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Big Hurry
Sink or Swim

(Self-released)

You know that enjoyable sense of longing that's sometimes inspired by an old photograph, a bittersweet memory or a perfect fall day? Evidently, Big Hurry has found a way to bottle that feeling, then convert it into deceptively upbeat, ridiculously catchy and surprisingly melancholic dance-pop. In many ways, this brightly polished four-song EP picks up where Big Hurry's last release -- the strong but occasionally lagging Gets Me Low --left off, but Sink or Swim doesn't waste a note. 

-- Margaret Welsh

BIG HURRY CD RELEASE. 10 p.m. Fri., Oct. 21. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $8. 412-621-4900

 

Ali Spagnola
The Power Hour Album

(Binge Responsibly, LLC)

Ali Spagnola: pop musician? Performance artist? Marketing genius? The CMU grad presents 60 electronically programmed songs, each about a minute long, theoretically as a soundtrack to a "power hour," a game in which one drinks an unhealthy amount of beer in 60 minutes. One format offered: All the tracks are on a flash drive that comes in the form of a shot glass that's also a lanyard! Katy Perry meets Stephin Merritt meets Microsoft Songsmith at a frat party. 

-- Andy Mulkerin

 

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Manfred Honeck
Mahler: Symphony No. 3

(Exton Hybrid)

Maestro Honeck and this superb group of artists wonderfully bring out all the sumptuous textures of Gustav Mahler's music. It comes suffused with serenity and joy. Intimations of gloom loom in a few shadows, but they appear so rarely and lightly as to make the entire masterpiece glow. Sometimes the symphony surges or soars with well-tuned vitality; sometimes it is enriched by a wonderfully jovial spirit. Intimations of innocence also blossom, made especially sweet by the voices of the Children's Festival Choir of Pittsburgh. Also in this performance, recorded last year but issued in this one: the briefly heard, compelling voice of mezzo-soprano Michelle Deyoung, as well as the talents of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Steven E. Hefing's excellent program notes tell much of what was in Mahler's vision when he created this celebration of life. Join the celebration.

--  Gordon Spencer

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