Pittsburgh punk bands deliver with intimate, infectious new releases | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh punk bands deliver with intimate, infectious new releases

click to enlarge Black-and-white photo of four people sitting on a brick wall
Photo: Taylor Gearhart
Sleeping Witch & Saturn

Black clothing, tight pants, and lots of leather are not required to enjoy the new music from these two local punk bands. However, an angsty attitude and air of “coolness” might make listening to the tunes much more fun.

Sleeping Witch & Saturn

The Divine Madness of Spring

Don't be alarmed if you find yourself transported to a mysterious, supernatural space when listening to Sleeping Witch & Saturn's debut album. In fact, it may be best to simply succumb to the altered state. The Divine Madness of Spring, which the Pittsburgh band releases on Fri., Sept. 9, slips and slides from desolate (“At Eternity’s Gate”) to effervescent (“Joanie, Get Up”) so simply that it creates an intimate, out-of-body experience. 

“This album is a deeply personal expression which explores a spectrum of moods and mind states,” explains Matt Vituccio, Sleeping Witch & Saturn’s vocalist and guitarist. “All of the songs were written over the course of several years, so it feels like a collage of whatever was sticking for us creatively at different times. Because we also recorded the album ourselves, there’s an extra layer of investment and personal connection that makes it feel really special to us.”

While The Divine Madness of Spring can be considered a snapshot of the band’s last few years, Vituccio points to the album’s second track, “Carousel,” as the most authentic representation of who Sleeping Witch & Saturn is as a whole. 

“This song leans toward a new wave sound that contrasts the darker tracks, but it’s not upbeat or energetic — it’s bittersweet and requires patience,” he says. “The lyrics for this song embody the larger themes explored throughout the album and the instrumentals offer space to breathe.”

Born in 2017, Sleeping Witch & Saturn is made up of Vituccio, Anna Shaw on bass, drummer Alex Nelson, and Rowdy Kanarek, who doubles as the lead guitarist and the band’s producer. The forthcoming Divine Madness of Spring LP follows their self-titled EP, which debuted in 2018. 

click to enlarge Three long-haired people stand laughing, whipping their long hair in the air
Photo: Suhail Baloch
Murder for Girls

Murder for Girls

Six Stories

Calling all riot grrls: Murder for Girls’ latest EP Six Stories is an infectious, high-energy release that may fuel you to start a petition or organize a (probably much-needed) protest. Following the 2020 Tommy Stinson-produced album Done In The Dark, Six Stories finds the local punk rock band at the height of their gritty, heart-thumping power. 

"We think Six Stories is our most polished and diverse work yet in terms of focus and overall production value as a band,” says Stephanie Wallace, Murder for Girls’ guitarist and vocalist. “Our time recording with the great Tommy Stinson and Floyd Fisher back in 2020 vastly deepened our perspectives on the songwriting/recording process, and also our self-awareness as to the sounds and spirit we want to achieve and how to capture them in the studio most effectively. These are the first songs written since experiencing that invaluable growth as a band.”

Since Wallace joined the band in 2015 after seeing Murder for Girls perform live, the group — now made up of Wallace, founder and bassist Jonathan Bagamery, and lead vocalist Michele Dunlap — has released three LPs, each just as crunchy and grungy as the last, but continuously showing an improved, more fun, and more fearless side of the band. 

Take the EP’s beginning track, “Monster,” for example. The band throws listeners right into their enthralling, intense music, which touches on challenging topics while engaging the senses. 

"Monster is about someone that makes the choice every day to abuse you,” says Dunlap. “Once you finally break free from the monster, life is so good, and the monster gets smaller and uglier and starts to smell like rotten fish guts.” 

Six Stories debuted on Aug. 13, and according to Murder for Girls, the CD version of the EP “contains a super special hidden surprise at the end.” 

“So visit our webstore or see us at an upcoming show to pick up a copy for a cool fiver,” says Wallace. (Hint: it's a very infectious remix.)


Sleeping Witch & Saturn Album Release Show. 7 p.m. Sat., Sept. 10. Thunderbird Cafe & Music Hall. 4053 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $12-15. thunderbirdmusichall.com

S.U.T.E. Party (Stay Until The End) with Murder for Girls. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat., Sept. 17. The Forge. 210 E. Seventh Ave., Homestead. $3-25. suteparty.com/9-17-2022

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