#SupportPGHMusic // Exclusively on HughShows Radio streaming at the bottom of the page, enjoy the entire December 13, 2014 concert of HughShows Live at Eide’s Finale featuring mini sets from acoustic and solo versions of my favorite Pittsburgh bands during the marathon 6 hour concert. //

Gave blood and bone to what they bumping in the underworld and summer homes.

Back Alley Sound is a riff-hop six-piece band hailing from the South Side of Pittsburgh. With Shark Parker as lead vocalist, the guitarist Myles Mahoney along with the keyboardist Christian Petrozza, the bassist, Sam Kisic, the saxophonist Robert Ruffner, and finally the drummer, JAYB$, round out the sextet of instrumentalists that create the live experience that is Back Alley Sound. The band’s debut full-length entitled I Wanted to Be was released earlier this year and this Sunday, April 11 at 8pm, they will perform the album all the way through live on a special stream of Sikes fantastic podcast Start the Beat. I want to thank Myles and Sam for taking the time to participate in this edition First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Myles Mahoney: Not sure about which one I purchased but I remember my parents giving me a collection of Motown and funk cassettes. That had a huge impact on my taste in music early on.

Your last album bought?
Sam Kisic: Jacob Collier Djesse Vol.1 on vinyl.

Favorite album of all time?
Sam: As a fan of multiple types of music, from Charles Mingus to Snarky Puppy to RHCP and the Mars Volta, choosing a favorite album is an impossibility. However, relating to Back Alley Sound and in a contemporary setting, Swimming by Mac Miller probably takes the cake. I’ve been listening to Mac since K.I.D.S like many of us in Pittsburgh have, and Swimming revealed a culmination of years of hard work, putting on display a new level of lyricism and musical maturity unrivaled up to his unfortunate passing. Coming from where he started to working with John Mayer and Thundercat is remarkable and inspiring. I think I speak for all of Back Alley Sound when I say we miss and love Mac. He has changed music, and our lives. Mac Miller lives on as a testament to determination and manifests in the hearts and minds of millions every day in the most positive way. I’m a lifelong fan, and I’d say Swimming is my favorite album of all time.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Myles: Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. Music taste change as time goes on. Even if I don’t like a record initially, I’ll find something I like about it over time.

First concert attended?
Myles: I remember going to Hartwood Acres to see shows as a kid. I think the first show I went to on my own was Rise Against and Comeback Kid at Club Zoo. I remember seeing the bands energy and I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.

Last concert?
Myles: Some bandmates and I backed up Shawna Roxanne for Pittsburgh’s Own. Two days later I went to see Allen Stone. Little did I know that by the end of the week everything would be shut down from Covid.

Favorite concert ever?
Myles: It’s so hard to pick just one. The most impactful was seeing Black Milk with the Nat Turner Band in the basement of Spirit. I’d just come off a long three month tour and our manager said we had to come with him to check out this hip hop artist. I was so tired I initially said I just wanted to stay in for the night. I’m so grateful I didn’t because the vibe was absolutely amazing. The band took Black Milk’s energy to a whole other level. I knew that I wanted to shift the style of music I was playing at the time.

Least favorite concert?
Myles: Without saying any names I ran a show at one of the larger local venues. Just about anything that could of gone wrong did. Needless to say, it was stressful.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Sam: Pittsburgh is a major American city, but at <400,000 people each niche be it the arts, sports, clothing, food becomes special to those involved. The arts have blossomed into something spectacular over the course of the last several years and the camaraderie between artists is stronger than ever. The concentration of creativity in a city this size is remarkable. Some of my favorite bands, visual artists, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, and other artists reside in Pittsburgh and many of them, as a member of Back Alley Sound, have become my friends through the numerous events I have participated in as well as attended on my own. Past music, I have developed relationships with staff the restaurants, bars, and other establishments I frequent. In a small city, things become more personal, and Pittsburgh is no exception.

 

 

Thanks, fellas. Definitely gonna tune in on Sunday. I am such a huge fan of Start the Beat!

 

 

 

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Jimmy and the Beautiful Mistakes are a Pittsburgh rock band formed by Detroit native Jimmy Marino after recording and releasing his debut album Gettin’ Better in November 2019. The music speaks to how poor choices can still turn into something beautiful. With musical influences from rock, roots, blues, and Americana, you’ll find every song is decidedly different in style, where the hooks pull you in, the honest lyrics resonate, and the music rocks. I want to thank Jimmy (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Jimmy and the Beautiful Mistakes · Gettin’ Better

The first album you ever bought?
Queen, A Night at the Opera.

Your last album bought?
Shakey Graves, And the War Came. I’m rebuilding my vinyl collection, so I’ve been buying many albums that used to have. Lot’s of Elvis Costello and bands I loved growing up.

Favorite album of all time?
Really tough question, but probably Blood and Chocolate by Elvis Costello. I came rather late to his music. I remember being in a record store in 1987 (Harmony House in Detroit) and this amazing music was being played. I’d never heard anything like it. It was the Spike album by EC that just came out. I bought it on the spot. Then I worked my way backwards through his releases, buying everything by him I could get my hands on. Blood and Chocolate from 1986 was the second one I bought. And wow, it just blew me away musically, lyrically, and emotionally.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
All the later Queen albums disappointed me. I was a huge fan growing up and I thought the music just lost something, especially after Freddie died. Probably The Works was the last album I enjoyed by them.

First concert attended?
Cheap Trick. Outdoor concert at the Meadowbrook Music Festival in Rochester, MI. I remember being completely amazed by Rick Nielson’s live guitar playing. I’ve never seen anyone play like that guy before or since. How can someone rock so hard and yet be so technically proficient? And how could Bun E. Carlos be such a rockin’ backbone on drums with such a tiny kit? And man, were they LOUD.

Last concert?
Well for this we have to go back a full year or more when I was going to all kinds of local shows (unless we want to count online stuff). My girlfriend got me front row seats for Elvis Costello in St. Augustine, FL. I’ve seen him many times, but never that close. Boy, did they rock. SO much energy. But before that I went to see Lake Street Dive who are one of my favorite bands. They play so well live it’s truly a pleasure to hear them live.

Favorite concert ever?
I once saw David Bowie at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI. What and incredible show. And I mean a show. I feel so fortunate to have been able to see him live back then. But these days, I really enjoy local shows in small venues. It’s so much more intimate and the music sounds so good. ON my birthday in 2018 I saw a band called Driftwood. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had. They were so good, tight, and the music really spoke to where I was in the moment (out by myself on my birthday feeling a little lonely). It was a beautiful night.

Least favorite concert?
I went to Thrival a few years ago out at Carrie Furnace. Good music most of the day, but for some reason the mix for the headliner, Metric, was terrible. They just did not sound good. It was just loud and “flashy”, like too many strobe light effects. Hurt my ears and my eyes.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh has been good to me. I moved here with my ex after the great recession. I fell in love with this city, but my marriage also fell apart. She left and I stayed. I really deepened my relationship with the city after that. I embraced it. I started attending many more arts and music events. The Symphony (classical is my first love as my first instrument was violin), plays, gallery crawls, concerts, open mics, cafes, restaurants. I also started exploring the different neighborhoods and spending more time there. I had also been away from playing and writing music for a long time so my breakup and the city inspired me to take up songwriting again. Pittsburgh has really been a place of awakening and rebirth for me as a musician and a person.

 

 

Thanks, Jimmy. I have never seen Cheap Trick live. I always regret not seeing them play at the Pepsi Roadhouse when they stopped there years ago but I didn’t have anyone to go with me and being somewhat of a hike to get there, I decided not to go by myself. Very dumb decision.

 

 

 

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Just remember life is never crystal clear but in time just like every memory it will all come into focus

Demi Michelle is a Pittsburgh based singer-songwriter who’s latest single “LA Will Wait for Me” is out today. Co-written by her longtime friend Madison RaeAnne Young, the song follows Demi’s pattern of producing heartfelt and honest pop songs while leaning towards her new found appreciate of country music, providing a snapshot of her love for the West Coast, where the songwriting call their second home. I want to thank Demi (Piano/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first album I remember getting is *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached album. I was super young, and my parents bought it for me because I was a huge fan of Justin Timberlake. That album is one bop after the next. As for the first album I actually bought myself, that’d be Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream album. That’s my favorite album by Katy, and I still listen to some of the songs today, like “Firework,” “California Gurls,” and “Last Friday Night.”

Your last album bought?
I use Spotify, so the last album I downloaded to my library is 29 by Carly Pearce, which came out a few weeks ago. Carly is one of my favorite country artists, and I love every song on the album.

Favorite album of all time?
That have to be Shawn Mendes’s self-titled album, Shawn Mendes. Every song on the album is gold. That was also such a fun era full of amazing memories. I saw him twice on his tour in 2019. For one of the shows, I traveled to Glendale, Arizona, and I also saw him in Pittsburgh. I met him at both shows. Every time I listen to the album, it brings back so many incredible memories I’ll never forget.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Since I love Shawn’s self-titled album so much, I had such high expectations for his fourth album, Wonder. I was definitely disappointed when I heard it for the first time and haven’t listened to any of the songs since. This was such a letdown for me because I love his first three albums so much. That being said, I still appreciate Shawn’s music and hope I’ll enjoy his next release.

First concert attended?
My first concert was *NSYNC’s Celebrity Tour. My mom won front row tickets for my family. Even though I was super young, I have a vivid memory of Justin Timberlake giving me a high five during “This I Promise You.” That’s my favorite song by *NSYNC, and I still listen to it today. So, you could say my first concert was a special one.

Last concert?
My last concert was the Happiness Begins Tour. My one friend is obsessed with the Jonas Brothers, and she asked me to go to the concert with her. Even though I’m not the biggest Jonas Brothers fan, the concert was absolutely incredible. Everyone in the arena completely lost their minds when the Jonas Brothers came on stage, and the energy during the whole concert was something truly amazing to experience.

Favorite concert ever?
My favorite concert was Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour. Taylor is one of my favorite artists and someone I really look up to as a songwriter. Quick story about the show. My friend and I took a trip out to California the day after the concert, but that didn’t stop me from seeing Taylor. I literally went to the show, came home to get my things for the trip, then went to the airport. Even though I got no sleep at all, it was worth it. The Reputation Stadium Tour was one of the most fun nights of my life.

Least favorite concert?
I’ll have to say Drake and Future’s Summer Sixteen Tour. I love pop and country music, so that concert was way out of my comfort zone. I only went because one of my friends really wanted to go, so I said I’d go with her. I kind of felt super out of place at the show.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I absolutely love my city. Pittsburgh is one of a kind, and I love how, in many ways, we have our very own culture that’s recognized everywhere. I’ve lived here all my life and have so many memories from days spent in Pittsburgh. Aside from going to concerts, I have some awesome memories in the city. During Christmas time, I love to go skating and hang out in Market Square. Also, one of my favorite memories is from my sixteenth birthday. The Gateway Clipper has private parties, and my sweet sixteen party was on one of their new boats at the time, The Queen. My party was one of the first on it, and I had such a magical day with my friends and family. I can’t wait until I can spend more unforgettable days in the city. As a songwriter, I hope that I can play my very own show in my hometown one day.

 

 

Thanks, Demi. I have to admit that Taylor Swift Heinz Field shows are spectacular. I ended up going to three because of my daughters and they all ended up being fun.

 

 

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Don’t stop, never give in. If you stay true the black hole still spins

Slam Band and Sam is a Pittsburgh based six-piece band that defies genre, mixing jazz, blues, rock and funk to create a sound as unique as the individual member’s musical background. Formed in late 2018, the band is busy working on their debut EP expected this Summer but you can preview that with the release last week of their first single entitled “Black Hole” streaming below. I want to thank Mark Jackovic (Saxophone) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

 

The first album you ever bought?
Herbie Mann and Phil Woods – Beyond Brooklyn.

Your last album bought?
The Travelin’ McCourys.

Favorite album of all time?
John Coltrane – Ballads.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I don’t think about albums in this way, so it is very difficult for me to come up with one. Music is a positive thing that connects people. There is always something in any album I can be attracted to.

First concert attended?
Phil Woods at MCG.

Last concert?
Starship Mantis’ last show at Spirit.

Favorite concert ever?
Wayne Shorter at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Least favorite concert?
Again, like I said before, there is always something I can connect to.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Through my experiences Pittsburgh is one of the friendliest city’s I’ve lived in from simply car etiquette to strangers saying hello. There is so much to love about Pittsburgh.

 

 

Thanks, Mark. Love the single. Really looking forward the full EP. Let me know when it’s out so I can share.

 

 

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Touch the floor, but don’t go sinking more. Room for one, for you and then it’s done. Nothing more.

Gaadge is a Pittsburgh based slacker rock band in the vein of Pavement, My Bloody Valentine and Spirit of the Beehive. Formed in 2014 as the creative output of songwriter Mitch DeLong, the band’s debut full-length album Yeah? comes out on March 19 via local label Crafted Sounds (Cassette, CD, Digital) but you can preview it with the single “Twenty-Two” right now. I want to thank Mitch (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Green Day – International Superhits!

Your last album bought?
Helvetia – Nothing in Rambling.

Favorite album of all time?
Swirlies – They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of Salons.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Whatever the last Ride album was?

First concert attended?
My first concert ever was Britney Spears at Star Lake on the ‘Oops I Did It Again’ tour. Little kid me was star struck.

Last concert?
Horse Jumper of Love and Merce Lemon at Small’s Funhouse. Beautiful show.

Favorite concert ever?
My Bloody Valentine in ‘18. Finally saw them and there’s nothing else like that experience.

Least favorite concert?
A Disturbed show I went with my high school girlfriend cause her dad was really stoked on it.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love the people and artists here in Pittsburgh. I’ve had some great times and have seen some fantastic things here. There’s a lot of really cool stuff to dig into. The city definitely has glaring issues but that’s another conversation.

 

 

Thanks, Mitch. Love this album! It has a variety yet still maintains a cohesiveness, if that makes any sense? Can’t wait until more people can jive to it.

 

 

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The phone rings and I won’t pick up because I’d rather leave you on read

Gabriella Salvucci is a Pittsburgh based songwriter who is releasing her self-titled debut EP via Misra Records on May 21st. At 16 years old, the youngest artist signed to Misra’s long roster, Gabriella honed her craft under the mentorship of two of the city’s musical stalwarts in Liz Berlin and Phat Man Dee (Social Justice Disco) through the Mr. Smalls Studio musical summer camp. The second single from the EP “Just My Luck”, after “Hoax” which was in rotation on WYEP,  arrives today on all streaming platforms. According to the schedule, expect to hear a new track each month up until the release date. I want to thank Gabriella (Piano/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first album I remember buying was Let’s Be Still by The Head and The Heart. I was about 8 years old when I started listening to them, and they have definitely influenced my songwriting.

Your last album bought?
The last album I bought was Zeros by Declan McKenna. I love how the album is so cohesive and how all the songs are like puzzle pieces that fit together.

Favorite album of all time?
My favorite album of all time is Tell Me I’m Pretty by Cage the Elephant. I love all of their songs, but “How Are You True” from that album has the most genuine lyrics I’ve ever heard.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I was disappointed with Houndmouth’s album Golden Age just because I really loved their older stuff and it just wasn’t as good, although there’s a few good songs.

First concert attended?
The first concert I went to was Trombone Shorty. I remember that we were in the front row and after I got his autograph!

Last concert?
My last concert before quarantine was The Lumineers. Our seats were really far away but it was such a good show. The first time I saw The Lumineers, they opened for U2 so it was really great to see them headline.

Favorite concert ever?
One of my favorite concerts ever was seeing Dr. Dog a few years ago with my dad. It was so energetic and fun and they sound amazing live.

Least favorite concert?
I think my least favorite concert was when I was really excited to see Langhorne Slim at this small venue but everyone was talking so we could barely hear him.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
My favorite part about Pittsburgh is that there are so many opportunities for young musicians. If there weren’t so many great opportunities and musicians who have helped mentor me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

 

 

Thanks, Gabriella. I have been lucky enough to preview the EP and must say, I have really been enjoying it. I am always so excited to discover new talent in Pittsburgh and looking forward to seeing what you do next!

 

 

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Dumluv is the moniker for Pittsburgh based emo chill dreamwave musician Ryan Hilberg. After the dissolution of his band Rainbow Machine a couple of years ago, Ryan began his solo effort self-releasing EPs, the latest entitled letmeluvu ;( from December of 2020. I want to thank Ryan for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

dumluv 💘 · Eyes Closed (prod. ditten)

The first album you ever bought?
Hot Fuss by The Killers, I remember that was one of the first times I truly felt like an individual. I didn’t feel this way because of the music, but rather from the actual act of making that choice to buy the album. I was only 11 at the time, but I knew that there was so much music out there, and it was so truly exciting to have that first spark of taste that drew me to the album. I loved the music, and I had no idea why. It was mysterious and breathtaking, and I’m taken back to that sensation every time I listen to Hot Fuss.

Your last album bought?
Cure for Pain by Morphine.

Favorite album of all time?
Is This It by The Strokes. This is the one album that I constantly listen to that I am certain I will never get tired of. It is also the only album I can think of that I would give a 10/10. All of the songs on this album portray a different message not just in the lyrics, but in the fluidity and dynamics of the music as well. This album is for every type of mood and tells a story through emotion alone. Casablancas also provides lyrics that almost anyone can empathize with, and only lets his passion out of the box at the exact right moment. While listening to Is This It, I always find it impossible not to sing along.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
It’s hard for me to think of an album that was the most disappointing to me, because if I was disappointed by something, I pushed it out of my mind. If I had to pick one album I guess it would be Blink-182.

First concert attended?
Simon and Garfunkel at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. I was very young, so I only remember bits and pieces. My love of folk music comes from Simon and Garfunkel, as they were one of the first pieces of music I ever remember listening to.

The first concert I remember attending was Sum 41’s “Does this Look Infected” reunion tour. This was my first punk show and I will never forget that moment when the band came on and the crowd instantly condensed so tightly that I could barely breathe. I was 13 and only 5’5 at the time, and I had never felt more alive. I can’t even describe the aftermath of that show, the smells that rushed into my nose were so putrid and foul, but I loved every second of it. At that age, I had never witnessed a crowd be so influenced by the presence of a band. I had never even seen a group of that many people express themselves in a free and uninhibited way. It was magical, I wish I could go back to that night.

Last concert?
The last show I was at was Can’t Swim at The Smiling Moose.

Favorite concert ever?
Tobacco, Spiritualized, and The Flaming Lips. This concert happened during my freshman year of high school. It was definitely one of the first times I felt like I was a part of something, and not just observing it. My friends and I were stoked for the lineup, this was the first time we had all collectively gone to a show because we all have differing tastes. I will never forget when the Lips closed the show with “Do You Realize”, it was an emotional journey. We were all hugging and crying and belting along the words, we didn’t care how obnoxious it seemed. Then when they left the stage a gigantic LED light display spelled out LOVE on the projector, and it kept flashing until the entire crowd was chanting: “LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!” the Lips then came back out for their encore. I felt like I was in another world.

Least favorite concert?
That’s tough, because I’ve never had a negative experience at a concert. The closest one that comes to mind is probably The Flaming Lips and The Black Keys at Consol Energy Center. I was mostly excited to see the Lips; I was never a big fan of the Black Keys. I guess I was just disappointed that the Flaming Lips’ set wasn’t longer. It was also really lame being in that huge commercialized space, everyone drunk off of 6$ beer. I could sense that the people there didn’t come because they loved music and art and expression. I realized this when literally half the crowd left the stadium after The Black Keys played “Tighten Up”. I wish I was kidding.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I have lived in Pittsburgh all my life. Even though I’ve only been active in the music scene for a little over four years, I have made many friends and have made substantial progress along the way. I know there is SO much more hidden in the depths of the DIY scene, and I can’t wait to see what else it has to offer. I find myself being surprised by something at every corner. I guess that’s what I love most about the city, is that you really never know what’s going to happen or who you’re going to meet, and each person I meet is more colorful than the last.

 

 

Thanks, Ryan. So glad you are continuing making music. Any chance of Rainbow Machine making a comeback? Let me be the first to know if and when…

 

 

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stand by your decisions fuck what people say you know the moment you forget that you start withering away

Sheridan Woika is a Pittsburgh based anti-folk singer songwriter (with a cool Elephant 6 vibe a-going) who is a self-described “rough n’ tumble kid from Appalachia just trying to work through my trauma and express myself n’ at” as evidenced via the couple of releases available on bandcamp, the latest being rabbits from August of 2020, with promises of more to come. I want to thank Sheridan (who produces all music and plays nearly all the instruments) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

 

The first album you ever bought?
First album I ever bought was All Eternals Deck by the Mountain Goats. Changed my life. I used to have these wild psychotic episodes where I couldn’t talk and was hallucinating n’ at. I’d put it on to calm me down. I probly listened to it 500 times.

Your last album bought?
I bought an album called San Francisco by American Music Club, super underrated slowcore-kinda thing. Really interesting arrangements and the guy has this super unique singing voice, which that’s really what I go for in music these days, just weird and enigmatic singing voices. Like Björk or something.

Favorite album of all time?
I just can’t pick. Maybe it’s Love It Love It by Nana Grizol on account of all the good memories associated with it.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
People That Can Eat People by Andrew Jackson Jihad because I was in this sort of abusive relationship with this guy and it was his favorite album, so it always makes me feel like bleeeehhhg…

First concert attended?
Pink Floyd, Division Bell tour, in Syracuse right before I moved to Pittsburgh. I had seen live My first big one was I saw MGMT at a really bad music festival and my one friend kept saying she was gonna storm onto the stage and kill Andrew Van Wyngarden, I don’t remember why?

Last concert?
Well it is quarantine, but I went to like a rave back in… February.

Favorite concert ever?
My friend’s band came from Atlanta to play in my other friend’s basement and only like three people came but we just had a blast anyway.

Least favorite concert?
Hmmm… any concert where it’s just guitar guys singing about their exes or stuff like that.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I’ve lived here for a couple years now and I really do love it, but it’s got issues. Getting involved with the activist communities here really helped nurture my love for it. It’s got a long history of human rights violations alongside some really beautiful inspirational stories. I’ve traveled all over and Pittsburgh hits different, it really does.

 

Thanks, Sheridan. I have to say, your album/show picks are taking me back to where I started all this HughShows craziness. Those ‘indie’ bands opened my eyes to a whole new musical world that I never knew existed.

 

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Be safe. Stay weird. Embrace your inner creature today!

Normal Creatures is a Pittsburgh based hip-hop/rock group (formerly known as Sikes and The New Violence, who have been rocking hard since 2015) who cooked up big plans today for the release of their latest album Nightmare Arcade. Among the merch bundles (vinyl, cassettes, CD, shirt, buttons, pendant, beanie, hoodie, ZINE!) and streaming options, there is an online album release show ‘fakestream‘ going down later tonight at 8pm. Many thanks to local mainstay Brian Sikes Howe (Vocals/Dope Spits) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

 

The first album you ever bought?
The first album I remember buying with my own birthday money was Green Day’s Dookie from 1994. I was probably 9 years old and I still really love that album. I don’t have the CD from when I was a kid but I did pick up another copy on vinyl later in life that I still proudly listen to from time to time. Kind of wild to believe that it was recorded almost 30 years ago. Yikes!

Your last album bought?
I recently went out to New Kensington to visit my friend AJ’s record shop Preserving Underground on my birthday and treated myself to new pile of records. I won’t go through the entire list but the one piece from the pile that I was probably the most excited about would be a copy of Fear Factory’s Obsolete album from 1998. I’ve spent the past decade really trying to catalog all of my favorite childhood and teenage albums on vinyl and that Fear Factory record was one of the final pieces missing from my collection. Best birthday gift ever even if I still had to pay for it!

Favorite album of all time?
Mindless Self Indulgence’s Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy from 2000. Even though there is plenty that wrong with this album in hindsight, I simply cannot deny the impact that it had on my life. Hearing this album for the first time was legitimately life changing in every dramatic aspect of the phrase. It shifted my entire perspective on music, art, society, identity and set me on the path for the person that I am today. On the surface, the album may seem like nothing more than a collection of goofy sounds and crude humor but beneath the surface I think there are some very complex layers to the album that a lot of people overlook because of it’s unapologetically uninviting nature. I won’t get into all of it here but I actually made a fairly in-depth video about it that is on my podcasts YouTube channel. Feel free to look up ‘Start The Beat Podcast’ if you’re curious!

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I don’t really feel like it is healthy to mentally hold onto things that disappoint me or to keep track of one’s “least favorite” things so I can’t really think of anything off the top of my head. I’m really sitting here trying to come up with something but I am having a difficult time even tapping into it. I think when I was younger it would have been easier to answer this question but these days, I honestly try to give every album I hear the same level of respect & understanding. Ultimately, if I don’t like an album I just assume that it’s not for me and move on. To not leave you hanging though, I will say that out of all the artists who I have an infinite amount of respect for, Bjork has honestly probably been the most disappointing for me personally over the past decade. I still follow her work and have seen her live multiple times over the past decade but it just feels like her art is reaching a point of selfishness that has become difficult for me to find any meaning in. It’s incredibly disappointing to me because of she’s always been a huge inspiration. I’m incredibly happy that she is still active and has carved out a place in the world for herself to create the art she wants to create. It’s a really beautiful thing to see. I just wish I still connected with it the way that I used to. Her live performance from 2002 at the Royal Opera House in London still gives me chills every damn time I watch it. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. The whole thing is on YouTube.

First concert attended?
I’m actually not so certain about this. I went to a lot of shows when I was pretty young because my Dad and my Uncle were both music lovers who would attend a lot of concerts. Once I was old enough to start going with them to shows I went to a lot of shows. I was only probably 8 or 9 years old though. When I was talking with my Dad recently he brought up taking me to see Weird Al Yankovic and said that it was my first concert. I remember going to a lot of shows when I was a kid and I honestly don’t remember which one was “first” so I’ll just have to take his word for it!

Last concert?
Not counting shows that I was playing of course, I think the last “BIG” concert that I attended was when Iron Maiden played at the PPG Paints Arena in August of 2019.

Favorite concert ever?
Rammstein. May 2012 in Cleveland. Probably the best live band on the planet. For someone with my taste in music anyways… Hah!

Least favorite concert?
As I mentioned before, I’m not huge on keeping track of “least favorite” things. However, one of the most miserable experiences I have ever had at a live show was seeing Feist in July, 2012. The performance was great but the crowd was terrible. It was an outdoor show and for whatever reason, the crowd seemed to have no regard for the artists performing. By the nature of her music, the mix was kinda low and the crowd was very loud. It just sucked. I hope that if I ever get to see her perform again that it is in a more intimate setting with a crowd that actually wants to be at a show.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I’ve built an entire life for myself out of being an active member of the Pittsburgh music community. I’ve been going to shows since I was a kid, playing in bands since I was a teenager and working full time for a local record label for the better part of the past decade. I’ve also done a lot of freelance audio, art and video work for other artists in the city and have been hosting a podcast focused on the Pittsburgh Music Scene for the past 7 years. Hell, I even found the house that I currently live in through a friend who I met at a local show over 10 years ago. The connections and friendships that I have made in this community have put me in a very cool place and if I had never been a part of this world, I have no idea what my life would look like. It’s not uncommon to hear people poo-poo on the Pittsburgh music scene but I think there is plenty of opportunity here for anyone who is willing to be a decent person and work hard on putting out a good product. Obviously, Covid has complicated the situation and I don’t need to explain why or how to anyone reading this. When we’re on the other side of the pandemic however, I know our scene will be back and just as strong as ever. There are way too many people who care about this community for it to die.

 

Thanks, Sikes. Have fun tonight. Always a supporter of yours, buddy. You do great work with your efforts for the Pittsburgh musical landscape. ‘Start the Beat‘ is definitely a required must see/listen for any Pittsburgh music fan.

 

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Photo courtesy Shauna Miller

 

Need a sip of something quicker, the truest eyes under the bluest skies always shine through

Jack Swing is is a Pittsburgh based rock and roll band that has three fantastic EPs under their belt and are making a lot of noise in town through their dynamic and in your face performances. Ready to take the next step, the band has just started an Indiegogo campaign to be able to produce their debut full-length. There are many levels with varying perks and every little bit truly does help. Click the link below as I thank frontman Isaiah Ross (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Jack Swing Indiegogo

The first album you ever bought?
I want to say Weezer’s Blue Album? It may have been American Idiot by Green Day though.

Your last album bought?
Aja by Steely Dan, needed CDs for my new car.

Favorite album of all time?
Hmm, that’s very tough. Axis: Bold as Love is a safe bet. There’s other things that are up there for sure, but that is definitely a constant.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Truly am not sure, I’d say I have an issue with Greta Van Fleet’s entire discography.

First concert attended?
Weezer. I believe I was… 14?

Last concert?
It’s been so long that it’s hard to remember. Aside from ones that we’ve played I want to say it was the Rave Ami 10 Year Anniversary Show.

Favorite concert ever?
Queens of the Stone Age on their Like Clockwork tour. I worked at the venue at the time but made sure to go to that show strictly for pleasure. I remember it being one of the tightest and most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. Also surprisingly up there was the time I saw Hall and Oates. I was extremely impressed.

Least favorite concert?
21 Pilots. Another experience courtesy of working at a concert venue. These guys infuriate me.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I believe Pittsburgh is a city with so much beauty and potential. The smallest big city in the world. Somewhere that I definitely recognize the work that needs to be done but ultimately am extremely proud to have been born and bred in this city.

 

Thanks, Isaiah. Been a fan of yours for a couple of years now and really looking forward to the new album when it comes out!

 

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I am desperate, as of lately for it hasn’t been my year and the life that I’m living  brings me no sense of cheer

Sam Stuckey is a Pittsburgh based Roots, Progressive Bluegrass, and Country music artist and singer/songwriter. His blending of guitar picking styles complements his higher, rustic bluegrass harmony as evidenced on his debut EP from earlier in 2020 entitled Euphoric Premier. I want to thank Sam (Acoustic Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

 

The first album you ever bought?
Oh, gosh! I’m not sure I can even think back that far! Well, if I had to guess, it was probably an early Pink Floyd record – I used to eat that stuff up when I was younger. I loved everything about the arrangements, they lyric writing, the emotion in every beat – it’s really great stuff. What’s even more impressive, and what puts them above the rest for me, is the idea that each album they produced was different, while still maintaining the sound they were going for. For example, when you listen to The Wall front to back, you can feel this… subconscious tone throughout-this deep, dark, sad feeling in the tunes, in the lyrics, etc. However, take something like The Final Cut from their later years, and that same sort of feeling is there, BUT the arrangements, the presentation, the delivery – is completely different. When you, as an artist, can keep your fans engaged and entertained in your music, while still stretching the boundaries with the creativity of it, and still keep a hold of your sound, that really says something.

Your last album bought?
That’s an interesting question. I, like the millions of other millennials, grew up not having to “buy records.” Everything now is at the tips of your fingers on your phone or computer. Apart of me wishes it wasn’t like that, but that’s a whole other conversation. I’m not sure I remember the last one I bought, but the last one I listened to front to back was The Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson & Clarence Ashby: 1960-1962. It’s a collection of snippets from recording sessions and live shows in the 60s when Doc and Clarence played together – a mix of bluegrass and old-time, where each would take the spotlight, and they would share tunes between themselves, and with a backing band. It’s really neat stuff. I came upon it when I heard Billy Strings play a song called “Maggie Walker.” Of all the famous gals in bluegrass, I’d never heard that name before. So, I begin investigating, and found this record almost immediately. It’s so funny to listen to this stuff-there’s so much crossover in lyrical content. It’s like some guy listened to his buddy play a song he wrote, and then the guy goes “Dang, that was really good. Now I gotta go write something similar, so that I can use that line somewhere!” Before ya know it, there’s one particular lyric that can be sung into 20 or 30 different songs at the drop of a hat.

Favorite album of all time?
My favorite album right now is Alison Krauss & Union Station’s Everytime You Say Goodbye. The 90s for that group was stellar. I’ve always been a huge fan of Alison and her musical career, particularly with this arrangement. A lot of what I do is derived from this album – a nice blend of meaty traditional bluegrass, but with a progressive flare that keeps you wanting more. She hit it right on the button-no wonder she’s the most prized Grammy winner of all time.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Not really sure. I think that most of the music I’ve listened to has something great about it. Anyone who is really dedicated to music won’t record and release something that is subpar – musicians are crazy like that.

First concert attended?
I was a single digit age (not sure when) and my sister and cousins wanted to see The Backstreet Boys in concert. All I really remember from that show was how the band got on stage – it was a dark blue stage, and all you could see was the band fly in from the opposite side of the stadium dome, on individual glowing surfboards – I thought that was really weird. What’s even funnier is that when they got to the stage, there were men that had to help them off of their boards, so they didn’t break an ankle or something. 😂

Last concert?
It might have been DelFest 2019 – got to see Del McCoury, Billy Strings, Ricky Skaggs, and a bunch of other heavy hitters. I also got my band scramble band on both the main stage and the Potomac Stage for winning at The Academy.

Favorite concert ever?
I’ve got two – first, I got to see Roger Waters perform The Wall in its entirety when I was a senior in high school. If you want to see an all-encompassing entertainment show, that’s the one people should see-flying pigs, blow-up puppets on stage, the light show is extraordinary, and of course, the GIANT wall on the front of the stage, covering the band-like, who comes up with that stuff. The other was a whim show – I came back from college one weekend, and my dad and I got handicap tickets to see Jackson Browne at the Palace Theater in Greensburg. My favorite solo artist show – Jackson knows how to write a song and play it on the piano or guitar. Wow.

Least favorite concert?
Not sure. If you count some of the open mics I’ve been to as concerts, then maybe I could tell you about one, but I like to get my performers before I go see them live.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
So far, Pittsburgh has been really good to me. Especially for not being a heavy bluegrass town. One of my favorite experiences was with my first band I was a part of, Well Strung. First gig I was booked for was a corporate event, and who did we open up for? Bluegrass legend and Pittsburgh native Mac Martin. After we played our set, he came over to our table and asked, “So, you boys call that bluegrass?” We all laughed. We knew it wasn’t bluegrass in the traditional sense, but music does have to evolve, and I think Mac realized that.

 

 

Thanks, Sam. So great to hear your perception of Pink Floyd. I love them as well and you can hear a common thread throughout their catalogue while at the same time each album having a concentrated difference and growth.

 

 

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The howl of wheels on rails like a banshee’s cry but the dawn transforms it to a siren’s song

Doors In The Labyrinth is the darkwave electronic project of Pittsburgh based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Josh Loughrey. Drawing from his diverse background including synthpop, ambient/noise, film scores, traditional folk and more, Doors In The Labyrinth creates dark, often introspective landscapes with rich arrangements and instrumentation, and intense lyrics with a wide range of subjects as evidenced on the song “Something Wicked”, the first single off their upcoming album In the Shadow of the Monolith. I want to thank Josh (Guitars/Synth/Bass/Electronics/Programming/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The soundtrack to “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”. I’d like to play it cool and say it wasn’t for the Bryan Adams song, but when I got it, it was the Michael Kamen score that hooked me. The overture is, in my opinion, one of the best pieces of film music written.

Your last album bought?
The new album by locals The Molecule Party. Haven’t really dug into it yet, but they’re good folks and a lot of fun live!

Favorite album of all time?
Boingo (1994). A change and farewell for new wave stalwarts Oingo Boingo, darker and showing Elfman’s orchestral experiences. The funny thing is, I don’t even like every track (if I never heard “Pedestrian Wolves” again…) and as hard as it is to say a favorite of all time, the opening track “Insanity” is easily my favorite song, and so many others are just brilliant (the weaving guitars of “Spider”, the psychedelic madness of “Change”). No album has impacted me as much as that one.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Belly’s King, but not because I don’t like it. It’s fine, has some good songs. However, the b-sides of the era are some of my favorite songs, and I can’t help but wonder why that wasn’t the album instead!

First concert attended?
Pink Floyd, Division Bell tour, in Syracuse right before I moved to Pittsburgh. I had seen live music before, but that was the first “real” concert I went to. An experience I’ll never forget.

Last concert?
Wovenhand with OM at Spirit in March, just before the lockdown. Second time seeing Wovenhand, first seeing OM (though I had seen Sleep before). Beautifully intense and overwhelming show, and really impacted the music I’m making now.

Favorite concert ever?
Peter Hook and the Light, performing Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Closer in their entirety. It’s hard to pick a favorite show, just as it’s hard to pick a favorite album, but Closer was a huge influence, and seeing the material performed live, as close as I’ll ever get to seeing the band was a religious experience for me.

Least favorite concert?
My least favorite are the shows that I’ve missed. Sometimes life comes up and you can’t make it. This year I had tickets to several bucket-list level concerts that were cancelled due to Covid-19. So if we have to pick one, I was supposed to see Einstürzende Neubauten on Halloween, and I didn’t.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I’ve been involved in a lot of different music scenes here in Pittsburgh, and my favorite thing has always been the people. Lots of people trying different things, making all sorts of music, and not afraid to take risks. Most of the people are fantastic, and I’m always excited to hear and share the stage with other bands, and the crowds are always fun to play for. Things are rough right now with venues shutting down, but I know things will come back strong!

 

Thanks, Josh. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment about the amazing people that make up the Pittsburgh musical landscape. So supportive, so nice, and so willing to engage and help each other out.

 

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Neostem is a loud, rock band band from Pittsburgh that produces the rustic sounds that embodies the working class town in which they call home as evidenced on their latest release, Return to Sender from March of 2020. I want to thank Rob Marsili (Drums/Percussion) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil. The album that changed my life! Was a game changer.

Your last album bought?
Sacred Reich – Awakening. Solid thrash album.

Favorite album of all time?
LIVE – Throwing Copper. Top to bottom, a perfect album.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Metallica – St. Anger. As a drummer, HATED the snare sound and the songs were lackluster. Huge disappointment as a Metallica fan. I gave it away to a friend the next day.

First concert attended?
Barry Manilow. Parents took my sister, brother and me to the Civic Arena, and not trying to be funny, third song in, I fell asleep.

Last concert?
Y&T at the Crafthouse. Finally got to see them live and it was a memorable “last” concert before all Hell broke loose this past year with Covid.

Favorite concert ever?
Pink Floyd, Division Bell Tour at Three Rivers Stadium. Nothing will come close to that show. The sound, visuals, atmosphere. It was spectacular!

Least favorite concert?
I have walked out on two shows in my life. Motley Crue’s 1994 tour and the Counting Crows’ Recovering the Satellites tour at the Palumbo Center. Uninspiring and forgettable performances.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh has a lot of great musicians that we’ve met and played with. It’s a diverse group of all genres and if you look hard enough, you will find someone or a group of musicians that shares your musical outlook and goals. NEOSTEM have played some really memorable shows, whether it’s 95 degrees in the shade or 30 degrees where we could see our breath. You have to be able to adapt because you never know what obstacles you will be given. I think we have done quite well, whether we are sharing a bill with a thrash band or a rockabilly band. We can play with anyone!

 

 

Thanks, Rob. That Division Bell show was great but I will always remember the crazy party waiting in the stadium line all night for tickets to go on sale. When the box office opened in the morning, half the people waiting were still sleeping and people just arrived and walked up to the front of the line. It was a beautiful, chaotic mess.

 

 

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The bridge to curiosity bended with my questions as I poked it not to break but to show it some tension

Leila Rhodes is a Pittsburgh based singer, producer and guitarist who created her recently released debut full-length album Attunement solo but has since been playing her songs with a band made up of Ty Danzuso on rhythm guitar, Eric Dowdell (Bass Ric) on bass, and Colin Humphrey on drums that takes them to another level live. I want to thank Leila for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Insomniac – Green Day.

Your last album bought?
Voicemails and Conversations – INEZ.

Favorite album of all time?
Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest.

First concert attended?
Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Last concert?
Sierra Sellers.

Favorite concert ever?
Janet Jackson.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
The music scene is so much bigger than I had thought previously. There are really incredible people in it who are not only talented but truly great hearted and genuine.

Thanks, Leila. I have to agree, the positivity I see within the Pittsburgh music community is something that I have witnessed for so many years now that sometimes I have to be reminded just how special it is here.

 

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…reminiscent of your lonely Emo days

The Middle Room is a Pop-Punk/Emo quartet from Pittsburgh. They popped onto the scene at the beginning of 2020 and haven’t let up since, releasing 4 singles throughout the year and a 7 track debut EP at the beginning of November entitled Never Satisfied. Their main interests include goofing off and eating chili dogs. I want to hank Mikey Dripps (Lead Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
When I was a kid I had a lot of burned albums from my friends, but when I first used my own money to buy a real album I bought three: The Used, Brand New – Deja Entendu, Silverstein – Discovering the Waterfront.

Your last album bought?
I honestly haven’t bought an album in so long I can’t even remember! I normally show my support by buying merch or something. But if I had to recommend an album right now it would be either Execution Days’ new album or Seaways’ new album.

Favorite album of all time?
There’s no way I could ever choose just one but New Miserable Experience by Gin Blossoms and From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy come to mind.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Probably Folie á Deux by Fall Out Boy. It’s by no means a bad album but they were like my heroes and it pretty much solidified their departure from their old sound that shaped my musical journey.

First concert attended?
Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects, Hawthorne Heights and From First to Last in 2005.

Last concert?
Besides the one we played in March, it was As I Lay Dying and After the Burial around this time last year.

Favorite concert ever?
I don’t even remember the year but it was Alestorm and Epica. Alestorm had always been a favorite of my friend group and we always jammed out to them at parties, so we went to see them and when Epica went on it was my first time seeing them and my mind was just melted. I couldn’t get my jaw off the floor.

Least favorite concert?
Blink-182, A Day to Remember and All Time Low.
Now I know what you’re thinking. How could that be my least favorite concert? Well, it was just a combination of things. All Time Low was great and A Day to Remember blew me away with their live performance but then Blink-182 came on and I was totally let down. They just didn’t sound good at all even with the new singer. Could have been an off night or something I don’t know but they just sounded bad. On top of that I was there with my ex and we were fighting and there were college kids everywhere blowing vape clouds in my face and I had to work the next morning. Just killed a vibe of what should have been a great show.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I just love the live music scene in Pittsburgh. When bands go on national tours we normally get one of the shows around here. I also love the metal scene around here. Lots of great bands blowing up. I’m happy to see it.

 

Thanks, Mikey. Fun stuff, man. I agree about bands blowing up around here. I have a feeling you might be one of them!

 

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HughShows welcomes back contributing music journalist Mara Meyer. A graduate of Point Park University, Mara is also a visual artist and concert photographer, who is beginning her career within the Pittsburgh music landscape and I couldn’t be more thrilled in highlighting her wonderful work on the blog.

Merce Lemon / Moonth / Released August 14, 2020

Singer songwriter, Merce Lemon was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. While dabbling around in the punk scene at an early age, it wasn’t until her late teens that she truly found her voice. After traveling back to her hometown in 2017, with her dad by her side she gathered a new band. Merce recently released her indie album Moonth on August 14, 2020 bringing some light to the year. All profit from the release will be donated to The Black Unicorn: Library and Archives Project. The Pittsburgh based project focuses on the influence of storytelling from Black women including queer, trans and gender nonconforming people. It encourages the artistic freedom to explore and transform backed by a strong community.

Moonth evolves into a deep look at one’s self, relationships and their connections drawing you in. Merce’s voice holds truth and candor allowing the listener to relate to each word. The 15 track album was released by Crafted Sounds and Darling Recordings.

Fantasy and past memories come to life in the opening track “Dragon Friends”. Merce dwells on reliving childlike memories with her soothing aesthetic. Knowing Merce started music at a young age allows the realness of the lyrics to shine taking us back to her thoughts in school. The album takes a wishful, sad approach in “Chili Packet”. Although the sadness is softened by the lighthearted nature of ‘stupid bets’ relying on her recollection. The depth of sadness can be washed away with recalling spirited moments of silliness. The comical essence becomes more upbeat in “Golden Lady Sauerkraut. The humor stands with a marching tune building up as the track ascends. Merce takes her voice down to the mellow roots with her feel good song “Baby”. The track builds as we receive a joyous ambience of realizing what cannot be and moving on. The beat opens up to project looking forward to the future. Merce Lemon’s voice is seemingly irresistible and unique. The album allows her voice to stand out in its pureness. It’s undeniable in “Disco Ball” with just a subtle background guitar. The album turns to a darker tone in “Dolly Sods Blues” where Merce takes a solemn approach with deep lyrics “The leaves are jumping to their death / Have you thought of doing that?”. Showing off the band, instrumental moments shine through in, “Puddles”. It begins with nearly a minute long intro of clanging and enters into imagination through use of imagery. Halfway through the flute becomes prominent giving it a whimsical tone. Merce seems fond of the connection to water throughout the album while relating lyrics to rain, puddles and the ocean. Nonetheless, Merce is one to add slight humor and artistry into her lyrics. It is to no surprise she would close out the album with a 19 second long track screaming “What the fuck are they / They’re eating all the hay / They’re horses they’re horses”!

The talented singer songwriter has proved her album a hit selling out cassettes on Bandcamp over and over. The album has been streamed by thousands and you can join them by going to wherever you listen to music now!

 

Written for hughshows.com by Mara Myer

 

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Ever feel negative and shitty and absolutely hate everything. to the point you just want to piss everyone off. This is for you.

The Anti-Psychotics formed around 2010 in Ford City, Pennsylvania as a four piece with two guitar, bass and drums. The band has three song writers in Ian, Mike and Eric. They released three albums between 2010 and 2014, the latest entitled Fully Medicated, which are available on BandCamp, Spotify and iTunes. They currently have another album in the works so stay tuned for that as I thank Eric Johns (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Social Distortion Live at the Roxy.

Your last album bought?
Amyl and the Sniffers.

Favorite album of all time?
The Dead Boys – Night of the Living Dead Boys.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
The Stooges at The Electric Circus. I just thought it sounded like shit.

First concert attended?
Blink – 182 and Bad Religion at the Mellon Arena.

Last concert?
The Addicts, don’t remember the name of the venue? It was in Pittsburgh. I’ve only been there once.

Favorite concert ever?
Hard to pick. I’ll say Social Distortion at the Ice Garden Arena. Tiger Army opened and after the show I met Mike Ness and Tiger Army almost beat up my friend. I’ll never forget it.

Least favorite concert?
Guttermouth at the Altar Bar. The sound sucked and they started throwing people out for taking their shirts off and dancing and the feel of the show suffered from it, though it was still better than sitting at home.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Growing into the music community. Developing as a crappy punk musician. starting out watching shows, then playing small shows, then getting on some bigger shows. meeting people… the whole experience. It made me who I am today.

Thanks, Eric. The sound sucking at Altar Bar? That is quite shocking… not.

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Reaching out, to an outer space reaching to annihilate – we’ve lost our grace

Horehound is a Pittsburgh based band who distills a potent blend of snarling riffs, morose melodies, and rhythmic intricacy that owes equally to doom metal convention and goth/dark ambient atmosphere since forming in 2015. Over the course of several releases, including their EP from 2019 entitled Weight, has established themselves as mainstays at major doom festivals as well as in cities over the East coast and Midwest. I want to thank Shy Kennedy (Synth/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first album I ever bought with my own money was Metallica’s …And Justice For All on cassette.

Your last album bought?
Come to Grief’s Pray For The End, although it wasn’t the latest release I purchased (Jan). Brimstone Coven (Woes of a Mortal Earth) I purchased about a month prior but it was the day it was released on 8/21.

Favorite album of all time?
An impossible absolute answer. I could never pick just one but the first Black Sabbath is one of the best albums ever written and stands the test of time as well as influenced an immeasurable amount of musicians, including myself and most every member we have ever had. It was released 50 years ago and still sends chills through me.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Metallica’s Load. I hate to even mention them twice in one article but they went from truly original inspiring musicians to commercial sell-outs. It was probably the best thing they could do for their careers but the worst thing they could do to their original fans.

First concert attended?
First pop concert ever was Paula Abdul. I was 8. First rock concert was Van Halen at 14.

Last concert?
Wovenhand opened for Om in Pittsburgh the Sunday before lockdown this year. I did get to catch Brimstone Coven at a private outdoor party in August which was much needed medicine but I don’t anticipate anything else until next year (hopefully).

Favorite concert ever?
Again, almost impossible to answer among so many great experiences. From a fan standpoint contenders would be Roger Waters, Prince, Cher, Godflesh, Sunn O))), Diamanda Galás, and Subrosa. I promote and run a lot of shows and my own festival and my first festival Descendants of Crom 2017 was by far the happiest musical day of my life from all standpoints.

Least favorite concert?
I once did some media coverage for a Warp Tour back in 2001. I got to interview Henry Rollins but most of the bands and crowd were excruciating for me. Let’s just say pop punk and most of the late 90’s alternative bands were among my least appreciated music then and now.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh isn’t the best or worst of anything but it is a great place for original music if you know how and where to look for it. It’s full of positive people who really support each other, and I am glad it’s a place I live and know intimately. We need to work better at keeping our venues, small and large, packed.

 

Thanks, Shy. Appreciate your commitment to contributing to the Pittsburgh musical landscape, both as a performer and as an organizer.

 

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HughShows welcomes back contributing music journalist Jill Berkin. A a UK-based writer and avid music enthusiast, she’s interested in shoegaze, rock, and alternative music. I couldn’t be more thrilled in highlighting her wonderful work on the blog.

Early in October, we received some of the best news of the year in the music business when it was announced that Phoebe Bridgers would be launching her own record label. NME’s report on Bridgers’ announcement revealed that the label will be called “Saddest Factory,” and that Bridgers herself will serve as its CEO. The beloved artist — who has truly become one of the most refreshing voices and lyricists in modern music — has said that the label will release material “from across the music spectrum.”

There are a lot of reasons to be thrilled with this announcement, the first of which — clearly — is that if Bridgers serves as any kind of model for her own label, we’re in for some wonderful discoveries. Bridgers herself was discovered initially by singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, and was quickly able to launch the career we’ve all since begun to follow. But had that first connection not happened, she may have remained on the fringes of the industry, even despite her undeniable talents.

This is actually a particularly cheerful thought to those who follow local music scenes closely. As we all know, there are all too many area-specific bands and singer-songwriters who simply ooze talent, but lack the connections or major discovery moments to “make it big,” so to speak. On the Pittsburgh scene, an act like Sadie’s Song comes to mind as one that could easily sell records and generate radio play given a proper opportunity; singer/songwriter Meghann Wright comes across almost a bit like Bridgers herself — not so much in style, but in substance, with a resonant emphasis on “songs of love, liquored memories, heartbreak, and resilience.”

This is of course not to suggest that Saddest Factory will be signing these specific artists. But anytime an artist as apparently thoughtful and unique as Phoebe Bridgers starts a label, there’s just a little bit more of a chance that artists like these, somewhere, are given a real chance.

To that point, it’s also particularly exciting to hear that Bridgers is not merely bankrolling this label, but will actually serve actively as the person in charge. This may seem inconsequential if you simply assume that a famous artist’s label will inevitably be shaped by unknown talent scouts and managers. But in this business, leadership matters. As ZenBusiness’s rundown of professional record labels puts it, control is the main benefit of starting such a business. The owner in a record label tends to have “complete control of every decision.” And while it’s certainly Bridgers’ prerogative to delegate, she does not seem the type to allow an act that she doesn’t personally approve of to appear on her label.

That’s an appealing thought, because there just aren’t many people in music today we’d trust more for quality control than Bridgers. Just recently, the artist once again proved that she has something of a preternatural gift for providing fans with music that is unique and unexpected, but wholly lovely. In a seemingly somewhat random gesture, Bridgers promised to cover “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls pending the results of the recent U.S. election. She followed through a few days later, with Maggie Rogers on the track alongside her — and according to an article at Billboard, the cover sold 28,000 in paid downloads in a single day of availability.

That sort of creativity and impulse would certainly seem to line up with thought processes and tendencies that would make for a fun, surprising, and successful label. And frankly, I could go on about various tendencies of Bridgers’ that point toward this being a fascinating venture. But suffice it to say she seems to be a rare combination: a thriving, one-of-a-kind artist who will give others like her a chance, but do so with impeccable quality control.

Sign me up!

Written for hughshows.com by Jill Birken

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its in the flowers of the ghostly light of the beez its in the ripples of the mattress springs

Thousandzz of Beez is a DIY indie band from Pittsburgh who’s latest release from July 2020 is entitled faceless toad, a loose concept album about a discovery in Connecticut by a herpetologist of an amphibian lacking a nose, eyes, jaw and tongue. Fun stuff! I want to thank H. Colt Paulson (Instruments/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Aquarium by Aqua from a K-mart near my house. I still break out that record on the regular.

Your last album bought?
Last Summer – Eleanor Friedberger. I’ve been poking around for it for quite some time.

Favorite album of all time?
Oh wow, hmm… that changes so often but I would have to say Random Spirit Lover by Sunset Rubdown is doing trick right now.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Probably when Le Tigre reunited and put out that horrendous song about Hillary Clinton. One of the main tragedies of 2016.

First concert attended?
Lilith Fair ’98 — this explains a lot.

Last concert?
of Montreal in Millvale.

Favorite concert ever?
Joanna Newsom in Philly last year.

Least favorite concert?
Swans. Fuck that band.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
This city continues to cultivate some really singular artists. The nine years I’ve been here have not dulled at all. Shout out to I4a, Sneeze awfull, moon baby, Spenking, ky vöss, Bruiser Beep, and olivia ii…so many more that I’m failing to remember right now.

 

Thanks, Hunter. Got to hear why the hate towards Swans. Message me and I can’t keep it hush-hush.

 

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