5 Pittsburgh bands you don’t know, but should
Pittsburgh isn’t exactly short on musical entertainment or talent.
From the pummeling punk of The Gotobeds to the tender acoustic folk of Chet Vincent, here are five acts from Pittsburgh on the verge of breaking it big.
Chet Vincent might be one of the busiest musicians in Pittsburgh. He performs in three bands, in addition to his own solo project, so there’s a chance you could probably catch him performing live somewhere in the city tonight.
Each of Vincent’s musical identities is different and worth digging into. Google his projects with The Big Bend, Molly Alphabet, and Birdwatcher for a hint of what he’s capable of.
Though, it’s his most recent solo release, “Where the Earth Opens Wide,” that has caught attention and ears. Taking inspiration from Neil Young, Vincent’s newest release is a collection of powerfully unique folk that’s deserving of a nationwide audience.
As the charts continue to gobble up similar folk-inspired acts, one can’t imagine that it’ll be much longer before this Pittsburgh gem garners similar buzz.
In a little more than two years, Dinosoul went from playing DIY basement gigs across the city to warming up the crowd at Mr. Smalls for the indie rock veterans in Wolf Parade. The four-member band has undergone continued transitions, changing up members and its sound ahead of a 2018 debut full-length release titled Eleven.
The group, formed by partners Donny Donovan and Carolyn Hilliard, has steadily increased their following, thanks in part to their truly magical take on new wave-inspired pop. And with Donovan’s past musical endeavors including the punk rock stylings of Roulette Waves and the 60s surf-rock sounds of Dream Phone serving as experience for the band to draw on, Dinosoul is sure to continue charm listeners beyond their Burgh-based beginnings.
Now is the time to get familiar with The Gotobeds. The four-member band made a name for themselves in the city long before they signed to the famed Sub Pop Records in 2016. Forming in 2009, the punk rockers have released two albums, “Poor People are Revolting” and “Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic,” filled with music that will rattle your windows, energize your spirit, and maybe scare the neighbors if played too loudly.
Touring with the likes of Protomartyr and Oh Sees, the band gained the attention of music publications including NPR and Pitchfork. And with a live stage presence reportedly once described as, “all night party where I feared for my life and the lives of everybody in the five block radius,” it’s obvious that this band is one to keep an eye on.
Mars Jackson made Pittsburgh music history when he signed to the city’s Misra Records in 2016. The rapper became the first hip-hop act to ever sign with the 17-year-old label, joining a roster of noted indie rock artists including Destroyer, Phosphorescent, and R. Ring. Just weeks after making the Misra news official, Mars released Good Days Never Last Forever, his first full length recording.
In a city that’s already home to some big names in rap, including Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa, Jackson is blazing his own path. For six years, he’s made a name throughout Pittsburgh, earning opener slots for acts including The Internet and Lupe Fiasco.
Soft Gondola is one of the newest bands to join the Pittsburgh music scene, with the trio releasing their first single and EP on Bandcamp in 2017. Despite the group’s relative newbie status, its members -- including Daniella Trimble, Nate Campisi, Patrick Coyle, and Ryan Hizer -- are all established members of the city’s music scene, previously working in various musical side projects.
The self-described “bummer pop” act might just be getting started, but they’ve already amassed an impressive list of opening act stints, including local performances with Daddy Issues, Lydia, and Robert Earl Thomas of Widowspeak. The band is the ’Burgh’s answer to the band Beach House, with the trio creating soothing and sweet jams seemingly inspired by an oceanside escape. Their debut EP Where I Go was created to give listeners hope, and that’s a message that can resonate with folks everywhere.