Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First/Last-Them Labs


"Seth Pfannenschmidt and Joe Perkins have enough musical chops and faith in themselves to make Them Labs eponymous debut worth a spin"
- The Other Paper

Them Labs is a 'dirty folk rock' band from Pittsburgh who just released their fantastic sophomore album "More Growl" yesterday. Expect some local shows announced soon to promote the album as I thank Seth Pfannenschmidt (Guitar/Keys/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
“River of Dreams” by Billy Joel.

Your last album bought?
“Beat the Champ” by The Mountain Goats.

Favorite album of all time?
I'm a pretty opinionated person so I'm sure I've said "____ is my favorite album of all time" about a lot of different ones. My tastes change with the seasons. In the summer time I'm more drawn to hip hop and once the weather changes I get into a lot of punk and singer/songwriter stuff, but the album that has probably come up more than any other when I'm espousing my favorites is Paul Simon's “Graceland”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
My very first favorite band was Counting Crows and I freaking loved their first three records. Their third album, “This Desert Life”, is still one of my favorites and I consider it a masterpiece despite the jeers of all of my friends. So, when they released “Hard Candy” I was super excited and went to the record store the day it was released. But when I listened to that piece of garbage I felt betrayed, unfairly--I understand that now. Then I went to a Counting Crows show in Oxford, Ohio. My friends and I had second row seats but when we got there they told us we were bumped back to the third row because Adam Duritz demanded a row of pretty girls in the front (they called themselves the "Crows's Nest"). I had a really hard time with that and couldn't call them my favorite band anymore. I felt like a musical orphan. It was my first experience with all of the advice that Dylan gave, which is kill your heroes.

First concert attended?
Phil Collins. I went with my parents but despite that it was pretty cool. He's a good entertainer.

Last concert?
Silencio at the Hollywood Theatre in Dormont. They played some songs from David Lynch soundtracks and their original stuff blew me away. They're probably the best band in Pittsburgh and thy restored my faith in live music.

Favorite concert ever?
When I was 15 I went to H.O.R.D.E fest and saw Soul Coughing, Mighty Mighty Boss Tones, and Squirrel Nut Zippers. The woman from Squirrel Nut Zippers came on stage in a gorilla costume and played a 4-string banjo. It changed my life.


Least favorite concert?
The aforementioned Counting Crows show.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I lived in Columbus for 10 years and have been on the road with a few different projects, so I've played with a number of different bands in a lot of different cities and I can say that Pittsburgh has the most open armed music scene that I've ever experienced. The entire scene from the bands, to venues, to media, are always open to trying something new and welcoming new people. There is a lack of ego in this town that is rare and that is freeing for artists. It encourages vulnerability which is necessary for good art, and this town certainly produces a lot of good art.


Thanks, Seth. 'Lack of ego' is a perfect description of the support this community gives to each other. I am so glad others see it as I do.

Friday, August 21, 2015

First/Last-Diviaped


"Diviaped is a singer-songwriter who has been playing out for the past five years. He has performed at various festivals thru out the Pittsburgh area, including the Pittsburgh Marathon. HIs music could be categorized as 'acoustic pop', with a heavy influence from '70's folk rock. He is releasing his new album 'Shining' this September."

Diviaped is a Pittsburgh based Christian pop singer-songwriter who recently released his latest single, 'Snake Oil Salesman' as a preview of his upcoming full-length "Shining". I want to thank him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
Aly & AJ “Into the Rush”. I remember as a kid watching the video for 'Rush'. They were playing their guitars for everyone and then they bought a mic to record their songs. I thought it was really cool - little did I know, I would be doing the same thing!

Your last album bought?
Foreigner “Foreigner” on vinyl!

Favorite album of all time?
So many great albums! I'll give you three: Fleetwood Mac “Fleetwood Mac” (White Album), Steely Dan “Can't Buy a Thrill”, America “Homecoming”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Stevie Nicks “In Your Dreams” was a disappoint. However, “24 Karat Gold” rocks!

First concert attended?
Fleetwood Mac.

Last concert?
Blue Oyster Cult.

Favorite concert ever?
Donora - Three Rivers Arts Festival 2013, they played their best songs from the first album on.

Least favorite concert?
I saw Elton John at Consol in 2011. He had recently collaborated with Leon Russell and was trying to promote that album. Halfway through the set Elton announced that he had brought a surprise guest - Leon. Don't get me wrong! It was an honor to see Leon perform live. However, this meant that Elton had to cut out some of his more popular songs, such as ‘Honky Cat’ - which is one of my favorites.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I'm a big nature lover. There are a lot of hidden gems not far from the city. Check out Fall Run in Shaler - in early spring. All the melting ice creates this surreal rising fog. It's an amazing site to visit!

Thanks, man. I always appreciate seeing some Donora love on the blog! Believe me, I am right there with you.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First/Last-Six Speed Kill


"I guess we are supposed to tell you about this band now. Nick was bored one day around June 2013 because he probably ran out of beer or hamburger meat. His quest began to find a few low-lifes like himself that at least said they could play an instrument. First up was Luke - upon meeting Luke it appears he may have a bit of a Napoleonic complex due to his short stature yet possessing the anger of a wounded chimpanzee. However, he seemed like he could play enough for the rest of the band to look past his ornery nature. Up next is the man they call Stevie D. Steve is a distinguished gentleman, a tall drink of water, with the temperament of a well fed golden retriever. That man can also pound on some low end strings, and since he would offset the previous discussed member it was a great fit instantly. Finally, after a little while of jamming and learning our sound we did make a small lineup change which will not discuss past here. Enter the P.J. Who is the wild beast of a man who entered the room and sat down behind a equally shaggy drum kit? Well the answer did not come with words but instead with the furious pounding of drums, and a little odor, but mostly drums. The lineup was now complete. Completely Awesome? Completely Scary? Completely Insane? We'll let you be the Judge."

Six Speed Kill is punk speed rock band from Pittsburgh who just released their latest self-titled full-length and will be playing selections from it Friday (8/21) at the 31st St. Pub as they open for The Atomic Bitchwax and Against the Grain. Check them out if you are a fan of Motorhead, Nashville Pussy or ZEKE as I thank Nick Phelps (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
While I can't remember my first anything possibly due to too much party back in the day, I'll go with Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA" because I do remember getting that as a Christmas Gift early on (most likely before I had money to spend on myself). My Parents were probably profiling me based on my reaction to the album just to make sure I wasn't a very young commie in the making. Good job Mom and Dad!

Your last album bought?
U.S. Bastards “Totally Fucked”. They came through town a couple weeks ago and I dug them, so I bought their tape.

Favorite album of all time?
That’s so hard to narrow down since if you ask me in a couple weeks I might have a different answer, but to completely shock our fans Ill have to say Motorhead "Overkill". A close second would definitely be Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
That's a tough one since I tend to forget albums that aren't memorable. I'm sure I had plenty of disappointments back in the day when you picked an album from the store based on artwork. Sorry but I really don't have a good answer for this one.

First concert attended?
I know I went to a few when I was young but the first concert I remember seeing on my own was a Deicide/Broken Hope show at the Abyss in Houston, TX sometime in the 90's.

Last concert?
U.S. Bastards / The Cheats / Thunder Vest / Scratch and Sniffs.

Favorite concert ever?
So many to choose from and I am sure no matter what I will miss something. If I can still remember the show it must have been a good one so I'll have to say Murphys Law / Sick of it All in the early 00's at Fitzgeralds in Houston, TX. But to be honest there were just as many great shows with local bands in the 90's and early 00's that popped up in park, VFW halls, that were just as fun as the bigger acts.

Least favorite concert?
I went with someone to one of those Nashville country guys a couple years ago. Awful, just terrible. All style, no substance. I really like smaller shows, and won't go to a stadium or large venue show unless I absolutely have to.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
As a transplant to the area, I have really fallen in love with the city. That being said it really has nothing to do with the city but the people I've met and got to know of the last couple years. It's just the right size not to get too saturated with garbage music, and while other towns may get more people out to shows just due to population, Pittsburgh brings quality. I have seen less drama and in fighting here that almost anywhere else I've lived. I've met some good people I now consider friends, and those same people truly love and support local music. All I can suggest for others moving to the city is just to get out and go to shows, you will be welcomed with open arms.

Thanks, Nick. I appreciate your thoughts on Pittsburgh music and the people involved. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First/Last-Ancient Warfare


"Ancient Warfare were once the girls who smoked behind the high school gym. They were from distant shores; they spoke in code. They borrowed your brother’s Velvets records and talked about bands you wanted to know. They weren’t going to stay too long. They buried themselves in drones of words and found guitars, mapping an intimate apocalypse along the way."

Ancient Warfare is a southern goth / drone rock band from Lexington, KY who recently released their album "The Pale Horse" via Alias Records. They are touring behind the record and make a stop in Pittsburgh tonight (8/13) at City Grows in Lawrenceville. I want to thank Echo Wilcox (Guitar/Lead Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
The very first album I ever bought was “Everything” by The Bangle’s.

Your last album bought?
“Do to the Beast” by Afghan Whigs.

Favorite album of all time?
Sheesh, I’m not confident in calling this my all-time fave, but I pretty much destroyed my “I’m with Stupid” record by Aimee Mann, really never tire of this one. Also, will always love Neil Young’s, “Harvest”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I’m sure there’s worst ones out there, but first one to come to mind is David Hasselhoff’s, “Night Rider”. Yup, pretty bad.

First concert attended?
Elvis Costello and the Attractions at the Universal Amphitheater.

Last concert?
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away Tour at The Palace in Louisville.

Favorite concert ever?
By far the best show I've seen was Nick Cave and the Seeds. He is beyond captivating. At one point during the set he walked across the first three rows of the audience and ended up standing directly over top of Emily and myself while singing the rest of "Higgs Boson Blues". It was something else.

Least favorite concert?
Hmm... Well Derek recalls seeing us play a pretty awful show before he joined the band. It was the last show of our tour and basically my gear had decided to complete stop working. We could barely get through our set.


Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh has always been on our list of cities to play. This will be our first time both personally and as a band. This is definitely one we are looking forward to. We’re also stoked to be on the air at WRCT before playing at City Grows. Our violinist is also a florist and gardener by day and is especially curious and excited about seeing the venue. Not to mention I love any city surrounded by water and bridges!

Thanks, Echo. That venue is rather new but seems perfect for you. Hope you enjoy your time here.