Chuck Prophet will be making a stop at Club Café to promote his new (and 12th) solo album, Night Surfer, which features former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck as well as Prairie Prince, drummer of The Tubes.
Prophet began is career straight out of high school in the ‘80s with the psychedelic group, Green on Red. After the band dissolved in 1990, he started his solo career with album Brother Aldo. Prophet became known for his gritty representations of reality through his American rock. Since then, his songs have been covered by the likes of Kelly Willis and Boz Skaggs. He now continues to perform as a solo artist and with his band, Mission Express.
Prophet plays Club Café tomorrow, Sat., Nov. 16. Doors open at 6:00; tickets are $20.
After taking home second place in Season 4 of The Voice, Michelle Chamuel has released her first single called “Face the Fire,” a synth-pop tune featuring her soulful vocals. Chamuel studied performing arts technology at University of Michigan before joining the band My Dear Disco in 2007, later renamed Ella Riot. In 2011, the band called it quits and Chamuel went searching for other musical outlets. She got picked up in 2013 at an audition for The Voice by singing a rendition of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” that impressed judges Usher, Adam Levine and Shakira. Later, she found herself on Team Usher and went on to impress the crowds with her powerful voice and truthful personality.
Now, post-competition, Chamuel has truly returned to her alias “the Reverb Junkie,” and is producing new pop-electro sounds. You can hear some of her new tracks Tuesday, Nov. 11 at The Club at Stage AE as part of her month-long Turn It Up Tour.
Are you passionate about the saxophone? On Sat., Nov. 8, Duquesne University will be hosting a 200th birthday celebration for Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the instrument. The music school will be hosting performances, master classes, and an Adolphe Sax exhibit on loan from the Embassy of Belgium. The closing concert will feature an appearance from jazz saxophonist Dick Oatts.
All saxophonists and fans of the instrument are welcome to the day-long event; cost is a suggested $10 donation.
David Bazan and the Passenger String Quartet will be performing at Club Café on November 2nd. Bazan, the figure behind critically acclaimed indie band Pedro the Lion, released 2014’s Songs for Level Ground as a powerful follow-up to the well-respected Curse Your Branches and Strange Negotiations. Now he's teamed up with the Passenger String Quartet, pairing his personal and deep lyrics with the well-respected string group composed of two violins, a viola and a cello. You can expect an honest and intimate performance from Bazan, whose own vulnerability has shaped his musical career. Adding a string quartet to his wounded songs might even be a little overwhelming for some.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is looking for composers in the early stages of their careers to submit new works for its annual Reading Session in order to showcase blooming talent. Applicants must be residents of Pennsylvania and cannot submit works that have ever been played at a performance or reading by a professional orchestra.
Submissions will be reviewed by Mason Bates, the PSO's Composer of the Year, and performed by the orchestra. After the session, composers will receive feedback from a panel including Bates, Loh, Haimor, and the Pittsburgh Symphony musicians. Last year’s recipients included a masters student from Carnegie Mellon, a student from Gettysburg college, a doctoral student at University of Pennsylvania, and a piano performance major from Duquesne. The submission deadline is Thursday, Nov. 20, and selected works will be announced December 8th.
For more information about how to apply, click here.
I'm generally against bands sticking it out for multiple decades, but in the case of Judas Priest I'm willing to make an exception. Rob Halford may have some complaints about his aging voice, but judging by Redeemer of Souls, which the band released in July, Priest —who are touring with hair metal goofballs Steel Panther — is hardly a nostalgia act.
Music on the Edge (MOTE) presents about six concerts every year and is devoted to the performance of contemporary music. The organization just announced its new Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Roger Zahab. The MOTE orchestra is composed of violinists Dawn Posey and Juan Jaramillo, violinist Jennifer Gerhard Mangone, bassist Jeff Mangone and cellist David Russell.
The composer for the orchestra's concert this weekend is Judith Weir, who was recently appointed the first female Master of the Queen’s Music. She is involved in a variety of genres as a librettist; including Icelandic sagas, Chinese Yuan Dynasty drama, and German Romanticism. You can see Zahab conduct her work on Sun., Oct. 19 at 8p.m. at Pitt’s Bellefield Hall Auditorium, on Bellefield Avenue across from Heinz Chapel.
Pittsburgh punk-rock group August Ruins is hosting an album release party Sat., Oct. 18, at The Smiling Moose. Since forming in 2009, the band has gone through a number of lineup and name changes before releasing two independent EPs. Its debut album, Momentary Victory, released September 2014, was produced and recorded in Cleveland in only 10 days. The group produces California pop-punk mixed with metal and hard rock that the Pittsburgh scene classifies as “punkcore.” August Ruins is excited to present fans with a polished full-length to add to their collection. You can see them perform live with special guests Operation Shutdown and Alter The Design.
It's easy to forget that some of our favorite local musicians spend their “other lives” in different industries during the day time. Todd Porter, front man of The Cheats, is currently co-owner of Screaming Crow Tattoo and Piercing in Homestead with long-time friend Eric Corbin. Corbin currently maintains his own record label called Screaming Crow Records, which represents The Cheats. Their relationship in the shop is similar to their interaction in the music industry: Corbin runs the business side of things while Porter works as an artist.
The two quickly became partners after the space for the shop was made available. Beforehand, they were both working at Sinners and Saints Tattoo in Shady Side, also owned by Porter. The duo named the new space Screaming Crow Tattoo after Corbin’s label, and it is currently host to a variety of tattoo artists, including The Cheats’ drummer Aaron Harding, Steev Barncord, and Rev Lower (who is also a musician in a shock-rock band called Only Flesh). Their establishments are a prime example of musicians leading “other” lives that really aren’t so foreign to the industry: It’s all connected. You can check out the shop and chat with the musicians/tattoo artists at their four year anniversary and Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 18th. Visitors will find free food, tattoo and piercing specials and performances by Rev Lower throughout the day.
For Australian duo Luluc, the harmonies and juxtaposition of disparate elements exhibited on Passerby, the band's second album and international debut, are a reflection of the circumstances that brought the pair to their current state. On the album, vocalist Zoë Randell's throaty, haunted vocals belie a confidence, that is augmented, not undermined, by the vulnerability of their delicate instrumentation. In its quiet, matter-of-fact recollection of bygone loves, friendships, and adventures, Passerby offers an increasingly rare vision in the indie-folk arena; heartfelt sentiment, free of maudlin preciousness.
Though Randell and Steve Hassett, who rounds out the duo, would have succeeded on their own merit, they had the great fortune of receiving support from artists whose own work informed the work of Luluc. Aaron Dessner of the National, supporters of Luluc's first outing, even shows up on Passerby, sharing a Co-Producer credit with Luluc. In a way, Luluc's path to date lends credence to the question asked by aspiring musicians everywhere: What does the message matter if it isn't reaching the right people? Still, the validation is hard-won and Luluc are not about to squander it, nor will they let it intrude upon their creative trajectory. In the following conversation, Randell discusses maintaining the sensibilities and approach that brought Luluc their acclaim and finding fans in their creative heroes. Luluc will open for J Mascis on October 15 at Club Cafe.
Luluc's first album, Dear Hamlyn, and your recent album, Passerby, are both very reflective. It's been my impression that first albums tend to be that way because the artist is creating to facilitate the formation of an identity. As your creative life gains momentum, do you struggle to maintain that reflective quality.
Not so far, which is good. I've heard a lot of writers - not so much songwriters, but book writers and television writers - talk about how childhood and those early years are a great source of material and inspiration. I think because your imagination is so young and fresh. Your impressions of life form [there] and then you reflect and develop and change. as long as I'm developing and not getting too stagnant in my own thinking, then I should be able to maintain a reflective approach to my work over time until I'm an old bird.
As you become more accepted as a songwriter do you find yourself identifying more with the role of songwriter or have you always considered that to be your role?
I've never really taken on that idea very formally in my head and I still don't. I think that's because my approach to songwriting is very intuitive and I want to protect that (approach), (so) I try not to think about myself in those terms. At the same time, I definitely have a sense of vocation and a sense of dedication to what I do. I suppose I keep my thinking around that much more involved in how I keep the project interesting to me and alive.
Do you find yourself experiencing things through the lens of a songwriter, or do you try to keep the experience of your day-to-day life separate?
I still try to keep it separate. My music and the songs I create are definitely a reflection of and integral to my life. The more [songwriting] becomes my dominant mode and what I do with my time, always now, it becomes more prominent in my thinking every day. But I still think that I have my life and my work is a reflection of that life, rather than I have my work and my life is a reflection of that.
Your first album, Dear Hamlyn, afforded you a number of high-profile fans, who were vocal about their support of Luluc. What is it like as a songwriter in a band that is relatively early in their career to learn that you have fan in someone like well known record producer Joe Boyd or in members of the National?
[laughs] It's pretty fantastic. It doesn't get much better, I guess. I'm a huge fan of Nick Drake's records and we were familiar with Joe Boyd because of Nick Drake and Pink Floyd. A friend suggested that we send him our record, which is part of how we ended up hooking up with him, but we did read Joe Boyd's book (white bicycles: making music in the 1960s) before we sent it. We were quite reluctant to send it because he's Joe Boyd. [We figured] he doesn't really listen to a lot of CD's because he gets so many. We sort of thought he would never hear it even if we did send it to him. In that book, Joe talks about all the different musicians and things he's been involved with over the course of his life in music and it's quite incredible. To come under that umbrella of music he's taken note of is just a huge compliment and a little bit hard to believe, I guess [laughs]. You're just sort of like 'Oh, really? Well, that's nice!' You don't really think about yourself in those terms. It's lovely.
With the National, we loved their records. Sometimes when you hear peoples' music you have a sense that you might resonate with those people. i remember when I first heard the National I felt like I understood what they were doing and I felt like they would probably understand us pretty well, too. After however many years we met and that was very much the case. They understood our music and where we were coming from and the intent. They all just felt like old friends, straightaway, which is always a lovely feeling.
As a fan of Nick Drake and as a fan of the National, do you consider acclaim from the likes of Joe Boyd or the National as a bonus, or do you see it as an indicator that you are on the right track?
A bit of both. It's wonderful to have acceptance by your peers because they're the people doing the same thing as you. They're creative as well and if they acknowledge your work or think that it has something to offer, that's fantastic. Also, there is a sense that, since creative work is so challenging, you hope that you're communicating what you're trying to and that you're making something worthwhile. Having people resonate with it and acknowledge it, especially the people who have made music that you love, can definitely give you a sense of validation, like you've hit the mark you were aiming for.
I was not aware of the back issues. Good job on your research. This is…
Great article! The language paints a vivid picture of what sounds like a great show!