Review: Stuck – “Change Is Bad”

Holy mother of fuck, how did this one slip below the radar? Born Yesterday Records released the Chicago quartet Stuck’s debut LP, Change Is Bad, mid-pandemic in April and I am left wondering how this atypical and teetering 11-song blessing of angular post-punk didn’t make it itself known on a seismic scale. This thing is that…

Review: Melkbelly – “PITH”

Sorry, as much as you want them to be, Melkbelly aren’t a 2020s reincarnation of the Breeders. There are parallels, yes, yes, but it’s not that simple, not that clean-cut a thesis. For one, Melkbelly are rougher around the edges and more likely to lunge at you with the blade than carve out a careful refrain. (In short:…

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…

Review: Pan-American – “A Son”

A Son is the name of Chicagoan Mark Nelson’s latest release as Pan-American, out last week via Kranky. And, even by Pan-American standards, it is a startlingly human and naked thing. Nelson’s outside-Labradford project often has come loaded with the lynchpins of glitch and dub: the careful arrangements, even – sometimes especially – of arguably…

Review: Tomeka Reid Quartet – “Old New”

Most of us know or associate with the cello as a staple of the classical and post-classical world, an instrument whose deeper breaths can elicit comparisons to the bowels of sadness. (Jazz polls, for example, list it under “Miscellaneous.”) In Queens-by-way-of-Chicago musician Tomeka Reid’s hands though, the thing swings. Reid recently released the second outing…

Profile: Spotlights (2019)

The band Spotlights played its first show in Pittsburgh in 2017, opening for Melvins at Rex Theater in South Side. At the time, the group – husband and wife team Mario and Sarah Quintero – lived in Brooklyn. On Tuesday, July 16, the band will make its latest appearance in Pittsburgh, headlining Black Forge 2…

Review: Nonagon – “Tuck The Long Tail Under”

Nonagon sound positively, well, positive on “Tuck The Long Tail Under,” its offering from a new split seven-inch with Cincinnati’s Knife The Symphony out on Phratry and Controlled Burn Records. That’s not to say the trio’s gone all doughy or doe-eyed on its first vinyl outing since 2013’s excellent The Last Hydronaut. The closing third…

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…

PROFILE: Matt Mehlan (2017)

He’s going it on his own again and it sounds great. Tomorrow, after a decade-plus at the helm of the thought-rock ensemble/b(r)and Skeletons, Matt Mehlan will strike out on his own with the release of a solo record, The Mehlans. The record is alarmingly accessible and totally bizarre – like a fever-dream where you know…