I think we’re starting to see that take place in the area, though, and hopefully we’ll have a place in it.



What are the positive benefits of being in the area?
YW: A lot of venues are accessible and we can get to and from them pretty easily. There seems to be an upswing in people who have an interest in independent music. In our collective mind, that’s always a good thing.
Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?

YW: As Yarn Wallows, no. We’ll have to let you know in the future once we see how this thing pans out.

You can find more information about the band here:


Show Review - Jesca Hoop - Rex Theater - 4.16.12 - Live Review - Concert Review


This past Monday Jesca Hoop played to an almost capacity crowd at the Rex Theater. The majority of the crowd (minus 2 overly ecstatic patrons) were there to see the string sensitive Punch Brothers. But something out of the ordinary happened at this show that I have rarely witnessed. Upon being introduced to the audience by lead PB Chris Thile, Jesca launched into her first song. From there, astonishingly, the crowd was silent throughout the set. Now, if you aren't from Pittsburgh, you won't understand this statement. But, to be kind, Pgh isn't known to be cordial for unknown, opening acts


Playing a mix of folk ballads and earnest pop she commanded the rooms attention as if she was the headliner. Her voice reminds you of a young Kate Bush with her ceaseless range and pitch. The former Mormon and Northern California resident blended her music with the stories behind her songs. Before playing 'Whispering Light' JP explains that the ballad is about a conversation she had with her conservative Mormon mother as she suffered from stomach cancer.The exchange was preempted by teaching her mother how to smoke pot (that she sent via US Mail) over the phone. It brings a tinge of sweetness along with a melancholic sensibility. 

;

The songstress will be releasing her new album in June, The House That Jack Built, that was on display at this show. The set included the title track which was the first time she had played the song to a live audience. Pittsburgh is special. I had the pleasure of listening to many of these tracks before this show, and while played with exceptional skill this evening, they were quite stripped down. That takes a little away from the album since many of these songs are more plush versions of her solo act. But it takes nothing away from her performance.

As my companion said this evening, "This is the best crowd response to an opening act I have seen in Pittsburgh." I couldn't agree more. The one criticism I did have is that her set was only able to support approximately 7 songs. I personally would have loved to hear more; maybe some reduction in the amount of 'stories' she would tell before each song. I hope she stops back.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Show Preview - Sharon Van Etten - Carnegie Lecture Hall - 4.28.12 - Concert Preview


Sharon Van Etten will be playing next Saturday at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland brought to the city by the good people at the Warhol Museum. She is touring behind her third studio album, Tramp, which has received praise via the blogosphere along with the mainstream press. The LP was released in February of this year on Jagjaguwar Records featuring producer Aaron Dessner of The National. The album is compilation of an individual up’s and down’s in life with visions of death and love. The songs are easily identified by people across the board; they are honest, sincere and relate to everyday experience giving her a wide fan base that has developed over the past several years.


"Leonard" by Sharon Van Etten from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.


From her press:

The shimmering sound of Sharon Van Etten’s Jagjaguwar debut album, Tramp, both defies and illuminates the unsteadiness of a life in flux. Throughout the 14 months of scattered recording sessions, Van Etten was without a home -- crashing with friends and storing her possessions between varied locations. The only constant in Van Etten's life during this time was spent in the garage studio of The National's Aaron Dessner. After hearing Van Etten's instantly unmistakable voice early on, Dessner covered epic's "Love More" with Justin Vernon. When Van Etten found out, she contacted Dessner, and almost immediately they formed plans for working together. Dessner offered both a location for Van Etten to record new songs, as well as the opinions of a wise producer.

One year later, and Van Etten unveils Tramp, an assured and strident album showcasing an artist in full control of her powers. With her third album,Van Etten's words and voice are now two parts of an evocative whole. Given the space to experiment, Van Etten pushed herself deeper than ever before. Her previous records have been subtle and powerful – at once heartbreaking, luminous, intricate and beautiful. Now lush and triumphant, this is a fresh vision Van Etten has realized with the same grace that made her first two releases so enduring. Tramp contains as much striking rock as pious, minimal beauty; it can be as emotionally combative as it can sultry . Contributions from Zach Condon (Beirut), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen), Julianna Barwick, and Dessner himself add a glowing sheen to the already substantial offering.



Show is scheduled to begin at 8p with Flock of Dimes opening. Tickets are $15 and can be found here. More information about SVE can be found out these sites:


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Lambchop - 4.21.12 - Club Cafe - Show Preview - Concert Preview


Lambchop will be performing next Saturday at the Club Cafe. The Kurt Wagner Ohio based band just released their new album, Mr. M, to much critical acclaim including Pitchfork's 'Best New Music' label. As on past Lambchop records, many of the songs on Mr. M are framed with lush strings and an undercurrent of distortion and dissonance. The heart of the music still remains the picking of Wagner’s guitar and his soft, restrained voice. Mr. M is dedicated to former artist and collaborator Vic Chesnutt who passed away in 2009. Formerly a 20 piece, the band is widdled down to a sextet while performing on the road. We have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the show. Just email us with your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter.



From their bio:

It’s been nearly two decades since Lambchop released its first album, at the time pronouncing itself “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band.” Provocative it may have been, but the description made sense: at the heart of all that ruckus was a band at once defying and embracing the musical legacy of its hometown. Since then, Lambchop has evolved into an accomplished ensemble, adding palpable depth and substance to singer-songwriter-guitarist Kurt Wagner’s songs — and the band sounds as commanding as ever on its 11th album, Mr. M, a collection of meditations on love and loss and the detritus of everyday existence.

Even so, something of that playful boast from long ago remains at the heart of everything the group has done since then. Lambchop may not sound in any conventional way like a country band (even the steel guitar, once prominent, is long gone from the band’s lineup), and yet the essential spirit of country music — the sound of someone just trying to make sense of life’s little ups and downs — remains present in its music.


Show begins at 9p with doors at 8p. Tickets are $15 and can be found here. Find more information about the band at their site:


Friday, April 13, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Turbo Fruits - 4.23.12 - Rex Theater - Show Preview - Concert Preview


The Turbo Fruits will be making an appearance next Monday, 4.23 at the Rex Theater. They will be opening for Deer Tick this evening. The Memphis base four piece are led by Jonas Stein, former Be Your Own Pet band member. They play a punk, dirty, rock, heavy, surf blend of music that is intensified by their well known energetic shows. The band will be releasing their first LP this September on Kings of Leons label Serpent & Snakes. The band was kind enough to answer a few questions about their live show, their recent appearance at SXSW and how they were stripped search in Canada.....And of course we have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the show. You know what to do....send us an email with your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter.

You have gone through several lineup changes in a short time. Do you feel relatively stable now? 

Yes. very stable. It has taken some time to find some extremely dedicated bandmates. In the past all my bandmates were younger than me... eager to explore the world via travel and music. Now I am the youngest one. My bandmates know what they want and they seem to be here for good. Together we can tour for 10 weeks straight, sleep on floors and still hang out the day after we get home from tour. I'm very appreciative of this.

You appeared in Drew Barrymores Whip It film. How did that happen? Was she a fan? How was that experience?

I got a random email from from my friend Jason Wilkins (he runs Soundland Festival in Nashville) and he told me some indie movie was looking for a rock band to be used in the film. not knowing what it was or who was involved I blindly said yes we're interested. So I sent him some music to give the film folks. Next email I get my friend Jason apologizes for being so vague and explains to me the significance of this "indie" film. Says we were submitted as 1 of 20 other bands. I then realized it was a long shot.. one week later I get a call from our manager and he tells me that Drew handpicked us out of the bunch. We got to record some songs with Jim Diamond in Detroit for the film and I got to say a line in a 7 million dollar movie. One hell of a week that was.


Turbo Fruits from Grooveshark on Vimeo.

I read in one of your interviews you were stripped search in Canada. Is that accurate? And why did this happen? Did the Canucks apologize afterwards? 

I was actually on my way to the WHIP IT film set in Detroit.. We had this new GPS thing... There was a lot of construction going on in the area and the GPS tried to reroute us and decided to take us over the windsor bridge... I wasn't driving and was playing games on my computer. Non of us realized that we were on the bridge to Canada.. once we did realize this we started thinking about the weed we had in our car and my first thought was "oh we'll just tell them that we want to turn around and that we didn't mean to come here" but that didn't work... they decided to search our car and called us "little fuckers" after they found the stash. Then they cuffed us and interrogated us. After 2 hours of scaring the shit out of us.. they told us as long as our stash didn't weigh over a certain amount then they would let us back over the border.. I knew we would be let back over because we didn't have much on us. BUT the catch was.. "we have to individually strip search each of you". I told the officer that I didn't have anything hiding on my I just really didn't want to get naked in front of him. He said "sorry kid.. that's how it's gotta be". So.. I was the first to go.. strip searched by two men armed with guns. I mostly just remember "lift your boys" and "spread 'em". Enough of that shit.

Your live sets are known to get pretty wild, vigorous. Is it difficult to maintain that level of energy every night on tour?

We try to keep that energy up as much as possible. We really feed off of crowds and they feed off of us. It's not an "Us and Them" type of deal. Turbo Fruits and The Crowd work together to make for a fun show.

What made you want to record a heavy, lo fi sound? How did it come about? I read it was originally a solo project?

 Turbo Fruits love to RAWK. It wasn't originally a solo project... I started the band and went through a couple of lineups due to former band mates wanting to do other things such as play other type of music and travel around. So I have kept TF alive since day one. Some of our stuff is kinda low-fi but our unreleased album is hi-fi. we recorded is onto 2" tape with Jim Eno of Spoon. Really excited for it.

You just recently played SXSW. How did that experience go? Does it get any better with age? 

This was my 8th year in a row playing sxsw. It went really well. I get more annoyed each year having to deal with all the traffic and parking issues but what I've learned is where not to go and hangout. When I was 17 I was high off the amount of people in such a small area. Now I'm 24 and I'm over it. I have a lot of friends is Austin and I can keep myself entertained outside of the downtown area!



I don’t see a proper lp out. Are you working on one? Or just release singles here and there? 

We have a new LP coming out in September. Produced by Jim Eno of Spoon. Until then we'll give you a few more singles to keep you entertained!

You have a bit of a following in the UK. How are European audiences compared to the US? What about touring in the UK v US? 

 I prefer touring the US right now because a lot of times we rely on hospitality to find places to sleep. From my last experience, outside of london, I learned that folks in the UK weren't nearly as hospitable to TF as folks in the US. the crowds in London were good and the crowds in Germany were also good. France.... not so much.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

I think the boys and I want to be able to make a fair living off of music. We can't sleep on floors forever. We're gonna keep on working really hard and try to deliver another full length LP within a year or so of our next one.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album? 

I accidentally fell into it. started going to punk rock shows at this pizza place when I was 13 and then started my own bands and got really lucky a couple of times. It's what I know how to do best. That and riding motorcycles.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh? 

 LET'S FUCKING DO THIS!

Turbo Fruits will begin at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $15 and can be found here. More information about the band can be found at these sites:


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - The Big Sleep - 4.17.12 - Brillobox - Show Preview - Concert Preview

The Big Sleep will be making a stop at the Brillobox opening for Fang Island next Tuesday, 4.17. The trio has just released a new album entitled Natural Experiments (Frenchkiss Records) after a 4 year hiatus. The Brooklyn based band two principal songwriters are Sonya Balchandani (SB) and Danny Barria (DB). The new album is brimming with pop shoegaze mixed with electronic effects laden sound. The two were kind enough to answer a few questions for their upcoming show at the Brillobox. Oh, yeah...we also have a pair of tickets to see them. As usual, just email your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter.

Your last record came out about 4 years ago. Why such the long break? What were you doing in the interim? Other projects?

DB: We just decided to take a break. The band had been consuming our lives for a long time, so we figured we'd take a little time off. Back then, "a little time off" didn't mean four years, but that's how it worked out. Looking back on it I'm totally happy with the time we took, we devoted a lot of time to writing and we both traveled. I read a lot of my history books and Sonya went on some suicidal "24"/"X-Files" watching marathon. She also played bass for Les Savy Fav on tour, and I played guitar in Neon Indian for a while, which was really fun for both of us. Sometimes it's really awesome to not be the thinker in a band and just have fun playing.



This was obviously a longer than usual layoff. When you began recording, what was the difference? Was there a direction you wanted to go?

DB: I think the difference was more in our approach to writing. We knew we wanted everything to be concise, more of a burst and less of a slow burn.

How was the process of writing this album from your past different?

DB: In the past I'd show up with songs or most of a song and kind of present it to the band and we'd figure out what needed changing. This time around I'd have an idea or a just a fragment, and Sonya and I would work on it together, and decide if it was something we were going to turn into a song. The collaborating started a lot earlier in the process, and we kind of got in each other's business writing-wise at every level, lyric ideas and guitar lines and all that.

You have released your albums on Frenchkiss Records. What do you feel this label offers that others do not?

SB: Frenchkiss has always been supportive of us, but mainly, they are our friends. And they are accessible. There's nothing to beat that, to be able to call up the guy who runs your label and he actually answers. Plus they have great taste - we're in great company.

You appear to be a duo now compared to a trio on previous albums. Why the change? When touring/performing live, will it just be the two of you? Or?

SB: We're still a trio, but our drummer of about 5 years had twins. We have been playing with a new drummer for the last couple years, Mikey Jones, who's great and plays with lots of other projects. In the end, it's the two of us writing the stuff and being available for photo shoots (ha) so it's a duo inside a trio.

In your bio its mention you that you used GarageBand. How did this program influence your songwriting process? Did this tool allow you to become more collaborative?

SB: Sort of - I just find it easier when I can move things around quickly. Danny can remember a melody he thought of 3 weeks ago. I'm not like that. I need to hum it into something, and then to work on it, I need to have it out in the world and play with it. Garageband let's me sketch stuff and easily play with arrangement, and do it all on my couch. Danny painstakingly records things live, but then it's difficult to move stuff around, extend bits, etc. So, it did make the process more collaborative, since it gave me a tool to translate what he gave me into something I could manipulate in the way I prefer to work.

You all both graduated from Penn University (not an easy school to get into). Why take this road? Do you ever believe you will give it up for the corporate world?

SB: It's not that cut and dry. We both work on other things. In a way, it doesn't really matter what anyone does. It's kind of arbitrary, just so people can have something to do all day and accumulate things. What makes sense is to do something that makes me happy, makes other people happy, and reduces suffering in the world. So that's what I'm trying to do. Music is part of that. I try to find other things that are part of that. That said, I like a lot of the products of this arbitrary world, like Mad Men and gelato.

DB: Wow.



Your single ‘Valentine’ has been getting a lot of play around the blogosphere. The video is well done. Was there a theme behind it?

DB: It was a collaboration with the director, Matt Craig, and Keith Vogelsong, head of Goodnight Records, who pressed our vinyl. Sonya and I came up with some ideas for a video, and asked Keith for some help. He brought in Matt and they took our idea and came back with a reworked version of it that was actually filmable. The essence of the original idea is there, it's just been brought to Earth and made into an actual video by Matt and Keith.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? With albums being able to d/l for free, what changes need to be made to maintain an ‘indie’ band such as yourself? What modifications need to be made in your opinion?

SB: We make music to make music, which was enough at one point, but it's not really anymore. You have to "create content" and tweet and instagram all day everyday. Danny and I are private people, deep down. But you have to be extremely extroverted to participate these days. So we try to do it in a way that's honest (which means our tweets are usually about desserts and WWII and dogs, and other things we obsess over). And maybe that makes people feel an urge to support you, because they know who you are a little, and it doesn't feel as much like a financial transaction.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?


DB: I started playing guitar when I was 15, but never thought I'd be good enough to actually be a guitarist. As soon as I started figuring out how to play Cure songs by myself, I was a lost cause. All I wanted was to be in a band and write songs. The first really transcendent show I saw was Verve at the Trocadero in Philadelphia in 95. Funnily enough, Sonya was at the same show, but we hadn't met yet.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

DB: I'm already on the next record in my head, we've started pulling together song ideas. It feels like we've had some kind of breakthrough in terms of how we work together, I'm really looking forward to getting the next batch of songs ready to go. In the meantime, Nature Experiments JUST came out and we have a good amount of touring to do, which I LOVE, so I want to stay on the road as long as possible. We also have our first UK tour down the line, so we're excited for that, too.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

SB: One of my favorite times we had on tour was Pittsburgh - we played the Brillobox and then went with some kids to an afterhours place. So much fun! Can't wait to get back.

Show begins at 9:30p with doors at 9p. Tickets are $12 and can be found here. More information about the band at these sites:

http://thebigsleep.net/
http://www.myspace.com/thebigsleepnyc

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Show Preview - Jesca Hoop - 4.16.12 - Rex Theater - Pittsburgh - Concert Preview


Jesca Hoop will be making an appearance at the Rex Theater next Monday, 4.16. She is touring behind her upcoming album, The House That Jack Built, which is being released in June of this year. She is often compared to Kate Bush and Bjork but has a strong influence from Tom Waits. JH was his nanny for over three years. He helped her get started by sending copies of her demo out, one which eventually landed in Nic Harcourts (KCRW) basket and eventually made it to the airwaves. She has worked with other musicians, most notably Elbow's Guy Garvey. It was GG who suggested the California native move to Manchester where she now resides.



From her press:

Last year she tantilised fans with the Snowglobe EP, a haunting collection of experimental bare-bones folk. City Bird (below), taken from the release, is a harrowing account of loneliness and desperation. Her inspiration comes from memories of time spent living in the underbelly of LA, on a skid row. She remembers “an elite hotel with a skirt of cardboard houses wrapped around its foot”, after a surge in homelessness during the ’80s. “The block I moved into was lined with these cardboard houses and people sleeping in doorways. What left the biggest impression on me was the look in their eyes. I witnessed many possessed,” she recalls.



Jesca will be opening for the Punch Brothers sponsored by WYEP. The show begins at 8p with tickets $20. More information can be found on JH at these sites:

http://www.jescahoop.com/
http://www.facebook.com/JescaHoopMusic

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Drunken Show From Hell - Margot & the Nuclear So & So's - Brillobox - 4.7.12 - Concert Review


Saturday night, full moon, 1 a.m. and out come the crazies. It's been a while since I have been at a show where a majority of the crowd is incredibly inebriated. But this was that show. Now, others might have had a different experience, but in my corner it was a drunken nightmare. However, let's start this off from the end.

Here is Richard Edwards, who appears to had a few himself trying to sing the coda. Most of the crowd had dispersed and three VERY talkative girls made there way to the stage. And this is what transpires:

Video Below
RE = Richard Edwards


:17 - drunken girls - (sarcastically) 'I can't believe you touched him, oh my god'
:22 - RE - 'This MF is about to punch me in the nose'
:39 - drunken girls - 'Oh my god, I love this song' (sarcasm)
1-1:30 - drunken girls - random talk loudly over a mellow song
1:48 - RE - 'Shut the Fuck Up' (to cheering)
2:10 - RE - Throws beer at the girls and says 'Shut the fuck up' again
2:11 - drunk girls - 'You shut the fuck up'
2:40 - RE - Throws beer at girls again from stage (to cheers)
:01 - 4:07 - drunk girls - Talking Loudly



Yeah, it was that kind of night. Down in my corner we were standing next to a young, super nice couple who had made the trip from Fairfield, WV. When the show started two drunk guys pushed there way to the stage and proceeded to stand in front of said couple. We ask them to let the girls see since they were much shorter and had been standing there for 30 minutes. No response. We move girls in front of drunk guys. A lot happened but here is a simple breakdown:

1) Drunk guys are banging into girls without much remorse. WV resident (who is a Marine and probably back from a real hell hole) tells them not to touch his fiance. Drunk guy begins to mock Marine and his buddy (who wasn't quite there) and I tell him to knock it off.

2) Drunk guy continues his antics and banging into girls. Marine now wants to take him down. I broker the peace by continuing to try to reason with buddy's friend to tell him to chill.

3) Drunk guys leave. Drunk guys come back with yet more beer while throwing there shoulders in my back. I tell them again to knock it off.

4) Continue to broker peace....but it's not easy as my SO leaves (upset) the area not realizing what I am trying to do.

5) Drunk guys leave. Nice couple leave as well before the encore. I am by myself enjoying the evening for the first time. Short lived.

6) Drunk guys come back with both elbowing me in the back and begin to call me every name in the book while facing me and not at the stage. 


7) I ignore and just laugh. Mistake. I am now assaulted with beer being poured on me and being pushed.

And that did it. I tell them I am going to buy a cd after the show and I will see them outside. After the show the two are at the merch table continuing to cat call me saying they are going to 'kick my ass'. I am yelling at them 'I will see you downstairs' with the merch guy looking bewildered....And of course, they don't show.

Now this is just a small sampling of the entire evening. I had never seen so many wasted people at a show. Moral of the story, if you are going to get wasted in a public place, make sure you have someone less inebriated so you don't get foolish. I am sure these two were nice dudes just having fun, but no one else enjoyed it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Interview - Howler - Smiling Moose - 4.8.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview


Howler will be appearing this Saturday, 4.14 at the Smiling Moose. The Minneapolis residents are touring behind last years LP America Give Up on Rough Trade Records. The group has been called the 'grunge Strokes' by the English Press where they have had overnight success. Consistently selling out 500 capacity venues in the UK, the band hasn't received that similar response here in the US. However, they are slowly amassing buzz as they tour the nation for a third time. We were able to speak with lead Jordan Gatesmith before he was to take the stage in Boston. We spoke about his meteoric rise in the UK, his 'controversial' comments about the Minneapolis scene and his love of Cherries Diner here in Pgh.

How’s the tour been so far?

It’s been up and down and basically really long. Overall it has been better than previous tours with more people attending. We have been on tour for over a month now and we have 9 days left.


You have received overnight success in the UK. How has it been in the US?

In the US we have had to grow a little bit. In the UK, we just got back from our first headlining tour. We have been playing to sold out crowds of 300-500 at midsized venues. This is our third US tour and there has been an increase in bodies showing up. There actually have been some good turnouts out west and now in the east. In the US it has been increasing.

You toured with the Vaccines. How did that go?

That was our first UK tour opening for them. It was insane. Going from the US to that experience of playing for 5k people was just bizarre. We were thrown into something that the Vaccines had earned, but we really hadn’t yet. It was just wild; every rock n roll stereotype was thrown in my face in the first week. They were great guys; I was expecting them to say ‘fuck off’ and leave us alone, but we actually became good friends with them. 

You were next door neighbors with Karl Mueller (Soul Asylum) before he passed in 2005. I read afterwards that you became close with his wife Mary Beth who had an influence on your music. 

When I was 13 I remember people telling me ‘Oh, your neighbor is a rock star’ which I thought was crazy thing. When Karl passed I would help Mary Beth by walking her dogs or mowing the lawn. Mary Beth would introduce me to characters from the 80’s Minneapolis scene. I got a lot of the history from her while she also gave me records to listen. She definitely steered me to the right direction.

You made some 'controversial' comments about the Minneapolis scene which received a lot of backlash. Were your comments just taken out of context?

I was 19 at the time and I gave my honest opinion on something. The entire (Minneapolis) scene flipped their shit over what I said. It made me wonder ‘Does my opinion really matter that much that people have to freak out like that?’ I think I am allowed to have an opinion and wasn’t sure why everyone lost their minds over it. The weirdest thing about it was that every Minneapolis news publication had a picture with me with crazy headlines like ‘Hometown Hate’. These publications weren’t slamming me but were over analyzing what I said. They were expounding on ‘How will this affect the scene?’ That actually made me happy. I am at a point where people are over analysing (my comments).


You were signed to a 4 record deal with Rough Trade Records at such a young age. Do you feel a lot of pressure to produce? And how have you been able to deal with the business side of things?

There is definitely pressure, but we have been lucky enough to have an army of publishers, book agents, management that make sure everything goes smoothly. At the end of the day all we have to worry about is playing a show and making music. We are not that artificial where those things matter to us right now.


What was the concept to America Give Up?

We wanted to make a punk rock record, something you could shake your fist to. We wanted to be a statement but also more sarcastic. It had to be funny. It’s Born In the USA by Bruce Springsteen, but just much more sarcastic and hilarious.

How does the songwriting process work now since your first album you wrote before the band formed?

We are all on the same page with the next record on how we want it to sound and what direction we want to be going. For the most part it will be my direction where I will scope out the songs by myself. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any collaboration. I can definitely bring it to the guys at any point and they can offer any advice and help. To that extent there will be some collaboration but it will come from me first.

What are your upcoming goals?

I have a week and a half off before the next tour. My goal is just to relax and not leave my room and drink a bottles of Makers Mark while listening to the records I got on tour.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

Oh shit Pittsburgh. I love Pittsburgh. We always go to Cherries Diner which is run by this really nice lady. We always get Cherries bomb pancakes and coffee. I am so psyched.  

Show is at the Smiling Moose and begins at 10p. Tickets are $8 and can be found here


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Giveaways - Mastodon w/ Opeth - Stage AE - 4.15.12 - Show Preview - Ticket Giveaway


These two acts really need no introduction. Opeth and Mastodon are touring the country together on the 'Heritage Hunter Tour'. They are making a stop here in Pittsburgh at Stage AE Sunday, 4.15. The two acts are alternating as the headliner, with Mastodon closing the show here. Fellow Swedish heavy metal band Ghost will be opening the event. We are happy to be giving away a few items in anticipation of the show. We have the following:

1) Pair of tickets - Stage AE
2) Signed lithograph by Opeth
3) Signed lithograph by Mastodon
4) Large Opeth 'Heritage' poster signed by entire band

To enter for these items, just send an email to pghmusicreport@gmail.com with your name and what you are entering for (you can say all). If you win the lithograph we will need your address at that time to mail.

The show is scheduled to begin at 6:30p with Ghost opening. Tickets for the event are $29.50 and can be found here. More information about the show here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Show Review - Anti Folk Movement - Kimya Dawson & Jeffrey Lewis - Club Cafe - Warhol

We have had 3 artists come into town this year considered part of the 'anti-folk movement'. Jaymay, Kimay Dawson and Jeffrey Lewis make up this trio who all performed at the Sidewalk Cafe in NYC. I spoke briefly about Jaymay's show this past January (her new 2 minute LP was just released). I wanted to just touch on the other two shows here.

Kimya Dawson performed to a sold out crowd at the Warhol this past week. Her popularity has increased 4 fold with the assistance of the cutesy Juno film which featured her songs and made her a platinum recording artist. The thing that surprised me was the amount of children (not kidding) between the ages of 9-15. Most were female and sitting with their parents amongst other friends. I always enjoy seeing parents take their kids to shows because mine never did. However, the thing that was troubling was the language and song themes throughout the opener (Your Heart Breaks) and main set. I am not one to shy away from a little color, but some of these songs were rather graphic. Lesbianism, f-ing, drugs, alcohol, four letter words, etc. were thrown out with candor. YHB even made the comment that a father approached her after the set the previous night and said she would have filled his 'cuss jar' to the brim. Yeah. KD's set was a bit tamer, but touched on themes of drugs, alcohol as well. She also is a mother, so I guess she feels that this is suitable for the crowds that now see her perform. They both aren't curtailing their set to their new found fan base. Never sell out I guess. Oh, you really have to like twee as well.



Jeffrey Lewis played this past Saturday evening as well. He is one of the more entertaining acts, even though this night he appeared a little road weary. He has that same charisma and charm that Jaymay provides, rapping with the audience, telling smart and loquacious antidotes about his travels and making you feel he is performing solely for you. He mentioned his story of his recent travels to SXSW where his vehicle broke down and he had to purchase another; and before you knew it, that vehicle broke down again on his tour back up to NYC. It made you want to purchase some of his comics/cd's to help him get there. The surprisingly lardge audience really enjoyed his set. Surprising to me is a lot of them (mostly female) were purchasing his comic books after the set. Not his music. Found that pretty cool.



Hopefully the anti-folk group will come back again soon. Maybe as a trio.