Plan Your Week Accordingly: August 9 to August 15

Polvo comes to the Brillobox this Thursday with The Ceiling Stares

Plan Your Week Accordingly: August 9 to August 15

Monday August 9
– mewithoutYou with Murder By Death @ Mr. Small’s
mewithoutYou – Timothy Hay

Murder by Death – Foxglove

Thursday August 12
– Polvo with The Ceiling Stares, Broughton Rules @  Brillobox
Polvo – Beggar’s Bowl

– Horse Feathers @ Club Cafe
Horse Feathers – Blood on the Snow

Sunday August 15
We Are Scientists with Bad Veins, Satin Gum @ Brillobox
We Are Scientists – Pittsburgh

Bad Veins – Gold And Warm

Plan Your Week Accordingly: July 12 through July 18

Remember that time when you heard about that awesome show, but only after the fact, and then you got that weird feeling in your stomach, like when you went too high on the playground swings? Plan Your Week Accordingly is a new feature of Speed of the Pittsburgh Sound which aims to help you never ever have that feeling again (at least about shows). We highlight the “must-sees” from our perspective, give you the date and the locale, and leave the rest to your impeccable/implacable discretion. Shows and tracks after the jump. Continue reading

“That S**t is Haunting” – Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea Show Review – 10/27 Club Cafe


Yeah, I’m a novice.  Nicole Atkins is one of those dark, smoldering ingenues who converts humans into disciples with no more than a fiery glance.  During her live shows these humans, guys and gals alike, swoon in measured droves,  pray for their favorite songs and stand mystified, religiously mystified, as Ms. Atkins seduces the stage.

Along with her faithful backing band, The Black Sea, Atkins played a full room at the South Side’s Club Cafe Tuesday evening as the concert spot’s smokey corners and starry backdrop played a perfect supporting character (with the exception of a blown out monitor) to the bombastic qualities of Atkins best work (the street anthems, symphonies, and Patsy Cline homages alike) that were allowed to howl unmitigated into the rainy Pittsburgh evening.  Continue reading

Gentleman Auction House at Club Cafe, April 14, 8pm

gentleman-auction-house-show-posterLike the Arcade Fire and Flaming Lips before them, Gentleman Auction House have an uncanny knack for constructing an eclectic musical setting rich in detail and mood.  The band name alone manages to evoke, for me at least, a weirdly specific sense of time and place: Gilded Age St. Louis, a large wooden town hall hosting an event to auction off kept men to the highest bidder, each one more refined than the next, ready to parade their stately manners during the orgy of post-Victorian era opulence and prosperity that was the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904.

Most readers probably won’t understand the previous sentence unless they were force fed Meet Me in St. Louis as a child (quite a digression for the first breath of a concert preview, I know) but I can’t help but become immersed in Gentleman Auction House’s world: a melting pot of of influences that  incorporates such diverse musical styles as Americana, dream/baroque pop, freak folk, and dub. Continue reading

Coltrane Motion and The Year Without Summer

coltrane-motionBands have been pillaging 60’s pop music, from girl groups to The Beatles to Phil Spector, for decades, turning what could the most down right sunny tunes of the past 50 years into a provocative, avant-garde reinterpretation where feedback and noise all but drowned out the faintest structure of melody and themes brimming with sex, violence and drugs were standard.  The Velvet Underground could probably be the most significant, and most likely first, example of this post-modern tendency in rock music, turning the jubilant and dense melodies of girl groups like the The Ronnettes and The Crystals into curiously harmonic walls of drone, complete with ironic lyrics about life in the city, heroin addiction, and transvestite hookers.

Coltrane Motion, however, are careful not to fall in line with Velvet Underground disciples like the Jesus and the Mary Chan and The Magnetic Fields, by pumping up the fucking fun quotient to 11, keeping the bouncy rhythm sections fast, and giving ample space for both the innocent and the haunting to invade their songs.  Continue reading

The Heligoats Hurt Me

image-6Chris Otepka’s vocals hurt and hurt deep. With a voice that churns out exhausted disillusionment like it was his second language, every track he writes easily takes on a dimension of quiet desperation without breaking a sweat. With his latest one-man, indie folk project The Heligoats, Otepka’s vocals still retain that cautious draw that can sound weathered, irritated and composed simultaneously, nearly falling off the edge of reason in the midst of a world that runs on contradiction. Like the know-it-all-but-don’t-give-a-shit kid in the back of the class undermining the clueless teacher with every quiet correction he makes under his breath, Otepka isn’t looking to illuminate some grand revelation, he’s just trying not to sink deeper into the abyss. All of this is done with the bouncing passion of the best folk acts, efficiently turning spiritual poverty into poetry.

Continue reading