Critics' Picks: November 6 - 12 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: November 6 - 12

Local shows by Absu, Pure Bathing Culture, Drowning Clowns and Mako Sica

[METAL] + FRI., NOV. 8

When Absu formed in Dallas in the very late '80s, black metal — then thriving in Europe — was still but a twinkle in the eye of America's musical landscape. And though Absu's early dealings in death metal and thrash may cast some doubt on whether the band really counts as one of the first U.S. black-metal bands, it certainly gets points for being one of the longest-running. While the band has seen changes over the years — drummer/vocalist Proscriptor remains the only constant member — its devotion to Sumerian/Mesopotamian mythology and dense, frenetic riffage remain intact. Check 'em out at The Shop, with locals Derketa and Wrought Iron. Margaret Welsh 7 p.m. 4314 Main St., Bloomfield. $12-15. All ages. 412-951-0622

click to enlarge Pure Bathing Culture
Photo courtesy of Parker Fitzgerald


After providing backing for folk band Vetiver, guitarist Daniel Hindman and keyboardist Sarah Versprille paired up, moved to Portland and started a dream-pop group. The duo, known as Pure Bathing Culture, makes music steeped in nostalgia, but without the cliché hipness. The pair somehow manages to combine a folk sensibility and preference for electronic sounds — synths, electric guitars and drum machines — in a way that feels warm and inviting. Reminiscent of bands like Cocteau Twins, Pure Bathing Culture released its first full length this August. The duo will be playing tonight at Club Café with locals Sleep Experiments. Allison Cosby 10 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or 

[ROCK] + SAT., NOV. 9

Local rock-opera group Drowning Clowns hosts a show tonight celebrating the release of its debut album, All That's Covered Over. The group is primarily made up of Mike Speranzo, Liz Berlin and Frank Spadafora, but both the record and the band's live show incorporate other local musicians like Dirk Miller, Mike Hammer, Jesse Prentiss, Evan Smith and Shaggy Marcello. Speranzo has been working on the album for five years and the result is a rich mix of styles and influences. Berlin and Speranzo are co-owners of Mr. Small's Theatre, where the free concert will be held. AC 7 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. Free. All ages. 412-821-4447 or


Halloween's over, but Chicago's Mako Sica never slow down with the creepy vibes. The three-piece makes improvisational, soundscapey music that often has a ritualistic feel. Howls, slow-burning guitar drones, drumming that's all toms and cymbals — it's hard not to think this is the music a ghost would listen to while getting hyped up to haunt something. Get hyped with the band — along with T-Tops and locals East End Gassers — tonight at The Shop. Andy Mulkerin 7:30 p.m. 4314 Main St., Bloomfield. $5. All ages. 412-951-0622