Saturday, September 30th was International Podcast Day – and our friends over at the River’s Edge celebrated the occasion in style. Broadcasting live from Panza Gallery in Millvale, the night’s festivities included a nonstop livestream of all original musical acts, River’s Edge network podcast performances, beer from North Country Brewing Company, and mead from Laurel Highlands Meadery.
The night started with a solo performance from Jessica Fisch of Jenny and the Jags, and then launched into the first show: Liss Victory’s podcast That BROAD Cast.
If you’ve ever wandered into the Park House on a Wednesday night, you were probably greeted by the bluegrass stylings of the resident Shelf Life String Band. This ‘runaway train in complete control’ plays a mix of traditionals and originals that take you on a unique musical journey. The non-traditional addition of a saxophone (played by Mark Jackovic) really throws a monkey wrench into the mix, which makes the band all the more unique.
Photograph taken by Thomas Koraido
The voice of lead vocalist and guitarist Derek Dysart is wholesome and welcoming. Be aware though – when they commit to a tempo of 160+ beats per minute, the space time continuum itself seems to slow from the furious fingerpicking of banjo player Joe Dep, the fast fiddling of violinist Rocky Youhon, and the serious strumming of mandolin player Andy Boehm. Bassist Riley Zimmerman gives the band its solid foundation.
Photograph from Shelf Life’s Facebook page
Whether you are a fan of bluegrass or not, the inviting presence of this band is bound to have you in the mood for some pickin’ and grinnin’ by the end of the night. We here in the ‘burgh are lucky to have them.
For today’s #SharePghMusicMonth, it’s my honor to introduce Pittsburgh’s best-kept indie pop secret: the Delicious Pastries. Gaining inspiration from the Elephant Six Collective of bands, the Pastries create an array if ethereal tunes. Their discography thus far includes two EPs – Aleatoric Delay and Pretty Please – as well as a single titled Pygmalion Cantations.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them open for Elephant Six bands Dressy Bessy and Big Fresh, as well as headlining spots at Brillobox (where they were dubbed “Pittsburgh’s Loudest Band” – and believe me, I’m glad I had my earplugs) and Mr. Smalls Theatre. When they’re not playing you can spot the band in attendance of some of their favorite artists – including of Montreal and The Music Tapes. The band also made a pilgrimage to Athens, Georgia where they visited the birthplace of the Orange Twin Record Label and attended the Athens Pop Fest.
The Pastries are currently in the process of recording a full-length album, to be released sometime early in 2018. I’m dying of anticipation, and look forward to the release show (details yet to be determined).
Stephen Gallo (right), Dan Styslinger (keyboard)
Friday the 4th was a historically rad night thanks to Action Camp, who released the newest installation to their discography: an eponymous EP. The event was held at Club Cafe, who made a specialty cocktail for the event called the “Gothtail.” After a few clove cigarettes were symbolically smoked and urges to recite various Albert Camus quotes were resisted, I took the first sip of my Gothtail as Hearken kicked off the show. Singer/guitarist Donny Donovan shredded with the riot grrrl prowess of Carrie Brownstein while drummer Greg Brunner poured all of his emotion through his drumsticks and into the kit. After them was a rad group of guys by the name of Silence, who unequivocally rocked off my socks.
Photos by Jon B Snow. You can find & follow Jon on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, or on his music photography website.
Maura Jacob, Bengt Alexsander, and Joe Tarowsky (on drums)
Action Camp took the stage and dove into performing the entirety of the new EP, as well as a few extra favorites. Living up to their reputation as highly polished professionals, Club Cafe resonated with the artful, dark, heavy, intense, and yet ethereal melodies of ten amazing tracks.
This release is the first with the addition of Joe Tarowsky, lending his numerous talents on the drum kit, guitar, and vocals. The three-part vocal harmony on the track Shakin’ All Over sent chills down my spine. For the final track – Nameless – Joe simultaneously played guitar while remaining consistent on the bass drum.
After the show I bought my copy of the EP and managed to snag a setlist and show poster (which I framed posthaste).
The show was, in my modest opinion, downright incredible. I’m excited for the band and what they will do in the years to follow.
Action Camp’s new EP artwork
Pittsburgh’s quintessential doom pop/post-punk/art rock group Action Camp already boasts an extensive discography of nine releases – soon to be ten with the release of their new self-titled EP this Friday at Club Cafe. After getting a taste of some of the new songs during their previous show at Howlers, my excitement for the new release increased exponentially. The self-produced EP is Action Camp’s first release with the addition of a new band member – the multi-instrumentalist Joe Tarowsky (of the power-pop band The Park Plan) – on drums.
Joe with Action Camp (center)
With The Park Plan (right)
After attending LoFi Delphi’s set at the Deutschtown Music Festival, I caught up with pianist/vocalist Becki Gallagher and got her to answer our inquisitive queries for today’s inquisition.
Becki (center) with Garter Shake at Howlers
Few things get my Irish blood pumping like a Bastard Bearded Irishmen show. Always highly energetic, the bastards’ catchy tunes, crazy stage antics, and fun banter make for a hell of an enjoyable time. Taking the outdoor stage next to SouthSide Works, the band filled the plaza with the wonderfully rad sound of Celtic-influenced punk rock.
Ryan Warmbrodt/Ben Jaber
True to their DIY nature, upon entering the concert side of Howlers, I paid my door charge directly to Action Camp’s guitarist Bengt Alexsander. The doom-centered duo (now trio) has upheld the DIY ethic since its formation – over ten years ago now – and this show was no different. During their setup, the audience was treated to a short and sweet impromptu cover of Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows,” and then kicked their set off in high gear with their intense, driving track titled “Warpaint” from the Better Made Fast EP.
Returning from Boston, Pittsburgh native Dori Cameron made the trek home to grace Ladyfest 2017 with her ethereal voice. Performing originals from her EP Violent Muse, many of Cameron’s lyrics are born of personal experiences – such as her tracks “Come What may” and “Soul Crimes.” Listening to her clear voice over the raw mic at Hambone’s, one can feel the emotions of longing and hope behind her meaningful lyrics.