Critics' Picks: May 6 - May 11 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: May 6 - May 11

Fri., May 6 -- Indie Pop

New Zealand's Brooke Fraser has the makings of a pop star -- the Feist kind, more so than the Katy Perry type. Her single "Something in the Water" could soundtrack the happy part of an indie film, or a Ford Focus commercial: Its marching beat and folkie vibe almost calls to mind Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Her current tour stops at Mr. Small's Theatre tonight. After this, the kiwi cutie won't be back in the States again until 2012. The Cary Brothers open. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $16-18. All ages. 412-821-4447 or


Sat., May 7 -- Space Rock

White Hills kicks out sinister jams. The Brooklyn trio plays a sprawling brand of heavy music that's at times sludgy, ambient or ethereal, but that never loses its moody, brooding edge. The band's new double LP, H-p1, was recorded with some friends (including Oneida's Kid Millions) and released this spring by Thrill Jockey; some tracks stretch to the 10- and 12-minute marks. The band appears tonight at 31st Street Pub with Drugula and Low Man. Hawkwind and Boris fans take note. AM 10 p.m. 3101 Penn Ave., Strip District. $7. 412-391-8334 or


Sat., May 7 -- Benefit

Tonight's event at Cattivo promises a good time for a great cause. The Japanese Anime Ball, co-produced by Elise's Playground, Sinferno/Hanging Garden and Elizabeth Couteau, features music, burlesque performances, art and more; all proceeds go to UNICEF in Japan and the American Humane Society's Japan Animal Emergency Fund. A sushi-and-sake happy hour is 6-7 p.m.; entertainment (from Summer Lungs, Agnes Wired for Sound, the Hot Metal Muses and more) commences after. (Cosplayers take note: Anime attire is "appreciated." Non-cosplayers breathe a sigh of relief: It's not mandatory.) AM 6 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. $10. 412-687-2157 or


Wed., May 11 -- Honky Tonk

No matter what you call the style -- Americana, neo-trad, plain old honky tonk -- few bands play it as well as The Derailers. But unless you happen to get to South Austin nightspot The Broken Spoke on a regular basis, you've probably never seen them live. The band is inspired by classic country (Buck Owens, George Jones) as well as rhythmic pop a la The Beatles, and Beach Boys-style harmony. Fronted by co-founder Brian Hofeldt, The Derailers make a rare swing through the eastern U.S., stopping by Diesel tonight. Charlie Deitch 7 p.m. 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. $15-18. 412-431-8800


Wed., May 11 -- Sound Art

Christiane D -- the local spoken-word artist and musician known for fronting the band Soma Mestizo -- is currently completing a fellowship at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Tonight, as part of her work there, she presents Satellite Transmission Creation, a hands-on sound event in which she, local jazz notable Ben Opie and a new band of old heads called Thrum, work with the audience to create a sound piece to be sent into space via satellite. Audience participation is encouraged; bring something noisy! AM 7 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-258-2700