Some time ago, Manny had told me that he was booking a show for Lydia Lunch later in the summer. I was extremely excited for it, and I tried to get us on the bill. Making the right decision, Manny did not put us on the bill. I was still going to go the show of course. I have been a big fan of no wave since I was in high school, though mostly Mars and Sonic Youth, and this was a chance to see an important figure from that period perform.

I got to Spirit right before the show started. Empty Beings was the first band, and they are amazing! The vocalist sounds like Siouxsie Sioux, and had a lot of cool moves, getting right up in the audience. The rest of the band is also really tight! Empty Beings is fast and angry but more post-punk than hardcore. They played a song harshly directed at loser racists. I guess they have been a band for a while, but this was my first time seeing them and hopefully not my last.

The second band to play was Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests. I have seen Valerie perform many times before, even before she moved here from New York. I had never seen her perform with a band until now. It was very, very cool! The strange tempos, violent dynamics, and shifting song structures worked well with the full band lineup, but it was not yr standard band. Jeff Young, who I have also seen before, played violin, and there was another guy on drums (sorry I can't remember yr name!). All three used prepared instruments, rods inserted under strings and various objects on the drums, for the first song. Their set ranged from quiet, textural pieces to high-energy near-operatic numbers. Many of the songs were related to healthcare, either personally or to the world at large, and one, in particular, made me really think about how patterns affect our lives and our thoughts. It was all excellent!

Long-running noise-rockers, Microwaves, went next. They sounded really good! I have seen them a few times before, but I think it's been a while. They are also super tight and have some interesting structures to their songs. I like all of the modulation effects going on and the heavy drums. Somebody told me Microwaves was breaking up after this show. I don't think that's the case, though.

I went home really quickly to grab Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising and Bewitched's The Worst Poetry of 1986-1993. I wanted to see if Bob Bert, who was playing drums in Retrovirus, would sign them, but I couldn't find them anywhere. When I came back, Lydia Lunch was already playing, though I think she had just started. The band was awesome! Along with Bob Bert on drums, the other members included Weasel Walter on guitar and Tim Dahl on bass. It's pretty much a noise rock supergroup - Weasel Walter is in Cellular Chaos and was in the Flying Luttenbachers and Bob Bert was in Sonic Youth. I am not that familiar with Tim Dahl, but he did a good job. Weasel had some killer rock moves, and he lifted the monitor up above his head, blasting the audience with noise on their final song, an encore that they did not leave the stage for - Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop". Lydia had some really interesting banter, proclaiming that Nick Cave stole his sound from her and calling David Thomas a "fat idiot from Ohio" before playing Rocket From the Tombs' "Final Solution". After the show I spoke with Lydia briefly, asked her to sign a press photo of her that I have, and got a photo with her. She was actually really sweet, like a cool and kooky aunt.

So yeah, in conclusion, just go see Lydia Lunch Retrovirus. It was an amazing show and totally worth being super tired the next day for work, which is always a drag anyway. Let's all cast off the trash of societal norms with no real point. Let's all not leave to play our encores and not go softly into the night and all of that good stuff. I'll see ya next time!

Pinky Doodle Poodle is a band from Japan on the same label as Shonen Knife. I was excited to be offered to play with them; when they were here last time, I missed it. They seemed sort of garage-y, and I liked how the band looked in pictures. The Japanese garage rock/punk scene seems like it was pretty cool back in the early 90s, with bands like Teengenerate, Guitar Wolf, and the's. It was kind of a rough time for me before the show, so I hoped that this would brighten my mood a bit.

When the day came, I was not excited to play the show; I was so tired. However, again, I hoped it would be cool, and we already said we would do it. Sorry I'm Dead ended up playing first. It wasn't great. It was kind of a bummer because I was really excited for the show. We weren't together as a band; everything was kind of all over the place. The tempos started slow, sort of got sped up, but there just wasn't a lot of communication. It's hard for me to communicate to my band members on stage because I am singing the songs. I know I can do better though, and we can do better as a band overall with this type of thing. We are going to focus on working together during practices from now on and set the practice space up like a stage instead of being in a triangle. After our set, I felt like we ruined everything, but that was me overreacting.

The next band was the always excellent Weird Paul Rock Band. They did a great job, though I guess Paul hit some wrong notes or something somewhere, and "Bowl Cut" was kinda screwy. Who cares though? Paul gave me an awesome book about vampires, from the Shock Shots series, on stage. I actually have owned the same book since I was in elementary school, but I couldn't bear to tell him at that moment. I did tell him later and was still thankful for the gift. I am going to look for the other Shock Shots books in the set now, which he later showed me on Facebook. The other books include Monsters, Zombies, Mummies Werewolves, and Ghosts (which even Weird Paul doesn't have!). I got my book from a flea market when I was little, and my friend got the book on zombies. I had only recently found the book again, and now this happened too. Anyway, Weird Paul Rock Band played a lot of the more rocking songs like "Please Don't Break My Atari" and "What a Meal" along with some new songs that I don't recognize. I have to see their show coming up at the BBT because they are finally gonna play "Bankrobber".

Pinky Doodle Poodle, or PDP, played last. It was worth it to be there, even late on a weeknight. The guitarist, George, is a super shredder; he jumped around and rolled around on the floor in the midst of the crowd, playing speeding leads. It was very inspiring! The drums were solid and the bass had a nice tone, very loud out of the small amp used by Yuria. Yuria, the front person, has also done solo stuff, played in the band Honey Bee, and is a voice actor in an anime called Shuffle! that I have never seen. I really liked her vocals, though of course, I couldn't understand most of the lyrics. They played for quite a while, and it was not boring.

Pinky Doodle Poodle will be returning to Pittsburgh on September 8th, playing at Howlers again. They are playing with a band called Winter Sounds that I have not seen before. I hope to meet you there, perhaps, when it happens!

Last time, I talked about Mirkwood Recordings, a Pittsburgh-based lo-fi record label that I only recently discovered. They have quite a few releases, and they are putting out more and more this year. Grace, by Dunlap Broadsides, just came out yesterday. Let's talk about it.

I was fairly sure that I would like this album based on the cover. They say not to judge things solely based on the packaging, but sometimes that can tell you a lot about a product, the intended audience and the creator's own aesthetics. There was a point in my life when I would buy CDs at Eide's from their clearance bin without listening to the musick, just looking at the artwork. This happened because I found some great stuff like that before, the previously, in older posts, mentioned Blue Velvet. Later I ended up with some thrash metal junk and some other cool IDM and hardcore stuff. This is kind of like that.

Grace has some great sounds, the kinds you might hear speeding through Neo-Tokyo at night but a little warped. There are weird warbling tweets, tremolo'd tones, and gravely synths within the neon atmospheric glow. I've been watching a lot of anime lately if you are curious. Most of the tracks are more upbeat, but there are some creepy songs like "It's Not Murder If It's Passion", with it's breathy vocals. Some of my favorite tracks are "Mental Surveillance" and "Sneaky Bastard". "No Deal" would go along well in a futuristic noir story with its creeping buildup and sirens. "Did You Forget?" has some nice X-Files synths hanging down from the lofty, crisp air of the autumn night. The production on the whole album is nice and clear, though some of the instruments have an "up-and-down" volume thing going on (you could probably just say tremolo, but that makes me think of Davie Allen and other surf-rocker heroes). The drums are too loud for me on "Swan", a track that I am not very fond of. The last song, "Sinister Solution" is my least favorite track; I don't like the auto-tuned vocals at all, and they have a kind of soft-rock cadence.

While Grace isn't something that I would usually listen to, I did enjoy the album a lot. Not everything is perfect, and I really don't like some of the production. However, I would still say this is a Good album. I like the mood and atmosphere of the tracks, the neon glow of the cyberpunk future that is nearly here. Unfortunately, there is less neon in Pittsburgh than in Tokyo, so this will do.

I was recently made aware of a pretty cool record label operating out of Pittsburgh - Mirkwood Recordings. Mirkwood has been releasing "subterranean lo-fi, punk, post-rock,blues, folk, noise rock and more" since 2005, which is quite a while. Kurt, who runs the label, told me that they used to do physical releases but switched to an all digital format some time ago.

Mirkwood's most recent release is Düne Kankel's Impermanence from about a month ago (June 21). It's an ambient/noise/drone kind of affair that reminds me of my own Satyr/Elfheim quite a bit. The tracks have some household sounds and imperfections to them, which adds to the feel. This is an album from the dark and lonely depths of the night. The album starts off with "Acceptance of Sorrow", which sets the tone of the whole release. It sounds like a band that I really like called Blue Velvet, a post-rock-ish instrumental group from New York that broke up years ago. The playing is kind of advanced on here like an old blues guitarist in the truest sense (I don't mean Jimmy Page). The second track, "Toothache Session", is long and droney, various instrumentals begin and end through a few fades. There's a lot of fuzz and a heavy undertow of dread. It reminds me a bit of the Melvins' "Lividity", the final track off of Stoner Witch, for the heavy tones and the implication of a medical procedure; "Lividity" explicitly ends with a man telling a doctor that his lungs are fine. "Johnny", the third track here, goes back to the guitar, a little more calm and acoustic, with some imperfect picking. It's warped and sad, alone but for a cat. In the next track, we head into a totally tonally different world separated from the real by a thick shell of fog or perhaps a blanket; we're looking into a room from outside. This has a very different feel from the last track, which was an invitation to a private world where you could perhaps become comfortable. This track, "Source Emptiness", is devoid of warmth, and it is harshly dissonant. There's some looping of the void of guitar winds while some shapes of scales come through the fog. A bit before the middle, the murk clears a bit into more melodic stuff, but then it's back to echoing sounds around into a feedback loop. As the song ends, it alternates between the two several times before fading out. The final track is called "Division from Intolerance", and starts with more abyssal sounds. This track has some semi-Sabbath-y chords and soloing, along with a waveform that pierces through and bell-like tones that probably resound from a third bridge. It's pretty misty like the last one and fades into the night.

Impermanence is a little long and somewhat hard to listen to at times. I enjoyed the lo-fi aesthetic and the dark and deep sounds. It was so strangely eerily similar to many things I did as Satyr/Elfheim that it almost seems like something I might have recorded. I will be checking out the rest of the Mirkwood Recordings catalog as time goes on, and I am excited to check out more of their releases which will surely include some folklore of the past and more myths of today and tomorrow. Impermanence gets a Good.

On the 4th of July, my band, Sorry I'm Dead, played a show at Howlers with Zigtebra, Reign Check, and Dumplings. It was pretty fun, and all the bands were good. I booked Zigtebra a while back at Roboto, also on a patriotic holiday, Flag Day, so this unintentionally continued the weird trend. Just like that show, this was a potluck, but this time we also set off some small fireworks outside.

Sorry I'm Dead played first. It was a really good set, similar to the one at Goathouse. Early on, I did some cool rock moves and my guitar strap came off. The guitar was hanging by one side, and I had to just hold it up for a second. It's fun to go into reckless abandon.

Second was Reign Check. I had never seen them before, but I am pretty sure that I had seen their name on like a Facebook event. They were a really cool band, sort of 90s indie sounds, and they played Bikini Kill's "Feels Blind". They are not as thrashy as Bikini Kill, so it was kind of strange. Some of their other songs used a synth, and it reminded me of the awesome, ancient band Dress Up As Natives. I liked their anti-catcaller song. Reign Check ended their set with a somewhat sobering cover of "This Land Is Your Land", but some of the lyrics were a little different than either the original or the sanitized version you hear all the time.

In their time since the show at Roboto, Zigtebra became a very dreamy band; everybody swooned to their loveful synths and echoey vox. Emily, the keyboard player, sounds like Björk at her poppiest. The guitarist/drummer, Joseph, had some whimsical moves like Jonathan Richman. They have some dancey beats via their drum machine. You might be surprised to hear me say this, but Zigtebra are pretty poppy in a really good way. They will be back later in the year, and I am excited!

Finally, Dumplings played. They were super rockin'! It was the band's anniversary and Pam and Jon's dating anniversary! Jon used a new guitar, at least one that I had never seen before, for some of the songs, and he wore a cool tie with ghosts on it.  Their sunglasses made me think of the Damned. They played a few songs that I haven't seen them play often or maybe ever. I really liked the song about being alone forever. Dumplings is really great every time I see them!

Go see Zigtebra if they come near you soon! They are on a long tour, and are very nice to have around! And check out their Facebook or Bandcamp - they are doing new songs each month! Maybe we will do another weird holiday show again with them soon! Look at all these exclamation points in the last paragraph!

On July 3rd, I went to see the final show at Station P. I didn't actually realize that until I got there. Though I had only been to Station P a handful of times, it was always an interesting place with its own character. Station P was softer and more playful than the normal Pittsburgh house; there were no beer cans piled in the sink, rubble rooms, or studded punkers breaking the house apart. The shows there were quieter, experimental and ambient, but some bands played there too. I always liked the people there and the cool painting in the basement. Anyway, on to the show! If you are afraid of clowns, I would not read further.

I got a little mixed up going to Station P, going a different way through Shadyside and ending up on Walnut Street, surrounded by nightlife. I had to turn around, so by the time I got to Station P, I had missed Anna Azizzy's video. In the basement, something very interesting was brewing though! Guinevere and Marty were presenting an amazing elixir to the people of the world in the style of a home shopping network. Two frogs called in, and hopped on it, sitting in cauldrons near the presentation. The frogs drank the mixture, an herbal (not like that) product smelling of the finest spices. One frog collapsed and the other got up and pranced around. The whole time, Guinevere went on about complacency and satisfaction. It was a great performance, and I enjoyed the theatricality of it.

This is yr last warning! Seriously if you are afraid of clowns, you should not continue.

Alright, there you go. I actually really like clowns, though I have not had many interactions with them. I did go to the circus once when I was very little with my uncle Jack. Sneff combined absurdist humor and strange props for a bizarre and otherworldly experience. He wore puffy pants and a shaggy hat, and he spoke in a voice sort of like Pee-Wee Herman, a person I often associate with Station P actually. Sneff gave everybody some Easter eggs with small prizes inside and gave out some medieval costumes to wear. I ended up with Smarties and a green robe respectively. Then Sneff rolled out some Chatter Telephone pull toys and spoke with somebody somewhere. He got sad; he got happy. Then we all went outside and made a magic potion, watching out for the plants in the dark. "Sometimes magic stinks," Sneff chortled as he stirred the concoction like a witch in a fairy story. Magic sure does stink when it is a mixture of grass, dirt, beer, Smarties, rocks, and other junk. It was a lovely set despite the bad smells, and I await Sneff's return to Pittsburgh in the fall.

Finally, Maenads played in the basement. Maenads is a band that plays musick. There was no performance art stuff, just post-stoner space metal like Mars Red Sky or Yuri Gagarin. I love this kind of stuff - the slow lumbering drums and spacey guitars. The songs were dramatic and epic, the scope of space. This was only Maenads second show, and it was good. It's kind of a local Pittsburgh supergroup, which is cool. I do wish they had bigger amps for a fuller sound.

After the show we did some clown games with Sneff, and then that was it for Station P. There is a new Station P, which I suggested should be called New Station P. They did a show there that Saturday, but I had to miss it. The pictures I saw looked cool, and I hope to go there sometime soon. Thanks to everyone at Station P for the good stuff in the last few years and good luck with the new place.

On June 29th, I saw a pretty cool show at Howlers. It was only three bands, and it went by pretty quick. I enjoyed the brevity - it was short and to the point after the massive LadyFest days before. Interestingly, it was sort of like a continuation of LadyFest, as someone pointed out at the show, as all of the bands were female-fronted and one, Garter Shake, had even played there.

When I got to Howlers, Garter Shake were already playing. Since I had just seen them a few days before at LadyFest, it wasn't a big deal. This was a better set though; the sound seemed fuller and the energy was higher. The guitars seemed fuzzier too, which I almost always prefer. I hope to see this band some more, and I am interested in seeing how they develop as time goes on.

Jigsaw Youth is a band from New York City. They are named after the Bikini Kill song and have some similarities to that band, along with the Ramones and Mudhoney, with lots of crunchy riffs and wailing vocals. The members are very young, which is unusual for a band with as big of a following as they have, but it is also good to see. I'm always glad to see youthful musicians, though their musicianship is not always the best. Jigsaw Youth is a pretty good band, but I wish they had a little more stage presence or more dynamic songs. I guess it's really more of the grunge influence that I dislike more than anything else, as I have never been a big fan of that sound. Anyway, the vocals were excellent and the songs were thrashy and fast. I thought they were pretty cool overall.

Aloe played a great set, just like the last few times. I think this was the best one yet! Unlike the show at Roboto, the sound was clearer, and everything else was excellent. I love the guitar interplay. Aloe isn't playing for a bit, but they will be back in August.

Since it was a short show, we have time to check out Jigsaw Youth's America's Sweethearts. The album got me to really hear their how grungy they are. As above, I've never really liked grunge too much, so I guess that's my issue with their sound. It's still a Good album, though I think it drags at times; I like the shorter tracks, but some of them, like "House", are too long. "Aunt Jenny's Got My Back" has a nice Ramones sound, though heavier. "Moth" closes the album on a doomy, downtrodden note. A little too Mudhoney-esque for me at times, but it's a Good first start. I'm excited to see what this band does down the line.

I get very anxious about festivals, so I miss LadyFest every year. This year, I was determined to go, just like every other year. I did actually go, though I only saw one of the shows, the very long Saturday show. I am very glad that I finally went.

I got to LadyFest a little late; the first act, Samm Bones, had already started. She is currently located in New Orleans but formerly from Pittsburgh. When I got in, she was playing a keyboard, later switching to banjo. Bones' set reminded me of seeing a pre-stardom version of Madonna or Lady Gaga, though it was much rougher and less poppy, perhaps more like Amy Winehouse. I thought it was a really cool set; I often dislike singer-songwriter-y things, but this was super strong.

We had to go down to the basement to see the next band, Working Breed. This alternation stayed true for the rest of the night. Usually an "art-rock quartet", according to their website, this was a stripped down, acoustic version of the band. I had never seen them before. The songs were a little too poppy for me, sort of Serge Gainsbourg at times (the first song was in French), but there were some cool instruments - the frontwoman played a trombone and a saw! I also loved her deadpan banter and the amazing lyrics, "if you love somebody yr... fucked". I'm interested in seeing the full band.

The Telephone Line was playing back up on the first floor. They were sort of like a more subdued Janis Joplin. Like Janis Joplin, the Telephone Line is rooted in funk and blues with some nice bass parts and keyboards. I wished the guitar was louder and more fuzzed out. I liked the songs "Queen of the City", "Back Off" (about harassment on public transport), and "Caving In" (which had a sort of easy-listening sound).

Other Girls was the weirdest act on the bill. Other Girls is Hannah Thompson in a body suit, morphing to some ambient drones. It was very cool and under time, which makes me feel better about huge shows that always give me a lot of stress/anxiety rushing back and forth. I had seen Other Girls before at a very tempestuous show I booked a few years ago. I got a clearer picture of the project here, the morphing folds as a statement on societal expectations of the body.

The fifth band was Garter Shake, a pop/garage band that sounds like something on Bufu Records. They were sort of like Bleached or a less psychedelic La Sera. Again, I feel like there were some level issues - the keyboard was cool, but the fuzzy guitar should have been louder. Since all the bands upstairs were using the same amps, it seems like this was a result of the quick setups between the bands. The last song they played was "Crimson Wave" by Tacocat. It was a cool set.

We went back down to the basement to see Iris Creamer. She is a rapper and producer from Providence, Rhode Island. I liked her stage presence; it was strong but loose and carefree, like a character in The Warriors. The dub breaks and somewhat minimal, non-dense production appealed to me; it was kinda post-punky. I wish that she had been turned up a bit by people running the sound. Iris Creamer is great!

Brazilian Wax was next, with a returning Mae on drums. Wow, this was an awesome set! I always miss their shows, though I have seen them before, and this was a good argument to not miss anymore. Athena is a powerful vocalist and the entire crowd went along with what the band was doing. Mae played bass for a second, and everybody cheered. Everything was fast and loud and strong.

Blak Rapp Madusa continued the powerful sets. She came in like a sledgehammer or a wrecking ball but for real (sorry Miley). I was stunned the whole time! Just like Brazilian Wax, she really lead the crowd with her powerful lyrics. The audience was so loud after each song, it hurt my ears! On some songs, Madusa was accompanied by a friend with more soulful vox, and they were amazing too - it was a great contrast. The last song she played was dedicated to another person who had recently passed away, and I was really touched, despite having never met that person. Madusa is an acronym meaning Making A Difference Using Skills and Activism, and she has a movie coming out soon that you should all check out.

The ninth band was Murder for Girls back upstairs. I saw Murder for Girls some time ago, opening for Shonen Knife, also at Cattivo. Their sound is like a darker 90s indie band, almost grunge. This was better than when I saw them with Shonen Knife. The guitars sounded warm and full with a Ramones buzzsaw attack and the bass has a post-punk tone. The vocal harmonies kinda wear me down over time though.

The Lopez played a great set as always, but this was one of the stronger ones in a while. As always, they were very energetic, dancey, and full of Ramones tones. There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said.

I went home to take a break for a second, missing the band Blue Clutch. I hope to catch them at a later date. When I came back, Swampwalk was already playing. I haven't seen Swampwalk for a while, but I always enjoy her sets a lot. She uses a Game Boy for electro chiptunes. This was so giggly and fun and honest, though don't mistake that for weakness - "my body is not yr commodity". I wonder if it was more intimate since there were not a ton of people left. It was getting late and the show had probably worn people down; I was exhausted. Despite this, I felt rejuvenated a bit from her joyfulness.

We took the Sound Elevator upstairs for the end of the night. That's a bad joke, but that is the last band's name. Sound Elevator almost played my Ramones tribute show last year, though they had to back out. They would have been a really good fit, and this was a good set. There were some colorful lights floating around to the post-punk/goth sounds of the band; I was so tired that I actually fell asleep, lulled into dreamlands. What I did hear was excellent; I really enjoyed the vocals and basslines especially. I hope to catch them again when I am not so tired.

I left LadyFest, ate some food, and fell asleep. As mentioned above, I was exhausted, since I was there for like the whole day. Festivals take a lot out of me; it's a lot to process. Regardless, it was a fun time, and I am glad that I went and got to see many new (to me) bands. There were two more shows the next day, but I skipped out on those. There were also two shows the day before. Clearly the people behind LadyFest put a lot of work into it. Despite there being some sound issues, in terms of levels, the Saturday show was excellent, showcased many female-fronted bands, and raised a lot of money for women's charities. Assuming I don't feel super anxious in 2018, I plan to go to one or more of the shows, and you should too.

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