Happy MP3 Monday! This week we have a track from Jack Wilson (a.k.a. D.J. Brewer)'s latest EP called "Breakdown to Breakthru" available for stream and download. Wilson is a native Pittsburgh MC, but is currently residing in New York City.
If you like your metal with a healthy dose of symphonic bombast, the event for you this weekend is the release show for a new EP from locals Second Empire.
The four-piece, which has been around since 2011, is releasing a five-song EP that mixes shredding guitars, strong and sincere vocals and some strings and tuneful percussion and the like. It's dramatic and aggressive, mixing chugga-chugga metal breakdown stuff with soaring, anthemic parts.
One of the tunes on the CD, "The Valley Beneath," has a video, which you can check out here:
In addition to Second Empire, the show features XDB (the band of local shredder Xander Demos), Butler County metal outfit Klaymore, Stark, and Forever in Fear. Starts at 6:30 tomorrow (Sat., June 15), it's $10 a head, and if you buy four tickets, you get a free copy of the CD. The whole thing is put on with the help of Sardonyx Productions.
Happy (and perhaps epic) weekend!
The Three Rivers Arts Festival covers a contrasting trio of genres as it comes to a close this weekend. Friday is World Music Day with two performances by Jontre (at noon and 6:30 p.m.); world music group Red Baraat will perform at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday we’ll hear Jazzam at 12 p.m., New Victorians at 5 p.m., Leagues at 6:30 p.m., and indie-rock band The Airborne Toxic Event will perform at 8 p.m. The festival wraps up with Bluegrass Day on Sunday. River City Brass Band performs at 1 p.m., Curtis Lewis Gospel performs at 6:30 p.m., and the Blind Boys of Alabama hit the stage at 7:30 p.m.. All performances take place at the Dollar Bank Stage. More information can be found at www.3riversartsfest.org or by calling 412-471-3191.
This Monday's MP3 comes from Pittsburgh native Jon Quest. "Keep On" comes off of his latest EP, No Re-Runs, and features special guest Beedie. The hip-hop track balances the flow between simple, effective, yet gentle loops of beats and blunt poetry expressed in the lyrics.
The three-piece released its latest, the Total Nite EP, in April on Nite-People. The new vid is for the title track:
If it helps any, you're entering your last few weeks to enjoy shows at 6119, as the folks from VIA tell me it's closing at the end of June.
Hello, hello! Something that didn't make this week's paper, but is a worthy contender for your Friday night out is the California Guitar Trio show at Club Cafe. It's $20 and starts at 7p.m. tomorrow evening.
If you're unfamiliar but intrigued, have no fear! The songs are instrumental, so you won't be caught mouthing the wrong lyrics. CGT has released sixteen albums since the band's formation in 1991. Some include covers of well known songs like The Doors' "Riders on the Storm" and Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor."
But really, they're three talented men who have been playing guitar together professionally for more than two decades. They're worth a listen.
Upward of 1,000 people just witnessed performances by some of hip-hop’s best. Rapper Kendrick Lamar is nearing a platinum plaque for his major label debut album, Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, and made his first headlining Pittsburgh appearance on Stage AE’s outdoor stage. Sporting a white t-shirt and TDE hat (TDE: Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s music group), the audience sang along with every word of his set. Rapping songs from his popular 2011 album Section.80 and the aforementioned GKMC, which HipHopDX named 2012’s Album of the Year, Lamar’s DJ often cut the instrumental as the Compton representer proceeded to engage responses from his audience with acapella performances.
Lamar performed his hits: “The Recipe,” “Swimming Pools,” and his guest verse from A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems,” all of which have received heavy WAMO 100 airplay. A pleasant surprise was his encore performance of a loose single and fan favorite, “Cartoons and Cereal,” which circulated on blogs prior to his GKMC album release last year and tells a story of being raised ‘in a sandbox’ surrounded by gang members and women giving birth.
A late addition to the concert was an opening performance by Kid Ink, one of XXL Magazine’s 2013 Freshmen, which highlights ten aspiring rappers that the publication believe will have a major impact in the year ahead. The tattoo-covered RCA Records artist was first to hit the stage around 7:30PM and had the audience of mostly 18-24 year olds hands in the air, waving along with his music. His Almost Home EP was released just a few days ago and the audience appeared to already be familiar with some of the Los Angeles-born rapper’s new music.
Kid Ink’s performance was followed by solo performances by each member of Lamar’s TDE crew. Jay Rock, who later returned during Lamar’s set to perform his verse from the song “Money Trees,” Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q each performed with only the assistance of their respective DJ’s. Schoolboy Q received a particularly warm response as he walked on stage blowing smoke and praising all the marijuana smokers in attendance before tossing whatever he was smoking into the audience and beginning his set. Both Q and Lamar's sets induced small mosh pits and periodic crowd-surfing as much of the crowd jumped up-and-down and side-to-side during certain songs. Each TDE rapper displayed a great amount of clarity and breath control, making what they do look easy as they nearly flawlessly breezed through their performances.
Well, here we are. It's my last week running the MP3 Monday segment, and I'm very full of feelings. I'd go into detail, but I'm worried that the tears pooling on the desk will soon short circuit my keyboard. Thanks to CP for all the great times.
ANY WAYS, this week's band is Nightly Standard, a snappy outfit with a real jazzy flourish to their sound. They're fantastic, and their track "Not Meant to Be" really puts their talents on display. Stream or download it below!
To download, right click here and select "Save Link As."
JEFF the Brotherhood seems to have amassed a large Pittsburgh following in the years since I first saw them on tour with Pentagram several years ago. Last year’s Thanksgiving show at Howlers was a total party, and those who packed Brillobox last Friday night seemed primed for something similar.
First, there was local three piece Chrome Moses, who offered some well-executed, fully rockin’ garage-blues, and brought to mind Kings of Leon circa 2003. Admittedly, comparing anyone to Kings of Leon is kind of loaded, and potentially a little backhanded, but in this case it wasn’t a bad thing.
Next came Hunters, from Brooklyn, who — because one of their t-shirts featured photo of Kelly Bundy — won me over a little bit before they’d even started. My plus-one was less enthused, describing them as “young, with haircuts.” They did have nice haircuts, it’s true. And the singer’s cotton candy-colored locks were pretty much all I could see of her, because she almost never stopped moving, showing a level of energy to rival any sugar-high 5 year old. Can’t say Hunters blew my mind, but they did their thing, and did it well, and in their best moments reminded me of both the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Live Through This —era Hole. Not bad at all.
JEFF took the stage after a long sound check — “Ten hours” by guitarist Jake Orrall’s estimation. They played half the set as a two-piece, and adding a guitarist and a keyboardist (I think? As a short person, I often fantasize about having a periscope at crowded shows) for the second half. When I’m not actually listening to JEFF the Brotherhood, I think of them as a band that plays succinct and catchy garage rock, and I forget that — as song titles like Heavy Krishna and Heavy Days suggest — they owe as much to Deep Purple as they do to the Ramones. They can also jam out, and did so, quite a bit. It was a strong set, even if it lacked some of the spontaneous exuberance of their Howler’s show. That night had obviously proved memorable for them, too. “We always have fun in Pittsburgh,” Jake said, noting Thanksgiving as a prime example.“Cheers to anyone who was at that show.”
It would be so awesome to discover Ghost B.C. (the B.C. has been grudgingly added due to an over-abundance of “Ghost” bands), as a 14-year-old. You’d be drawn to the catchy tunes (which mostly maintain a Mercyful Fate vibe, but sometimes veer into pop and, weirdly, surf) but troubled by the anonymity of the members, scared out of your wits by front man Papa Emeritus II (an evil, but charming, skeletal Pope) and probably a little worried about what this band was doing to your immortal soul.
I can’t say if anyone at Saturday’s show fit that description, but Ghost (not going to bother with the B.C. from here on out) was spooky and theatrical enough to keep most of their older, more jaded fans entertained.
Openers Ides of Gemini did a fair job of setting the tone for an evening of good-natured blasphemy with their 70s occult rock, and Sera Timms’ voice was almost beautiful enough to cover their multitude of instrumental sins. One friend argued that “sometimes, simple is better,” which is true — and some of the greatest bands in history featured people who didn’t really know how to play their instruments — but you gotta have enough style to balance it out.
As for Ghost, seeing them perform in a former church is appropriate to the point of being a tad too on-the-nose. Taking their cues from the ceremony of a Catholic mass (though, obviously, turning it on its head), smoke machines imitated incense and stage lights stood in for candles. Papa, as audience members called him, quite literally presided over the room. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, particularly next to the rest of the band members, interchangeable in black cloaks and hoods. Many in sold-out room hung on Papa’s every word and action, when they weren’t banging their heads to the air-tight (at times, almost monotonously so) set. In the face of all that mystery, it was a little jarring when the band did normal band things, like schmoozing with the crowd (“I want to know how the ladies at this show are doing,” Papa asked, adding after the ladies responded with applause, “I was asking the boys.”) Ghost infuses a fair amount of humor and charisma into their shtick, and don’t take themselves too seriously — another way in which they’re the inverse of the Catholic church — and might have more in common with Blue Oyster Cult or even Motley Crue than anything truly evil. Then again, who makes catchier music than the Devil?
Production by Keor Meteor (Paris) http://soundcloud.com/keor-meteor-beats
and cuts by DJ Ivan6 (London)…
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