Feature: Pittsburgh Record of the Year (2019)

Drumroll. Drumroll, please. I submit for your consideration, dear reader, my selections for Pittsburgh record of the year – two brilliant debut offerings on opposite ends of the volume spectrum. Both are available on Bandcamp, nudge, nudge. LOUD: TRVSS – Absence. Visceral noise-rock that blisters the skin. The band’s 10-song debut lashed at the senses…

Review: Erik Della Penna – “New York Songs”

It’s been a decade since New York City antique-garde duo Kill Henry Sugar – they of “cinematic gravitas,” quoth the Village Voice — released the beautific folk collection Hot Messiah. But, despite the lag in the discography department, Erik Della Penna, the band’s guitarist, has been keeping busy. In 2013, he joined roots act Hazmat…

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…

Review: Wet Fruit – S/T

The songs just skitter away in a delightful pop of Roman candles on Wet Fruit’s self-titled, debut LP, out last week on digital and cassette via Seattle’s Halfshell Records, each composition uniquely frenetic and painted with minute detail to texture and tone. But to write off the ascending Portland quartet as some incantation of art-rock…

Review: Alder & Ash – “The Crowneater”

There’s no place to enter The Crowneater – the new LP from Alder & Ash, out Dec. 6 via Mendicant – because the whole record is just that damned incredible. From the fine-textured drones of opener “Breath of the Ashen Earth” to the cello-whistling dissonance that kicks off closer “Still Breathing, Still Born” eight tracks…

Profile: Flower Crown (2019)

What was Pittsburgh musician Richie Colosimo listening to while his band, Flower Crown, tracked dream-pop single “High Fantasy” at Mr. Small’s recording studio in October? Black metal, of course – why do you ask? “I know they’re kind of polar opposites but the things I’ve always liked about [black metal] are the walls of sound…

Review: Monotrope – “Immutable Future”

Monotrope’s new record is a wondrously dense thatch of black thorns and I love it for that. In case you’re just joining the show, the quartet, which should be storied by now, features a Touch and Go Records alumnus (who also happens to play in Bellini), a Pittsburgher and two members of Unraze. And, if…

Review: Memory Drawings – “Phantom Lights”

Phantom Lights is the new mini-LP from sorta-post-rock-ish neo-classical ensemble Memory Drawings, out two weeks ago via the Greek boutique label Sound In Silence. But, truth be told, it’s not really a “new” record. The self-described “Anglo/American collective” actually first self-released the six-song offering as a limited-run, tour-only CD in 2018. But Sound In Silence…