Great songwriting, excellent performance and top-quality recording on this five-song EP from the local soul-rock-jazz outfit. Laura Frederickson's powerful vocals open the disc with a bang on the barn-burner "Not Meant to Be," and the shifts in energy throughout the next four tunes are pulled off masterfully. This one does everything an EP should; fans of rock jams with horns should snap it up.
— Andy Mulkerin
NIGHTLY STANDARD CD RELEASE. 9 p.m. Sat., May 25. Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $5. 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net
Ben Valasek and the Growlers
Time Waits for No One
Nine new tracks of singer-songwriter material from Valasek and his band. While nothing stands out about the album per se, it's solid songcraft with poetic aspirations that make it worth a listen. Valasek is at his best when he keeps it in the pocket and doesn't try to go too dramatic or too funky.
— Andy Mulkerin
BEN VALASEK AND THE GROWLERS CD RELEASE. 7 p.m. Sat., June 1. Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $6. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com
More Than Mythology
New Vegas' new full-length melds post-hardcore grit with melodic storytelling. Using elongated instrumental segments, the nine-track album builds a captivating tension, releasing it through lead singer Jon Coulter's varying vocal style. The Pittsburgh natives balance aggressive with tranquil, giving each song a pleasing duality, especially "Les Enfantes Terribles," which starts with a simple croon and leads into a mighty guitar riff. The songs run longer than the average four-minute tune, but the progressions are worth the wait.
— Nicole Chynoweth