Winter Guide 2014 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Winter Guide 2014

A selection of local happenings that should provide entertainment, edification and exercise this season

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It was an interesting year for Pixies: The band went through a couple of bass players, losing Kim Deal and then firing her replacement. Now the band that changed college rock plays with Paz Lenchantin, once of A Perfect Circle; you can judge for yourself when they play live. Jan. 25. Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. 800-745-3000 or

One of last year's biggest breakout records came from Phosphorescent, the project of Matthew Houck; it's not a new band, but 2013's dreamy, persistent Muchacho put it on the map for many people. Jan. 31. Mr. Small's Theatre, Millvale. 412-821-4447 or

In the depths of winter, there's nothing like local music to warm your heart — and nothing like a crowded bar to warm the rest of you. Find both at Snow Ball, an annual all-locals show from the folks who bring you RANT Lawrenceville each summer. The Armadillos, Chrome Moses, The Cheats and many more play. Feb. 1. Cattivo, Lawrenceville. 412-687-2157

Local hip hop has benefited lately from some growing organizational support, and one factor is R.A.R.E. Nation, a music-and-art group that aims to promote local artists and educate young people. The group's Pittsburgh Sound show presents an all-Pittsburgh hip-hop bill featuring Palermo Stone, Beedie and many more. Feb. 1. Mr. Small's Theatre, Millvale. 412-821-4447 or

click to enlarge Quilt at Brillobox - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALLISON PHARMAKIS
Photo courtesy of Allison Pharmakis
Quilt at Brillobox

Somewhere between hip and hippie there's Quilt, the three-piece psych-pop group from Boston. Two years after the band's self-titled record, it releases its follow-up LP, Held in Splendor, in late January, and comes to town just after. Feb. 4. Brillobox, Bloomfield. 412-621-4900 or

Twenty-plus years after their initial success and the tragedy it brought (the band's original guitarist killed himself after being fired), Gin Blossoms have managed to persist — and bring in plenty of nostalgic Gen-Xers. Here's the secret: The songs were, and continue to be, really good. Feb. 4. Jergel's, Warrendale. 724-799-8333 or

click to enlarge Julianna Barwick at The Andy Warhol Museum - PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAWN BRACKBILL
Photo courtesy of Shawn Brackbill
Julianna Barwick at The Andy Warhol Museum

The beautiful and haunting soundscapes Julianna Barwick creates often evoke a beautiful barren tundra, which is about what Pittsburgh will probably be in February, when she stops here. Last year's Nepenthe is an aural tranquilizer; enjoy responsibly. Feb. 8. The Andy Warhol Museum, North Side. 412-237-8300 or

click to enlarge Yuna at Altar Bar
Yuna at Altar Bar

Malaysian pop singer Yuna made a splash in the United States in 2012 with her self-titled debut album and its Pharrell Williams-produced lead track, "Live Your Life." The music on 2013's Nocturnal is both personal and danceable. Feb. 12. Altar Bar, Strip District. 412-206-9719

Sometimes a double bill really packs a punch: Son Lux, the onetime Clevelander whose skills as a composer and producer keep him in demand both artistically and commercially, would be enough on his own. But adding San Fermin, the chamber-pop project of Ellis Ludwig-Leone, put this show over the top. Feb. 18. The Andy Warhol Museum, North Side. 412-237-8300 or

Hopsin keeps it pretty positive — except when it comes to other rappers. The MC, whose most recent is last year's Knock Madness, aims to be a role model, dissing drugs and alcohol, and often other rappers, including Tyler, the Creator and Soulja Boy. Feb. 20. Altar Bar, Strip District. 412-206-9719

click to enlarge Nicole Atkins at Club Café - PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER TZAI
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Tzai
Nicole Atkins at Club Café

If you grew to love Nicole Atkins as a crooner, you might be in for a surprise: The first single off the New Jersey native's new album, "Girl, You Look Amazing," is a candy-sweet dance-pop track that might have her poised for a mainstream breakthrough. Feb. 21. Club Café, South Side. 412-431-4950 or

It's been quite some time since Cibo Matto made an appearance in Pittsburgh — the '90s indie darling didn't make it here on its 2011 reunion tour. But never fear: The band that made you love an insane song about making a birthday cake is back. March 7. Club Café, South Side. 412-431-4950 or

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