Sunday, April 26, 2015


"Coquette is a wildly energetic American indie band with Franco Anglo roots based in Central Vermont. Influenced by Prog Rock and Punk, they have created a varied, frenetic kind of Alternative Rock, with a strong focus on composition. They play regularly in Montpelier, have played several festivals around Vermont, occasionally headlining. They are continually writing new material, play at any opportunity they can grab, and have plans to conquer first New England, then The World!?"

Coquette is an indie prog funk trio from Vermont who's latest release is entitled "Seperatio". I want to thank Colbert Tolbert (Guitar/Vocals), Angus Davis (Bass/Vocals) and Titian Tolbert (Drums/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Cobalt Tolbert: Pretty sure it was the ‘Shrek’ soundtrack… I no longer have any affiliation with Smashmouth… Ahem...
Angus Davis: “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” by Dead Kennedys.
Titien Tolbert: The earliest one that I can think of is Marilyn Manson’s “Holy Wood”. Pretty sure we stole that from a French supermarket. So I guess that doesn’t count as bought.

Your last album bought?
Cobalt: Do comedy albums count? “Louis CK Live At The Comedy Store”. Yeah, that counts. Oh and I recently got “Kind Of Blue” too. Mmmhmmmm.
Angus: The Strokes’ “First Impressions [of Earth]” on vinyl.
Titien: Uh… Marilyn Manson’s “Holy Wood”?

Favorite album of all time?
Cobalt: This past few months I can’t seem to go driving without playing “10,000 Days” by Tool. Before that it was probably “Amputechture” by The Mars Volta or “Favourite Worst Nightmare” by Arctic Monkeys. “Expanding Anyway” by Morning Teleportation is one of my all-time favorites. I’m just gonna say “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meatloaf. That’s right.
Angus: I’m pretty sure it would be “Goblin” or “Wolf” by Tyler, The Creator or something… favorite album… Art Blakey’s “Jazz Messengers” w/ Thelonious Monk. I can say that’s up there at least.
Titien: The one album that I’ve obsessed over consistently for the past few years is “Them Crooked Vultures’” self-titled.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Cobalt: I remember being so pissed off when I first heard “...Like Clockwork” by Queens Of The Stone Age; it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Now it’s my favorite of theirs.
Angus: I don’t listen to music I don’t like, so I don’t have a least favorite album.
Titien: I wanna say “Eat Me, Drink Me”, but I don’t wanna keep talking about Marilyn Manson. I mean, it’s awesome, but it lost so much ROCK.

First concert attended?
Cobalt: Alanis Morissette, Bangkok, ‘99. Yep.
Angus: That’s hard… It was either George Thorogood or Bo Diddley. I don’t remember. He was talking about how women aren’t doing things right, so I just fell asleep.
Titien: Alanis Morissette, Bangkok, ‘99. Mhmm.

Last concert?
Cobalt: New Nile Orchestra. Yeah, Afropop!
Angus: Red Hot Juba.
Titien: I think it was Grundlefunk. It was packed. And really good.

Favorite concert ever?
Cobalt: I saw St. Vincent a few weeks ago at Higher Ground, and it was just great. Korn and Rob Zombie at Mayhem Fest 2010 was awesome too. I grew up listening to those guys.
Angus: Primusssssss!
Titien: St. Vincent, not only because it was an amazing show, but I was really emotionally invested. I was going through a tough time and it actually made me feel better.

Least favorite concert?
Angus: Probably Matt And Kim.
Cobalt: Yeah, their show was kickass, but the crowd they pulled was the most pretentious, non-inclusive one I’ve ever seen… Oh crap, I just made a bunch of enemies, didn’t I?
Titien: There was some show where the opening band was REALLY bad. They were trying to be weird and experimental, which I appreciate, but it was the first time I looked at a band and just thought “what are you doing? Whyyy?” Just a bad band. There was no rhythm; they weren’t working together.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Cobalt: That kid from Weeds REALLY wants to go there.
Angus: They got killer heroes. Like hoagies. They make good steaks, good sandwiches. I know about it.

Thanks, guys. I keep hearing about this character from Weeds but never saw the show. Why does he want to come here? 'Cause there supposedly lots of weed?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Image of the Day-Deutschtown Music Festival Benefit

The Deutschtown Music Festival Fundraiser with Working Breed, André Costello and the Cool Minors, Chet Vincent & The Big Bend and Big Gypsy at the Andy Warhol Museum on Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Deutschown Music Festival returns this year to take over the North Side of Pittsburgh on Saturday, July 11, 2015. The organizers of the event are hoping to be able to pay the bands this third year and they have launched an ambitious Indiegogo campaign to do just that. Let's SUPPORT PITTSBURGH MUSIC and help spread the word. They also put on shows leading up to the fest and this one featured some of my favorite local bands. The revelation this particular night was my first time seeing the powerhouse quartet Big Gypsy. They are a smoking soul stirring blues-rock band that is quickly and deservedly gaining popularity. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Working Breed

Ben Harrison of the Warhol Museum

 André Costello and the Cool Minor

 Chet Vincent & The Big Bend

Big Gypsy

Friday, April 24, 2015

First/Last-elle belle

 Photo courtesy of Casey Curry

"Destroyer of worlds.
Believer in FUZZZZZZZ.
Foolish son of a foolish son.
LOW & BEHOLD....."

elle belle is a psych garage rock band from Los Angeles and is the moniker for songwriter Christopher Pappas (Guitar/Vocals). They have a cool single out called 'You Better Mean It' which is a huge tease for an impending full length. I want to thank Christopher for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
It was Del tha Funky Homosapien’s “I Wish my Brother George was Here” Sick record… that single ‘Mr. Dobalina’ was beast...

Your last album bought?
I re-bought “Trout Mask Replica” by Captain Beefheart. That whole thing is a masterpiece. Lost my original so I had to re-buy it.

Favorite album of all time?
Yikes, this one is tough. R.E.M.’s “Murmur” is up there… Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was basically WHY I started playing music - so I suppose I have to give that a shout out. Genesis “Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”... “Kid A” was huge for me when it came out... Sonic Youth’s “Washing Machine” is up there too… “Pet Sounds”… The Zombies “Odessey and Oracle”? Am I playing this game wrong?

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I actually was one of the only people in the world that thought “In Rainbows” was disappointing when I first heard it, though I’ll admit it has grown on me in the subsequent years. I literally downloaded it AS SOON as it came out - I was on tour, actually in Pittsburgh! (if I recall!) And the band and I gathered around the computer as it was downloading. We were so pumped and I remember finally pressing play and being so underwhelmed. I thought the concept of how they released the record was, in many ways, more important than the music on the record itself - and looking back, I think that was a disappointing proposition for me.

First concert attended?
It was the Beach Boys in Manchester NH. The Mike Love/Kokomo monstrosity, not the Brian Wilson Beach Boys. Chicago opened.

Last concert?
I’m going to Ride tonight!

Favorite concert ever?
I saw Counting Crows in Boston while they were touring on their second record “Recovering the Satellites”. It was insane. That’s the first one that comes to mind - so I’ll go with it. Though I have to say, my buddies Session Americana have to be up there as well. Father John Misty at Coachella a couple of years ago (I think) was pretty bonkers. David Bazan played a concert in my house once, that was memorable as well, for the obvious reasons. Hmmm, I’m bad at favorites.

Least favorite concert?
Mike Doughty. I was dragged to a show by a couple of fans with the promise of being converted. It ended up being all of us leaving the show early with them not being fans anymore. He was rude, berated the crowd, and was/is completely oblivious to the fact that his lyrics are frat-boy-with-a-thesaurus poetry at best. Ugh. Maybe I caught a bad show. Sorry to any Doughty fans that read this blog.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Cindy Howes! Answering these questions reminded me I haven’t chatted with her in a while. She’s got great taste in music - a Pittsburgh gem!

Thanks, Christopher. Bummer about that Doughty show. That's not the first time I heard he was the 'grumpy' sort. And yeah, Cindy is awesome! Coincidentally, I just saw her yesterday.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

First/Last-Wine & Spirit

"The 2012 Pittsburgh's X Winter Rock Showcase Winners, WINE & SPIRIT, is bringing back some soul at a fast rate of punk rockin blues!! This local rock n roll band has been making their presence known in the greater area for the past five years. Since forming the band at Slippery Rock University in 2006, Wine & Spirit has grown to what most locals say the coolest rock n roll band in town.
Leaving nothing on stage, the band’s high energy talent of modern blues rock n roll catches your attention with their original work of spontaneous tempo changes with bluesy harmonica riffs and jams that will sweep the shuffle from your feet. With their debut self-titled album already out, the shows are always enjoyable with local hits such as, ‘They’ll Never Know’ and Spider’s Trap’ blaring through the PA system topping with their new songs that are now being recorded for a new Wine & Spirit album this summer."

Wine & Spirit is a rock and roll band from Pittsburgh. They released a single recently entitled "Snake Eyes" and they will more than likely play it live this Saturday (4/25) at Downey's House in Robinson. I want to thank Paul Joseph (Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
It's crazy to think about this one, only because I found myself caught in between cassette tapes and CDs. My folks had mixed tapes, though had their share of albums we had in the house. During my junior high school years, my friends all had Napster and such and started burning CDs. However, I remember getting albums as gifts on holidays until one day I bought "Van Halen Greatest Hits Vol 1." I was a drummer before Wine & Spirit and I was really into their songs from that standpoint.

Your last album bought?
"Cigarettes and Caffeine Nightmares" by the Delta Routine. We've played a few shows with them when they came in town from Milwaukee. Usually I'd like to offer CD exchanges with other bands but this album, I wanted to straight up buy for myself. Good tunes, good band.

Favorite album of all time?
"Get Your Yas Yas Out" by The Rolling Stones. This album alone inspired me in all shapes and forms. As a musician, that style of guitar work is what I wanted to lean towards when I started playing the six-string during my late teens. As a fan, still to this day I spin it every time I need to get my rocks off.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
"Little River Band" by the Little River Band. Although I really dig this group, I was disappointed with the album because it was a live CD and not the actual studio tracks I'd thought I was getting.

First concert attended?
The Rolling Stones back in January 2003. It was during their ‘Forty Licks Tour’. I was 16 when my parents took my younger brother and I to Mellon Arena. I was a Stones fan since I could ever walk. It was a dream come true to be able to see them live.

Last concert?
Last year, I took my girlfriend and her friends to see Lady Gaga during her ‘ArtPop Ball Tour’ at Consol Energy Center. I was a bit surprised how well this production was put together. Our seats were right off to the side of the stage and was able to see behind the stage and remembering seeing dozens of stage crew members and dancers shuffling props and stage equipment back n forth between every song. Lady Gaga was talented as hell, and was cool enough to stop and say hi to us as she was exiting into the tunnel beside our section at the end of show. As an open minded person for music, this was a cool experience of getting a glimpse of today's pop culture.

Favorite concert ever?
The Living End at the Living Arts Theater in Philadelphia during the summer of 2007. Probably one of my most favorite bands to listen to and see live on stage. My buddies and I were obsessed to the point we drove all the way to Philly and back in one night. Week prior, we saw them at Warped Tour in Pittsburgh and decided to follow them to their next show which was in Philly and it was their own headlining gig. Since high school, The Living End was a big influence in this circle of friends we had. A three piece band out of Melbourne, Australia and here we are fortunate enough to meet them at every concert we attended. Basically we were "Living End Heads" and loved their live shows. That show in Philadelphia, a guitar pick was thrown out into the crowd and here it landed straight into my back pocket. I found it half way home to Pittsburgh at a rest stop.

Least favorite concert?
I saw Rush for free during their ‘Bows and Arrows’ tour or something like in summer of 2007 at the Post Gazette Pavilion. It was a free ticket and had a great time when they played their hits but the rest was 3 hours that I couldn't recall that stood out other than their hits.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
We were so fortunate to get a last minute call from Drusky Entertainment to fill in for an opener that cancelled that day. Government Mule was in town to play the ole Station Square Amphitheater and Drusky called us the morning of the show. Now personally, I've seen a handful of concerts at that venue before it got tore down but being able to be part of any production with the skyline glowing across the river and being able to play for the folks from the side stage and not pay for anything was the most incredible Pittsburgh moment ever. Hell, we were able to park our cars next to their tour bus inside the gates of the venue. Because of the history behind this particular venue, this gig made it more special to recall whenever Station Square Amphitheater is ever mentioned.

Thanks, Paul. So I am assuming you will be at Heinz Field on June 20?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


"Granville's music started with a record that emphasized roots Americana styles. But even on that first record I was trying to do something more than be rootsy. Experimenting with tape, electronics and arrangement and production style: I come from a place of roots music, but personally my roots are in so many styles and sounds that I find myself always searching for whatever is the correct style and feel for each individual song. I feel each needs to be done in its own way. I think that happens a bit more on this sophomore album. I find myself aligned with a lot of indie artists who are not one dimensional from album to album but rather than have a consistent style find themselves with mega genres that combined together begin to express who the artist is and what they are compelled to say. This collection is a postcard from my last years in southern California and I believe it captures some of my experience there. I hope the songs can reflect off of your experiences in some positive way too."

Granville is an indie pop band who's main songwriter, Brian Myers, recently relocated to Pittsburgh. The band's latest release is called "Golden State". I want to thank Brian for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The Doors “Waiting for the Sun”. I was buying a lot of 45s before then though: ‘Day Tripper’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’ by The Beatles, ‘Israelites’ by Desmond Dekker, ‘Suzy Q’ by Creedence.

Your last album bought?
“Mimicking Birds” (title album).

Favorite album of all time?
The Beatles “White Album”. So much variation on that record there is always something for any mood.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Travelling Wilburys. I hate it when the idea of an album is exciting but the results don't live up to it.

First concert attended?
James Taylor it was not my pick. I was a kid going along with my big sister and her friends. James Taylor kind of reminds me of Perry Como or something.

Last concert?
Phosphorescent at Thrival.

Favorite concert ever?
I saw George Harrison in DC just after the Bangladesh benefit. Ravi Shankar opened and Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan and Leon Russell all performed. It was amazing.

Least favorite concert?
Mazzy Star. Saw them before they were famous opening for the Cocteau Twins. They actually did a song I really love now, but at the time they had one little amplifier, terrible sound and no show and no one knew who they were as there was no intro. They played several lazy, hard to hear songs and someone finally shouted "who are you?" The singer replied "Who are YOU?" in a very ironic, stony voice.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I've met some great musician friends here who have invited me in, jammed with me, showed me the venues and told me which bands I have to hear. I have four or five people who have just been tremendous. And the more I get around the more it seems like such a close musical community. There also seems to be more bands here than most cities I've been in. Seems like a third of the people here play!

Thanks, Brian. So glad your experiences in Pittsburgh have been positive so far. This music community is quite special, IMO.