Critics' Picks: January 22 - 29 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: January 22 - 29

Local shows by Damien Jurado and Denitia and Sene, plus Freya String Quartet takes on Steve Reich, and Steel Hollow releases a new album


Using samples — musical and non-musical — is commonplace in pop music today, but it's a 1988 work that remains one of the most stark and affecting uses of vocal samples ever put together: Steve Reich's Different Trains. The three-movement piece interweaves speech samples of Americans and European Holocaust survivors with recordings of trains, along with parts played by a string quartet. Tonight at Wood Street Galleries, the Pittsburgh-based Freya String Quartet plays the piece, along with Ingram Marshall's Entrada (At the River), and joins the related Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra for Sean Neukom's The Ghost and Mister Able. Andy Mulkerin 10 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Jan. 25, and 2 p.m. Sun., Jan. 26. 601 Wood St., Downtown. $8-15. All ages.

[SOUL] + SAT., JAN. 25

Last year's his and hers garnered some attention for Brooklyn duo Denitia and Sene; the sexy, bassy electronic R&B of the full-length features aching vocals and backing tracks that soothe the nerves. This year, the pair is delivering a new EP and a video produced by Joel Kefali, who produced Lorde's "Royals" video. It makes 2014 look promising for the group — so get in on the ground level by checking it out tonight at 720 Music, Clothing and Café, part of the store's celebration of its third year in Lawrenceville; the show also features Smooth Tutors. AM 9 p.m. 4405 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $12-15. All ages. 412-904-4592 or

[ROCK] + SAT., JAN. 25

When you hail from Pittsburgh and put "Steel" in your band name, you had best be ready to rep the working class — and so Steel Hollow is. The rock three-piece gets heavy at times, but also holds down a certain country cred with a mandolin featuring prominently. A lot of the band's tunes bring to mind the Springsteen/Bon Jovi mode of workingman's rock, but with a Western Pennsylvania air. The band releases its latest, Lightning for a Loner, tonight with a show at Altar Bar; Time Tested and Silent Partner open. AM 9 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $15 (benefits Matt Parker's Education Fund). 412-206-9719 or

Photo courtesy of Steve Gullick


Last time Damien Jurado was in town, touring in support of his 2012 record Maraqopa, he confessed his indifference to the spare singer-songwriter fare he'd been releasing since the mid-'90s. Audiences, he said, were so accustomed to his low-key persona that just standing while performing felt akin to Pete Townshend smashing his guitar. That, however, is a little misleading: Jurado knows how to rock out, and not just in relation to his subdued former self. His kaleidoscopic new record, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, picks up where Maraqopa left off — expect a barnburner when he returns to The Andy Warhol Museum. Courtney Marie Andrews opens. Margaret Welsh 8 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $12-15.  412-237-8300 or

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