Last year, local accordian shoegazers Aydin released Cyclones and Honey, their second record. I reviewed it, noting that "their poppier moments are dreamy and delicious."
The three-piece continues to kick it with their spacey sounds; they're the subject of our MP3 Monday this week. Take a listen to Silver Surf, off of Cyclones and Honey.
A few minutes after I clothes-lined my friend to stop him from stepping on an array of Happy-Meal toys, coffee cans, maracas and other unidentifiable noisemakers littering the back of Garfield Artworks, he asked me if I happened to know how many decibels constituted a lethal sound (it's 150), and, did I think Black Dice would take us there?
I'd imagine we got dangerously close last Friday night -- but at a Black Dice show, what doesn't kill you only warps you to another dimension where glitchy feedback rattles your organs and a montage of neon spaghetti footage ever-flickers on the horizon. In other words, the box of earplugs on the merch table was not a joke.
But first in the night's lineup was the far-less abrasive Dean Cercone -- an ambidextrous multi-instrumentalist, with a real Panda-Bear jones. He's got a knack for highly hypnotic loops and a voice that combines ethereal lilt and naked emotion. The trinkets we encountered on arriving proved to be the property of Burnout Warcry, up next. I'm not sure if what the duo made can be called music, but it was fun to watch them manipulate the plastic clappy-hands and rain sticks nonetheless. I can't think of a more energizing appetizer to the Black Dice feast than garage-rocking Awesome Color. Drummer Allison Busch (yeah -- a chick!) gave her drum set a manic beat-down, and vocalist Derek Stanton gave his Jesus-cut as much of a workout as he did his guitar.
The Black Dice set was a single, ever-morphing haze of fry-your-skin static and split-your-ribcage bass, punctuated here and there with vocal hiccups and sirens akin to echolocation signals. "Nite Cream" and "Kokomo" were highlights; I stood in the Black Dice splash zone (front row), where the temperature rose about five degrees with every song, so that by the end of the night if you weren't soaked with your own perspiration you were drenched in Bjorn Copeland's.
The elephantine chug of "Lazy TV" did actually kill a few people -- myself included. But once we came back to life at show's end, we were stronger for having visited such a twisted and incendiary afterlife.
After filling a variety of roles in the live music scene in Austin, Tex., former Pittsburgher Brett Staggs returned to his old stomping grounds and reignited his band The Long Time Darlings with a new lineup. Andy Mulkerin has described their music as "straightforward rock 'n' roll somewhere between classic rock and the '90s alt scene," noting that it "might not have been out of place on the harder edge of the local scene that brought us The Clarks and The Gathering Field over a decade ago."
Live, the band lays out the occasional Americana-tinged ballad, but mainly gravitates to fist-pumping good-time rock, such as today's featured mp3 "Fire It Up." The Long Time Darlings' next local show is July 8 at Lawrenceville's Thunderbird Café.
Last May, we ran a feature story on local record label Sort Of Records, responsible for some of the more interesting music coming out of these parts in recent years. The label, run by Raymond Morin, celebrates its third anniversary this weekend, with three of the label's flagship acts performing this Sat., June 20 at Brillobox (4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield).
The performers are Daryl Fleming & The Public Domain, Morin's acoustic duo Pairdown, and David Bernabo + Assembly. All three have releases on the label: Fleming's 2008 album The Blockhouse & Bloodhound Sessions; Pairdown's several CDR releases and new Holykyle vinyl LP; and Bernabo's extensive catalog, soon to include Happener-Magicker, which will be released in July.
Visit Sort Of Records' main Web site for details.
Improv fans, a heads-up: a fairly late-notice show that didn't make it into the paper takes place tomorrow night at Remedy (5121 Butler St., Lawrenceville). Headlining is supertrio Instant Coffee, featuring Canadian experimenter Lisle Ellis, ex-Half Japanese personnel Jason Willet, and Martin Schmidt of MATMOS. Expect electronics, bass, and weirdness.
Opening will be local luthier and improv dude Josh Beyer, David Bernabo Vocal Assembly (a vocals/laptop project from the local virtuoso's Assembly project), Plainswalkers and the duo of Michael Johnsen and Margaret Cox.
Show starts promtly at 10 p.m. and costs $5-10, sliding scale.
Welcome to Championship Monday in Pittsburgh!
In honor of the unprecedented sporting year of 2009 here in town, we bring you a special, themed MP3 Monday: some champs of the rock scene, Dirty Faces, saluting a champ of Steelers history, Rocky Bleier. You know, the guy who took a grenade in Vietnam then promptly returned to Pittsburgh to play for the Steelers until 1980, becoming one of their leading rushers of all time. The song is off the Faces' 2006 release on Brah Records, Get Right With God. (Definitely click on that Brah link -- it'll take you to a short video of the Faces' Bloody Powers learning to cooking amazing Mexican food with Modey Lemon's Paul Quattrone. It's a worthwhile lesson!)
Please enjoy, and congrats, Penguins! (Also, good job beating the Tigers in two of three this weekend, Pirates. We know you try.)
This week's mp3 comes from The Metropolitans, featured in this week's Signal to Noise column. The loungy local band, which incorporates a full live horn section, just played its CD release show at Club Café this past Friday; check out "The Letter" from the band's new self-titled album. The goal with the release "was to really capture the ambiance of a live show, because that's where our energy is," says guitarist and bandleader Seth Dubin.
For more information, or to pick up a copy of the album, visit the band's official Web site.
Once upon a time, in a land called Pittsburgh, four young men formed a thrash metal band. They looked like this:
"Excellent," you're thinking. "Another story about 1986. Will you ever cease to bore us, Andy Mulkerin?"
Except not: this was more like 2006. The band was called Meltdown, and I saw them once or twice at the Mr. Roboto Project when they were still quite new. My thoughts on the band were, in this order:
1. Whoa, these dudes rock the skinny-guys-in-hitops-and-muscle-shirts thing pretty hard!
2. Whoa, these dudes are really young!
3. Whoa, these dudes totally shred!
Fast-forward to 2009; Meltdown is now called Mantic Ritual, and live in LA (but rep Pittsburgh as their hometown, which of course makes us adore them even more). Their music is always threatening to go over the top, nearly descending into parody, but it maintains a certain je ne sais quoi that keeps it straight up awesome instead of just goofy.
Mantic Ritual has a full-length, Executioner, out on Nuclear Blast Records. The band returns triumphantly to its hometown Friday night for a show at Howler's Coyote Cafe (Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield) that kicks off a national tour. Check them out on Myspace here.
This Wednesday's CP will feature a smattering of Penguins-related content, from a look at the Pens' forward-thinking use of technology and social media to keep fans in the game to an interview I did with Bob Kardasz of the band Kardaz. Kardaz has been bringing out its Pens fight song, "The Mighty Guins," since 1993 (strangely enough, they haven't won a Cup since -- but let's not dwell on that . . . this is our year!)
"The Mighty Guins," a sendup of the Bob Dylan tune "The Mighty Quinn" (made most famous by Manfred Mann), is our MP3 for this week -- download it here and cheer your Pens on to a couple home-ice victories!