1,2,3 — that’s the number of years since we heard from this Pittsburgh indie band that became critical darlings upon releasing 2011’s “New Heaven.”
1,2,3, returns on May 27 with a sophomore double album, “Big Weather,” on their new label American Hermitage.
A second album almost didn’t happen, as frontman Nic Snyder, one of two former members of power-pop band Takeover UK, quit the band in late 2012 due to burn-out from touring and working on the follow-up.
As the label describes it, “Several months later, after a few nights of drunken persuasion, he re-convened with the rest of the band and coaxed them back, wanting to finish what they had started. Snyder had been inspired by ’70s dystopian movies, combined with a pattern of strange weather and its resulting destruction (a tornado ripped through his aunt’s house in Pennsylvania… something that shouldn’t happen in PA), along with the tsunami that devastated Japan two weeks later.”
In the making, the band recorded storms and “listened to nothing but local oldies radio stations,” while recording entirely on primitive gear, using nothing but creaky old guitars, a bass, and things to bang on.”
“This album is undoubtedly ridden with flaws,” Snyder comments, “but so are its creators, and the circumstances under which it was created… and in that regard, this album feels very special to me.”
The band is sharing the first two singles, “Big Weather Pt. 1” “Leave Me In The Sky With The Lawnchair,” both dubbed “disaster ballads,” as free downloads via Soundcloud.
The release show is going to be Friday, May 30 at Brillobox in Bloomfield.
Big Weather Tracklisting:
1. Big Weather Pt. 1
2. Leave Me In The Sky With The Lawnchair
3. Pontoon Song
4. Waiting For The Horsemen
5. Mile High Grass
6. Bus To Babylon
7. Refusal Bop
8. Shapes of Wrath
9. Fear_Pure Elevation
11. Stone Haus
12. Porch Swing Song
13. Big Black Car
14. Big Weather Pt. 2
15. In The House of The Locust
16. When The Levee Broke at The County Fair
18. Faith Hill
19. Where We Lived
20. Sick of the End
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OK, I know I always say this, but this entry really does have a lot of fascinating stuff in music journalism, including some long-reads that are worth savoring. Enjoy!
From the L.A. Times, a Robert Ashley appreciation http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-robert-ashley-appreciation,0,2675910.story#axzz2va6X11do
From Wired, Amazon Prime pricing and music streaming http://www.wired.com/business/2014/02/one-way-amazon-ease-pain-prime-price-hike/
From Aeon, why we love repetition http://aeon.co/magazine/altered-states/why-we-love-repetition-in-music/
From Wired, turning colors into sound http://www.wired.com/2014/03/cyborg-neil-harbisson-teaches-musicians-play-color-sheet-music/
From the New York Times, the Detroit Symphony’s cutting-edge streaming service http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/arts/music/detroit-symphony-dives-headlong-into-streaming.html
From the Washington Post, the opera singer on “The Bachelor” http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/sharleen-joynt-between-the-bachelor-and-the-challenges-of-an-opera-career/2014/03/20/ed346a6a-ada8-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html
From the New York Times, musicals spilling into opera companies http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/arts/international/opera-companies-turn-to-musicals.html
From Al Jazeera America, young black classical musicians http://projects.aljazeera.com/2014/detroit-music/
From the Wall Street Journal, the best composer-conductor you’ve never heard of http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304418404579463194137990718
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More from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra:
PITTSBURGH—Fawzi Haimor, assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 2012, has been promoted to resident conductor, effective immediately, a title he will share with Lawrence Loh, resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony since 2007.
"In the two short seasons that Fawzi has been with us, he has shown amazing versatility, dedication and work ethic," says James Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony. "His warmth and talent create immediate connections to musicians, guest conductors and, most importantly, the audience. We expect great things from him in the future, here at Heinz Hall and around the world."
As resident conductor, Haimor will continue to conduct a variety of concerts, including classical, pops, education and outreach concerts, as well as serving as cover conductor for guest conductors and Music Director Manfred Honeck, conducting pre-concert talks and working on concert recordings. In the 2014-2015 season, Haimor will add leading the Fiddlesticks Family Series to his responsibilities.
"I am thrilled to continue to be a part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I can't imagine a better way to hone the craft of conducting than with an incredible music director like Manfred Honeck and world-class musicians like those in the Pittsburgh Symphony," said Haimor. "I look forward to sharing the responsibilities of resident conductor with my colleague Lawrence Loh and continuing my adventure in music."
Prior to his position at the Pittsburgh Symphony Haimor was assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony for two seasons. He also has worked with the Jacksonville Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Amman Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonico do Porto and has just made his Italian debut with Filharmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, which resulted in an immediate reinvitation for next season. Further forthcoming debut appearances include those with Württembergisches Kammerorchester on tour in London, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi and with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has served as a cover conductor to esteemed conductors including Manfred Honeck, Leonard Slatkin, Gianandrea Noseada, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Jan Pascal Tortelier. Born in Chicago in 1983, Haimor was raised in the Middle East and the San Francisco Bay Area. He began playing the violin at the age of 4 and completed his training at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University. He studied under David Effron and Arthur Fagen as well as attending master classes around the world led by highly respected conductors including Herbert Blomstedt, Jorma Panula and Gustav Meier.
Haimor earned bachelor's degrees in both music and neurobiology, physiology, and behavior, and a master's degree in conducting from the University of California-Davis before completing his second master's in instrumental conducting from Indiana University. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Houda, and their daughters, Aleena and Layla.
More about Haimor can be found at fawzihaimor.com. More about the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra can be found at pittsburghsymphony.org.