Critics' Picks: December 9 - 14 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: December 9 - 14

Local shows from Diego Garcia and Beirut; Sun Ray, Shining Light opens for David Mayfield Parade; Ali Spagnola releases an album with a drinking game attached


Former Elefant frontman Diego Garcia stepped up this year with his first solo album, the beautiful Laura. The new record recalls the softer, prettier side of Garcia's old band, with fewer post-punk nods and more acoustic-guitar-driven pop gems. (He's living in Madrid currently, and Spanish guitar flourishes figure into Laura often.) Lushly orchestrated and well written, Garcia's solo work would appeal to fans of the new guard of old-style pop songwriters (think Sondre Lerche) and '90s Britpop. Tonight he appears at Club Café; Lindi Ortega opens. Andy Mulkerin 6 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $12. 412-431-4950 or

[POP] + FRI., DEC. 9

When last we checked in on Ali Spagnola, her Power Hour album had seen its soft release -- on a shot-glass USB flash drive, no less -- and legal challengers to her right to the term "power hour" were ongoing. The legal case (in which a man claimed the sole right to the term, which generically refers to a 60-minute beer-drinking game) is winding down but not decided as of press time; the album, however, is going to be released officially with a show tonight at Diesel. It's been a banner year for Spagnola, whose clever album format landed her on plenty of tech blogs, and who has managed, despite her apparent propensity for beer, to maintain eminently show-offable abs. She'd be much obliged if you'd show up and drink with her tonight. AM 9 p.m. 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. $5. 412-431-8800 or 

Photo courtesy of Kristianna Smith


The band Beirut melds the world influences of Zach Condon's Santa Fe upbringing; think mariachi music coalescing with Puccini arias, but somehow remaining in the category of indie rock. Condon's vocals -- warbling and semi-operatic -- rest easily against the worldly orchestral backdrop, creating a sound in line with a tangle of folk traditions. The band is touring on the heels of summer release The Rip Tide, accompanied by fellow warbling crooner Perfume Genius. Kate Magoc 8 p.m., Altar Bar, 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $25. 412-206-9719 or


[ROCK] + WED., DEC. 14

Post-, alt- or indie-, you can put any prefix before the word "rock" and generally describe the sounds of  local four-piece ensemble Sun Ray, Shining Light. The band's rock comes in a nebulous haze of good ol' organic guitar-strumming, woven with synths here and there just to make it all a little more dreamlike. The band has gone through staffing changes (it evolved from the band Dawn Canon) and altered its sonic direction, but remains steadfastly in tune with its origins. Tonight the band opens for folk-rock outfit David Mayfield Parade. KM 9 p.m., Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $8. 412-621-4900 or

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