After the smash success of 2006's Night Ripper, his subsequent coverage in the mainstream media and sold-out, globe-trotting performances, Pittsburgh-based mashup whiz Girl Talk, a.k.a. Gregg Gillis, is back with the follow-up. Like Night Ripper, Feed the Animals is a party-in-a-box, an album-length continuous collage of 300 samples that recontextualize current Top 40 vocal samples with new beats, classic rock riffs and timeless pop hooks. Think "Whoomp! (There It Is)" over "In a Big Country," multiplied by 150.
The album was released last Thursday via the Illegal Art label's Web site (www.illegalart.net) just days after its completion, with almost no warning. And just hours after the release, Wikipedia contained a comprehensive list of the samples that comprise the album, though perhaps it's more fun to play your own game of Name That Sample.
In a modified version of what's sometimes called "the Radiohead model," Girl Talk is offering several pay-what-you-want downloading options. Pay nothing, and you have to answer a multiple-choice question explaining why, before downloading a zip file of the mp3s. Pay more than $5, and you'll receive an additional file containing the full album as one continuous track. Pay $10, and you'll also receive a physical CD when they become available in September; a limited-edition vinyl version is also in the works.
If you were among those who caught Cellofourte's recent performance at the Three Rivers Arts Festival -- or with the Pittsburgh Symphony at Heinz Hall -- you probably know the genre-bending instrumental cello quartet has been preparing its second album. You can pick up a copy of Combustion at the CD release show, 7 p.m. Fri., June 27 at Diesel; for more details, visit www.cellofourte.net.
Two local singer-songwriters are also dropping full-length albums this weekend. Sewickley-based Steve Vesolich releases his rootsy, harmony-rich acoustic album This Continual Fight at 7 p.m. Fri., June 28 at Club Café, performing with special guest Martha Jane. You can sample his tunes at www.myspace.com/stevevesolich.
The next day, accomplished singer and pianist Joy Ike -- a relatively new face in the local music scene -- releases Good Morning, her first full-length album, an amalgam of neo-soul, pop and thought-provoking lyrics. She's celebrating with a full-band performance at the EastSide Borders in East Liberty at 6:30 p.m. Sat., June 28. For more, check out www.joyike.com.