Review: Pray For Sound – “Waves”

Sorry, I don’t dig on proselytizing. So, okay I’m biased. And when I heard, via advance PR notes, that the quartet Pray For Sound was out to preach (connotation intended) a little bit of happiness and hope with its brand of instrumental post-rock, contrary to many of the genre’s sometimes-sullen standard bearers, I was pretty…

Review: BATTLES – “Juice B Crypts”

BATTLES’ syncopated loops may circle triumphantly around the drains of the mind but its lineup has not fared as well. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton exited after 2007’s Mirrored, leaving the group with guest vocalists for 2011’s Gloss Drop, and then bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka departed last year. But, as much as the Pitchforks and taste-makers of the…

Profile: Damon Che (2019)

At the time, everybody in Pittsburgh knew Damon Che. But few really knew him. Che, who now lives an uneventful life in the Amish countryside 15 miles southwest of Punxatawney, Pa., was the octopus-armed drummer for Pittsburgh-bred experimental rock pioneers Don Caballero, a singular percussive force in indie-rock circles. But even Che himself talks about…

Review: Sabrina Is Not In This Chat – “Not Recommended For Sensitive Skin”

The winningly minted L.A. experimental trio Sabrina Is Not In This Chat has supercharged, grandiose ambitions. And on its debut full-length LP – Not Recommended For Sensitive Skin, out late last month via Penniback Records – the group largely succeeds in reaching for and attaining them, producing an hour-long body of sometimes-arhythmic, occasionally herky-jerky math-punk…

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,…

Review: T-Tops – “Disease” EP

Talk about a punch to the gut. Something is roiling in Pittsburgh and the punk trio T-Tops is most definitely tapped into it. The group’s new EP — Disease, out now on Bandcamp — is a blistering, four-song set, with a rhythm section that pounds itself into your ear-drums and a frontman (guitarist/vocalist Patrick Waters)…

Review: The Elephant Parallax – “Loam and Sky”

There are two epic songs battling for your attention on Loam and Sky, the new EP from The Elephant Parallax out Friday, and either could launch a fit description of why the record is indispensable. First, there is the opener, “The Conscious.” Though it begins with “Bloody Mary”-style drums and a pixelated, Battles-ish guitar onslaught, what…

Review: The Elephant Parallax – “The Conscious”

I pity anyone who has to come up with colorful ways to pigeon-hole The Elephant Parallax. The trio recently released online a single to the Loam & Sky EP, out May 11, and it is categorically, um, THEM. Much like songs like the epic “Incenfeminalgia,” off 2010’s Elephant Parallax, the new single, dubbed “The Conscious,”…

REVIEW: CALYX – “For To, Oh” EP

Contrary to the imagination of its title, CALYX’s Four To, Oh is not a testament to weed-fueled jam-band mythos or, this being Pittsburgh, a smoky-eyed homage to Wiz Khalifa. Instead, it’s a textured, even borderline-mathy, addition to this trio’s growing – and impressive – catalog. And it’s definitely worth the $2 download asking price. Sounding,…

REVIEW: BATTLES – La Di Da Di

It’s been a handful of weeks since Warp Records released BATTLES’ La Di Da Di, the experimental outfit’s third full-length LP proper, and we should all still be shouting from the tenement rooftops about it. It’s that kind of record – part demented dance mash-up, part math-rock/post-rock opus, part Slick Rick-dropping, year-defining mythos – and it…