When the members of Old Head started jamming together a little more than a year ago, singer/guitarist Phil Boyd brought out a box of old posters he' d collected through high school and college. "When we go to our practice space, there's a black-light Jimi Hendrix poster and a Smashing Pumpkins poster," he says with a laugh. Practice is usually dovetailed with someone putting on a record by Neil Young, or Can, or David Bowie. This is a band that loves its rock music.
Saturday, the band releases its first record — a split with another relatively new band of rock' n' roll devotees, Outsideinside.
Singer/guitarist Dave Wheeler and bassist Jim Wilson of local classic rockers Carousel started Outsideinside about a year ago, along with drummer Panfilo DiCenzo. "There was a more stripped-down style of rock ' n' roll that we wanted to do," Wheeler explains. "We were curious about exploring this other direction, with a more swinging rhythm section." While Wheeler does the bulk of the songwriting for Carousel, Outsideinside' s songs are the result of jamming during practice, which gives them a loose, heavy groove, not dissimilar from Blue Cheer, after whose second album the band got its name.
Old Head, on the other hand, is a return to guitar for Boyd, who in recent years has explored electronic music with his projects Hidden Twin and TM Eye. He had been playing with his former Modey Lemon bandmate Jason Kirker, and separately with Mike Layton and Bill Wehmann of Frizz. It made sense to combine the two; the result is a kind of catchy, psychedelic Krautrock Crazy Horse.
Machine Age Studios co-founder Preslav Lefterov, who' s releasing the record on his label, suggested the pairing after the two bands played a show together last year. "[Lefterov] has an interest in releasing Pittsburgh-based music, and I just think he's excited about the idea of releasing a rock record," Boyd says. Hearing the split now, the pairing of these two bands — both relatively new, guitar-driven projects by established members of the Pittsburgh music scene — seems like a no-brainer. Or, as Boyd puts it: "Without too much thought, it seems like a good match."