"Pittsburgh's got great cuisine," posits guitarist Mike Pace. "Our first few times through town, [friend and promoter Jeremy Hedges] was nice enough to take us out to Quaker Steak & Lube for wings, even though he doesn't even eat them. And he took us to the 'O' once. This past time we were in town we were introduced to Primanti Brothers."
Bear in mind, Pace is no amateur gourmand. "We really like to eat on the road. We even got a book called 'Roadside Dining,' to take on tour with us, so that we know the best places to go."
Between overstuffed sandwiches and buckets of wings, Oxford Collapse has managed to mount a well-received post-punk attack. The band released its latest album, Remember the Night Parties, on Sub Pop -- long one of the best-known independent labels in the country -- after releasing two full-lengths on Brooklyn's Kanine Records, a few 7-inches and an EP.
On Remember the Night Parties, Oxford Collapse hits the stride it's been working toward since the band's current incarnation took shape in 2003, sounding at times like the fruition of ideas from the early 7-inches. "Please Visit Your National Parks" is a crowd pleaser: The smile-inducing chorus ("You should be standing right next to me / Instead of two feet in front of me") is surrounded by contagious "ooh-waa's" and "oh-wee-oh-wee-oh's."
From early recordings through the latest, the band holds down a basic formula: Dancey and thoughtful at once, it manages to sound as much like a band raised on Dischord as it does like anything coming out of Brooklyn. The members aren't afraid to let Adam Rizer's bass pound out a melody while Pace keeps a trebly rhythm on his guitar, and their dual vocals are charmingly quirky, with Pace's bringing Tim Kinsella to mind.
"When the question inevitably arises, 'What do you sound like?' I like to say that I think we play interesting pop music," Pace says. Simple enough, and fair.
On June 9, Oxford Collapse arrives for Jaggerbush Junction, part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, presented by the Unicorn Mountain art collective, which included Oxford Collapse on its second compilation CD. "We promise to be on time this time," Pace says apologetically, alluding to the times the band has arrived late to shows here. Polite if not always punctual, Oxford Collapse promises to conquer with charisma and catchy hooks, and bring a hearty appetite to boot.
Oxford Collapse at Jaggerbush Junction. 9 p.m. Sat., June 9. Three Rivers Arts Festival, Market Square Stage, Downtown. Free. www.artsfestival.net