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New Releases

Reviews of releases by Blood Pressure and Essential Machine

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Blood Pressure
Promo Tape 2015
[Self-released]
bloodpressurepgh.bandcamp.com

This promo from locals Blood Pressure is five minutes of fast, traditional, no-nonsense U.S. hardcore. No solos. No breakdowns. No mosh parts (sorry, bro). No bullshit. Simple riffs are played at a breakneck pace and backed by pummeling drums and ultra-gruff vocals, creating fully formed songs that — while taking influence from classic '80s hardcore — don't ape anyone. The stand-out track is "Drone War," where the guitar backs off and lets the bass and drums take the focus for a few measures. Then it kicks back in, sounding twice as sick, as the singer shouts "judge ... jury ... and executioner" like a madman. Songs are tighter and more focused than the demo/EP that came out last year. I'm looking forward to hearing what these guys do next.

— Dan Morgan

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Essential Machine
The Ceiling and the Floor
[Self-released]
www.essentialmachine.com

Vocal harmonies are, arguably, the highlight of this Greensburg-based band's new release — and the band seems to know it. The fact that singer/songwriter/guitarist RJ Dietrich found a passion for such harmonies after meeting his wife, drummer/singer Karen Dietrich, is a focal point of the band's online bio. But there's more here than pretty voices, and this record becomes more rewarding with each listen. In the age of Avett and Mumford, too much indie folk is blandly slick. Here, the slightly gritty production sticks to the ears: Think My Bloody Valentine trying its hand at rootsy folk-punk.

— Margaret Welsh

ESSENTIAL MACHINE. 1:30 p.m., Sun., June 7. Dollar Bank Stage, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Downtown.  Free. www.3riversartsfest.org

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