Poppy indie rock on the debut from the local four-piece. Fuzzy guitars and understated vocals beg for Dinosaur Jr. comparisons; the overall vibe ranges from sprawling and epic to energetic and fun. Occasionally sloppy, but especially cohesive for a first release. (Though some of the members played together previously). Good work from a promising band!
By Andy Mulkerin
Pittsburgh Sinfonietta with Andrés Cárdenes
Leonardo Balada: Caprichos Nos. 2, 3 and 4
Barcelona-born composer and Carnegie Mellon professor Leonardo Balada has been among us now for more than 40 years; it makes sense that his music is performed by artists who are part of Pittsburgh's thriving musical life. Balada was in his 70s when he wrote these 12 appealing and varied chamber pieces spread out over three suites. His often sunny melodic inspiration flows between his own continent and ours, calling forth intimations of Spain, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the U.S. You may hear kinship with Turina or, in what he calls "Quasi-Jazz," pulsing rhythms and intonations suggesting Stravinsky's takes on that distinctly American music. Balada's unusual and colorful scoring calls for an emphasis on Jeffrey Turner's double-bass or incorporates the shimmer of Gretchen Van Hoesen's harp. With Cárdenes as the sturdy soloist amid many members of the Pittsburgh Symphony in various combinations, the result stays imaginative and friendly.
By Gordon Spencer
Put a classically-trained violinist with open ears in the company of bands like ATS and The Feral Family and influences are bound to rub off. A 25-year veteran of the local music and art scene, Lisa Miles has a released a dozen tracks that are at turns aggressive and delicate. She plays solo, overdubbing more strings or mandolin, and in duo with harp, cello and bass, with many pieces originally penned for film or dance.
By Mike Shanley