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….

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…

Profile: Same (2020)

Playing guitar in an indie-rock band in 2020 requires some genre knowledge and a lot of muscle memory, that ability to reproduce the fingers shifting between chords and sentiments without conscious thought.  Jake Stern, who plays guitar and keys and provides backing vocals in the placid Pittsburgh band Same, knows the instinct to rely 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…

Profile: Astrology Now (2020)

Pittsburgh psych-rock band Astrology Now will celebrate its new Knife EP by playing an acid-tinged set at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, with Outsideinside, Silver Car Crash and DJ Miss Mungo at Spirit in Lawrenceville. That’s oddly appropriate because the group’s story started in Lawrenceville. A decade ago, Greg Mastrean – who was en route to being…

Profile: Adam Fitz (2019)

Four out of every five shows singer-songwriter Adam Fitz played this year centered around cover sets in Westmoreland County bars and juke joints. Coming up as a musician in Chicago, he sneered at such gigs. Not so in 2019. “The songs that came out of me this year, those songs came out easier because I…

Feature: Unreliable Narrator (2019)

Though the raucous punk of Pittsburgh band Unreliable Narrator’s debut LP – Old Man Yells At Older Man, self-released this month by the quartet – owes a lot to ’70s punk and ’80s hardcore, its message-minded blasts of noise are definitely cut from the cloth of 2019. Take, for example, frontman Clint Benjamin’s take on the Trump-era…