Critics' Picks: January 13 - 18 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: January 13 - 18 

Local shows by Jandek, Keller Williams and Madi Diaz, plus the Pittsburgh Rock Music Awards

[LO-FI] + FRI., JAN. 13

What more fitting day than Friday the 13th for one of the most mysterious figures in contemporary music to drop by Garfield Artworks? In the mid-2000s, Jandek, previously known as a complete recluse who had issued tape after tape via his Corwood label since the late '70s, began to occasionally play out. His live performances are shrouded in mystery — the local band he put together to support his first Pittsburgh show in 2010 was essentially sworn to secrecy about the details of working with him — but becoming more common. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $12-15. All ages. 412-361-2262 or


[JAM ROCK] + SAT., JAN. 14

Keller Williams is a big deal in the jam world: He's collaborated with the biggest names (Ratdog, String Cheese Incident) and is known for his solo performances, in which he loops complex phrases and moves from instrument to instrument. His newest album is just called Bass, and features, in addition to some funky cover art illustrating a fish that's also a stringed instrument, a lot of reggae- and dub-influenced jams. Tonight he brings the show to Mr. Small's Theater; there's no opener, but don't worry — he'll jam it out awhile and make it worth the price. AM 9 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $19.25-22. All ages. 412-821-4447 or

[AWARDS] + SUN., JAN. 15

Back for its second iteration, the Pittsburgh Rock Music Awards presentation takes place this evening at Diesel. It's difficult — or maybe impossible — to sum up the entire city's music scene comprehensively on one ballot, but the awards, presented by Backallie Music, concentrate on a certain subset of punk, hardcore, metal and indie-rock bands. Performers at the show include Dethlehem, Chux Beta and Doomsday Initiative; award categories range from the expected (Best Alternative Rock Band, Best Metal Video) to the, er, slightly perplexing (Best "Oh, Shit!" Moment). Be there tonight to witness some "You like me, you really like me!" moments. AM 6 p.m. 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. $10-12. All ages.

  • Photo courtesy of Gino DePinto


Madi Diaz — Eastern Pa. native, onetime Berklee student, Nashville dweller — has spent the past few years honing her indie-pop chops. This may be her breakout year; next week, she releases Plastic Moon, only her second full-length in five years as a solo artist. It was preceded by last year's Far From Things That We Know EP, a demonstration of her skill as a cinematic folk-pop songwriter. (She's one of those voices you might encounter when watching a favorite TV show.) Tonight she plays Club Café; Lucy Schwartz and Household Stories open. AM 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or


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