Video Premiere: The Venus Flytraps – “Ghost on the Phone”

Just when you thought Halloween couldn’t get any stranger, Cleveland band The Venus Flytraps is releasing a visual single featuring two tracks from its debut album Night of The Venus Flytraps. The video premieres today on MusicTAP. Both tracks were recorded straight to 1/4 inch tape in a Cleveland living room through a haze of VHS sleaze and…

Profile: The Commonheart (2019)

Pittsburgh’s The Commonheart doesn’t sound like it belongs in 2019. There are the surefire signs, of course – the reverby chikka-chikka of Stax-style soul guitar, yes, as well as bobbing bass scales that hint at Chicago’s electric blues and the nostalgic trill of Hammond organs. Then, there’s the man at the center of the nine-person…

Review: BATTLES – “Juice B Crypts”

BATTLES’ syncopated loops may circle triumphantly around the drains of the mind but its lineup has not fared as well. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton exited after 2007’s Mirrored, leaving the group with guest vocalists for 2011’s Gloss Drop, and then bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka departed last year. But, as much as the Pitchforks and taste-makers of the…

Review: Tomeka Reid Quartet – “Old New”

Most of us know or associate with the cello as a staple of the classical and post-classical world, an instrument whose deeper breaths can elicit comparisons to the bowels of sadness. (Jazz polls, for example, list it under “Miscellaneous.”) In Queens-by-way-of-Chicago musician Tomeka Reid’s hands though, the thing swings. Reid recently released the second outing…

Feature: Record Store Day, Black Friday (2019)

Here are my top three picks (well, four, technically) for what to keep an eye on when fingering through vinyl on Record Store Day: Black Friday.  Frank Zappa – Peaches En Regalia Even in death, Zappa remains a vinyl God. UMe on Record Store Day: Black Friday is set to release a 10-inch picture disc…

Profile: Revival Choir (2019)

Sean Atkins understates things.  His band, Revival Choir, quietly released its debut LP, Finn, in September. Nobody ever shot-gunned out press releases, blitzed social media or even threw a release party. “Some people were like, ‘You gotta build it up. You gotta start a ground-swell,’” says the Pittsburgh singer-songwriter, whose day job involves accounting. “I got…

Video Premiere: Rachel Grimes – “For So Long”

Rachel Grimes is a Louisville-based musician who was a founding member of post-classical chamber ensemble Rachel’s (incidentally, not named after her) and, since the mid-2010s, has been staking a bold claim as a composer to watch. Today, as the world debates whether Columbus “discovered” America or merely raided it, we here at MusicTAP provide the…

Review: Brat Curse – S/T

Brat Curse writes in earworms. That’s the only logical conclusion you can come to after listening to the Columbus, Ohio quartet’s new self-titled outing, which features hooky blasts of noisy and multidimensional punk-pop. The record’s available now. It’s hard, to some degree at least, to pin down Brat Curse’s sound. At one point, say on…

Review: The Zells – “No More Heroes” EP

The Zells’ No More Heroes EP – the six-song follow-up to 2018’s excellent Failure to Slide, out today via Pittsburgh indie Crafted Sounds – starts with reverby, almost spacy guitars and glitchy percussion, a far and intentionally removed cry from the seat-of-your-pants garage-rock on which the band cut its milk-teeth. By the end of opener…

Review: Dizzy Blip – “Laundry” EP

50 words on Laundry EP– a capsule of sorts. Pittsburgh’s Sam Yeaton, a.k.a. Dizzy Blip, direct descends from Brainiac/Enon’s John Schmersal, writing angular noise-pop on detuned guitars but lacing them with reverb-polished vocals. New three-song EP, out last Monday, is a kiss on the cheek while treading unsteady boards. “Upper Fixer” is the take-away. Name…