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…

REVIEW: The Turbosonics – Tres Gatos Suave

Inconsistencies, dagnammit! I want to really, really like, to love, to adore The Turbosonics‘ new CD, Tres Gatos Suave, a meaty slab of surf from one of Pittsburgh’s mightiest purveyors of the form. But, for every track like opener “Ricochet,” a real classic 60s rocker, there’s a dud like the trying-too-hard-to-be-Floydian “Meat Slicer From Outer Space.” For every surprise…

REVIEW: Rolo Tomassi – “Grievances”

My hard drive, in its dying breaths, killed my last review of Rolo Tomassi’s new record, Grievances. Good thing for them. It wasn’t very nice. The U.S. debut by a U.K. band sporting a trope from an American film, Grievances is certainly all right. (The beginning of “The Embers” is crunchy, yeah, yeah.) But that’s about…

REVIEW: Mylets – “Arizona”

Now, that is what the fuck I’m talking about. From the first grungy, then vaguely pixelated, guitar chords of album-opener “Trembling Hands,”Arizona, the second record proper by loop-rock “band” Mylets, just grabs you by the ears and controls you. It will not let go. Unlike last year’s predecessor, Retcon, a hit-and-miss affair that showed some great…

REVIEW: Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues

Singer-songwriter Will Oldham, that old Palace ring-leader turned “Prince,” just has released a new collection of emotive acoustics titled Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues – and, hands down, it is easily the best record he’s done since Lie Down In The Light. The backbone of the record is reminiscent of 2001’s Ease Down The…

BOOK REVIEW: Jesse Frohman – “Kurt Cobain: The Last Session”

Twenty years after Kurt Cobain’s tragic suicide, he’s still, it seems, as popular as ever. Sure, Cobain and company have sold some 25 million records in the U.S. since 1991 alone, if Bloomberg Businessweek is to be believed. But, since Cobain’s death, Nirvana has released two LPs that rocketed right to the top of the…

Profile: Dw. Dunphy

Beating The Dead Horse With Dw. Dunphy: A Profile by Justin Vellucci Dw. Dunphy’s face, a somber palette, is an exercise in disguise, spectacles covering hazel eyes that appear chiseled into their sockets, brown Van Dyke masking the angular chin beneath. His music, however, an expansive catalog on which he has built for 15 years…