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…

Concert Review: Melvins (2019)

Melvins know no years. They’re just too fucking good to be bothered with them. So, seeing the trio, now nearing its fifth (!) decade in existence, destroy a stage live is a bit like hovering above the historiography of it all. All content, no context. The trio – Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Steven McDonald…

Andre Costello and The Cool Minors – “Brighter Than Before”

Fifty words on Andre Costello and The Cool Minors new one-song shot. Minus those, wise guy. Catchy indie pop, out Oct. 2, with all the right strut and inflection. Some of these bridges will knock you off your feet. “I/ know the way to your light.” Great textures, rousing yet contained close. Costello’s voice is…

Concert Review: Thom Yorke (2019)

There’s something, I don’t know, almost phosphorescent about Thom Yorke, the iconic Radiohead frontman who brought his new solo tour right to the doorstep of a sold-out Pittsburgh crowd Sunday night. That sense of light with the absence of flame is not something organic, that’s for sure. Yorke, sporting simple, dark clothing Sunday, his hair…

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,…