Review: Phavors – “Petals”

It’s real tough to find inspiration in central New Jersey. I can vouch – I spent the bulk of my youth in suburban Monmouth County and attest to the overall blandness of the place; the running joke was, aside from havens like Asbury Park or the obvious Shore “culture”-markers, most of the municipalities were a…

Review: Raphael Weinroth-Browne – “Worlds Within”

Reconsideration, at least in this writer’s case, has been very kind to Raphael Weinroth-Browne. I was introduced last year to the Canadian cellist and post-classical composer by way of Worlds Within, the new 10-track song-cycle he plans to self-release on CD and digital platforms Jan. 24. At first blush, Weinroth-Browne’s modus operandi mimicked, at least…

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…

Review: Le Petite Mort – “Disco”

The name of the song is “A Piano In The Basement” and, though it closes the 13-track record, it’s the best point where you can enter Disco, the new LP from German trio Le Petite Mort (Little Death) now out on digital devices and vinyl via Cold Press. The song starts with glassy, post-rock guitars…

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…

Review: House & Hawk – “Pure Emotion” EP

I still harbor conflicted emotions about Mick Jagger Solo Album, the A-for-effort 2016 LP of synthetic pop from House & Hawk. At times inventive and at times oddly polished, the disc kind of wobbled somewhere between interesting and really good, and its larger experiments were worth taking in, yes, but not always worth revisiting. So,…

Review: Rob Ford Explorer – “Buh Bye”

The reference points behind Rob Ford Explorer’s name ain’t aging that well. Yes yes, Ford in its capitalist wisdom has released a 2020 Explorer – the large print giveth and the small print taketh away, natch – but former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford died almost four years ago now and has largely faded from the…

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…

Review: Adam Fitz – “Can’t Pardon Me”

There might be no better way to end 2019, this dog-eared novella of a year, and start the wondrous new Twenties than with ruminations on regret, redemption and hope. So, let us all join Pittsburgh-area singer-songwriter Adam Fitz when he starts 2020 bright and early Jan. 1 by self-releasing a two-song EP online that’s ripe…