Profile: Buildings/Bummer and Microwaves/TRVSS

Noise-rock – NOUN – A type of rock music characterized by the use of dissonance or inharmonious noise, especially loud distorted guitar, amplifier noise, feedback, etc.

Wet dream – NOUN –An erotic dream that causes involuntary ejaculation of semen.

Noise-rock wet dream – A concert featuring Pittsburgh post-hardcore stalwarts Microwaves and TRVSS, plus touring bands Buildings and Bummer. See “Friday, Feb. 28 at Babyland in Polish Hill. Doors at 8 p.m.”

Just don’t let John Roman in on your definitions.

“I hate the term ‘noise-rock’ since it’s not really an apt descriptor of what most so-called ‘noise-rock’ bands do,” the Microwaves drummer said. ”These are carefully crafted compositions that have more in common with traditional rock-and-roll than one might hear at first listen.”

Keep in mind: he’s not telling you not to go, though.

“All of the other bands on this gig are super great and will definitely give the attendees their money’s worth,” Roman quipped. “I’d go as far as to say that you’ll get $11 or $12 worth of entertainment for the $8 cover.”

Travis Kuhlman has been playing drums for 20 years, about 15 of them with the trio Buildings. Though he’s played at the Smiling Moose, he likes smoky dives like the Rock Room.

“That place is awesome – it’s got a good roughness,” Kuhlman laughed. “Pittsburgh has such an edge to it. It’s one of those cities where you think you have an in but there’s so many angles.”

Kuhlman’s band formed in Minneapolis in the aughts and, early on, focused on grooves, even synths. That’s not so much in 2020. Kuhlman embraces the term “noise-rock” and said it fits the band’s fourth LP, “Negative Sound,” which Gilead released in late November.

“At this point, we’ve gotten a little slower and more noisy,” he said. “We went in the direction of Jesus Lizard throw-back, very AmRep-influenced A ‘less is more’ approach is good, I think.”

TRVSS is the new kid on the block. The three-piece released its scathing debut, “Absence,” in the fall and has been knocking people over with its barbed-wire guitar vitriol ever since.

“A lot of bands seem to glaze over Pittsburgh and our city doesn’t get the attention that it used to back in the 90’s,” TRVSS frontman Daniel Gene said recently. “It’s great to have these two bands, which I personally love, not only stop through, but stop through together. Being able to play with three bands we personally admire is an honor and humbles us.”

And any advice from Gene for those looking for a noise-rock wet dream?

“Bring earplugs.” – Justin Vellucci, Pittsburgh Current, Feb. 25, 2020


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