“Coed Pageant is the side project of Bradley and Gretchen Bergstrand (The Palace Flophouse). In 2012, Coed formed with the intent to make four EPs in one year, one for each season. Barely squeezed into the living room of their tiny duplex while their kitten climbs curiously through the musical jungle gym, the duo creates songs that emit successive surprises to even the most frequent listener, for an experience with continuous revelations, both musically and lyrically. Their sound finds a creative balance between straightforward narrations, catchy melodies, and folky tendencies, and broader songwriting style, atypical harmonies, and sundry vocal arrangements. Coed’s music contains traces of the domestic environment where the songs were created, exposing the band’s organic songwriting and song-building process. However, through the storytelling duo’s uniquely paced narratives and ambitious composition, the songs convey a much larger and grander scope than one might expect from a two-person band with a drum set where their living room sofa used to be. Following the Feb. 10 release of Winter Blitz, the second installment Rumspringa (extended title: The Seasons EPs Volume 2: Rumspringa) debuted April 21, 2012.”
The duo stop in Pittsburgh tonight at Howler’s with Broken Fences and Ray Lanich. My thanks to Bradley and Gretchen for participating in this edition of First/Last.
- The first album you ever bought?
- Bradley Bergstrand: I think it was “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” by Spin Doctors. I hope it was, because if not it was “II” by Boyz II Men. Gretchen Bergstrand: I remember rocking out to Amy Grant’s “El Shaddai” single on cassette, but my older sister gave that to me. I think the first album I bought was probably Hanson’s “Middle of Nowhere”.
- Your last album bought?
- Bradley: The last album I bought was a local band from Champaign called Anna Karenina/Anna Karina.
- Gretchen: The last album I bought was “Graft Raid” EP by local band Midstress.
- Favorite album of all time?
- Bradley: I would have to say “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” by Pavement. I bought it when I was very young and it somehow still sounds fresh and amazing when I listen to it now.
- Gretchen: Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”. Can’t really say enough about it, but you’ve all heard it. It never gets old.
- Least favorite/most disappointing album?
- Bradley: I wouldn’t say it’s my least favorite, but definitely the most disappointing album of all time for me was “The Green Album” (Weezer). I thought it was almost guaranteed to be the greatest album of all time, and it is most definitely not anywhere even remotely close to that level. It was, in my opinion, quite a jarring contrast to their first two albums.
- Gretchen: This is a bit of a stretch, but Mates of States’s “Mountaintops” album didn’t quite pack the punch their previous work does. It’s a good record but just didn’t meet my perhaps unreasonably high expectations. I hope they do something daring with their next record.
- First concert attended?
- Bradley: The first show I ever went to was Modest Mouse. It was right before “The Moon and Antarctica” came out and I was 16 and in Chicago without my parents for the first time and it was incredible. I think that show removed any doubt I may have once had about wanting to be a musician when I grew up.
- Gretchen: Backstreet Boys in St. Louis. For her birthday, my friend got to take two friends (me included) to see them. It was fun! I loved them then.
- Last concert?
- Bradley: The last concert we both saw, was David Bazan playing in someone’s living room. There were maybe 30 people there. It was really cool.
- Gretchen: Or last night, we saw a Pittsburgh band here (Action Camp) in Champaign, along with a local band.
- Favorite concert ever?
- Bradley: That is a tough one. I’m going to go with The Avett Brothers. I saw them in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had no idea what to expect. Then they came out and just destroyed the place. I’ve never seen anyone rock harder on a banjo and an acoustic guitar. Plus, the songs were completely amazing (and still are).
- Gretchen: A few a coming to mind, but I think the one that will stand out is yet to come.
- Least favorite concert?
- Bradley: I once saw a band called Grand Uglena. I don’t know how it’s spelled. They were noise-rock, but not in an acceptable way. They just hit guitars and drums randomly for a long time. It’s the only time I’ve seen a crowd collectively boo a band. Don’t feel sorry for them because they deserved it. The headliner for the show played badly as well and I blamed Grand Uglena for setting them up with a bad vibe.
- Gretchen: When you play in a band, you come across some rough experiences, like people playing covers for over an hour…so many come to mind.
- Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
- Bradley: I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to Pittsburgh. I’m really excited about it. We are going to have to hit some sites before the show!
- Gretchen: Never been there. Looking forward to increasing our cities-visited/cities-played count! We love being in new places. Is there any place in Pittsburgh we shouldn’t miss?
Thanks, guys. There’s actually plenty to do in Bloomfield alone. I’m sure my man Bengt will have some suggestions for ya!