#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. //

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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HughShows would like to welcome contributing music journalist Jill Berkin to the fold. A a UK-based writer who was able to travel quite a lot before the pandemic and has had an awesome experience with the people and places while visiting Pittsburgh. As an 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.

Dirty Projectors – Super João EP

Dirty Projectors have been indie rock mainstays since they launched their debut album The Glad Fact back in 2003. Here in Pittsburgh, we were witness to the group’s musical prowess when they played a stellar show in May 2018. As that concert proved, the band is still lauded as one of the best groups in the industry as they continue to push boundaries with their unique and experimental brand of music.

2018’s Lamp Lit Prose is a great example of this, as the band really leaned into their eccentricity by using the Critter & Guitari Pocket Piano and other synths to create a sonic hodgepodge of melodies and sounds that only a creative force like them could have successfully pulled off. Experimentation is part of the reason why Dirty Projectors are so great, which is why it isn’t surprising that they continue to redefine their sound with each new project.

The band’s latest release, Super João, is yet another testament to how playful the band can be with their sound. Settling is seemingly not a part of their plans, as they’ve yet again delivered a unique musical experience packaged with the four tracks of this EP. If you want to know more about this, read on for our review of Dirty Projectors’ Super João!

Five EP Cycle and Super João

Before we jump into the review, it’s important to give a little background information on this EP. Rolling Stone’s article on the EP’s announcement details that Super João is the third EP of the group’s five-EP cycle for 2020. And just like their last project, Flight Tower which drifted towards an uncharacteristic R&B sound, the group has also decided to try a different approach with this record.

The group has gone a more minimalist route with this EP, as they’ve really reeled in the sound. They’ve opted to swap out the multitude of different instruments that they usually use for a barer setup, as the songs on the EP are driven solely by a nylon-string acoustic guitar. This shouldn’t be too surprising as the namesake for the EP, João Gilberto, pioneered the Brazilian bossa nova movement. This is put front and center in “I Get Carried Away”, as the rhythmic plucking style sounds like it was transposed directly from Gilberto’s “Insensatez”.

Another key difference with this EP comes in the form of the vocals. Unlike the previous EPs in the cycle, David Longstreth is the sole vocalist on this project. And while it’s been great to hear the other members of the band singing, Longstreth’s performance on the album is one for the ages. Indeed, the Shure SM7B’s impeccable sound clarity is on full display as it brings out the natural elements of a Longstreth’s voice. Longstreth’s vocal chops are on full display right off the bat in the EP’s first track “Holy Mackerel”. Longstreth serenades the listener and preps them for what’s to come, as this may not be what people expected from a Dirty Projectors record.

Overall

Bands are often castigated for veering off the path that their listeners and fans have put them on. However, Dirty Projectors have made a career of perpetually redefining themselves and constantly trying new things. This latest EP is no exception to this. And while it could come off as gimmicky, this project is a testament to the group’s deep admiration and respect for different types and genres of music. Super João is a love letter to a proud genre, a worthy addition to the group’s body of work.

 

Written for hughshows.com by Jill Birken

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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.

Anthony Heubel and the High Lonesome Band / Released April 2020

Anthony Heubel and the High Lonesome Band join up to bring folk/Americana vibes with a slight country twist. The Pittsburgh, PA based group consists of Anthony Heubel and Zach Bronder on guitar and vocals, Pat Coyle on drums, vocals and percussion, Nate Campisi on bass, Greg Decarolis on keys, piano, organ and bass, Read Connolly on pedal steel and dobro and Richie Colosimo on trumpet. The group together released their self-titled album on April 24, 2020 through Wild Kindness Records. The album provides a 10 track set solely written by Anthony Heubel. The album was recorded by Campisi at a camp in the Allegheny National Forest. Heubel wrote this personal album based off of experiences he has endured. The listener is taken on a journey of ups and downs along with him as he reflects.

The beginning track entitled “A Good Ending” starts off with an instant catchy heavy acoustic guitar and overlaying sound to get you moving. You may find yourself tapping your foot along to the beat. Heubel reminisces on nights with friends and the never ending life story they are creating. The next track “Gutter” leads off on a more solemn note of hardships and leads to a climax of finding one’s place and continuing forward. In “Desert Islander” one instrument is added at a time to create an undeniable folk rhythm. The instrumental sections dominate this track as I found myself being taken away with the melody. The intro to “Beg or Borrow” is accompanied by a whistle tone adding yet another level to the arrangement. The track gives off more of a stripped down feel with the accompaniment of acoustic guitar throughout the piece. “Avalanche” shows off Heubel’s vocal range with words of thoughts and feelings holding him down yet trying to find a reason to hold on to hope. In “Ode To Jesse” the stripped down arrangement allows the vocals to truly shine. Heubel’s vocals allow a pure and honest approach drawing one into the story of loss and separation. The seventh track on the album “Real love” explains how there may be bumps but there will always be love. This song I found as the most relatable as relationships take work but together can conquer all. “Spitting Image” turns from indie to rock vibes halfway through. The ending feels like a celebration with the trumpet becoming prominent. The ninth track “Sad Old Moon” layers vocals for emphasis. The track feels mystical and wholesome as it stands out against the others on the album. I can imagine this live as the lights go low and the crowd sway along in awe. “This Same Old Way” closes the album with an inviting melody and thought grabbing lyrics as Heubel sings “No one should have to get used to living like nothings gonna change”.

The storytelling qualities of Anthony Heubel and the High Lonesome band along with their musical talent has brought about an incredible piece of work. The full album is available to listen on Bandcamp.

 

Written for hughshows.com by Mara Myer

 

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HughShows would like to welcome contributing music journalist Mara Meyer to the fold. A recent 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.

Lady Jessica / ADD MIXTAPE / Released January 2020

Pittsburgh born and Boston-based artist Lady Jessica aims to bring joy through her newest work of art. The groove-based singer, songwriter, keyboardist and performer uses her tunes to get the audience in the groove with her. Lady Jessica, student at Berklee College of Music put a collection of her work together ranging throughout 2019. The former member of band entitled Sun Hound discovered a solo root with a mix of genres. Lady Jessica’s work ‘ADD Mixtape’ released January 1, 2020 provides a short length fourteen song collection for the “on-the-go listener”. She produced and engineered every song honing into her true musical talent. While finding the “stoner-soul” sound as Lady Jessica describes the mix turns into a vibe itself.

The song “Glow” starts off the 14 song album with lyrics of growth and moving into the light with a positive upbeat accompaniment. It is followed by the electronic snipes of “Fallen” hinting on the effects of social media. The upbeat sound with sultry vocals of “Share My World” shares some love. A tune of strength backs a deeper vibe in her next piece “Arrow Song”. Lady Jessica brings back the love with a touch of lust in “I Just Wanna” as a heavy keyboard sound brings depth to the piece. In “You’re A Zombie” she hits a deep tone with striking vocals in a hit against media. Halfway through the album, Lady Jessica brings us into her life with “Night Walk” featuring a calming tune while focusing on her strong vocals with strategic belts. The shortest song on the album “Intuition” keeps us wanting more as the repetition makes the piece unforgettable. “Saying it Aloud” brings us major R&B vibes paired with lyrics of hurt and confusion. “Clear my mind” is said to connect the soul to the body. When listening to this piece I found myself relaxed and ‘clearing my mind’ as the lyrics suggest through the range of musical accompaniment. The eleventh track of the album “Buried Treasure” gives off mysterious vibes with its hypnotic instrumentation along with alluring vocals. Following is Lady Jessica’s “It’s Okay” with positive lyrics and upbeat instrumentation. The “outerlude” is focused on calming you down as I felt my eyes close as I swayed along, doing just the trick. The fourteen track album finishes off with “Gatekeeper” (Remastered) which relies heavily on Lady Jessica’s vocal range as she sings about moving forward.

Lady Jessica’s collection of work has involved growth, overcoming challenges and getting to know oneself. The fourteen song collection is available to listen right now on Bandcamp.

 

Written for hughshows.com by Mara Myer

 

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