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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 I originally made this mix as a birthday present to myself, but it’s been a hectic week so I kept forgetting to post it until now.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


Gallery opening on friday

21 Jun

Soad A. Kader, buscando el abrazo (searching for the embrace), 2009, monotype, 8 x 10 inches

This Friday, June 25th, Miguel Rivera and Soad A. Kader will celebrate the opening exhibition of their prints at Cara and Cabeza Contemporary. Miguel is the department chair of the printmaking program at the Kansas City Art Institute, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing him implement his cross-disciplinary approach to the field, first-hand. Therefore, this is one show I’m really looking forward to–after two semesters of Miguel teaching, watching the students in the department work, and coordinating printmaking shows, I’m sure he’s excited to share his fruits of labor and kick off the summer.

Both of the artists featured employ a gestural and organic aesthetic to convey their messages regarding “ideas of physical connectivity…[and] a tendency towards embracing the present.” Please come out and get a chance to view the work, speak with the artists, and check out this very intriguing space near the Kansas City Rivermarket.

Ritual: Works on Paper by Miguel Rivera and Soad A. Kader
June 19 – July 31, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, June 25, 7 – 10 pm
Cara and Cabeza Contemporary
218 Delaware, Suite 208
Kansas City, MO 64105

The Middle East & Laura Marling

11 May

After three years of pitifully running this blog myself I have the good fortune of getting a guest submission from talented Pittsburgh writer, Matthew Stoff. The following concert review is by him. He is the editor of the Pittsburgh music website, Burgh Sounds. Hopefully, there will be more in the future. Thanks Matt!

The Middle East, 5/8

photo © Matthew Stoff, 2010

It’s amazing to watch seven musicians cram onto a stage, each with several instruments, and still play songs that sound light and dreamy, with room to breathe. Australia’s The Middle East came to The Warhol Museum Saturday to do exactly that, showing off a kind of intimacy that seemed improbable given the number of moving parts on stage. Despite the count of personnel, the band’s artisanal brand of folk-rock was utterly uncluttered. The many band members and their tools were called upon selectively to provide the smallest details in the deepest corners of their songs.

To do this, they took turns sitting out. At one point near the end of the set, singer/guitarist Ro Jones stood barefoot in front of the microphone, buried his toes in the plush stage carpeting, and closed his eyes. Several of his bandmates sat just offstage, while others clasped their hands over their instruments. With only his lips and fingers moving, Jones leaned forward and sang in a quiet whisper that cracked into tuneless speech, supported only by an irregular pattern of gentle strumming. It was a moment of quiet, beautiful introspection. Only later, when two more vocal parts and the soft twinkling of a glockenspiel chimed in, did the tune coalesce into something that Mark Mothersbaugh might have composed for a Wes Anderson film.

This was the method of the band throughout the evening. In the seven songs they played, there was not a single solo, nor any jamming nor, from the looks of it, any improvisation. But this austerity did not leave the music impoverished. The whole band repeatedly showed off its canny ability to group particular noises —the rising wave of a cymbal roll and a syrupy, lethargic guitar, for instance — into fully realized set pieces. They had brought on stage with them a trumpet, flute, banjo, laptop, various handheld percussion, and more, in addition to two guitars, bass, and drums. This explains why The Middle East has been labeled chamber pop and compared to The Arcade Fire.

The band is slightly on the mysterious side and cultivates a reserved stage persona. It was silent between most songs, lending the performance a concert-hall quality, especially in the auditorium at The Warhol. Most of the performers stood still. At one point, the bassist sat on the floor. Jones, the de facto front man for the group, made only a few brief, half-mumbled comments, including his pithy introduction, “We come from a place called Australia. I know you haven’t heard of it.”

The musical themes were, in a way, just as confounding. Though they are masters of multi-part, male-female, and block harmonies, the singers didn’t enunciate clearly enough to hear distinct lyrics most of the time. And so the audience was left to intuit the meaning of the songs without them. Fortunately, the music was so evocative that even without words, it conveyed sophisticated attitudes like irony and disappointment. One song ended hanging on an unresolved chord plucked in frustrating slowness; during another, a galloping drum beat and the jangle of handheld percussion supported a melody that was both mournful and optimistic. The tune was not happy despite literally being upbeat.

The band is currently touring of North America and Europe including several sold-out dates in New York, Chicago, and London. Their blending of indie experimentation with the purity of the folk tradition will please what is sure to be a growing international base of fans. And their stoic but impassioned live performances will certainly captivate those lucky enough to watch.

favorite pittsburgh blog

17 Mar

Andy Mulkerin

The Tough Alliance – Something Special