Apologies for the delay on this week's MP3 Monday! This week we're bringing you the track "Farewell" by My Cardboard Spaceship Adventure. In case you missed them last week at the XXX-Mas Extravaganza with The SpacePimps, The Switch Kids, Trophies and Dash City Skyline, check them out right here, right now!
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Happy holidays, everyone! A-Wish out.
This week in CP:
— Read about Sleep Experiments and the album release show that re-opened the Elks Lodge's long-dormant 3rd floor in this week's Local Beat.
— Check out our reviews of some local bands.
The Awful Waffles
The Garment District
— Get into the holiday spirit (and celebrate the end of the world in style) with this week's Critics' Picks!
Krewella @ The Rex Theater - Friday, Dec. 21
The SpacePimps @ the Altar Bar - Friday, Dec. 21
School of Athens @ the Shadow Lounge - Friday, Dec. 21
Triggers @ the Shadow Lounge - Friday, Dec. 21
Endless Mike and the Beagle Club @ Howlers Coyote Cafe - Saturday, Dec. 22
As promised in today's music feature, we've got more faves and un-faves from some of our music writers. Once you've finished that article, check out some more:
Best new release
Daughn Gibson: All Hell
This was one of those albums that came out of left field and knocked me on my ass. Gibson used to be a drummer for the PA stoner-metal band Pearls and Brass, but All Hell couldn't sound more different from that project. Along with his laptop of samples, Gibson takes the deep, emotional baritone of Johnny Cash and pushes it through a David Lynch looking glass. But at it's core, All Hell is driven by some of most assured songwriting, and beautiful lyrics, I've heard in the past few years. "In the Beginning" and "Tiffany Lou" are standouts. — Patrick Bowman
Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet On Sky
In describing Dinosaur Jr's sound, which is wont to include fuzzed guitar gymnastics and mush-mouthed self-recrimination, it is tempting to imply that they are slaves to their formula. In fact, however, they are and have been one of the most dynamic acts in the rock landscape for nearly thirty years, eschewing traditional song structures to make room for more blistering solos and more biting cynicism. If they do have a formula it is in their approach, an unabashed lack of pretension, which is antithetical to the twee contrivance of most critical darlings. I Bet On Sky is notable for its introduction — to great effect — of organ and piano to the guitar-heavy assault for which they are known. The album also marks the band's third outing since bassist Lou Barlow (Sebadoh) rejoined the band. Barlow's succinct over-sharing provides an interesting counterpoint to band leader J Mascis' obtuse interiority. — Ian Thomas
Best local release
Mac Miller: Macadelic
Point Breeze native Mac Miller took listeners on a psychedelic hip-hop journey with this one. Solid production helps Miller find his comfort zone on this project, and guest raps by Kendrick Lamar, Juicy J and Lil Wayne makes this a highlight of the Pittsburgh rapper's youthful music catalog. — Rory D. Webb
Code Orange Kids: Love Is Love//Return To Dust
After a handful of short releases, and a lot of touring, Code Orange Kids have morphed into a young band still trying to find its place in the music world to a trudging behemoth that blends hardcore, metal and ambient post-rock. The Deathwish debut from the quartet was the most mature release I've ever heard from a band's first full-length album, and showed an interesting and unique direction in which the band is headed. -- Gregg Harrington
Best live show
The Weeknd: Mr. Small's, June 19
I'm still kind of shocked that The Weeknd, Abel Tesfaye's mysterious, narcotic R&B project, included Pittsburgh as one of the first stops on its first tour, but holy crap did he put on a show. With his live backing band kicking ass, and a fairly impressive lighting rig, Tesfaye smoldered as he worked through the best tracks in his small catalog, including the lurid "High For This," Massive Attack-ish "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls" and coked-out Michael Jackson homage "D.D." — PB
Julia Holter: The Andy Warhol Museum, Oct. 2
I was a tiny bit skeptical as to how well Holter’s exquisite, solo-made record Ekstasis would translate to the stage. But joined by a drummer and a cellist, Holter’s dreamy songs transformed from something to be listened to alone, to something fuller, richer and more human. — Margaret Welsh
Converge/Torche/Kvelertak : Altar Bar, Oct. 14
On the band's supporting tour for its eighth studio album, Converge continued to prove its worth as the leader in innovative hardcore/metal. Converge's set list spanned its discography, playing a slew of new songs, a handful of deep cuts, and everything in between. Torche and Kvelertak were nothing to snub either; Torche's new material brings to mind its prior incarnation, the heavy and melodic Floor, and Kvelertak invoked an Andrew WK-meets-Entombed type of Swedish party metal. Three-band shows are perfect. — GH
Best Tour that Didn’t Come to Pittsburgh in 2012
Their debut full-length, Sorrow And Extinction, has appeared on the year-end lists of nearly every major music publication, but Pittsburghers had to trek to other cities to hear Pallbearer’s heavy tales of woe in person. All the more reason to catch them in 2013, when they join Enslaved at Mr. Small's on Feb. 1. — MW
Flying Lotus/Captain Murphy
I'm not sure he went on an all-out tour, but Flying Lotus, the electro-jazz-funk producer from L.A. who also took on the alias of rapper Captain Murphy, is overdue for a performance in Pittsburgh. Incorporating plenty of visuals into his live performance, he would fit right in with VIA's annual festival. — RDW
Most disappointing live show
The Men: The Shop, July 13
I love The Shop, but their sound system couldn't come close to handling The Men's blistering strain of gonzo punk/classic rock that was so white hot on their 2012 release Open Your Heart. — PB
Only two more MP3 Mondays left until Christmas! To get you in the spirit, we've got Slim Forsythe's holiday classic, "Steeltown Christmas," for you to stream and download. If you like what you hear, you've got two chances to catch Slim live this week - Thursday, 12/20 @ the Lava Lounge and Saturday, 12/22 @ Nied's Hotel. All proceeds from "Steeltown Christmas" support Cathy G. Charities.
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It was only appropriate that Wiz Khalifa made his way to the Consol Energy Center stage to perform for his hometown audience on December 12, 2012, the date that the Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed Wiz Khalifa Day in the city.
Sprinting to the mic with excitement, Khalifa opened his set with his triple platinum single, 2010's “Black & Yellow.” Accompanied by DJ Bonics, a drummer, keyboardist, and bass player, the superstar emcee was decked out in black jeans, a Jerome Bettis jersey, and hat saying 'DOPE' across the front. With smoke pouring from the top of a huge bong prop and clips of classic horror film Nosferatu playing on the back-drop screen, smaller marijuana-scented smoke clouds began rising from the thousands in attendance as they came aboard Khalifa's flight into the future at the 2050 Tour.
The loudest responses from the audience came when Khalifa performed with his Taylor Gang crew. For “The Code,” Khalifa was joined on stage by crew members Juicy J, Lola Monroe and Chevy Woods. This was followed by a fan favorite, the crew's anthem aptly titled “Taylor Gang,” which features Khalifa and Woods trading verses. Also on stage were crew members Berner, Quay, and Tuki Carter, as well as Khalifa's pregnant fiancée Amber Rose, as they and the crowd chanted the repetitious chorus, “Taylor ... Gang ... Taylor ... Gang ...”
As the Taylor Gang left the stage, Khalifa stood alone. Mellowing the mood with his song “The Grinder,” he showed jaw-droppingly impressive breath control rapping his 16-bar verses, hardly pausing for a single gasp of air. It's a feat that requires training, and is an example of Khalifa's dedication to mastering even the slightest intricacies when it comes to his work.
“I put everything I learned right here (in Pittsburgh) into what I take to the world,” said Khalifa during a transition between songs, reflecting on his roots in the city since he's attained international stardom. “Whatever you wanna do in life, you can do that shit. … As long as you keep your heart in it and you go hard, you can do it.”
Smiling from ear-to-ear, Khalifa again brought out his fiancée, Amber Rose, this time to perform a song he says he wrote about her. The song, “Got Everything,” features Pittsburgh-bred singer Courtney Noelle and is on Khalifa's new album, O.N.I.F.C.
The Taylor Gang returned to the stage and the previously mentioned exuberance came with them. "Sledgro!," Khalifa shouted, leading into another song from O.N.I.F.C., “The Introduction,” produced by Sledgren and featuring a rap by Lola Monroe.
Getting into his new album's second single, the provocative “Remember You,” Khalifa peeled off the Bettis jersey to show a black tank top that better flaunted his gold chains. Accompanied by some additional piano playing, red lighting flashed across the otherwise dark stage as Khalifa danced while the R & B vocals of the Weeknd played, only to be taken out of his trance to rap his own portion of the song.
Khalifa's Grammy-nominated single “Young, Wild, and Free” had everyone on their feet singing along with the catchy chorus. That aforementioned tank top didn't stay on long, as Khalifa showed off the '412' tattoo on his chest when he performed an older hit song, “Ink My Whole Body,” from his 2008 mixtape Star Power.
As the end of this last show of the 2050 Tour approached, Khalifa performed this summer's platinum single, “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Bonics added some exceptional final touches as he mixed record-scratches into the song's beat.
Concluding the show, Khalifa slowed the vibe with his song “One Night,” thanking fans and praising his hometown of Pittsburgh.
This week's MP3 Monday comes to you from André Costello. Check out our review of his 3-song Summer's Best EP in last week's issue of the City Paper (just in case you missed it), and give the track "Hear, Say" a listen, right here!
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A heads-up for those of you looking for some good music tonight: Rubblebucket's appearance at Thunderbird Cafe last summer was one of the live-show highlights of my 2012, and included some major crowd-surfing/piggyback rides and a big robot costume thing. Before that show, I interviewed bandleader Alex Toth about music and the band's stance somewhere between indie and jam band, which was another highlight of 2012 for me. Read that stuff here.
The band has come out with a great new EP since then, and they're back tonight at Mr. Small's with tourmates Reptar. A wise individual would go and check that out!
This week in CP:
— Need some new tunes? Check out some local releases over in our CD reviews.
Teddy Pantelas Trio
— Finally, here are two of our Critics' Picks for the week. Get out to one of these shows (or just listen to the bands here - it's free)!
Every Time I Die @ Mr. Small’s - Sunday, Dec. 9
Mod Sun @ the Shadow Lounge - Wednesday, Dec. 12
Just a quick heads-up: Drusky Entertainment has announced that the Raul Malo concert scheduled for tonight at the New Hazlett has been postponed due to illness. They're working on rescheduling the show in 2013, but don't have a date nailed down yet; we'll update you when we know.
This week's MP3 Monday comes to you from Supervoid. The psychedelic rock band recently released their two-track Endless Planets EP last month, drawing influence from bands like Mastodon, Clutch and Sleep. Check them out on bandcamp, or stream and download the track "Arcane Groves" here!
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