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Josh Kaufman
American So and So
(Self-released)

Great release from the local songwriter, who comes here from Michigan. Kaufman traveled to St. Louis to record with David Beeman and David Vandervelde, and the result is a sweet-sounding six-track EP with hints of alt-country, The Beatles and Elliott Smith. Kaufman is a thoughtful songwriter, and his moves are intentional; he has the pop form down without following it to a formulaic end. 

— Andy Mulkerin

JOSH KAUFMAN CD RELEASE. 8 p.m. Wed., Feb. 20. Eclipse Lounge, 3705 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $5 suggested donation. 412-251-0097 or www.eclipseloungepgh.org

 

Shade Cobain
16 Pads
(Self-released)

The title 16 Pads is a nod to Shade Cobain's favorite drum sampling machine, the Akai MPC, which was made popular by respectively pioneering hip-hop producers J. Dilla and MF Doom. Thumping drums and aggressive snares lay atop a variety of popular and obscure soul and funk samples on this instrumental release. Vocal samples (like one from the "Playa Hater's Ball" sketch from Chappelle's Show) assist in keeping this project entertaining. Similar to his previous releases, 16 Pads gives listeners a peek into this Pittsburgh beat-maker's soul.

— Rory D. Webb

 

Ray Lanich
At Least I'm Moving
(Self-released)

The strengths of Lanich's new album: solid songwriting and an understanding of hooks. Lanich — who plays all the instruments on the release — records straight-ahead rock that often centers around themes of traveling and trying to find oneself. Lanich's vocals can be a bit pitchy here and there, and maybe some additional instrumental personnel could've helped add punch, but this isn't a bad release. The title track is the strongest one here. 

— Andy Mulkerin

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