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fingered winter dread

19 Dec

Mouthbreathers at the Jackpot Saloon, Nov. 13th, © 2010 Mahsa Borhani


Nobunny – Someone Else’s Brain
White Wires – Hands
Nikki Sudden – Love Makes Her Shine


Damien Shingleton – Don’t Lie To Me
Tujiko Noriko – Gift (Damien Shingleton remix)
Burial – Archangel



12 Jul

Me reviewing my photo during Human Eye set, photo taken by John Bodnar, 2009

July 11th was Gigawave’s three-year anniversary, which also marked the day that Turbo Fruits return to the Replay Lounge this year. Therefore, one of the songs off Echo Kid starts out the mix. I originally made this mix as a birthday present to myself, but it’s been a hectic week so I kept forgetting to post it until now.

A mish-mash of my favorite songs, songs relating to summer or partying, and songs relating to, well, aging.


Turbo Fruits

played a fun set tonight. Not too savvy with their discography but they played “Get Up and Get Down,” “Mama’s Mad Cos I Fried My Brain,” “Trouble” and maybe “Broadzilla”–all from Echo Kid–and then some other songs I didn’t recognize. Some highlights of my crowd experience include one young gentleman who made the semi-vacant Replay Lounge (not really, because the patio was still bumpin’) his own personal living room through interpretive dance; it was especially fun to watch during Mini Mansions’ set. Always cool to see dudes who let all their quirks hang out, even if I can’t completely get into their moves, haha.

© Mahsa Borhani, 2010

I imagine that the show I missed in March would have been more of an adrenaline rush–much like Echo Kid is–but the band didn’t let the attendance tonight faze them. The chemistry on stage between the members and their pleasure in playing the songs never wavered, and in turn, this allowed them to sweat out some psyched out & amorphous tunes towards the end of the set without missing a beat. The guys will be returning to these parts on September 30th to play at RecordBar with Those Darlins.

At the show, I also met Patrice Jackson, another local photographer who’s quite good with film. She cut a rug with me to a few songs, which was a blessing since the dancing woke me up enough that I could drive home tonight safely. You can check out her work here:, and if you’re into Shmacebook, this is her page: Patrice Jackson Photography

something new

28 Mar

The KooksNaive
RooneyThe Days Keep Going By
Shout Out LoudsShow Me Something New

ps. I swear that guitar riff from the Shout Out Louds song is taken from the chorus of a super famous song but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

upcoming shows

  • 3-29 // Xiu Xiu, Talk Normal // Jackpot Saloon
  • 4-5 // Passion Pit, Bear Hands // Beaumont Club
  • 4-6 // Beach House // The Granada
  • 4-7 // Caspian // The RecordBar
  • 4-7 // JEFF the brotherhood // Replay Lounge
  • 4-10 // The Ettes // Replay Lounge
  • 4-11 // Deer Tick, Wrong Crowd // Jackpot Saloon
  • 4-14 // Rogue Wave // The Bottleneck
  • 4-28 // Centipede Eest // Replay Lounge
  • 5-3 // Fucked Up // Jackpot Saloon

some new some old

5 Mar

Because, because, because, you’re dumb and everyone’s the same.

NYE mix

29 Dec

I’m leaving for a few days so I thought I would post this a little early. Enjoy.

song reviews II

11 Aug

Smith Westerns @ Howler’s Coyote Cafe, 4-18-09
© Mahsa Borhani, 2009

Smith WesternsGimme Some Time // I first got turned onto these guys in April when they played night two of Totally Wired fest along with a slew of other bands. They were the first band to play that night (probably due to them being underage at a bar) and pretty much blew me away. Once they started playing, I couldn’t believe that four fresh faced boys in the tightest jeans possible could bust out some of the catchiest pop gems I’d heard in a while. “Gimme Some Time”, which is off of their self-titled LP, is one of my favorite songs, not only due to the steamy lyrics, but also cause of the rambunctious chorus, punk sensibility, and the very fitting garage rock sound. In fact, I don’t think there is a single song on this album that I don’t love.

Box EldersCougars // I have to admit, I’m constantly bewildered by Box Elders. First of all, their drummer is a multitasking fiend who can drum, shake a tambourine, and play an organ all at once. Secondly, they have the most bizarre outfits and do crazy shit like shoot flames during songs such as “Cougars.” Third of all, they don’t take them selves very seriously but somehow manage to make really well crafted pop compositions that are a force to be reckoned with. Their brand of rock differs greatly from the increasingly favored fuzzed out & distorted breed that populates the underground scene today–this is straightforward garage pop that serenades you with strong guitar melodies and jeers at you with an underlying punk attitude. Combine that with a few surf rock guitar licks and punchy bass lines, and it’s very hard not to break out dancing. I’m a little late on their game, having only been introduced to them in January, but these guys tour a fair amount and I’ll have the pleasure of seeing them for the third time in September. Check out their myspace to make sure you catch them on their upcoming tour–you don’t want to miss one of the most entertaining bands to have graced the midwest.

Box Elders @ Howler’s Coyote Cafe, 4-18-09
© Mahsa Borhani, 2009

BuzzcocksPromises // Definitely an oldie, but one of my favorite songs off of the Love Bites re-issue that effectively displays the incredible talents of John Maher to the band’s rhythm section. Buzzcocks have always been a defining figure in pop punk and “Promises” really depicts the level of imagination they possessed in terms of lyricism, melodies, and percussion. I think that Pete Shelley’s vocal range stands out on this track and has a certain vigor and emotion that is sometimes void in their more popular songs.

BricolageFlowers of Deceit // My first taste of Bricolage was “Footsteps” back when it was still an orphaned child with no album to call its own. I was very glad to finally hear the full length LP they released last year and also glad that none of their slightly lackluster demo tracks made the cut. Bricolage demonstrate a talent that is sadly absent from many American bands’ repertoires–harmonizing. The harmonizing is truly cohesive and deftly peppered in. I never realize what I am missing on some songs I hear until I realize it is solid vocal harmonies. You could have a good melody and it will just be flat without throwing in a tertian harmony or two; it’s why 90s top 40 pop hits are fucking great. With two guitarists, three vocalists, and really solid drumming, Bricolage stand miles ahead of other bands in their realm such as Franz Ferdinand or the eerily identical vocals of Dogs Die in Hot Cars. The chummy vocals on many of their tracks become more endearing with each repeating listen, instead of increasingly annoying, as I tend to find with other similar bands. This whole album has taken my fancy and there are a slew of other masterfully mixed songs such as “Turn U Over”, “Looting Takes the Waiting Out of Wanting”, “6th For Poet”, and of course–“Footsteps.” If you’re a slut for brit-pop, I warn you not to sleep on these guys–you will regret it.

X-WifeHeart of the World // I kind of forgot about this band until I accidentally stumbled upon their 2008 full length album, Are You Ready For the Blackout?, a few weeks ago. I first heard “When the Lights Turn Off” a few years ago and was convinced they were British and emulating the Klaxons or something. You can understand how confused I was when I found out they were Portuguese and had more embedded in their talents than just being able to make very catchy dance rock. I think “Heart of the World” is a good example of that; it not only represents an uncanny resemblance to The Rapture, but it also takes the weirdo tinge out of their sound and adds a bit more of a post punk and melodramatic feel to everything. The synth also accompanies their music rather well–slightly cheesy yet still appropriate as it maintains a continuous personality throughout the majority of the songs from their album. Overall, the album remains quite accessible to mainstream tastes–despite the band being pretty unknown in the states–and I’ve found it to be a good source for addictive summer jams.

Blank DogsOpen Shut // Blank Dogs are a diverse and talented band that I’ve criminally disregarded for a while. I missed the show they played in Pittsburgh in March, brushed off the hints I got last April & October, and ignored all the rave reviews from friends. Compared to their previous releases, Under and Under goes in a different direction with more centralized songs, a cleaner recording aesthetic, as well as a strong nod to coldwave influences. Basically, this is the kind of sound that shitty bands like She Wants Revenge are probably striving for. Blank Dogs’ angular melodies are somewhat reminiscent of the A-Frames, and similar to what Fredericksburg band Ceremony are also currently toying around with. I have to admit that the album took a little while to grow on me, but once you accustom yourself with their sound, you’re sent to an altered state adrift with oddball vocals, peculiar synth, and alarming guitar lines; together they form a soundscape which invokes feelings of nostalgia and despondency. “Open Shut”, in particular, is suffused with that kind of creepy, coasting-on-by attitude which is prominent in the band’s musical identity.

TV GhostThe Recluse // The only chance I ever had to see this band was completely ruined due to them getting arrested for drinking underage, or some shit, somewhere in small town PA, therefore being unable to play their Pittsburgh show in April, as well as a handful of other shows on their tour. Very unfortunate, for sure, seeing as their newest album Cold Fish bears that same brand of weirdo rock that tends to spawn in Detroit rather than the band’s hometown of Lafayette, IN. The first thing I got from this track was that it sounded so much like The (now disbanded) Arm, from Texas. The whole album possesses a horror appeal to it–mostly from the reeling synth, erratic guitar and dingy bass–kind of like what Human Eye or Francis Harold and the Holograms have going on. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a larger, conceptual narrative present in the album with more listens.

Pissed JeansPleasure Race // Pissed Jeans…what else is there to say? I have been anxiously waiting for them to drop a new album and when I heard “False Jesii Part 2” I knew we were in for something magical. The 2007 release of Hope for Men was slightly disappointing, considering the earlier standard they had set with quite memorable songs such as “Closet Marine”, “Ashamed of My Cum” and “I’m Sick.” Pissed Jeans have always had a gross humor that they’ve enforced with grating guitar riffs, grimacing yells, and fast bass lines and then also with slower, heavier, wandering compositions; I’m glad to hear that the drums finally get a more considerate mix in the songs. “Pleasure Race” remains as one of my top three favorite songs off King Of Jeans with the repetitive guitar, driving drums, and vocal diatribe that Matt Korvette is notorious for. Once again, Pissed Jeans embrace mundane subjects, contradict the socially acceptable ones, and turn it all into some sort of idolatry. In addition, there are a couple of surprising tracks on the album–such as “R-Rated Movie,” where the instrumentals sound initially uncharacteristic compared to earlier work. Nevertheless, the song then descends into a raging chorus that lauds blood, sex & violence–contrasting the excitement of all the action to the narrator’s seemingly boring life. Who else writes a song about this shit, seriously? So fucking good. The album officially drops on August 18th so be sure to pick it up.

back to school mix

10 Aug

Since I’ve been really inactive and am probably about to be even more negligent starting in two weeks, here is a nice little “half” mix for the end of the summer and the start of the school year. Enjoy.

© Mahsa Borhani, 2009

B2S MIX 2009

Speaking of Witch Hats, here’s something to look forward to (dated June 15th):

We’ve got a new recording due out in a couple of months (our old label folded and we’ve had to organise a release through another one causing big crappy delays). Its a 6 song 10″ vinyl EP.