Review: Graham Costello’s STRATA – “Obelisk”

It’s a calculated and unbelievably addictive kind of descent into madness. Obelisk — the (wait for it) BRILLIANT debut full-length from Scottish sextet Graham Costello’s STRATA, out Feb. 1 – is a tightly wounded knot that finds itself at the intersection of jazz, fusion and math-rock. And it is wondrous to behold. Sounding, at times,…

Feature: Bat Zuppel (2019)

Zach Bronder, guitarist and vocalist for Pittsburgh’s Bat Zuppel, has simple motivations for pursuing the rock-band lifestyle in The Steel City. “We all love playing live – that’s probably my favorite part,” says Bronder. “They have this amazing drink you can buy at almost all of the bars: beer. And you can just buy as…

Review: Hawk and Dove – “Our Childhood Heroes”

I wanted to start this review with the following: Our Childhood Heroes, the sophomore outing by Brooklyn collective Hawk and Dove, can best be summarized by its closing track. At 10 minutes long, “For Jack” is plaintive and, at times, a bit overdrawn but you cannot helped being sucked into its vortex by the conceit…

Review: Perch- “No Step”

Call it math rock with more hooks than a tackle box. The new LP from the U.K. quartet Perch — No Step, self-released and out Jan. 12 — exhibits all the shimmering precision and post-punk angularism of a Polvo or a Pell Mell, but does so with a alt-rock band’s alarming attention to earworms. This isn’t…

Review: Mark Deutrom – “The Blue Bird”

If most of Mark Deutrom’s new LP — The Blue Bird, kicking off 2019 Friday via Seasons of Mist — is any indication, the titular bird is a blue of the moody variety. Deutrom, guitarist-turned-bassist-turned-guitarist, Texan, ex-Melvin, has always packed his solo outings with lots of texture, context and ambiance. Sequencing, in particular, always has…

Review: Expires – “No New Futures”

Last year’s Fake Sigils was an engaging slice of glassy post-rock but Pittsburgher Mike Layton’s latest outing as Expires — titled No New Futures, and out Tuesday — has a new target altogether: the acoustic guitar. The unamplified approach does wonders for the six-stringer, lending his melancholy figures and descents shades both of David Grubbs…

Review: Night Vapor – “1,000 Miles of Mud”

“Dirtminer,” and its inherent sense of grime and mire and dischord, is the template. The opening song on Night Vapor’s 1,000 Miles of Mud — out last week via Corpse Flower and the much-anticipated follow-up to the band’s 2015’s S/T full-length — starts with frontman Albert Hall’s guttural utterances, disorienting fits of aggravation that fall somewhere between a…

Review: Greg Dulli – “Have Yourself A Merry, Little Christmas”

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past 30 years, this just in: Greg Dulli’s a keeper, if he’d just allow us to keep him. The Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers/Gutter Twins soul-rock leading man does it again today in the unconventional covers category, releasing on the Web a moody and decidedly NOT merry “Have…