Review: Kal Marks – “Let The Shit House Burn Down”

Now, I’m not always prone to deflect a kind remark when something better comes along, but, listen listen, follow my logic here. At the end of the month, Exploding In Sound Records will release the new, five-song pseudo-EP by Massachusetts art-noise trio Kal Marks. And, by all accounts, it’s a fine record, even at times…

Review: Trvss – “Absence”

Holy shit, man. How a rock band sounds so vicious, yet so calculated and razor-sharp precise on a record, never mind a debut LP, is beyond me. In short: the Pittsburgh band trvss (pronunciation, Webster?) has exceeded even lofty expectations with Absence, a 10-track corker it released on cassette and digital formats this summer, offering…

Review: The Lampshades – “Forget Me Not” b/w “Sadly True”

As posthumous releases go, the new 7-inch from Pittsburgh-by-way-of-Altoona’s The Lampshades, out today, is the exception to the rule in this fatalistic sub-genre: an afterthought of sorts that is actually a pretty worthy addition to the band’s considerable canon. The trio always has injected its best work with the spirit of Brian Wilson and the…

Profile: Beach Blanket Blowout (2019)

Any musician’s urge to worship at the altar of Dick Dale has to start somewhere. For Kevin Koch, drummer for Los Vampiros Amarillos, the gateway to surf and garage rock was guitarist James Calvin Wilsey, who provided the crystalline six-string ambience for Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game in 1989. For Dan Spagnolo, guitarist for The Spectres,…

Profile: Urns (2019)

Pittsburgh’s Urns descends from the dirgy, often glacially paced punk-metal of Melvins, Earth, Sunn O))) and other icons whose guitar riffs are sludgy and molasses-thick. But the quartet is releasing its self-titled debut this week, and frontman and Urns founder Mike Myzak is hesitant to break down the minutia of his band’s sound into careful…

Review: MELK – “Listen”

There’s not very much that’s astounding about “Listen,” the one-song debut from Reno soul quartet MELK, released yesterday on streaming services. That is, there’s not very much that’s astounding about it, aside from the initiation of it all. “Listen” is pretty much a straight-forward, 4/4 Stax soul romp, complete with genre-pitch-perfect, reverby guitars and a…

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: Aaron Myers-Brooks – “Energetic Bursts”

Guitarist-composer Aaron Myers-Brooks constructs mathy, even obtuse, metal for listeners who appreciate the genre’s technical virtuosity but take issue with its faux-evil strutting and testosterone-jacked theatricality. There you have it. But to call the Pittsburgh underground musician a thinking man’s Dave Mustaine or Kevin Hufnagel is derivative. (He’s always been more Orthrelm than Dysrhythmia, anyway.)…

Profile: Deutschtown Music Festival (2019)

Almost a decade ago, Cody Walters and Ben Soltesz saw a transformation on the horizon in Pittsburgh and they wanted to make sure their North Side neighborhoods were in on the boom. “I go to see a lot of live music,” says Soltesz, of Spring Hill. “I just started asking bands I liked – ‘We’ve…