Ten new tracks from the local country-rock outfit, featuring tunes from the character-study school of songwriting. (There's the jilted lover, the union-busting thug, etc.) Some hard-rocking stuff ("God Damn Job") as well as more heartfelt, easygoing material ("Drink What You Can"). Decent songwriting, convincing delivery; a good listen for fans of Black Crowes-style rock.
THE HAWKEYES CD RELEASE with HERO JR., QUEEN V. 9 p.m. Sat., July 13. Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $8-10. 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net
All My Creatures
Five tracks of cute, amateurish-in-a-good-way indie rock from the local trio. Some bluesy tracks, some folky tracks, all very organic and never overdone or pretentious. The fun, all-together-now vibe of the title track makes it this disc's standout; this is a band that should never feel bad letting it all hang out. (It's when the members try to rein it in too much that it feels a little awkward.)
Symphonic metal has a pretty niche audience — those who like the clean (often female) vocals, but also the huge riffs and double-kick metal brutality. There aren't many other bands like Second Empire around Pittsburgh, and those who fall into the niche are lucky to have them, because they do it well. Epic stuff, with Alex Lindsay Roth's vocals powerful but not comically operatic, as tends sometimes to happen with this kind of music. Well done.