There are record release shows and there are record release celebrations.
Arlo Aldo is having a full-on record release extravaganza.
“It’s easy to put together a show and say, it just so happens we’re going to have this new record there,” says lead singer David Manchester. “We wanted to really make a big deal out of this, and show how excited we were.”
The alt-folk outfit is one of several Pittsburgh bands celebrating the release of new music in February with a release show that is more than just another concert.
The extravaganza happens February 27 at the Commonwealth Press warehouse in the South Side with support from DJ Pandemic and indie pop band Mariage Blanc. Lawrenceville’s Roundabout Brewery will provide refreshments, and Commonwealth Press will be on hand to screen-print t-shirts to order.
“We wanted to bring together all of these incredibly creative and amazing elements of the city into one place,” he says, “so it really is more than just a show.”
The new album, House & Home, is Arlo Aldo’s second but their first on local label Future Oak Records. Manchester calls the album “warm and welcoming; rich and lush, especially with the vocal harmonies.”
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Arlo Aldo’s is the grand finale to a month’s worth of shows, which begins this Friday, February 5, at Lawrenceville’s Cattivo when Shaky Shrines doubles down to celebrate the release of two new pieces of music: an album, Shaky at Best, and a brand new EP, Feels Wonderful.
The band’s former guitarist, Dave Cerminara, moved to LA after they released Shaky at Best online last October. Cerminara, who also produces and engineers their albums, was back in town over the holidays, so the band took the opportunity to lay down some tracks. After three twelve-hour days in the studio, they had their new EP.
The EP “gets a little weird,” says Braden Faisant, the band’s lead singer. “It stays in true Shaky form where it is completely different track to track.” There are a couple “sleepy ’90s dad-rock” tracks, a “folky-weird Ty Segall” one, and a “really fast” number, “Changeling,” divined by their drummer during an ayahuasca trip.
The psych-rock six-piece never held a proper release show for Shaky at Best, so they decided to celebrate both with this double release show. For $10 fans will gain entry to the show and some merch, including copies of both new records and some sticker and t-shirts – “whatever you want or don’t already have,” says Faisant, “until it runs out.” World’s Scariest Police Chases opens.
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The celebrations continue the following evening, February 6, with a performance by The Red Western at the Andy Warhol Museum. The Warhol is certainly no stranger to live music, but it’s rare for a local band to land an evening in the Museum’s state-of-the-art entrance space all to themselves.
“When you spend all this time and energy working on a record, you don’t want to play a regular, run-of-the-mill show,” says Sean Finn, drummer for The Red Western. “It’s almost like having a baby. You want to get as many people to notice you’re having a baby as possible, and release it into the world in the biggest way possible.”
In this case, they’re having twins. The band is releasing a pair of EPs, Sirens and Arrows, each with its own distinct feel. Sirens has more of an Americana/indie rock vibe reminiscent of the band’s earlier work, whereas Arrows, comprised mostly of songs written and composed by lead guitarist Jonathan Gunnell, sheds most of the alt-country.
“We really wanted to do something special for this one,” says Finn. “There’s no more special venue that I can think of than to have it at the Warhol. It was a no-brainer.”
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Finally, power-pop veterans Meeting of Important People celebrate the release of their first new album in four years, Troika, with a two-night residency at the Thunderbird Cafe, February 26 and February 27. Paul Luc and Molly Alphabet join them for night one, and Cold Weather and Mystic Seers open up night two.
Lead singer Josh Verbanets says the decision to perform a two-day album release show was a practical way to recoup expenses (everyone in attendance receives a copy of the new album) and to hedge against the unpredictable winter weather. It also gives them a chance to stretch out and play songs from their extensive back catalog.
“We’re going to play two completely different sets,” says Verbanets. “We’re going to play some covers. We have a ton of material now, so we can fill two nights.” To that end, the Thunderbird is selling two-night passes for people who want the full MoIP experience.
As for the new album, Verbanets says it has more variety than anything they’ve ever made before.
“There’s all sorts of different styles of songs. We have a space rock song. There’s a–what people kind of expect from us–a Kinks’ song. There’s a blues song. There’s our version of a Lorde song. It’s definitely the most far-reaching album we’ve ever made.”
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Looking for more album release shows? Black Forge Coffee House, one of the city’s newest mixed-use venues, hosts post-metal band Admiral of Narrow Seas’ release show February 11, and hardcore band Slaves BC celebrates the release of their first LP, All Is Dust And I Am Nothing, February 19.
Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments, or email [email protected]