Bad weather, great weather; lots going on the same night or nothing else to do — eh, you never really know what will spook a Pittsburgh audience. The crowd was uncharacteristically thin at Lava Lounge last Thursday for established local indie acts Shade and Life in Bed. Perhaps the wind of change — seldom a popular breeze in these parts — was what kept people home: The show was among the last to feature the rumbling low end of Life in Bed’s longtime bassist Christopher James, who recently announced his departure from the group. Replacing James is young buck Thomas Cipollone, once bassist for Voice in the Wire alongside current Life in Bed guitarist Stephen McMillen. The new lineup’s first show is Aug. 10 at Brillobox.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of those damn hoodlums in Soulcialism and Restless! — and all the crazies who keep dancing to old records — the whole northern-soul thing has become something of a fixture here. So much so that filmmaker Elliott Sussman plans to shoot video for a “Steel City soul” documentary at the free Aug. 3 Restless! party at Smiling Moose, where DJ Ian will join longtime host DJ Riel, spinning ’60s soul along with more esoteric fare. Since this is being recorded for posterity, you’ll want to dress to impress … though, naturally, not in anything you don’t want soaked in sweat and draft beer by the end of the night.
Local CD-release shows continue in full force this month. Glammy, blast-from-the-past metal band Chip DiMonick is gearing up to release Not Yet Rated on Aug. 10 at 31st Street Pub; with songs like “Porn Star in a Past Life,” listener discretion is advised. Meanwhile, new folk-rock band Ruckus & the Trousers (aren’t you the sly ones!) just wrapped up recording Cartoon Lightning at Machine Age studios, and are celebrating on Aug. 17 at ModernFormations with Lohio and Donora. The $5 admission gets you your very own free copy.
While this isn’t technically a CD-release show, Northern Aggression just released If You Can’t Sing It, Scream It! on the local Atomic Family Records. Relatively new on the local scene, the duo creates irreverent acoustic punk from guitar, drums and attitude. (And no, it doesn’t sound much like the Violent Femmes.) Northern Aggression’s next show is Aug. 13 at Garfield Artworks with Smoke or Fire, Incommunicado and American Armada. The entire album is available for free download at www.myspace.com/thewarofnorthernaggression.