Critics’ Picks, April 28 - May 4 | Critics' Picks | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Critics’ Picks, April 28 - May 4

Performances by True Widow, Freddie Gibbs, The Thermals and Darlingside

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True Widow
  • True Widow

[STONEGAZE] + THU., APRIL 28

If I found out that the members of True Widow spend their time holed up in a haunted mansion listening to Earth and My Bloody Valentine, I wouldn’t be very surprised. The Dallas-based “stonegaze” band has always sounded like a trio of ghosts — ghosts with a low-key attitude and a thing for heavy, down-tuned instrumentation. The band’s last release, 2013’s Circumambulation, embraced mystery in an often very literal way — several of the song titles were unexplained initials and, musically, the whole thing was awash in swirly, cobweb-ish reverb. A new full-length is slated for release this summer, though the band, unsurprisingly, isn’t saying much about that yet. But fans can get a sneak preview when True Widow stops by the Smiling Moose tonight, with Drab Majesty and Broughton’s Rules. Margaret Welsh 7 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com

[HIP HOP] + FRI., APRIL 29

Gary, Ind., has a reputation for being a violent city, and rapper Freddie Gibbs, a native of Gary, crafts hardcore hip hop that is at once cinematic and all too real. The 33-year-old Gibbs does not shy away from the dark realities of drug-dealing; he shows the addiction, the violence, the remorse and the consequences. The music video for his single, “Fuckin Up the Count,” has a disturbing ending, yet the song itself, with its frank lyrics and mournful piano sample, makes it hard to look away. Tonight, Freddie Gibbs performs at Mr. Smalls with Jay IDK and Dutch Capital. Andrew Woehrel 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $20-22. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

[FOLK] + SAT., APRIL 30

If I was going for a joke to lead into an item about Darlingside, I might go with something like “Four Guys, One Mic.” But this four-piece folk band is too good to suffer through a joke like that. They take the stage at Club Café tonight along with headliner David Wax Museum and Brooklyn-based folk outfit Twain. The melodies produced by Dave Senft, Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji and Harris Paseltiner are rich and solid when accompanied by some combination of guitar, banjo, mandolin, cello, violin and bass, all crowded around one condenser mic. The songs, including the catchy “Harrison Ford,” have a traditional folk vibe, but still seem fresh … unlike the joke that started this piece. Charlie Deitch 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $15. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

The Thermals - PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON QUIGLEY
  • Photo courtesy of Jason Quigley
  • The Thermals

[INDIE ROCK] + SUN., MAY 1

In high school and college, I was a big fan of the Portland, Ore., indie-rock trio The Thermals. The band’s direct simplicity and Springsteen-esque dramatics really spoke to me as an angsty teen. The guitar riffs, though familiar, were played so fast and frantically that the band seemed to have trouble keeping up with itself, which was extremely appealing to a young me, who couldn’t keep up with my own life. A decade later, guitarist/vocalist Hutch Harris still sings in that nasal, out-of-breath way, and his guitar-playing straddles the line between power pop and classic hard rock. Tonight, The Thermals play at Club Café, with special guest Summer Cannibals. AW 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $13-15. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com


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