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…

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…

Profile: Wild Kindness Records relaunches

Wild Kindness, the Pittsburgh label that once defined the city’s alt-pop aspirations through records by Andre Costello and Chet Vincent & The Big Bend, is back. Chief operating officer Jeff Betten relaunched the dormant label June 12. Betten, a 10th-generation Pittsburgher who flirted with a City Council run this spring, became general manager of Misra…

Review: Old Game – “Lunatics”

Lunatics, the excellent new four-song EP from Pittsburgh-based quartet Old Game, out June 22, starts with the thump-thump-thump of bass guitar and drums in enveloping and snarling syncopation. But, it’s not until the rousing chorus, after the glassy guitars that eventually come fall prey to a wall of crunching thunder, that the theme of the…

Profile: Old Game (2019)

Brenda Leeds knows about the feeling. The vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Pittsburgh underground rock band, Old Game, has felt it sneak unsuspectingly, like a disconnected whisper, into the deepest crevices of her ear. When she’s not paying attention, it sometimes can knock the wind out of her. She first encountered that gray, sinking sensation as…

Review: The Gotobeds – “Debt Begins At 30”

The Gotobeds released its new LP, the much-anticipated Debt Begins At 30, yesterday via Sub Pop Records. That move, the introduction of a new slate of head-churning material, gives us the ideal opportunity to re-examine and reevaluate these kings of the Pittsburgh underground or, as their peers are wont to say, the local band that…

Feature: Crafted Sounds Releases “Bridges”

Connor Murray turned 21 on April 13,  but he didn’t celebrate in the usual way. Yes, there were the obligatory drinks at midnight but, instead of just rising reluctantly the next morning with a horrible hangover, the Pitt senior woke up with a new release on his cassette-centric label, Crafted Sounds. Bridges, the appropriately titled…