Critics' Picks: September 17 - 23 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Critics' Picks: September 17 - 23

Local shows by Arum Rae and New Orleans Suspects, plus some Cuban hip-hop artists come to City of Asylum, and Barons release a 7-inch

[HIP HOP] + THU., SEPT. 18

Hip hop has always been associated with strong messages of social change and holding those in power accountable. As strong as that tradition is here in the U.S., it's even more apparent in Cuba, where popular culture is largely censored. Raudel Collazo is one of the biggest names in underground hip hop in Havana, and was featured in the 2012 documentary Awakening, itself censored at that year's Havana-based Young Filmmakers Exhibition. Tonight, Collazo performs at the Alphabet City Tent run by City of Asylum, the North Side sanctuary for persecuted writers; another Cuban rapper, David D. Omni, plays as well. Andy Mulkerin 7:30 p.m. 318 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Free. Reservations suggested. All ages. 412-323-0278 or

[PUNK] + SAT., SEPT. 20

Barons is a newer band with some not-so-new faces — some stretch back through 15 years of local punk. Former Teddy Duchamp's Army/Voice in the Wire personnel Mike Rock and Zack Furness head up the band, which releases its first 7-inch with a show tonight at the Murderroom (Commonwealth Press's warehouse). The band is rounded out by Corey Cameron, Jon Barker and Nick DeAngelo (of Grand Piano); think old-school pop punk (Weston and the like). The new record is part of a set of tracks recorded with engineer D. James Goodwin; it's being issued on Underground Communique (The Methadones, Vacation Bible School). Tonight show also features New Orleans band Pears and locals Remainders and Latecomer. AM 6 p.m. 7 S. 23rd St., South Side. $6. All ages.

click to enlarge Arum Rae plays Hard Rock Café
Photo courtesy of Dominic Neitz

[POP] + MON., SEPT. 22

Arum Rae popped up a few years back with Too Young to Sing the Blues, a country-blues-rock album that showcased her strong voice and unique take on traditional American music. To anyone whose main entrée into her work was that album, this year's EP Warranted Queen came as something of a surprise: Its backbone is synthetic beats, synthesizers and vocal effects. It's a big, brave switch that's helped define the Austin native (and Brooklyn resident) as a singular artist, not defined by genre. Tonight, she plays Hard Rock Café. AM 8 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Drive, Station Square. $10-12. All ages. 412-481-7625 or

click to enlarge New Orleans Suspects
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Dupuis

[R&B] + WED., SEPT. 24

It might be the most important New Orleans band you've never heard of — because the members of New Orleans Suspects are usually in the background. Session and touring players for the likes of Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers, the members of the band got together in 2011, and are preparing for the release of a new album, Ouroboros, next month. Tonight, they play the Rex Theater, putting together rock, blues, zydeco and jazz into the complete New Orleans package. Commonheart opens. AM 7 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $15-18. 412-381-6811 or

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