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Barlow LP To Be Reissued Monday By Pittsburgh Label Crafted Sounds

Lo-fi fuzz-pop – think The Cure coalescing around the guitars of Les Thugs – is the name of the game on In A Stranger’s Car, the 2017 outing from Pittsburgh’s Barlow that gets the re-release treatment on cassette and streaming formats from Crafted Sounds Monday, 1/22. The new edition features outtakes and promises of things to come.

But what can we say of the original recording, which was quietly released last summer? Barlow has never been keen on fidelity in most senses of the word – sometimes, in fact, they seem diametrically opposed to it, stopping and starting sections of their songs at will, or blending them together in a haze of takes and retakes. But the songs here have a surprising amount of depth and dimension to them, even in the most cut-and-pasted of moments. In A Stranger’s Car, recorded mostly to four-track from 2011 to 2017, sounds, indeed, like a labor of dictating tender affectations – there’s clearly care to how the crunch of a chorus is taped, how a sound or sentiment loops (evidence: the hypnotic “Throwing Star”), or how frontman Ethan Olivia’s plaintive wails occasionally cut through the murkiness of it all.

There’s lot of fuzz, to be sure, both of the distorted and recorded varieties, but there’s also a lot of color. The drums point and plod in various directions, and guitars — sometimes underwater-reverby, sometimes ’92-grunge-enraged – swirl and then wrap notes around you like a warm blanket. The incredible “False Eye” where pseudo-perked verses lead into a rousing chorus, is a classic example of how the band writes songs that don’t stop and start so much as fall into your arms and then vanish into hushed breaths. The act of listening, therefore, is rather immediate and blood-pumping vital. When you let down your guard and search for a formula, they throw a post-punk closer like “Time Man” – epic stuff! – at you, just to make sure you’re paying attention. This stuff keeps you on your goddamned toes!

Barlow isn’t just a garagy Pittsburgh monster, though; the group also knows its hooks. To that end, I suggest you look no further than the beautiful, too-short “Highway” or the 80s-shimmer of “c.o.l.” which is period-perfect and captures the glowing naivete of some of the era’s best guitar pop, as well as the underground strutting of purveyors like Beat Happening. Or, as if to one-up themselves, Barlow posits “Go For It” as the next track on the release, complete with jangly acoustic guitars and a buzz-worthy drive into the horizon-line.

This is beautiful music, recorded in an ugly fashion. Barlow’s lo-fi sensibilities place it at stern odds with much of the overproduced cotton-candy that’s considered pop these days; but the group’s heart is a pop diamond. On the newly new In A Stranger’s Car, they let that diamond shine.


Punksburgh Playlist “The Lost Time” Final Chapter: December

We’re updating the archive with a Spotify playlist of all bands reviewed / interviewed / mentioned on Punksburgh.com in December.

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Punksburgh Playlist “The Lost Time” Part 4: November

We’re updating the archive with a Spotify playlist of all bands reviewed / interviewed / mentioned on Punksburgh.com in November.

Not on Spotify:

Liverball – Bullet for Your Thoughts
Paris Green (formerly Sub Rosa) – Real Live Redhead
Buildings – I Don’t Love My Dog Anymore
Glow Worm – Vapid Age
Unreliable Narrator – A Dream Deferred Is a Dream Denied
The Existential Gentlemen – On the Far Side of Hell
156/Silence – Inundated by Memories
The Sea, Like Lead – a new mythology
The Scratch ‘n Sniffs – Scraping By…
Paradise Kitty – Sweet Child O’ Mine (cover)
The Shadow Event – Footsteps
Burned – Hate to See You Go
Horehound – The Dead Don’t Lie
Choir – Eat Your Heart Out
Dead River – save you
JC Nickles – Tone Deaf (acoustic)
fuck yeah, dinosaurs! – Raptors on Acid
Supercharger – I Want It Bad
Cultivator – Tied In Knots
Bernies – Bernie Mac Attack is Back, Jack
Derider – Fail By Example
Sam Pellegrino – Male Bonding Over Women
Look Out Loretta – WKND GTWY
Slugss – Bone
Garter Shake – Alpha Creeps
Good Grief – Sang You to Sleep
Knight Terror – Bonefire
Peace Talks the Electric Word Life Band – Demonstration
Bending – Cycles
Perverts Again – My Accident
Tiny Engines – Paws
Rue – Star Swimmers
Lorenzo’s Oil – Trying Too Hard
DICEY – Vol. 149
Tears of Joy – Liquor Store
Birds – Falling
Soda Club – Turn Me Down
Milly – Throw It Away
Whitethrash – New World
Dead on the Streets – Early Grave
Silver Car Crash – Seeing Lightning
Video Tapes – Personal Favor
fake friends – Finally Found

Not found online, catch them at a show!:
The Steelhouse Pickers
The Candescents
Dylan Rooke and Red Coal
Almost Extinct
Gas Tiger
Old Man Rob
Duquesne Light Orchestra
Lullaby Engine
Jetpack Audible


  1. Mike Watt – Against the 70’s
  2. Guided By Voices – A Salty Salute
  3. Sonic Youth – Kool Thing
  4. Derketa – Until Our Death
  5. R.E.M. – Strange
  6. Throwing Muses – Bright Yellow Gun
  7. The McCoys – Hang On Sloopy
  8. The Beatles – All My Loving
  9. Leprosy – No Podran Parar el Tren
  10. Klaymore – Decisive Battle
  11. Lady Beast – Lone Hunter
  12. Defy the Tide – Upon the Looking Glass
  13. Dethlehem – Oathbound
  14. Solarburn – Because Fuck You John
  15. Only Flesh – Put My Love in You
  16. Einsturzende Neubauten – Zuckendes Fleisch
  17. Neurosis – Locust Star
  18. Godflesh – Xnoybis
  19. Helmet – FBLA II
  20. Wire – Pink Flag (2006 Remastered Version)
  21. The Jesus Lizard – Mouth Breather
  22. Calyx – Money Blood
  23. Wiz Khalifa – Letterman
  24. Don Caballero – Railroad Cancellation
  25. Rodan – Shiner
  26. Rolo Tomassi – Balancing the Dark
  27. Phat Man Dee – Adam and Eve
  28. Ishtar – Center of Your Soul
  29. Rockin Bones – Something’s Goin’ Wrong
  30. VISTA – Inside Anxious
  31. Vertigo – But They Share the Same Sky
  32. Victoria Morgan – Know Better
  33. Kahone Concept – Forefront
  34. The Cryptkeeper Five – The East Horizon
  35. Children of October – Riverside Suicide
  36. The Big Bad – We Own This Town
  37. Ego Likeness – Sirens and Satellites
  38. The Rain Within – Thunderheart
  39. Adoration Destroyed – Voices Carry
  40. Red Lokust – Speechless
  41. Tragic Impulse – Broken Glass
  42. The Delaneys – The Line
  43. Curse the Son – Gaslighter
  44. Brimstone Coven – Black Magic
  45. Vacation – Pyro Hippies
  46. Bat Zuppel – Away to Drown
  47. Swim Team – Reanimator
  48. Molly Alphabet – Lickin’ The Windows
  49. Crooked Cobras – Terrible Things
  50. Mala Sangre – Picando Piedra
  51. Jeff Betten – Small Doses
  52. Wreck Loose – I Do Right
  53. Zoob – Dirty Mind
  54. Andre Costello and the Cool Minors – Took Our Cause
  55. Seedy Players – Julia
  56. Searights – Wave of Love
  57. Manic Soul – You Better Run (Live)
  58. Morgan Erina – I Promise I Won’t Call
  59. Chet Vincent & The Big Bend – Dirty Money
  60. Zack Keim – Sweet Memories
  61. Dan Getkin and the Twelve Six – In the Grey
  62. Trash Boy – Lizard People
  63. Action Camp – War at My Side
  64. Like No Tomorrow – Side Effects
  65. Weapons of Choice – All I Want
  66. The Homisides – A.T.A. (Anti-Trump Army)
  67. Divine Tragedy – Flesh and Blood
  68. Alter the Design – Nothingness
  69. Dead Bars – Earplug Girl
  70. Playoff Beard – Bad Ideas
  71. The EFFECTS – Anchors Aweigh
  72. TR3 – See You In Your Dreams
  73. Tim Vitullo – Pretty Good
  74. The Deep Vees – Shutdown
  75. The Promise Hero – Sorry About That
  76. Sleepy Limbs – Sweet and Sour
  77. Selfhelpme – Road
  78. Murder for Girls – Christina R.
  79. Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl
  80. Bratmobile – Gimme Brains
  81. Calamity Jane – Miss Hell
  82. Kim Deal – Walking With a Killer
  83. T-Tops – Wipedown
  84. City Steps – Procrastination Game
  85. Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
  86. Stereolab – Brakhage
  87. delicious pastries – Radial Blur
  88. The Applies In Stereo – Strawberryfire
  89. of Montreal – Lysergic Bliss
  90. Elf Power – A Grey Cloth Covering My Face
  91. Beulah – Popular Mechanics for Lovers
  92. The Bryan Ferry Orchestra – Virginia Plain
  93. Lofi Delphi – Aimshoot
  94. Wreck Loose – I Do Right
  95. The Telephone Line – I Already Know
  96. Essential Machine – Paper and Stars
  97. Jeremy Caywood – Over and Under (Live)
  98. The Danger of Falling – Her/Being
  99. Shotgun Surgeon – Advent
  100. Born Without Bones – The Camera Turns
  101. Super American – Missing Pieces
  102. In Motion – Attention Addict
  103. Bindley Hardware Co. – Alright, All Ready!
  104. Pale Waves – There’s a Honey
  105. Lawn Care – Biddy Lounge Song
  106. The Sonder Bombs – End of My Daze
  107. Sikes and the New Violence – Low Expectations
  108. BBGuns – Willow
  109. The Dark Lines – The Knife Song
  110. Stone Cold Killer – Locked and Loaded
  111. CKY – Flesh Into Gear
  112. Worst Kept Secret – Second Take
  113. Blackbird Bullet – Sideways
  114. Today Is the Best Day Ever – Laugh More, You’re Dying
  115. Curse Words – Cigarettes Don’t Grow on Trees
  116. Mikey Erg – Comme Si About Me
  117. The Ergs! – Kind of Like Smitten
  118. Worriers – Future Me
  119. Save Ends – Surf Bed
  120. Black Numbers – Love Me Like I Do
  121. The Lopez – Sea Babies
  122. Old Game – Ah!pathetic
  123. There You Are – Perfect Crime
  124. Winter Makes Sailors – I Want to Sing It Loud
  125. David Bazan – Both Hands
  126. Michael Nau – Love Survive
  127. Bleep Bloop – K-9 Unit
  128. Sayer – Human Error
  129. Stuyedeyed – Funeral
  130. Tremoravia – Mars
  131. Karma To Burn – Fifty Seven
  132. Doctor Smoke – The Willow
  133. The Long Hunt – The Sparrow
  134. St. Dude – Shellshock
  135. Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
  136. ABBA – Take A Chance On Me
  137. The Weird Paul Rock Band – Garage Band
  138. The Danzas – High on the Hog
  139. Jill Sobule – I Kissed A Girl
  140. Liverball – Chicken Hawke
  141. Greywalker – Sinking Ship
  142. False Profit – Fuck You
  143. Crash Academy – Sad State
  144. Getaway Car – Ex (Yeah I’m Not the Same)
  145. Distant Futures – Post Office
  146. String Machine – Go to Canada
  147. Surf Bored – The World Unseen
  148. Anarbor – Rock To My Roll
  149. Sundressed – Beck and Call
  150. Vertigo – Do What You Will
  151. Super Fun Time Awesome Party Band – Dialated Poop Holes
  152. Johnny and the Razorblades – Seventeen
  153. Old Lords – Buried at Sea
  154. Iron Jawed Guru – Black Fortress
  155. Fruit & Flowers – Out of Touch
  156. Hearken – Sure Shock
  157. OC45 – Smoke and Mirrors

Punksburgh Playlist: 2017 Releases

As part of our 2017 local release roundup, we’ve made a playlist including tracks from all of the albums. Check it out to see just how incredibly talented the people in our city are! If your band is missing, please contact us!

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Weekend Roundup: 12/29 – 12/31

2017 has been a pretty awful year, so end it on a high note by hanging out with friends and checking out some awesome shows! We’ve got a jam-packed weekend with something for everyone.

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No One Expects the Punksburgh Inquisition: Polka Kapolka (Super Fun Time Awesome Party Band)

Today we bring you an Inquisition from the party king himself: Polka of the Super Fun Time Awesome Party Band!

List the names of every band that you’ve ever played in ever.

H.S.D.A.- Hey Soose and the Drunken Apostles
Stupid Pun Time Jawsome Farty Band

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Denzell Hits All The Right Garage-Punk Notes on “Tour Tape”

I don’t need some punk-rock band to hand over the verdict that, yeah, things are pretty bleak. Even if the Pussy-Grabber-In-Chief weren’t trying to run the show – let me just pause on that for a second and enjoy the thought – the world has no shortage of proof that we’re hurtling toward the eye of the apocalypse. Wait, wait, or are we?

Pittsburgh punk quintet Denzell seems to stake its reputations on different claims. On Tour Tape, its recent EP – released, appropriately, for the group’s November East Coast tour – the group makes garage-punk that’s as fun to listen to as it seems fun to play. Tapping into the jangly guitar-enthusiasms of Pavement; the dissonant, two-guitar shards of Sonic Youth at its rocking-est; and even a touch of – let me get obscure for a minute here – Latimer’s proto-grunginess, these guys are out to dictate that you don’t need to wrap your arms around tragedy to cop your bonafides.

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Weekend Roundup: 12/15 – 12/17

Once again, we’ve got a ton of shows from all genres happening this weekend. Volcano Dogs are releasing their second album, there are charity shows raising money for troops, Puerto Rico, toy drives, and animals, some Christmas music, and a solid mix of locals and touring bands, new and old bands. Pick your poison, and get to a show!

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No One Expects the Punksburgh Inquisition: Josh Verbanets (Meeting of Important People)

photo by ryan white at spirit

Photo by Ryan White


Meeting of Important People is quickly beginning to rival the Clarks as the quintessential Pittsburgh-region band.  This rise to prominence is in part a direct result of the talent and incredible songwriting ability of singer/guitarist and frontman Josh Verbantes.  Their catchy rock-n-roll tunes are intertwined with garage and indie-rock influences and have lyrics that make it hard not to sing along.  Some of their songs are about their hometown, such as the single “I Know Every Street.”  Punksburgh caught up with this local-legend-in-the-making to answer the following queries for today’s inquisition.

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Weekend Roundup 12.08.17 – 12.10.17

There’s literally so many shows happening this weekend it’s almost hard to choose which ones to attend! Too bad the scene is “dead” though. Here is just some of what’s coming up!

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