Critics' Picks: March 22 - 27 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Critics' Picks: March 22 - 27

Local shows by Said the Whale, Jeffrey Lewis, Fanfarlo and Kevin Seconds, plus a Guided by Voices tribute

  • Photo courtesy of Jonathan Taggart


While Canada might have thrust Justin Bieber upon the world's pop scene, the Great White North also generously gifted the talents of Said the Whale to the indie-rock universe. The 2011 Juno Award-winning band, which performed at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, excels at producing splashy hooks, especially on its recently released Little Mountain. The five-piece also triumphs in experimenting with acoustic and electric details. The band performs tonight at Club Café with Household Stories and The Awful Waffles. Nicole Chynoweth 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or

  • Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly


Jeffrey Lewis — one of the faces of the "anti-folk" scene, comic-book artist and scholar, and self-proclaimed "cult boyfriend" — returned late last year with his latest, A Turn in the Dream-Songs. It's largely a mellower effort than 2009's 'Em Are I (which managed to rock while exploring the question of what happens after death), and a bit less quirky than his album of Crass covers. A master of reflective (and sometimes self-deprecating) lyricism, Lewis doesn't disappoint here; "Time Trades," perhaps the album's best, explores how one might benefit from the passing of time, rather than simply suffering by it. Tonight he plays Club Café; Kid Brother opens. Andy Mulkerin 6 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or


Last week, at the start of a White House press briefing, press secretary Jay Carney noted that the president would be hosting the prime minister of Great Britain in Dayton, Ohio, "home of the Wright brothers, the Dayton peace accords and Guided by Voices, the greatest rock 'n' roll band of the modern era, in my humble opinion." He's apt to find more folks of the same impression at Thunderbird Café tonight, when The Official Ironmen Rally: A Salty Tribute to Guided by Voices takes place. The all-local tribute show features the likes of The Red Western, City Steps, Weird Paul and more, and proceeds benefit BRICKS for Young Adults, a nonprofit that helps young adults with cancer. AM 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $5. 412-682-0177 or



The music of London-based Fanfarlo combines the rich textures of orchestral instruments with more conventional rock elements to create narcotic indie pop. The band's latest album, Rooms Filled With Light, showcases the members' willingness to experiment. Robust trumpet notes and the hum of a violin accent rich bass lines and repetitive percussion on tracks like "Tunguska." Fanfarlo has an uncanny ability to make each track sound pleasingly distinguishable from the last. The band shares the stage with Gardens & Villa at Mr. Small's tonight. NC 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15. All ages. 412-821-4447 or


Few punk artists have managed to stay relevant and active like singer-songwriter Kevin Seconds. More than three decades ago, Seconds began touring the world and releasing top-notch punk records with the Reno, Nev.-based band 7 Seconds. Today he continues to explore genres through various side projects and solo ventures, using elements from alternative, punk and rock to form his own sound. He will perform with former World/Inferno Friendship Society accordion man Franz Nicolay, Groovie Ghoulies frontman Kepi Ghoulie and locals The Committee for Getting Attention tonight at the 31st Street Pub. NC 9 p.m. 3101 Penn Ave., Strip District. $10-12. 412-391-8334 or

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