Thursday, April 21, 2011

Local music notes, April 2011: The Slow Reel, MOIP, The Cynics, Brooke Annibale, Lohio, Nik & the Central Plains

It's impossible to stay in tune with all of the goings-on of the Pgh music scene, I gotta say, but when I find some good and/or interesting stuff, I like to share it with you. So here are some good and/or interesting songs, albums, events, etc. from the very recent past and the very near future.

  • The Slow Reel / new single: "We Get Along" b/w "Ain't It Something"

    I've caught these guys (and gals) live a couple times around town and have always enjoyed their jams. A recent interview over on Pgh Music Report has singer/bassist Rob describing their sound as "original songs with a classic rock vibe" and that is pretty much perfect. I can definitely hear a carful of youngsters singin' along to "We Get Along" as it blasts from their car radio on a cross country road trip in 1973. Or something like that. Stream the songs below and head to their Bandcamp page to download 'em for FREE.

    The Slow Reel: Facebook, Bandcamp
  • Meeting of Important People / vinyl release of debut album

    I like this band. A lot. I won't belabor that and will get to the point: their debut, self-titled album that came out on CD/digital in the Spring of 2009 is now available on vinyl! The fine folks at Pittsburgh's own Get Hip Recordings had the sharp eye to do this and MOIP's blend of garage rock/pop will fit perfectly in their catalog. I bet these tracks will sound super souped-up on wax, and they've even updated the cover art, opting for a b&w photo of the trio staring you down, with the band name in brightly-colored block lettering. Snazzy. You can find this LP at some record shops around town (I spotted copies at Desolation Row and Mind Cure last weekend, in fact) or you can order direct from the band via their website. They're having an "official" release show at the Thunderbird on May 7, too. Here's their "famous" video for Track 1 from that album, "Brittney Lane Don't Care":

    Meeting of Important People: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp,
  • The Cynics / new LP: Spinning Wheel Motel

    While we're on the Get Hip topic ... label founders Gregg Kostelich and Michael Kastelic are the guitarist and singer, respectively, of garage rock legends The Cynics. It's a cryin' shame how little recognition they seem to get here in the U.S., since word on the street is that they are huge in Europe and yet I saw them a couple weeks ago at a little old place like the 31st Street Pub here in Pittsburgh and it wasn't even full there. What gives?! Anyway, they seem to have an endless supply of deliciously-rockin' 60s psych rock freakouts up their sleeves, and here's another album full of 'em. It's officially out sometime in May (more info here) and in the meantime you can watch the trippy video for Track 1, "I Need More":

    The Cynics: Facebook, Twitter,
  • Brooke Annibale / new album: Silence Worth Breaking

    Thanks to a successful Kickstarter project last Fall, Brooke Annibale's third album is now out in the world, and if you hold your hand to your ear, you just may hear some strains of her lovely voice and the lush instrumentation with lots of strings just floating along the breeze ... or you could go buy the album and hear it in all of its full and beautiful detail! For all of the beauty of the songs, though, it's the lyrics that have really kept my attention, especially on "Yours and Mine". So touching. Stream the album below and check out some upcoming shows, too.
    Silence Worth Breaking - "First Listen" by brookeannibale
    Brooke Annibale: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Blog,
  • Lohio / new single: "You've Got Your Fight"

    These guys have really grown on me, and their Family Tree EP was one of my faves last year. This single came out in March (and was picked up by Paste Magazine!) and shows an interesting, newish style, with some bouncy keys and shouted vocals and little glimmers of feedback on the guitars. It's hard to pinpoint individual influences on the sound, but suffice it to say I really like this new track. Stream it below and enjoy:

    Lohio: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp,
  • Nik & the Central Plains / new album: Walk on Beaches / CD release shows

    Their first, self-titled, album came out just about a year ago, but these guys are already back with more. An article published yesterday in the Tribune-Review has Nik calling that album just a "collection of songs", but they are great, catchy folk-rock songs, at that. I have yet to hear any of the new record, save for whatever they've played at their live shows over the last coupl of months, but I'm sure it will be awesome. They're hosting two CD release shows at the Thunderbird Cafe this weekend; check out my post over on Draw Us Lines for full details on those shows (and many others, in fact!). I'll be at the Saturday show. In the meantime, check out some video I took at their show at Howlers on January 14:

    Nik & the Central Plains: Website, Facebook,
    (On a related note, I just found this cover version of their song "You're The Blues" by Pittsburghers Boca Chica. Cool!)

So that's what I've found lately. Have any other interesting local songs, albums, events, etc. to share? Let me know about 'em!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jam of the day: "The Stand"

Artist: Mother Mother
Album: Eureka
Song: "The Stand"
Released: March 15, 2011
Label: Last Gang

I read about music a lot. I don't really know, but I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that a lot of great novelists don't really read a lot of contemporary fiction, or that great directors don't watch many films, and so on. But as a music blogger myself, I find myself constantly reading other music criticism: reviews, recommendations, interviews with bands, and so on. Logistically, there's a lot of music out there to be discovered and reading lots of other blogs helps me find new artists I like and see what others are listening to. Artistically, though, I generally like to know what others are up to, how they structure their websites, how they write, how they share with their readers, and so on. But that's beside the point. All I'm really saying is that I'm glad I listened to We Listen For You and gave Mother Mother a chance.

I'm a little surprised that I like this song (and their latest album, Eureka) but I don't care to assess that. I like it, that's that. This song has an amazing buoyant energy to it; "catchy" doesn't even begin to describe the way the back-and-forth vocals, between a female duo and the lead male, create a delectable tension that the instrumentation, with synths and guitars and drums and bass, simultaneously cuts through and intensifies. That ice cube clink in the beginning is a nice, humorous touch, too. I've had the phrase "It's like paradise / Spread out with a butter knife" running through my head for days on end, and particularly the way that the ladies here shout it out in a crazy harmony that sounds just right in this context. The video itself is interesting, coming across ostensibly as the female singers interviewing the male singer, with some swirling footage of the band playing during the choruses, plus some crazy animation in the backgrounds that makes you think the singer is being portrayed as, well . . . crazy. Maybe he is, but I'm totally with him on the "women on bikes" thing. And the "all of the people and all of their peers", but that's something else. The jury is still out on whether "everyone's fucked and they don't even know".

Check out the video below, and check out the links below that to find out more about the band.

Mother Mother on the web: