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Friday, January 29, 2010

Get mystical: Higgs returns to MoGlo tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Perhaps it makes me a bad rock journalist, but I'm not a major collector. I recently realized there are only a couple of artists I feel the completist compulsion toward: Arthur Russell is one, and Daniel Higgs is another.

I attempted last spring to sum Higgs up in 400 words or so, as he was to appear at Morning Glory Coffeehouse in Morningside. The show last year was Higgsian all around: I recall babies attending, as well as dogs. I remember singalongs, and Higgs's giant banjo. Much of his newer material -- some of it straight-up storytelling with some autoharp drone -- was simple but transcendent.

Lo! Higgs returns: he'll be back at Morning Glory tomorrow night (Saturday, the 30th) and so will I. Come join us and learn about the universal alphabet, and puppet-heads and all that. The Dutch Stellar OM Source appears as well; it kicks off around 7:30.

Monday, January 25, 2010

MP3 MONDAY: Mace Ballard

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 10:19 PM


Pop punk, with its serrated guitar hooks, sunny melodies and periodic gang vocals, has a strong presence in the Pittsburgh area -- groups like Punchline, The Berlin Project, Transition, and more recently, Chalk Dinosaur. One of the newest groups to tap that legacy is Mace Ballard. Last fall, the band released its five-song debut, Can't Build Something with Monologues. "We're not messing around this time / This is not a test," sings vocalist and guitarist Chris Daley on the opening track.

That Mace Ballard is a new band is also suggested by the fact that, apart from Daley (formerly of Kid Durango), it can be a little tricky figuring out who is (still) in the band. Dan Maldonado, for example, is the bass player on the band's MySpace page and has a thank-you section in the EP's liner notes ... yet the bass playing is all credited to two other musicians. Several tracks also feature guitar by Justin Portis (Portis Project, among others), presumably as a guest. While you ponder such lineup-change mysteries, check out this free download of "Go Means Go." 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blogging about blogs

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 9:59 AM

In today's paper you'll find my debut as a columnist in our new Local Beat feature. Okay, so it's not my most engaging work -- but that's because I wanted to cram in SO DAMN MUCH INFORMATION, know what I mean? It's all about local music blogs, of which, I've learned, there are many. Since our current CMS doesn't let me have a blogroll, here's a list of local music blogs that I mentioned, and some I didn't, in the article. Add them to your feedreader, fair reader!

Sites I mention in the article:

BurghSounds (On Twitter)
Speed of the Pittsburgh Sound (On Twitter)
HughShowsRedux (On Twitter)

Other sites that cover local music:

The BNAC Music Blog
Pittsburgh New Music Report
Songs In the Key of Touche (On Twitter)
Unrescuable Schizo

Additionally, Old Mon Music covers local music new and old (tags on the blog include "David Bernabo" and "Meeting of Important People," but also "Marcels" and "WIXZ").

Finally, the Pittsburgh Music Blog Reader aggregates a lot of this stuff together in one place, and I've developed a (growing) (not officially CP-endorsed) Twitter list of local music entities, which I call pghjams, which is available here.

What did I miss? Please comment with additions -- blogs or Twitter feeds. Thanks!

Monday, January 18, 2010

MP3 Monday: Harangue

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Harangue recently released a new LP, a split release backed by Enamel Records and Wilder Pryor Recordings. They long-running keyboard-based avant-pop combo had previously released a 7", but this is its first full-length. It can be sourced from any of the usual locals -- Paul's, Eide's, Desolation Row, Wicked Discs -- and online at Chicago Independent. A proper record release show is in the works yet -- we'll keep you posted!

Without further ado, download the track: Wisteria

Friday, January 15, 2010

Quick local hits: Gramsci Melodic, Ennui, Haiti benefits

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Hello, beautiful people!

Your CP music team wishes to send along a couple quick notes regarding local band scuttlebutt! Here it is! Exclamation point!

  • First, you might remember me writing up locals Gramsci Melodic last summer when that band's LP came out. Since then, they've been keeping up a regimen of local shows, and also released a video for what I thought was one of the record's best tracks, the synth-heavy "Wong;" check that out here. The haps with them this weekend is an appearance tomorrow evening at Club Cafe; it's the early show, and is all-ages, so it's a change for folks of all stripes to lend them an ear. Starts at 7 p.m., 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

  • Additionally, it was brought to my attention by a Twitter friend that local electronic outfit Ennui, who are pretty awesome, got a quick mention on Pitchfork yesterday. They're included on a new comp put out by a new label, Waaga, created by the folks also behind the Lefse imprint. Read all about that here.

  • And last but not least, I want to pass along some info on an upcoming benefit for Haiti earthquake relief: there are a few benefit concerts already in the works locally for the cause, and one at Shadow Lounge this coming Thursday will be featured in Short List next issue. Another show is being organized by Jay Donaldson, a mover and shaker in the local blues scene who's always interested in making things a little bit better. He's already got his own Muddy Kreek Blues Band, The Real Deal Band, and The Freedom Band on board and is building a roster for the show, which will take place Saturday, January 23 at the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall. He's looking for additional acts, so if you're a local musician who fits the bill -- blues, funk, reggae -- and would like to play, give Jay a call at 412-258-0506. That show, by the by, will be $25, or $10 with a donation of two bags of non-perishable goods.

Have a good weekend! You are beautiful!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jay Reatard dies at age 29

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM

It was less than two months ago that I scrawled down a short piece on the phenomenon of Jay Reatard, the garage rock genius and/or charlatan who came from Memphis and swept the nation. Pitchfork is reporting this afternoon that Reatard died last night at 29. Ever the entertainer, he'll be missed, as will so many other musicians (like Vic Chesnutt) who have met untimely deaths recently.

Monday, January 11, 2010

MP3 Monday: Peter King

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 4:56 PM


Local singer-songwriter and guitarist Peter King released Dancing On a Long Leash in November; at the time, I wrote, "On his new album, playful lyrics and Steely Dan-esque changes combine with jazz-pro instrumentation and King's disarmingly vulnerable, unembellished voice." Nowhere is that Dan influence more apparent than on "Thank You St. Jude": You’ll hear some Babylon sisters backing him on this jazz blues, and touches of Two Against Nature electric guitar. 

Unlike a Sunday in TJ, our MP3 download of "Thank You St. Jude" is free, but not cheap.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Get on The Guest List(?)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 10:46 AM

A few weeks back I wrote a Short List piece about a local band called The Guest List. (Scroll down . . . keep going . . . THERE, right toward the bottom!)

I mentioned in said piece that the band was gearing up for a pretty serious start to 2010; I did not lie. I did, however, lie about the show that's coming up tomorrow -- or, rather, the truth has changed since I wrote about it. Rather than release a DVD of the live show they filmed at Shadow Lounge, they're re-shooting the DVD. So, if you've always wanted to be in a live pop-punk video, this is your chance: the show is tomorrow, January 8, at Belvedere's in Lawrenceville, and Mason Summers and Trash Magnet open.

For a taste of The Guest List, check out www.theguestlistband.com

Monday, January 4, 2010

MP3 Monday: Brown Angel

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:44 PM

In last week's Short List section, if you did your homework, you saw my brief on the return of Brown Angel, the doomy noisy slow metal band that features some local heavy hitters. If you read particularly closely, you saw that this week's MP3 Monday would be a track from them. Congratulations! Here it is: eight-plus minutes of sick and twisted plodding heavy from a few masters. The track is called "White Flight." Enjoy!




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