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: Randall Holt – “Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness”

The cello weeps and sows and soars, and so it goes with Randall Holt and his Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness, which gets the CD/cassette re-release treatment April 20 from Self Sabotage Records. Holt, an accomplished cellist, traffics in the kind of moody, cinematic, classical soundscapes that oft define Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which…

Review: Altar Boy – S/T

Pittsburgh label Crafted Sounds recently Tweeted out the following in response to a request to drink PBR with members of Altar Boy, a group of post-something Pittsburghers releasing their debut EP Friday on said label: “Altar Boy does not have a Twitter but they got a tighttttt EP coming out.” Tighttttt? Now, that’s an understatement….

Review: Efrim Manuel Menuck – “Pissing Stars”

There’s much to celebrate about Pissing Stars, the second solo LP – out today on Constellation Records – from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion co-founder Efrim Manuel Menuck. Let it be celebrated, then: this is an underworld and understated tour-de-force, a patchwork-ish collection of ambient compositions whose sense of dread and…

Review: Radon Chong – “I Keep On Talking To You” (x2)

Radon Chong — a Pittsburgh act that crafts musical nooses out of knotted guitars — sets its sights high on I Keep on Talking to You, a debut cassette sitting at the intersection of post-rock’s interwoven trajectories and Captain Beefheart’s atonal laments. And, man oh man, does this band bloody and utterly batter those sights. In…