Critics' Picks, Jan. 1-7 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks, Jan. 1-7

Local shows by Shellshag, The Point and Mae, plus a hometown show for Lyndsey Smith and Soul Distribution


Start the year off by reminding yourself that you can still see world-class rock for $5, and not even end up spending $20 on drinks, if you drop by The Mr. Roboto Project. Tonight's feature: Shellshag, the longtime raggedy, poppy garage-rock duo from Brooklyn. Think Pavement but with only two people, one of whom stands and contributes backing vocals while playing the drums. Opening: Brian DiSanto, Roulette Waves, Coyotes By the Way and Secret Paper Moon. If you're smart, you'll make it a resolution to drop by dry, DIY Roboto more often. Andy Mulkerin 7:30 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $5. All ages.


The Point sounds little like its members' other bands (for Michael O'Neill, The Men and Ladybug Transistor, and for Sammy Tunis, The Lisps), and even less like the Nilsson album of the same name. But those touchstones all denote a certain quality and taste level, and the Brooklyn duo doesn't disappoint in that sense. Its latest, a full-length called Pretty Marsh, is 12 tracks of down-tempo-trip-hoppy pop with beautiful vocals from Tunis, recorded partly in Pittsburgh by Alexis Gideon. (Buried in there somewhere is even a Grateful Dead cover, tastefully transformed.) As they make their way to Los Angeles to set up shop there, the couple stops at Howlers tonight for what's sure to be one of the top shows in town this week. The Hi-Frequencies and Naked Arcade open. AM 9 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $6. 412-682-0320 or


Mae has been making music since 2001, and now wants to reach out to fans and hear their stories. The quintet released its second studio album, Everglow, in 2005, an album that told the story of the members' journey from small-towndom into the broader world. Now, 10 years later, Mae is on a Northeast tour commemorating the LP, and offering a special VIP ticket package to fans. Each night the group invites the small collection of VIPs backstage for a pre-show acoustic concert and conversation. Catch Mae at Mr. Small's Theatre tonight with Young Fox. Samantha Ward 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $18. All ages. 412-821-4447 or

[SOUL] + THU., JAN. 8

Come get out of the cold and into the heat tonight on the South Side: After a couple of years of gaining in popularity, Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution are currently on fire. Powerhouse singer Smith, two back-up vocalists and a six-piece band propagate a big R&B/soul sound ... and fill up a stage with instruments and personnel. The group will be joined tonight at Club Café by fellow R&B songstress Rachel B, a Michigan native now living in Pittsburgh. SW 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $7. 412-431-4950 or

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