Critics’ Picks, Feb. 18-24 | Critics' Picks | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Critics’ Picks, Feb. 18-24

Performances by TEEN, The Soft Moon, The Granati Brothers and Freakwater

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TEEN - PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNAH WHITAKER
  • Photo courtesy of Hannah Whitaker
  • TEEN

[SYNTH ROCK] + THU., FEB. 18

Canadians-turned-Brooklynites TEEN are playing at Club Café tonight, with special guests Spacefish and Wayne Beck. TEEN’s single “Tokyo,” from its new album, Love Yes, is a confident number driven by Gary Numan-esque synths and a lot of attitude. I hesitate to use the word “swaggering,” but it really feels apt here. When vocalist Teeny Lieberson sings “fooling the Madonna,” she’s not talking about the pop singer, but TEEN’s music has the same effortless cool and won’t-leave-your-head catchiness as a song by Ciccone — although Kate Bush is probably a more accurate comparison. Andrew Woehrel 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10-12. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

[POST-PUNK] + FRI., FEB. 19

Luis Vasquez, the one-man post-punk band known as The Soft Moon, may not often be compared to Trent Reznor, but it’s not a stretch to imagine The Soft Moon as a new version of Nine Inch Nails. Both sing with hushed, through-gritted-teeth vocals and deal heavily in dramatic angst. While Reznor was influenced by industrial rock like Skinny Puppy, Vasquez takes inspiration from New Order and Joy Division. Vasquez may hail from California, but his music has little in the way of sunny optimism. Tonight, The Soft Moon will perform at Cattivo, with support from The Gotobeds, The Garment District and Silence. AW 9 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. $10-12. 412-687-2157 or www.cattivopgh.com

[CLASSIC ROCK] + FRI., FEB. 19

Locals The Granati Brothers have been playing together since the ’70s, and tonight they’ll celebrate the release of The Show, their first new record in more than a decade. The band, which toured with Van Halen in the ’80s, is a quintessential classic-rock band, complete with raspy vocals and rock ’n’ roll guitar and piano, in the vein of heavyweights like Joe Cocker and Bob Seger. Lincoln Park Rock School alumni, and Beaver County’s The Brighton Boys will open tonight’s show, which is also a benefit for the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. AW 7:30 p.m. 1 Lincoln Park, Midland. Pa. $10. 724-576-4644 or www.lincolnparkarts.org

Freakwater - PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM FURNISH
  • Photo courtesy of Tim Furnish
  • Freakwater

[APPALACHIAN  SOUL] + FRI., FEB. 19

In a press release announcing Scheherazade, the first studio album in 10 years from Kentucky alt-country band Freakwater, the band’s sound is described as “Appalachian Soul.” I’ve heard a lot of terms to describe all kinds of music — especially those in the roots/Americana genre — but this one was new to me. But after getting into the record, from the twangy, pained vocals of Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin to the arrangement of the string instruments and the heartbreaking lyrical storytelling, I don’t know how else I’d describe it. Bean and Irwin have been singing together since 1985, and in Freakwater since 1989. Along with longtime bass player David Gay, the band comes to Club Café tonight to perform songs off its new Bloodshot Records release. Charlie Deitch 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $12-14. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com


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