Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Brooklyn's Rhyton brings its freewheeling jams to Brillobox this week

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 4:50 AM

  • Courtesy of Japeth Mennes
  • Rhyton

Despite Rhyton’s roots in New York’s noisy experimental underground, the band’s fourth offering, Redshift, is an eminently listenable affair. On it, the Brooklyn-based three-piece — comprised of Stygian Stride’s Jimy SeiTang, the No-Neck Blues Band’s Rob Shuford and Pigeons’ Rob Smith — pay tribute to a wide range of influences, from Free Jazz to Joe Walsh, whose “Turn to Stone” they cover. 

The eight freewheeling jams that result are sonically pleasing at first blush, but it is in repetition that the album’s technical riches are revealed in the form of ambitious timing, thoughtful lyrics and studio wizardry that weaves rootsy twang of the most organic variety with synthetic sound effects. The album’s title track is a good example of this: it's a playful intergalactic country number that calls to mind the lysergic spaciness of early Meat Puppets and the furtive paranoia of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick in equal measure; and it clocks in at just under nine minutes.

Listeners can glean as much or as little as they choose from Redshift to equal enjoyment. There are plenty of moving parts to contemplate. That the band achieves expansiveness by employing such measured phrases is remarkable, especially without dulling the members' technical proficiencies or resorting to prog-rock condescension.

‘Redshift’ refers to the astronomical phenomenon of “displacement of spectral lines toward longer wavelengths often used to measure the otherwise immeasurable.” It’s a high-minded conceit, but, on Redshift, Rhyton illuminates the sacred by couching it in the profane terms of rock music.

RHYTON with SAGAS, LANDMARK TONGUES. 8 p.m., Sun. Aug. 7. Brillbox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 421-621-4900 or

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Monday, August 1, 2016

MP3 Monday: Pk Delay

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 12:07 PM

dad. album artwork
  • dad. album artwork
This week’s track comes from rapper Pk Delay, who we wrote about back in June. Stream or download “Mood Yah,” feat. Choo Jackson, from the EP, dad., for free below. You can also see Delay in person on Aug. 6 when he performs at Gus's Cafe in Lawrenceville. The show starts at 10 p.m. 

This download has expired, sorry!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Listen Up! July 27

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:53 AM

Every Wednesday, we make a Spotify playlist containing tracks from artists mentioned in the current music section. Grab a paper and listen along!

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Monday, July 25, 2016

MP3 Monday: Gallo

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 1:17 PM

Left to right: DJ Goodnight, Gallo and G Vocals - PHOTO COURTESY OF ANASTASIA SNYDER
  • Photo courtesy of Anastasia Snyder
  • Left to right: DJ Goodnight, Gallo and G Vocals
This week's MP3 comes from rapper, Gallo. He teamed up with DJ Goodnight for the hot-weather jam “Summers Mine,” from a forthcoming EP which plays on DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (Gallo, like Will Smith, makes a point of promoting positivity and not swearing in his rhymes). Stream or download the track, which also features G Vocals, for free below.

This download has expired, sorry!

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Building issues lead to an earlier-than-expected closing for Altar Bar

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 2:52 PM

Cello Fury performs at Altar Bar as part of the 2016 Strip District Music Festival - PHOTOGRAPH BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photograph by Aaron Warnick
  • Cello Fury performs at Altar Bar as part of the 2016 Strip District Music Festival

Back in June, we reported that Drusky Entertainment's long-tenure at Altar Bar would be ending, as the concert promotion company's lease was running out, and the building was being sold.

Yesterday, it was announced that, because of unspecified building issues and safety concerns that came up during the building's sale, the desanctified church's life as a music venue was cut even shorter than expected, and has been closed as of July 15. Drusky had originally planned a series of farewell concerts which have all been moved to new venues or canceled. The schedule changes are below:

July 15: Los Lonely Boys (CANCELED)
July 16: Dark Side Of The Moon (CANCELED)
July 18: Intronaut (Moved to Cattivo)
July 22: Amy Winehouse Tribute (CANCELED)
July 23: Descendsion, Silk9, Shroudned In Neglect, Dimlite & Fiveunder (CANCELED)
July 24: PVRIS (Moved to Rex Theater)
July 25: August Burns Red (Moved to Rex Theater)
July 26: August Burns Red (Moved to Rex Theater)
July 27: Jon Bellion (TBA)
July 28: Daily Grind (Moved to Cattivo)
July 28: Emo Night Live Band Karaoke (CANCELED)
July 29: Punchline (Moved to Rex Theater, September 30)
July 29: Drake Vs. Kanye (CANCELED)
July 31: I Prevail (Moved to Rex Theater)

"We’re all very disappointed that we were unable to have one last hoorah," Drusky vice president Josh Bakaitus, who has personally been booking shows at Altar Bar for eight years, wrote in an email to CP. "All of the staff and bands were excited to go out with a bang but unfortunately it is what it is. We’re again thankful that our friends at the Rex have helped us find a home for a lot of our shows and some of our staff.

Bakaitus, who names The Dead Milkmen and Imagine Dragons as some of the most memorable shows he witnessed at the venue, acknowledges that the space elicited mixed feelings from concert-goers. "Altar certainly had its strengths and weaknesses," he writes. "We all know that. A lot of really good people put their hearts & souls into that place to help it improve and succeed. I think whether you hated the poorly designed staircase in the middle of the floor or loved the intimacy of the space, most importantly it impacted you in some way and it was a driving force in the Pittsburgh music scene. I’m very thankful for the time I was able to spend there with the amazing people that grew to become family." 

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Listen Up! July 20

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Every Wednesday, we make a Spotify playlist containing tracks from artists mentioned in the current music section. Listen while you read!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Brief conversations at Warped Tour 2016 with Less Than Jake and Real Friends

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Mayday Parade perform July 15 at First Niagara Pavillion. - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Mayday Parade perform July 15 at First Niagara Pavillion.
The one, the only Vans Warped Tour made its annual stop in Pittsburgh (really Burgettstown) Friday, July 15. CP got to sit down and talk to members of ska veterans Less Than Jake and the chart-topping pop-punk unit Real Friends. 

Buddy Schaub, trombone, Less Than Jake

I saw the Make Warped Tour Great Again video you guys put together and it's really funny. How did you come up with that and are you as a band against Donald Trump?

It’s not actually about any political candidates. What we’re doing is, instead of being on the Warped Tour, we’re on the campaign trail to Make Warped Tour Great Again. Since it’s an election year, we thought it would be funny to have this whole spread. ... If you wait until the show, you’ll see [frontman Chris DeMakes'] presidential look ... It has nothing to do with Donald Trump.

Less Than Jake played a show at Duquesne University, my alma mater, in 2012. Do you remember that show or anything about it?
Joe Taylor of Knuckle Puck performs July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion. - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Joe Taylor of Knuckle Puck performs July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion.
I’m trying to remember what happened.

From what I heard, there was a clash between security and kids moshing.
Is that the one with the big cross? … Part of that is because we got the Prince song [that starts out with,] “Dearly beloved we are gathered…” and we came down to that. The first song started and the security guards all came in and were all like, “What’s going on?” and we were like, “Whoa, whoa, we were supposed to be able to do some [wild] stuff.” So there was a little bit of an altercation. We’ve had way worse things than that. It was a little bit of a straightening-out of what was allowed and what was not. Everyone was cool. It was fine. It sorted itself out. Whatever it became in your hometown, I don’t know. It’s legend now. Duquesne? Do can’t.

I didn't realize you were just in Pittsburgh, doing the full-album shows.

We re-released Hello Rockview and Losing Streak and we did a little tour to play both those records. We would do two nights in each city, and Pittsburgh actually got added because we were doing them on the weekend and in between we had this time where we were like, “Do we go home or fit something in and drive to New York?” We decided to add Pittsburgh in the middle and play both records in one night, which we did, but by the end of the second record we realized it was probably a disaster. I had a few too many vodka drinks. But we made it through and had to get into the van and drive like six hours to New York. It was a little disturbing. ...

But it’s fun to do those tours like that, where we just do two weeks here and there, or between two places where we get a rental van and drive around, because it’s reminiscent of when we used to be in a van. It’s kind of fun to get on the road and do it that way.
Deryck Whibley of Sum 41  performs July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion. - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 performs July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion.

Kyle Fasel, bass/ founding member of Real Friends
Kyle Fasel (center) and Dan Lambton (right) of Real Friends perform July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion. - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Kyle Fasel (center) and Dan Lambton (right) of Real Friends perform July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion.

I remember listening to the 2012 EP Real Friends put out, and now we're two albums after that, with both charting around 50 on Billboard. What has this whirlwind of the last two years been like for you?
It’s still crazy. It’s tough to get used to something like that. When you’re on tour, it’s really easy to get caught up in everything ... But it’s when you have time off, you really appreciate it. When I’m home and have like two months off and I wake up in the morning and get coffee and I kind of think to myself, “I get to play in a band. That’s my job. It’s weird.” [Laughs.] It’s a good thing, but also to reflect on being on Billboard in the top 50 albums and all that, it’s all surreal. We never expected to do anything with the band. ... [Y]ou mentioned an EP we put out, Everyone Who Dragged You Here. When we wrote those songs, we were just like, “Oh, this is fun.” We weren’t like, “Hey, let’s write these songs so we can get on a tour or quit our jobs or do anything,” we were just like, “These songs are cool," and that was it. It’s kind of weird, you know. Because some people are put in positions where they are like, “OK, we’re gonna get signed and gonna do this,” and I’ve been in bands like that and it never works. When I was in a band where it was just like, “This is fun,” then it worked.

One of the lyrics in the song "Home For Fall" says "we could listen to American football / or talk about high school / just like we did the years before." I find that so honest and open and it seems like you're not trying to hide behind phrasing or metaphor.
I think sometimes with bands, there’s right or wrong answer with art, but to me there is a point where you don’t want to try too hard. I think when people really enjoy music and want to connect with it, maybe they’re not feeling that great. Maybe they’re sad or mad, or whatever it might be. When you’re sad or mad, you don’t go and look up in a thesaurus a different word for “this.” So I try to keep my writing to that as well. Like very, “Hey, if I feel this way, I’m gonna say this. I’m not gonna think too much about it,” and I think that’s what keeps it relatable.
Bradley Walden of Emarosa performs July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion. - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Bradley Walden of Emarosa performs July 15 at First Niagara Pavilion.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

MP3 Monday: Uncle Fresh & Shem the Pen

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 12:45 PM

This week’s MP3 comes from’90s-throwback-ish hip-hop duo Uncle Fresh & Shem the Pen; stream or download the catchy, goofy, sample-heavy “Bachelor Therapy” from their new record, Duck Logic, below. 

To download, right-click here and select "save as."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Faced with steep renovation costs, Pittsburgh's James Street Gastropub launches #SaveJamesStreet campaign

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 1:56 PM

The Nox Boys perform in the upstairs ballroom of the James Street Gastropub as part of the Deutschtown Music Festival - PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • Photo by Luke Thor Travis
  • The Nox Boys perform in the upstairs ballroom of the James Street Gastropub as part of the Deutschtown Music Festival
James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy has hit a bit of a rough spot in recent days. The popular venue/restaurant has a long history of hosting live jazz, going back decades to when it was the James Street Tavern. The multi-floor venue hosts around 300 musical events a year, and it was a key venue for last weekend's Deutschtown Music Festival. But the show there, which featured a lineup of ten bands, was cut short by a noise complaint — odd, some attendees say, considering that there were no complaints about noise being generated at the main stage just a few blocks away. 

Now, general manager Kevin Saftner writes in press release, extensive renovations need to be made to meet Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board noise requirements. "The law does not allow for the sound of amplified music to be heard beyond the licensed premises’ property line," he writes. "Step off the sidewalk, hear music, and we’re in violation. Penalties include stiff fines, suspension of the liquor license, business closure due to being a 'nuisance bar,' even jail time."

An IndieGoGo campaign has been launched, with a flexible goal of $5,000.

The LCB doesn't seek out establishments violating the noise ordinance but according to its statutes will investigate neighbors' complaints of "loud music or entertainment by amplification or noise from entertainment emanating from the establishment." Saftner tells CP that the LCB was "not wrong" in issuing the citation, but "it's just disappointing that it happened to us." 

Shawn Kelly, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board called CP Friday morning, to clarify that despite the statement from James Street, LCB did not cite the bar. Kelly said the noise statute is part of the state’s liquor laws and enforcing those laws falls to the Liquor Control Enforcement arm of the Pa. state police. The only action the LCB could take agaisnt any establishment would be not to renew the bar’s liquor license or to renew it with conditions. “I think a lot of people think we wnforce liquor laws, but it’s not us,” Kelly said.

As the fundraising webpage says, "With your help you will not only help us keep our 30 employees and their families fed, but you will help Pittsburgh musicians, artists & many others too. James Street is honored to host the Legendary Roger Humphries' weekly Jam Session. It would be terrible to have this tradition end because of the issues we are facing. We are also honored to work with young up and coming musicians such as the Bleil Brothers, Anton DeFade, George Heid III & countless others. Again, nothing would be worse than having these aspiring artists lose yet another venue to perform at. James Street is not merely a music venue though. We host Drag Brunch, Burlesque shows, Private events, Swing Dances, Church Groups & so much more. There would be nothing worse than closing our doors to all of these amazing people.

"...In order to #SaveJamesStreet we need to raise approximately $30,000. This money will go to sound proof the Ballroom as well as to install air conditioning and new electrical work. We are asking you who to help us with just a small percent of the total cost."

The venue also plans to host a series of fundraising concerts. Keep an eye on the James Street website and/or Facebook for further updates. 

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Listen Up! July 13

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 4:05 PM

Every Wednesday, we make a Spotify playlist containing tracks from artists mentioned in the current music section. Give this week's extensive offering a listen, below:

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