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…

MusicTAP Record of the Year (2019)

It’s an ugly, vicious thing for an ugly, vicious year. And, yeah, there might be bigger chart-toppers from 2019 or “better” market-researched deep-cuts out there polished to within an inch of their life, but I’m tipping my hat and giving my Hall of Fame vote this year to a series of explosions from Pittsburgh. 2019’s…

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…

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…

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…

Profile: TRVSS (2019)

There are shreds of feedback and, waiting, waiting, waiting, also an air of anticipation as members of Pittsburgh trio TRVSS wait for WRCT DJ Sean Cho to peer through the studio glass and give them the thumbs up to start. Then, after a requisite “Alright, go!” TRVSS erupts over the airwaves and, figuratively, of course,…

Concert Review: Tool (2019)

The prog-metal quartet Tool exudes context, from its rich LPs, full of epic songs and epic phrasings, to its historiography as a band, which is ripe, unfortunately, with legal headaches and more than its share of silence. (More than a decade passed between the band’s last and newest LPs.) But the group largely avoided the…

Profile: The Commonheart (2019)

Pittsburgh’s The Commonheart doesn’t sound like it belongs in 2019. There are the surefire signs, of course – the reverby chikka-chikka of Stax-style soul guitar, yes, as well as bobbing bass scales that hint at Chicago’s electric blues and the nostalgic trill of Hammond organs. Then, there’s the man at the center of the nine-person…

Review: The Zells – “No More Heroes” EP

The Zells’ No More Heroes EP – the six-song follow-up to 2018’s excellent Failure to Slide, out today via Pittsburgh indie Crafted Sounds – starts with reverby, almost spacy guitars and glitchy percussion, a far and intentionally removed cry from the seat-of-your-pants garage-rock on which the band cut its milk-teeth. By the end of opener…