Profile: Stone Throwers (2020)

Here’s the set-up. The Pittsburgh-based soul musician known as Dr. D had just gone through a break-up a while back and was looking to get back out there. One night, when out on the town with a young woman, he got a text from his ex-girlfriend and, frustrated, closed his tab and ended the date,…

Profile: TRVSS (2020)

The new TRVSS song “Malaria” is as infectious as its title indicates. Of course, it falls seven songs into the trio’s second LP – “New Distances,” which the band is self-releasing July 31 – so the spell has already been cast. If you haven’t been converted by then, well, there’s just no hope for you….

Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (Spectrum Culture)

David Grubbs & Taku Unami – Comet Meta [Blue Chopsticks] The record begins in unassuming territory, two undistorted electric guitars unfurling jumbled yet glassy, complementary yet dissonant post-rock measures that resemble rivers floating suspended in the air, sentiments that are both fully formed and feathery-light. Two minutes into the title track of Comet Meta, though, you…

Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (PopMatters)

My contribution to PopMatters‘ top 50 (so far): Chicago-based cellist Alison Chesley is accustomed to providing the sonic equivalent of accent marks and highlights on other people’s statements of intent. She has appeared on some 150 LPs, offering the bowed weep and illuminating scope of her instrument to the likes of Anthrax, Russian Circles, Bob…

Profile: Steve Albini (2020)

Eight hours each way. That’s how long Tim Midyett and his friends drove to see Big Black play live in Seattle in 1987. Archaeological artifacts place inhabitants in the Missoula, Montana area at the end of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Native American tribes like…

Feature: Bandcamp in the COVID-19 Era

Bandcamp is a drug for music lovers and knowing that your support directly buttresses the performers’ work – on May 1, mind you, without Bandcamp’s cut removed – has got to up the potency of the aural narcotic a bit. Here is a sadly incomplete compendium of what I’ve been listening to and downloading on…

Profile: Greg Dulli (2020)

Cincinnati is a solid four-and-a-half drive from Millvale, Pa. but when Ohio-bred musical provocateur Greg Dulli plays Mr. Smalls Theatre in the Pittsburgh-area borough on April 30 (SHOW CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19), the distance between the two places might seem a little bit smaller. “I love playing Pittsburgh because I grew up in Cincinnati,” said…

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…

Profile: Merce Lemon (2020)

“You think you love me. Well, look at me now.” With those simple words, softly cooed over a carefully plucked sequence of acoustic guitar notes, Bloomfield-based singer/songwriter Merce Lemon’s got you and got you good. The song expands, ever so slightly, with the addition of a restrained bass and a wash of guitar – but…

Profile: String Machine (2020)

There are elements of Neutral Milk Hotel’s freak-folk,’90s slowcore, and of Montreal’s cinematic post-rock on Death of the Neon — the second LP from Pittsburgh-area ensemble String Machine — which Know Hope Records will re-release Jan. 16. But, more than that, the record is informed by a gnawing hunger: A hunger to create, yes, but also that…