club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
Sean McConnell with Special Guest Millgroves Crossing

"From a very young age, I just knew that I was gonna spend my life making music," Sean McConnell states. "I never really questioned it, so I just forged ahead and didn't let anything stop me."

Although his self-titled new Rounder album will serve as his introduction to many listeners, the personable young artist is actually a seasoned, distinctive songwriter and an experienced performer with a quartet of D.I.Y. indie releases to his credit. Having built a substantial grass-roots fan base through tireless touring and old-fashioned hard work, McConnell is primed for a mainstream breakthrough.

Sean McConnell demonstrates exactly why McConnell has already won such a devoted audience. He writes vivid, forthright, effortlessly catchy songs whose incisive melodic craft is matched by their resonant emotional insight. Such instantly memorable tunes as "Holy Days," "Beautiful Rose," "Bottom of the Sea" and "Best We've Ever Been" are both catchy and personally charged, conveying an unmistakable sense of personal experience while exploring universal truths.

"This record's a bit of a step for me," McConnell asserts. "It's a real storyteller record, and it's pretty autobiographical. I'm learning how to be more honest and understated in my writing, and I wanted to match that sonically and vocally. When I look at this collection of songs, I see a lot of nostalgia, and looking back on sacred moments. I'm kind of nostalgic and reflective by nature."

McConnell recorded the album in his adopted hometown of Nashville with producers Jason Lehning and Ian Fitchuk, who also contributed keyboards and drums, respectively. The recording took place prior to McConnell signing with Rounder, with the artist financing the sessions himself.

"This project started," he explains, "when I went to a cabin by myself for a week, with the intention of writing some songs. In that week, I wrote about half of the songs on the record, and I could see the thread of what this record was gonna be. That was exciting for me, because it normally takes me a year to find an album's worth of songs that belong together. The whole recording process was really fun and liberating, and the energy in the studio was really positive."

Songwriting and music-making have been a part of Sean McConnell's life for as long as he can remember. "My mom was a singer and my dad was a guitar player and songwriter," he notes. "They'd play in coffeehouses and I'd go along and watch them perform, and seeing that lifestyle showed me that music was an option. And seeing my dad painstakingly writing songs had a huge influence on me, and gave me license to feel like I could enter into that world."

By the age of ten, he had become proficient on guitar and was writing his first songs. "I fell in love with the instrument first," McConnell recalls. "Learning guitar gave me a feeling of uncharted territory laid out in front of me. And as I got better on guitar, the songs started to come naturally. At around the same time, we moved from Massachusetts to Georgia, and the first song I wrote was about the feeling of leaving the familiar and feeling lost in a new place. Music gave me a focus and became an emotional outlet for me."

His supportive family background helped to instill the confidence and drive to pursue his muse early on. "I started playing in middle school, doing any gig I could get just to get my chops up," he says. "By high school, I would be doing local gigs and really promoting them, bringing out a couple hundred kids to my shows a few times a month and starting to make a decent living at it. That made me think that maybe I could do this in other towns. So I started traveling around the southeast a little bit, and there was always enough progress to take things to the next level. While I was in college, I did a lot of college touring, just me driving all over the United States in a Toyota Corolla. It was hard work, but it showed me that I could do it."

McConnell was just 15 when he self-released his first album, Faces, in 2000. Followed by 2001's Here In The Lost and Found, 2004's 200 Orange Street, 2006's Cold Black Sky, 2007's Tell The Truth, 2008's The Walk Around EP, 2010's Saints, Thieves and Liars, 2012's Midland and the 2014 EP The B Side Session.

"I had a guitar teacher in Atlanta who had a home studio, and he was the first one to say 'Hey, you should make a record,'" he says. "If I go back and listen to that first record now, the songs are kind of crude, but at the same time there's a directness about them that I like. My writing has evolved since then, but at the same time I've tried to hold on to some of that directness."

"I'm really attracted to songwriters who just put it out there honestly, and I feel like I'm getting back to basics and expressing things in a simple, direct way on the new album," he continues. "I'm just trying to learn how to be a more honest storyteller, trying to get my mind in a place where I'm not actually thinking and the music's just kind of happening naturally. When I read interviews with songwriters that I admire, they always say that the best songs are the ones that just kind of happen, like they're operating from the unconscious. That's a place I want to get to."

Having spent much of his life honing his craft and paying his dues, Sean McConnell is eager to launch the next chapter of his career.

"I kind of feel like I've been in a really long boot camp," he concludes. "I'm really grateful for that, because I feel like I've gained enough experience to know the deal and be prepared for anything. I'm excited to see where the next part of the journey takes me."

"From a very young age, I just knew that I was gonna spend my life making music," Sean McConnell states. "I never really questioned it, so I just forged ahead and didn't let anything stop me."

Although his self-titled new Rounder album will serve as his introduction to many listeners, the personable young artist is actually a seasoned, distinctive songwriter and an experienced performer with a quartet of D.I.Y. indie releases to his credit. Having built a substantial grass-roots fan base through tireless touring and old-fashioned hard work, McConnell is primed for a mainstream breakthrough.

Sean McConnell demonstrates exactly why McConnell has already won such a devoted audience. He writes vivid, forthright, effortlessly catchy songs whose incisive melodic craft is matched by their resonant emotional insight. Such instantly memorable tunes as "Holy Days," "Beautiful Rose," "Bottom of the Sea" and "Best We've Ever Been" are both catchy and personally charged, conveying an unmistakable sense of personal experience while exploring universal truths.

"This record's a bit of a step for me," McConnell asserts. "It's a real storyteller record, and it's pretty autobiographical. I'm learning how to be more honest and understated in my writing, and I wanted to match that sonically and vocally. When I look at this collection of songs, I see a lot of nostalgia, and looking back on sacred moments. I'm kind of nostalgic and reflective by nature."

McConnell recorded the album in his adopted hometown of Nashville with producers Jason Lehning and Ian Fitchuk, who also contributed keyboards and drums, respectively. The recording took place prior to McConnell signing with Rounder, with the artist financing the sessions himself.

"This project started," he explains, "when I went to a cabin by myself for a week, with the intention of writing some songs. In that week, I wrote about half of the songs on the record, and I could see the thread of what this record was gonna be. That was exciting for me, because it normally takes me a year to find an album's worth of songs that belong together. The whole recording process was really fun and liberating, and the energy in the studio was really positive."

Songwriting and music-making have been a part of Sean McConnell's life for as long as he can remember. "My mom was a singer and my dad was a guitar player and songwriter," he notes. "They'd play in coffeehouses and I'd go along and watch them perform, and seeing that lifestyle showed me that music was an option. And seeing my dad painstakingly writing songs had a huge influence on me, and gave me license to feel like I could enter into that world."

By the age of ten, he had become proficient on guitar and was writing his first songs. "I fell in love with the instrument first," McConnell recalls. "Learning guitar gave me a feeling of uncharted territory laid out in front of me. And as I got better on guitar, the songs started to come naturally. At around the same time, we moved from Massachusetts to Georgia, and the first song I wrote was about the feeling of leaving the familiar and feeling lost in a new place. Music gave me a focus and became an emotional outlet for me."

His supportive family background helped to instill the confidence and drive to pursue his muse early on. "I started playing in middle school, doing any gig I could get just to get my chops up," he says. "By high school, I would be doing local gigs and really promoting them, bringing out a couple hundred kids to my shows a few times a month and starting to make a decent living at it. That made me think that maybe I could do this in other towns. So I started traveling around the southeast a little bit, and there was always enough progress to take things to the next level. While I was in college, I did a lot of college touring, just me driving all over the United States in a Toyota Corolla. It was hard work, but it showed me that I could do it."

McConnell was just 15 when he self-released his first album, Faces, in 2000. Followed by 2001's Here In The Lost and Found, 2004's 200 Orange Street, 2006's Cold Black Sky, 2007's Tell The Truth, 2008's The Walk Around EP, 2010's Saints, Thieves and Liars, 2012's Midland and the 2014 EP The B Side Session.

"I had a guitar teacher in Atlanta who had a home studio, and he was the first one to say 'Hey, you should make a record,'" he says. "If I go back and listen to that first record now, the songs are kind of crude, but at the same time there's a directness about them that I like. My writing has evolved since then, but at the same time I've tried to hold on to some of that directness."

"I'm really attracted to songwriters who just put it out there honestly, and I feel like I'm getting back to basics and expressing things in a simple, direct way on the new album," he continues. "I'm just trying to learn how to be a more honest storyteller, trying to get my mind in a place where I'm not actually thinking and the music's just kind of happening naturally. When I read interviews with songwriters that I admire, they always say that the best songs are the ones that just kind of happen, like they're operating from the unconscious. That's a place I want to get to."

Having spent much of his life honing his craft and paying his dues, Sean McConnell is eager to launch the next chapter of his career.

"I kind of feel like I've been in a really long boot camp," he concludes. "I'm really grateful for that, because I feel like I've gained enough experience to know the deal and be prepared for anything. I'm excited to see where the next part of the journey takes me."

Pelican with Special Guest Jaye Jayle

Pelican, the Chicago-based quartet renowned for their instrumental excursions to the outer reaches of caustic heaviness and cathartic melody, have announced a 19-date US tour to commence this August. The dates represent the group’s first major tour since Spring of last year, during which time the band has shifted their focus to working on the long awaited follow up to their acclaimed 2013 album Forever Becoming. The tour, which includes a Southwestern jaunt with VA’s Inter Arma and an east coast run with recent Sargent House signees Jaye Jayle, offer the band an opportunity to preview new material as they work their way toward recording their next full length. The dates commence with an appearance at the highly regarded Psycho Las Vegas festival, concludes with a rare show with experimental rock mainstays Grails as part of celebrated Chicago venue Empty Bottle’s 25th anniversary, and includes a headlining set at the inaugural US edition of Europe’s long-running Dunk!Fest. Pelican’s performance at 2016’s Dunk!Fest was a career highlight, yielding the (previously physical only) 2xLP live album Live at Dunk!Fest, which the band today reissued via streaming and digital services. Full tour dates and artwork below.

Throughout their seventeen year career Pelican have eschewed genre classification, crafting a wholly unique take on heavy music that careens between the bombastic visceral elements of metal and the epic atmospheric expanses of post-rock. Across five full lengths, seven EPs, and hundreds of live shows the quartet have cultivated a chemistry that borders on telepathy, catapulting the band to outlier appearances at international music festivals including Primavera, Roskilde, Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Roadburn, and Maryland Death Fest, and headlining club tours across four continents.

Pelican, the Chicago-based quartet renowned for their instrumental excursions to the outer reaches of caustic heaviness and cathartic melody, have announced a 19-date US tour to commence this August. The dates represent the group’s first major tour since Spring of last year, during which time the band has shifted their focus to working on the long awaited follow up to their acclaimed 2013 album Forever Becoming. The tour, which includes a Southwestern jaunt with VA’s Inter Arma and an east coast run with recent Sargent House signees Jaye Jayle, offer the band an opportunity to preview new material as they work their way toward recording their next full length. The dates commence with an appearance at the highly regarded Psycho Las Vegas festival, concludes with a rare show with experimental rock mainstays Grails as part of celebrated Chicago venue Empty Bottle’s 25th anniversary, and includes a headlining set at the inaugural US edition of Europe’s long-running Dunk!Fest. Pelican’s performance at 2016’s Dunk!Fest was a career highlight, yielding the (previously physical only) 2xLP live album Live at Dunk!Fest, which the band today reissued via streaming and digital services. Full tour dates and artwork below.

Throughout their seventeen year career Pelican have eschewed genre classification, crafting a wholly unique take on heavy music that careens between the bombastic visceral elements of metal and the epic atmospheric expanses of post-rock. Across five full lengths, seven EPs, and hundreds of live shows the quartet have cultivated a chemistry that borders on telepathy, catapulting the band to outlier appearances at international music festivals including Primavera, Roskilde, Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Roadburn, and Maryland Death Fest, and headlining club tours across four continents.

The Appleseed Collective / Wild Ponies 'Galax' Release Tour with Special Guest James Fornear

The Appleseed Collective is real Americana. I figured out sort of a mathematical equation last night- it's like Satch plus Django plus Joplin plus Bob Wills plus a little Bill Monroe, but the sum is actually greater than the parts." So said Jason Marck of WBEZ Chicago's Morning Shift, introducing the band for a live segment in November 2014.

No Americana sound could ring so true without miles of highway to back it up, and The Appleseed Collective certainly has that- 2014 has seen them travel coast to coast in support of their two studio albums, Baby to Beast (2012) and Young Love (January 2014). According to Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune, "Young Love sweeps out the various corners of American music, taking a long look at both the sublime and the strange. The group explores both dark and light in a way that other string-band revivalists haven't touched."

Formed in 2010, The Appleseed Collective has become a force of nature powered by their local community and developed by a strong sense of do-it-yourself drive. In an age of corporations and climate change, the band's commitment to buying & selling local, eating from gardens, and being their own bosses has led to the kind of success that feels simply organic.

Each part of the Collective comes together to form an amalgam of complementary and contrasting elements. With a Motown session musician for a father, guitarist Andrew Brown was exposed to pre-World War II jazz on a trip to New Orleans. Shortly afterwards a chance meeting introduced him to Brandon Smith, violinist, mandolinist and improvisatory magician who grew up playing old time fiddle music. Vince Russo, multi-percussionist and van-packing savant, blends influences of funk, jazz and rock n' roll on the washboard. Eric Dawe comes from a background of choral singing and studies in Indian classical music and provides the bottom end on the upright bass. The whole band sings in harmony.

The band's latest release is a live album recorded in one night at world-renowned venue, The Ark in their hometown of Ann Arbor MI. On Live At The Ark (December 2014) the energy is palpable, the crowd ready to receive, and the band primed to deliver. With a mix of new and old material, as well as a few specially requested covers, Appleseed does just that. The album balances barn burners, old soul jazz, and sparse mood pieces, all suspended above a room hungry for more. It's a daring spectacle but it pays off- the album feels at once electric and intimate, glamorous and genuine, or as Joshua Pickard at Beats Per Minute put it, "music best served alongside a roaring campfire but that also has the ability to challenge the rafters of any grand arena."

The Appleseed Collective is not a bluegrass band. It's not The Hot Club of Paris. It's not a ragtime cover band. The Appleseed Collective represents Americana music rooted in traditions from all over the world and from every decade, creating a live experience that welcomes every soul and is impossible to replicate.
Although they're based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia - where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised - for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

Wild Ponies pay tribute to that powerful music and rugged landscape with 2017's Galax, a stripped-back album that nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. Doug and Telisha took some of their favorite musicians from Nashville (Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman) and met up with revered Old-Time players from Galax, Virginia (Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer). Recorded in the shed behind Doug's old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), it returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots. 

Growing up, a young Doug Williams spent many an hour watching and learning as his grandfather played banjo alongside local musical legends like Snake and Kyle Dean. Although both of his grandparents have now passed away, they would surely be proud to see Doug and Telisha gathered in the shed with Snake, Kyle Dean, Kilby, and a diverse handful of the best musicians from Nashville. The result is a broad, bold approach to Appalachian music, created by a multi-cultural band whose members span several generations.  

Wild Ponies proudly dive into their old-school influences with songs like "Pretty Bird" - a rendition of the Hazel Dickens original - and the traditional mountain song "Sally Anne." "My grandfather used to say, 'It oughta been the goddamn National Anthem!'" Doug says of the latter song, which kicks off the album with gang vocals and fiddle. Even so, don't mistake Galax for a traditionally-minded folk album. Wild Ponies offer up plenty of contemporary material, too, building a bridge between past and present. The lyrics reflect a similar mix of old and new, with Doug and Telisha Williams writing songs inspired by family heirlooms (including a wooden-bound, 70 year-old book of poems written by Doug's grandfather, whose lines form the basis of "Here With Me"), the Catawba tree on the farm, the nostalgic pull of one's birthplace, a mother's tough lough, leaving and believing, and the cyclical natures of death and love. Although named after the town in which it was recorded, Galax looks far beyond the southwestern tip of Virginia for its source material. 

"We didn't want to go home to Virginia and just make an Old-Time record," explains Doug. "We wanted to make something that still sounded like Wild Ponies. We asked everybody to stretch and reach towards something new, something different. We wanted to not only reconnect with our roots, but learn how those roots can also weave into our current world."

Once everyone had arrived at the farm, Neilson Hubbard set up a makeshift studio in the shed.  Just a few nice microphones in a circle. There's no cell phone signal on the mountain. No WiFi. No distractions. Instead, everyone focused on making raw, genuine music, filling Galax's track list with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, Telecaster, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. They recorded the songs live, never once pausing the process to listen to the performance they'd just captured. It wasn't until Wild Ponies returned home to Nashville that they finally heard the wild magic documented during those mountaintop sessions. 

Released on August 25th on Gearbox Records, Galax salutes Wild Ponies' traditional roots while exploring new, progressive territory. It's an album about the pieces of our past that stick with us, informing our present while pushing us toward a future. An album about a town, a country, and a world that's forever spinning toward something new. An album that redefines Wild Ponies' sound, while highlighting influences that have always rested just beneath the surface.

"We'll always be the pinball that bounces between folk, rock & roll and country," says Telisha, "and this Old-Time style will always weave its way through everything we do. It's been there from the start, even on the loudest songs we've made. It only took us a couple of days to record it, but this is the album we've been making our whole lives. We just needed the right people and the right songs to finish it."

The Appleseed Collective is real Americana. I figured out sort of a mathematical equation last night- it's like Satch plus Django plus Joplin plus Bob Wills plus a little Bill Monroe, but the sum is actually greater than the parts." So said Jason Marck of WBEZ Chicago's Morning Shift, introducing the band for a live segment in November 2014.

No Americana sound could ring so true without miles of highway to back it up, and The Appleseed Collective certainly has that- 2014 has seen them travel coast to coast in support of their two studio albums, Baby to Beast (2012) and Young Love (January 2014). According to Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune, "Young Love sweeps out the various corners of American music, taking a long look at both the sublime and the strange. The group explores both dark and light in a way that other string-band revivalists haven't touched."

Formed in 2010, The Appleseed Collective has become a force of nature powered by their local community and developed by a strong sense of do-it-yourself drive. In an age of corporations and climate change, the band's commitment to buying & selling local, eating from gardens, and being their own bosses has led to the kind of success that feels simply organic.

Each part of the Collective comes together to form an amalgam of complementary and contrasting elements. With a Motown session musician for a father, guitarist Andrew Brown was exposed to pre-World War II jazz on a trip to New Orleans. Shortly afterwards a chance meeting introduced him to Brandon Smith, violinist, mandolinist and improvisatory magician who grew up playing old time fiddle music. Vince Russo, multi-percussionist and van-packing savant, blends influences of funk, jazz and rock n' roll on the washboard. Eric Dawe comes from a background of choral singing and studies in Indian classical music and provides the bottom end on the upright bass. The whole band sings in harmony.

The band's latest release is a live album recorded in one night at world-renowned venue, The Ark in their hometown of Ann Arbor MI. On Live At The Ark (December 2014) the energy is palpable, the crowd ready to receive, and the band primed to deliver. With a mix of new and old material, as well as a few specially requested covers, Appleseed does just that. The album balances barn burners, old soul jazz, and sparse mood pieces, all suspended above a room hungry for more. It's a daring spectacle but it pays off- the album feels at once electric and intimate, glamorous and genuine, or as Joshua Pickard at Beats Per Minute put it, "music best served alongside a roaring campfire but that also has the ability to challenge the rafters of any grand arena."

The Appleseed Collective is not a bluegrass band. It's not The Hot Club of Paris. It's not a ragtime cover band. The Appleseed Collective represents Americana music rooted in traditions from all over the world and from every decade, creating a live experience that welcomes every soul and is impossible to replicate.
Although they're based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia - where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised - for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

Wild Ponies pay tribute to that powerful music and rugged landscape with 2017's Galax, a stripped-back album that nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. Doug and Telisha took some of their favorite musicians from Nashville (Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman) and met up with revered Old-Time players from Galax, Virginia (Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer). Recorded in the shed behind Doug's old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), it returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots. 

Growing up, a young Doug Williams spent many an hour watching and learning as his grandfather played banjo alongside local musical legends like Snake and Kyle Dean. Although both of his grandparents have now passed away, they would surely be proud to see Doug and Telisha gathered in the shed with Snake, Kyle Dean, Kilby, and a diverse handful of the best musicians from Nashville. The result is a broad, bold approach to Appalachian music, created by a multi-cultural band whose members span several generations.  

Wild Ponies proudly dive into their old-school influences with songs like "Pretty Bird" - a rendition of the Hazel Dickens original - and the traditional mountain song "Sally Anne." "My grandfather used to say, 'It oughta been the goddamn National Anthem!'" Doug says of the latter song, which kicks off the album with gang vocals and fiddle. Even so, don't mistake Galax for a traditionally-minded folk album. Wild Ponies offer up plenty of contemporary material, too, building a bridge between past and present. The lyrics reflect a similar mix of old and new, with Doug and Telisha Williams writing songs inspired by family heirlooms (including a wooden-bound, 70 year-old book of poems written by Doug's grandfather, whose lines form the basis of "Here With Me"), the Catawba tree on the farm, the nostalgic pull of one's birthplace, a mother's tough lough, leaving and believing, and the cyclical natures of death and love. Although named after the town in which it was recorded, Galax looks far beyond the southwestern tip of Virginia for its source material. 

"We didn't want to go home to Virginia and just make an Old-Time record," explains Doug. "We wanted to make something that still sounded like Wild Ponies. We asked everybody to stretch and reach towards something new, something different. We wanted to not only reconnect with our roots, but learn how those roots can also weave into our current world."

Once everyone had arrived at the farm, Neilson Hubbard set up a makeshift studio in the shed.  Just a few nice microphones in a circle. There's no cell phone signal on the mountain. No WiFi. No distractions. Instead, everyone focused on making raw, genuine music, filling Galax's track list with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, Telecaster, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. They recorded the songs live, never once pausing the process to listen to the performance they'd just captured. It wasn't until Wild Ponies returned home to Nashville that they finally heard the wild magic documented during those mountaintop sessions. 

Released on August 25th on Gearbox Records, Galax salutes Wild Ponies' traditional roots while exploring new, progressive territory. It's an album about the pieces of our past that stick with us, informing our present while pushing us toward a future. An album about a town, a country, and a world that's forever spinning toward something new. An album that redefines Wild Ponies' sound, while highlighting influences that have always rested just beneath the surface.

"We'll always be the pinball that bounces between folk, rock & roll and country," says Telisha, "and this Old-Time style will always weave its way through everything we do. It's been there from the start, even on the loudest songs we've made. It only took us a couple of days to record it, but this is the album we've been making our whole lives. We just needed the right people and the right songs to finish it."

Wye Oak with Special Guest Luke Temple

At the end of September, Wye Oak will embark on a special tour. The band describes what the audience can expect at these performances:

We're so excited to set out on a brief run of smaller, more intimate shows this fall, where we'll be trying out a bunch of brand-new material for the first time, taking questions from the audience, and just generally exposing y'all to our legendary brand of TMI-style stage banter. Come for a sneak peek at what's next for us, or just to say hi. 

Also, on September 22, Merge will release "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water”, a limited-edition 7-inch on red vinyl. Pre-order your copy now! Jenn and Andy told us a little about each track, both of which were originally released in partnership with Adult Swim:

"Spiral"popped up around 2012, at a time before we began work on Shriek. We were just starting to experiment with synthetic and more pop-oriented sounds, and also got assistance on the marimba from our friend Rod Hamilton, with whom Jenn was sharing a loft at the Copycat in Baltimore at the time. 

"Wave Is Not the Water"was created in the early months of 2017, without either of us ever setting foot in the same space. Andy was touring as the drummer for Lambchop and volleying the recording back and forth with Jenn via email, as seems to be the current state of things. 

Pre-order "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water"now, and don't miss these very special evenings with Wye Oak!

At the end of September, Wye Oak will embark on a special tour. The band describes what the audience can expect at these performances:

We're so excited to set out on a brief run of smaller, more intimate shows this fall, where we'll be trying out a bunch of brand-new material for the first time, taking questions from the audience, and just generally exposing y'all to our legendary brand of TMI-style stage banter. Come for a sneak peek at what's next for us, or just to say hi. 

Also, on September 22, Merge will release "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water”, a limited-edition 7-inch on red vinyl. Pre-order your copy now! Jenn and Andy told us a little about each track, both of which were originally released in partnership with Adult Swim:

"Spiral"popped up around 2012, at a time before we began work on Shriek. We were just starting to experiment with synthetic and more pop-oriented sounds, and also got assistance on the marimba from our friend Rod Hamilton, with whom Jenn was sharing a loft at the Copycat in Baltimore at the time. 

"Wave Is Not the Water"was created in the early months of 2017, without either of us ever setting foot in the same space. Andy was touring as the drummer for Lambchop and volleying the recording back and forth with Jenn via email, as seems to be the current state of things. 

Pre-order "Spiral"b/w "Wave Is Not the Water"now, and don't miss these very special evenings with Wye Oak!

Fastball with Special Guest Wine and Spirit

"It was just circumstance," Tony Scalzo says of the eight-year recording gap that preceded the new Fastball album, Step Into Light. "We've always been active, and we've never really gone a year without doing a bunch of Fastball shows. But things are really picking up now, and things are rolling like crazy."

The 12-song Step Into Light, on the band's own 33 1/3 label, embodies all of the qualities that have endeared Fastball to listeners during the trio's twenty-year-plus career. Such catchy, compelling new tunes as "We're On Our Way," "Behind The Sun," "Best Friend," "Love Comes In Waves" and "I Will Never Let You Down" continue the band's longstanding legacy of infectious songcraft and pointed lyrics, as well as playfully inventive arrangements that lend additional depth and resonance to Scalzo and Miles Zuniga's distinctive songwriting.

"My favorite kind of songs," Zuniga says, "are the ones that have hope in the face of hopelessness. Songs that say 'Life sucks and everything's against me, but I'm gonna smile and survive anyway.' That's the essence of rock 'n' roll music for me, and I think there's a fair amount of that on this album."

Fastball recorded Step Into Light in its hometown of Austin, Texas, with the three bandmates co-producing with longtime friend Chris "Frenchie" Smith (Slayer, Meat Puppets, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) at Smith's studio, The Bubble. The album was mixed by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain, who also handled mixing duties on two prior Fastball albums.

"We consciously decided to make this record in a short period of time, so we just went in and knocked it out," Zuniga explains. "I really liked working that way, and I think the fact that we recorded it in under two weeks made it a better record. We didn't have the luxury of getting too precious about things, so we gave ourselves a hard deadline and pretended it was the 1950s-the record light's on, let's do it! It also helped that we've grown a lot as musicians, so we have the ability now to get things right pretty quickly."

"We had a great time making this record," asserts Shuffield. "Working fast was really positive for us, because we had a lot of adrenaline going and there was no wasted time. A lot of the stuff we did was one or two takes of all three of us playing together in the same room. You can't really do that as a new band, but the fact that we've been together so long creates a certain unspoken communication that saves a lot of time."

"It was just circumstance," Tony Scalzo says of the eight-year recording gap that preceded the new Fastball album, Step Into Light. "We've always been active, and we've never really gone a year without doing a bunch of Fastball shows. But things are really picking up now, and things are rolling like crazy."

The 12-song Step Into Light, on the band's own 33 1/3 label, embodies all of the qualities that have endeared Fastball to listeners during the trio's twenty-year-plus career. Such catchy, compelling new tunes as "We're On Our Way," "Behind The Sun," "Best Friend," "Love Comes In Waves" and "I Will Never Let You Down" continue the band's longstanding legacy of infectious songcraft and pointed lyrics, as well as playfully inventive arrangements that lend additional depth and resonance to Scalzo and Miles Zuniga's distinctive songwriting.

"My favorite kind of songs," Zuniga says, "are the ones that have hope in the face of hopelessness. Songs that say 'Life sucks and everything's against me, but I'm gonna smile and survive anyway.' That's the essence of rock 'n' roll music for me, and I think there's a fair amount of that on this album."

Fastball recorded Step Into Light in its hometown of Austin, Texas, with the three bandmates co-producing with longtime friend Chris "Frenchie" Smith (Slayer, Meat Puppets, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) at Smith's studio, The Bubble. The album was mixed by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain, who also handled mixing duties on two prior Fastball albums.

"We consciously decided to make this record in a short period of time, so we just went in and knocked it out," Zuniga explains. "I really liked working that way, and I think the fact that we recorded it in under two weeks made it a better record. We didn't have the luxury of getting too precious about things, so we gave ourselves a hard deadline and pretended it was the 1950s-the record light's on, let's do it! It also helped that we've grown a lot as musicians, so we have the ability now to get things right pretty quickly."

"We had a great time making this record," asserts Shuffield. "Working fast was really positive for us, because we had a lot of adrenaline going and there was no wasted time. A lot of the stuff we did was one or two takes of all three of us playing together in the same room. You can't really do that as a new band, but the fact that we've been together so long creates a certain unspoken communication that saves a lot of time."

Dangermuffin with Special Guests Buffalo Rose and Daryl Shawn

Heritage-it's more than a place on the map. In their sixth and most purposeful album to date, Dangermuffin's Heritage takes listeners on an eight-song exploration to the roots of human knowledge, before spirituality became "organized."

Where are we really from? Through "Ancient Family" to "One Last Swim," we meet the seeker of truth, looking for wisdom from our prediluvian ancestors. Water and the ocean serve as repeated metaphors in a storyline of healing through spiritual awareness.

Recorded, in part, at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, a National Historic Landmark where congregations have sought truth with open hearts and minds since its founding in 1772, the album's inception and creation echo its motives and message. Heritage is about getting to the shared roots of humanity, and following that all the way out to the branches where the forbidden fruit-the muffin, sweet and simple-begs to be plucked and consumed. But don’t take a bite without an open heart.

Heritage-it's more than a place on the map. In their sixth and most purposeful album to date, Dangermuffin's Heritage takes listeners on an eight-song exploration to the roots of human knowledge, before spirituality became "organized."

Where are we really from? Through "Ancient Family" to "One Last Swim," we meet the seeker of truth, looking for wisdom from our prediluvian ancestors. Water and the ocean serve as repeated metaphors in a storyline of healing through spiritual awareness.

Recorded, in part, at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, a National Historic Landmark where congregations have sought truth with open hearts and minds since its founding in 1772, the album's inception and creation echo its motives and message. Heritage is about getting to the shared roots of humanity, and following that all the way out to the branches where the forbidden fruit-the muffin, sweet and simple-begs to be plucked and consumed. But don’t take a bite without an open heart.

(Early Show) Matt Light with Special Guest Ray Zawodni

Mine- Matt Light- one of the hottest comedians in the industry today. - takes
every topic in life and twists them on their head with the perfect mix of charm
and tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Now in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, his
new outlook to make people laugh at life and death, and enjoy the silly
observations of that comes with it, is contagious when he's on stage - as told on the front cover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Matt has his only monthly comedy show case called "Lights out" at the Pittsburgh Improv, he hosts "Man on the street" for WDVE Morning Show and has performed in front of clubs and colleges across the United States. Matt had a viral video from the Pittsburgh Improv that reached over 3 million views, was featured on Good Morning America and he was just recently named Pittsburgh's Best comedian for the third year in a row by Pittsburgh Magazine.

Mine- Matt Light- one of the hottest comedians in the industry today. - takes
every topic in life and twists them on their head with the perfect mix of charm
and tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Now in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, his
new outlook to make people laugh at life and death, and enjoy the silly
observations of that comes with it, is contagious when he's on stage - as told on the front cover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Matt has his only monthly comedy show case called "Lights out" at the Pittsburgh Improv, he hosts "Man on the street" for WDVE Morning Show and has performed in front of clubs and colleges across the United States. Matt had a viral video from the Pittsburgh Improv that reached over 3 million views, was featured on Good Morning America and he was just recently named Pittsburgh's Best comedian for the third year in a row by Pittsburgh Magazine.

(Late Show) Ray Zawodni with special guest Matt Light

Pittsburgh native, Ray Zawodni has been called a son, a brother, a lover and a loser but he mostly prefers to be called a stand-up comedian. After finishing his fourth year at West Virginia University, the proud Mountaineer returned to the Steel City to pursue a dream that he has had since he was a small child...but when he realized he was too out of shape to be a superhero, he decided to try comedy instead! Over the past 6 years, he has used his devilishly good looks and boyish charm to entertain audiences all over the east coast. Zawodni is a regular performer at the Pittsburgh Improv and the Arcade Comedy Theater.He also performs at colleges across the region including the University of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania and his alma mater, WVU.

Pittsburgh native, Ray Zawodni has been called a son, a brother, a lover and a loser but he mostly prefers to be called a stand-up comedian. After finishing his fourth year at West Virginia University, the proud Mountaineer returned to the Steel City to pursue a dream that he has had since he was a small child...but when he realized he was too out of shape to be a superhero, he decided to try comedy instead! Over the past 6 years, he has used his devilishly good looks and boyish charm to entertain audiences all over the east coast. Zawodni is a regular performer at the Pittsburgh Improv and the Arcade Comedy Theater.He also performs at colleges across the region including the University of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania and his alma mater, WVU.

Stephen Kellogg's 2017 Postcard Tour with Special Guest Emily Hearn

Stephen Kellogg was born on November 28, 1976. He grew up in Southern Connecticut and in 1997 began his musical career in Northampton, MA while interning for a local club. A few years later, he married his high school sweet heart and began a well-publicized affection for his role as husband and later, father to their four daughters. Over the last decade he has performed more than 1500 concerts in more than a dozen countries, both solo and with a band. In 2013 Kellogg gave a TEDx Talk about job satisfaction. Recently on a tour of Europe, SK (as fans often refer to him) made a detour to play the Middle East, Africa and an aircraft carrier for the Armed Forces. Upon returning to the USA, he started his annual lyric writing campaign to raise money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer. At first glance none of this has anything to do with his music, but Stephen Kellogg would argue, "it is the whole story. The music I make is a reflection of how I spend my time and what I care deeply about."
When it comes to performing, CBS Radio has called Stephen, "the best live act you've never seen." Another writer at No Depression magazine gives him the oddly flattering title of "the best songwriter you're not listening to." Interestingly though while Kellogg may not be a household name at present, he has persisted in building a substantial career, which has landed him on stage with some of the biggest touring acts in the country (Train, Sugarland, OAR, Josh Ritter to name a few), in the billboard charts, and with his songs as the backdrop of numerous films and TV shows (One Tree Hill, Men of a Certain Age, Mercy). Perhaps most importantly to Kellogg, he's ingratiated himself into the lives of his listeners. That sort of mentality has garnered him descriptions like this one from Macaroni Kid, "an unassuming manner, self-deprecating humor, a heart for those around him…100% genuine and utterly moving." His Americana-tinged, sometimes folk, often rock, occasionally pop stylings can make Kellogg hard to define, and his most recent four part album "South, West, North, East" embraces the notion of genre splitting to the fullest.
Recorded literally "all over the map", the premise of "South, West, North, East" was to record each section of the album in a different region of the USA, with different co-producers and different groups of musicians. "I've never felt that the genre was as important as the message and making the record this way was a chance to really explore that idea." The end result is a collection of 20 songs that defy categorization. The Southern rock flavor of "South" (recorded in Nashville and Atlanta) slides into the cowboy motif of "West" (recorded on a farm in Boulder, CO); and the more indie rock feel of "North" (recorded in a cabin in Woodstock, NY) gives way to the songwriter pop of "East" (recorded in Washington DC). "You often hear about the importance of ‘picking a lane' and while I completely understand the marketing savvy and focus of that concept, I picked my lane a long time ago; it's called the ‘words that describe what I believe to be true' lane."

Stephen Kellogg was born on November 28, 1976. He grew up in Southern Connecticut and in 1997 began his musical career in Northampton, MA while interning for a local club. A few years later, he married his high school sweet heart and began a well-publicized affection for his role as husband and later, father to their four daughters. Over the last decade he has performed more than 1500 concerts in more than a dozen countries, both solo and with a band. In 2013 Kellogg gave a TEDx Talk about job satisfaction. Recently on a tour of Europe, SK (as fans often refer to him) made a detour to play the Middle East, Africa and an aircraft carrier for the Armed Forces. Upon returning to the USA, he started his annual lyric writing campaign to raise money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer. At first glance none of this has anything to do with his music, but Stephen Kellogg would argue, "it is the whole story. The music I make is a reflection of how I spend my time and what I care deeply about."
When it comes to performing, CBS Radio has called Stephen, "the best live act you've never seen." Another writer at No Depression magazine gives him the oddly flattering title of "the best songwriter you're not listening to." Interestingly though while Kellogg may not be a household name at present, he has persisted in building a substantial career, which has landed him on stage with some of the biggest touring acts in the country (Train, Sugarland, OAR, Josh Ritter to name a few), in the billboard charts, and with his songs as the backdrop of numerous films and TV shows (One Tree Hill, Men of a Certain Age, Mercy). Perhaps most importantly to Kellogg, he's ingratiated himself into the lives of his listeners. That sort of mentality has garnered him descriptions like this one from Macaroni Kid, "an unassuming manner, self-deprecating humor, a heart for those around him…100% genuine and utterly moving." His Americana-tinged, sometimes folk, often rock, occasionally pop stylings can make Kellogg hard to define, and his most recent four part album "South, West, North, East" embraces the notion of genre splitting to the fullest.
Recorded literally "all over the map", the premise of "South, West, North, East" was to record each section of the album in a different region of the USA, with different co-producers and different groups of musicians. "I've never felt that the genre was as important as the message and making the record this way was a chance to really explore that idea." The end result is a collection of 20 songs that defy categorization. The Southern rock flavor of "South" (recorded in Nashville and Atlanta) slides into the cowboy motif of "West" (recorded on a farm in Boulder, CO); and the more indie rock feel of "North" (recorded in a cabin in Woodstock, NY) gives way to the songwriter pop of "East" (recorded in Washington DC). "You often hear about the importance of ‘picking a lane' and while I completely understand the marketing savvy and focus of that concept, I picked my lane a long time ago; it's called the ‘words that describe what I believe to be true' lane."

Frankie Rose with Special Guest Suburban Living

After spending years as a major presence in Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, Frankie Roserelocated to her familial home of Los Angeles for 18 months with the intention of establishing yet another moment in her storied indie rock métier. Gradually, she found herself short on sleep, funds and optimism. "I moved to LA, drama ensued and I ended up on a catering truck. I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music. I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done."

Through sleepless nights of listening to broadcaster Art Bell’s paranormal-themed archives, Frankie’s thoughts had turned to "who am I, I’m not cut out for this business, it’s not for me." She continues, "I was literally in my room in L.A., not knowing how I was going to get out. But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do – regardless of the outcome."

Towards the end of her time spent in Los Angeles, Frankie reached out to Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, Violens) and began sketching what became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. Then, rather fortuitously, Frankie ended up back in Brooklyn with the realization that "in the end, I’m on my own. I have to do these things on my own."

The months that ensued meant basically working with no budget and finding ways to record in-between days. This time enabled Frankie to experiment musically with a variety of people that ultimately changed the way she worked. "I got a lot of input from people like Dave Harrington (Darkside), who was helpful reconstructing the songs, adding dynamics and changing up the rhythms."

The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. "My references aren’t just music," says Frankie, "I love old sci-fi. They Live is one of my favorite movies ever, same with Suspiria. 80’s sci-fi movies with a John Carpenter soundtrack, with silly synths – that makes it into my file, to the point that I’ll write lyrics incorporating that kind of stuff. It’s in there."

Beginning with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets," the song’s refrain of "a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time" immediately alludes to those darker circumstances that led to the creative origins of Cage Tropical."It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn," says Frankie. "Misery turned into something good. The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made"

"I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst-case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record."

After spending years as a major presence in Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, Frankie Roserelocated to her familial home of Los Angeles for 18 months with the intention of establishing yet another moment in her storied indie rock métier. Gradually, she found herself short on sleep, funds and optimism. "I moved to LA, drama ensued and I ended up on a catering truck. I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music. I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done."

Through sleepless nights of listening to broadcaster Art Bell’s paranormal-themed archives, Frankie’s thoughts had turned to "who am I, I’m not cut out for this business, it’s not for me." She continues, "I was literally in my room in L.A., not knowing how I was going to get out. But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do – regardless of the outcome."

Towards the end of her time spent in Los Angeles, Frankie reached out to Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, Violens) and began sketching what became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. Then, rather fortuitously, Frankie ended up back in Brooklyn with the realization that "in the end, I’m on my own. I have to do these things on my own."

The months that ensued meant basically working with no budget and finding ways to record in-between days. This time enabled Frankie to experiment musically with a variety of people that ultimately changed the way she worked. "I got a lot of input from people like Dave Harrington (Darkside), who was helpful reconstructing the songs, adding dynamics and changing up the rhythms."

The result of this existential odyssey is Cage Tropical, Frankie’s 4th album. It is awash with vintage synths, painterly effects pedals, upside down atmosphere and reverberating vocals. It evokes a new wave paranormality of sorts that drifts beyond the songs themselves. "My references aren’t just music," says Frankie, "I love old sci-fi. They Live is one of my favorite movies ever, same with Suspiria. 80’s sci-fi movies with a John Carpenter soundtrack, with silly synths – that makes it into my file, to the point that I’ll write lyrics incorporating that kind of stuff. It’s in there."

Beginning with the shimmery, cinematic and percussive sparkling of the album’s opening track "Love in Rockets," the song’s refrain of "a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time" immediately alludes to those darker circumstances that led to the creative origins of Cage Tropical."It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn," says Frankie. "Misery turned into something good. The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made"

"I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst-case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record."

@clubcafelive

56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203 (In Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side)