Review: Same – “Plastic Western”

SAME, the post-something quartet with the un-Google-able name, is from southwestern Pennsylvania, the duly coined Paris of Appalachia, but not entirely of the place. Now, Pittsburgh is far from a musical monolith. Most storied bands (a recent example being Code Orange) have come from the city’s punk and metal scenes, but there’s a robust diversity to the…

Profile: Same (2020)

Playing guitar in an indie-rock band in 2020 requires some genre knowledge and a lot of muscle memory, that ability to reproduce the fingers shifting between chords and sentiments without conscious thought.  Jake Stern, who plays guitar and keys and provides backing vocals in the placid Pittsburgh band Same, knows the instinct to rely on…

Review: Murder for Girls – “Done In The Dark”

When I reviewed Murder for Girls’ last LP, All The Pretty Stars, for the SWPA-based zine Punksburgh back in 2017, I cited as the group’s forebears and immediate influences Babes In Toyland and Riot Grrrls like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. But on the Pittsburgh quartet’s new LP — Done In The Dark, out on CD…

Profile: Buildings/Bummer and Microwaves/TRVSS

Noise-rock – NOUN – A type of rock music characterized by the use of dissonance or inharmonious noise, especially loud distorted guitar, amplifier noise, feedback, etc. Wet dream – NOUN –An erotic dream that causes involuntary ejaculation of semen. Noise-rock wet dream – A concert featuring Pittsburgh post-hardcore stalwarts Microwaves and TRVSS, plus touring bands Buildings and Bummer. See…

Profile: Merce Lemon (2020)

“You think you love me. Well, look at me now.” With those simple words, softly cooed over a carefully plucked sequence of acoustic guitar notes, Bloomfield-based singer/songwriter Merce Lemon’s got you and got you good. The song expands, ever so slightly, with the addition of a restrained bass and a wash of guitar – but…

Profile: String Machine (2020)

There are elements of Neutral Milk Hotel’s freak-folk,’90s slowcore, and of Montreal’s cinematic post-rock on Death of the Neon — the second LP from Pittsburgh-area ensemble String Machine — which Know Hope Records will re-release Jan. 16. But, more than that, the record is informed by a gnawing hunger: A hunger to create, yes, but also that…

Profile: Astrology Now (2020)

Pittsburgh psych-rock band Astrology Now will celebrate its new Knife EP by playing an acid-tinged set at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, with Outsideinside, Silver Car Crash and DJ Miss Mungo at Spirit in Lawrenceville. That’s oddly appropriate because the group’s story started in Lawrenceville. A decade ago, Greg Mastrean – who was en route to being…

Review: House & Hawk – “Pure Emotion” EP

I still harbor conflicted emotions about Mick Jagger Solo Album, the A-for-effort 2016 LP of synthetic pop from House & Hawk. At times inventive and at times oddly polished, the disc kind of wobbled somewhere between interesting and really good, and its larger experiments were worth taking in, yes, but not always worth revisiting. So,…

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…