Pittsburgh Bands

Pittsburgh has always been a city steeped in music. We are an eclectic city where rock’n’ roll, punk, electronic, and hip hop scenes all thrive. We’re not quite midwest, and we’re self- proclaimed east-coast. We’re a misfit city, smack in the middle of a bunch of “bigger” cities. We have pride in our unique communities and culture. Pittsburgh bands and musicians play off of all of that diversity and do their own thing.

From noisy improvisational metal to indie, rock, post-punk and electronic music, who will be 2019’s breakout Pittsburgh artists?

11 Pittsburgh Bands and Artists to Watch in 2019

Hearken

Pittsburgh Bands: Hearken
Photo by: Lauren Stanley

Hearken is a 2-piece Pittsburgh band founded by Donny Donovan and Gregg Brunner in 2016. Donny began writing this soon to be finished album to express the need and awareness of self-individuality. Many of the songs are focused on the battle between the lower and higher self. The separation of others and the idea that you have control over your reaction to the world is the self-responsibility Donny wants to share. However, acknowledging that we are all connected was a big realization that got Donny out of depression; feeling universal love in a transparent realm. The live performance is a contained explosion of intuition and true nature. Donny and Gregg both work in environments helping people in need. Donny is an exercise professional, and Gregg works for 412 Food Rescue. Creating this album has been one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, experiences of our lives. It has at the same time tested and strengthened our friendship. Donny wrote and produced all of the instrumentation, which provides the backtrack to fill out our sound as a 2-piece, and Gregg created and performed the drum parts for the record. We plan to release the album in the first half of 2019 and tour forever.

Sad Girls Aquatics Club

Pittsburgh Bands: Sad Girls Aquatics Club
Photo by: Katie Krulock

Hello, Pittsburgh dears! We are SGAC, a brand-new indie pop duo consisting of professional fuck-ups Marie Mashyna and Chelsea Rumbaugh! When we released our debut EP “Vodkawine” in November of 2018, one of our main objectives was to face our experiences that were hard to acknowledge and throw them out into the void. In 2019, we hope to step forward and let go of the things that have been holding us back, dance through the pain, and enter a new chapter with this project. We plan to come out with new music in the coming year and have several tracks that we’re working on. We also have TWO music videos in the works, both directed by Zack Eisenfeld, that we are very excited about! Last but not least, we are finally starting to develop our live set, so expect to see us on some bills beginning in the late spring/early summer! We have a lot on our plates right now, but this project has been so fun and rewarding so far, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next! Thanks for caring! ❤ SGAC

{arsonist}

Pittsburgh Bands: {arsonist}

{arsonist} is the solo musical project of classically-trained violinist and producer Danielle Rager. Collaging raucous electronics, manipulated vocals, and lush string arrangements, {arsonist} kindles organic texture-rich digital soundscapes.

Her first release Live at ALTARED received acclaim last year from review sites such as Bandcloud and an honorarium and position in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Stacks collection. Her recent live set eCosystem is an algorithmic A/V collaboration with digital artist Char Stiles, which has been performed in eight-channel surround sound at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory as well in venues in Chicago and New York City.

Rager also performs with Susan Kuo in the electroacoustic duo Diaphony, featured last year in Cleveland’s Syndicate For the New Arts concert series. As a member of the Pittsburgh music community, Rager regularly co-organizes experimental music events with production company Cosmic Sound. She also recently taught a public workshop on sequencing field recordings with live coding language TidalCycles sponsored by Carnegie Library and the diversity-in-music-focussed Gfx collective.

Rager is currently finishing an {arsonist} cassette release. She also plans to release the first Diaphony album in 2019, further develop and perform eCosystem, and create generative music and visuals with Kevin Bednar for their duo DXGPVWZ using their self-developed algorithmic MIDI program Audiot.

Pyrithe

Pyrithe

Taking their name from Robert M. Coates “The Eater of Darkness,” Pyrithe (literally “The Unseen Trembling Force Whose Whims Must Be Fulfilled”) produce a dense and complex form of music most akin to the pained wails of a condemned dungeon prisoner who’s come to understand — but not yet fully accept — that death is coming and shall not be swift.

Culling inspiration from an historic litany of genres, including art-scene avant-garde, Southern sludge, 60’s British progressive rock, Japanese noise, 80’s death and 90’s black metal, the members of Pyrithe — each of whom fiercely guards their identities, lest they be set upon by vengeful actors of religious terror sects — elevate the tropes and expectations of heavy music into something resembling art as it truly seeks to exist. Not since Hermes invented the lyre has music found such unfettered access to raw emotion. 2019 will see the band record and release a studio full-length followed by periodic performances with like-minded musicians throughout the remainder of the year. Yinz will love it.

Thousandzz of Beez

Thousandzz of Beez
Painting by: Dessie Jackson

Hunter Colt Paulson has been writing songs, performing and producing music under the project of Thousandzz of Beez since 2008. The project takes many forms and doesn’t have a consistent lineup or “genre” – it depends on the story Paulson is trying to share. Hunter considers himself a sort of magpie of instruments, textures, and narratives, “I ain’t no singer/songwriter though.”

In 2019 Thousandzz of Beez is planning on releasing a karaoke inspired double album called Clout Clownes. The double album is a jaded critique on the hidden agendas of self-proclaimed artists and activists. “It is by no means some sort of moral high-ground gibbering, we are all complicit in this mess.”

The new record has a bit more teeth, and the music is purposely a lot less dense than Paulson’s previous work. He realized a few months ago that he has never really been on tour and Thousandzz of Beez has been landlocked in either Pittsburgh or Lancaster County. Hunter plans on piecing together a live band and touring in 2019, “playing solo has been becoming a real bummer.”

Bill Waves

Bill Waves

My name is Bill Niels aka Bill Waves. I’m from the section they call Point Breeze. I just released my debut project “For The Lost Children” the EP in November which is a 6 track account of my life growing up as a middle-class kid in the East End, and becoming addicted to pills at the age of 17. I would consider myself a storyteller, and though I might add fictional references in my writing. All the story’s I tell are true. I plan to focus on promoting my EP and using other mediums to continue to tell the story of my neighborhood. I have visuals for the project with Jordan Armstrong coming soon as well. I plan on having a gallery opening this summer with photography from within my circle, and neighborhood dating back to 2008. Photography that directly coincides with the subject matter in my songs. Accompanied by a performance with a live band. More details to come. For now, you can download or stream Bill Waves – “For The Lost Children” on all platforms. Thanks for reading, God Bless. – Bill

Empty Beings

Empty Beings

Empty Beings is a 4 piece post-punk band from Pittsburgh that takes heavy influence from elements of American hardcore, deathrock, new wave, and cowpunk to create a melodic yet driving fabric of sound. With two tapes under their belt, rushing it is not the intention of this band. Releasing on local Play Alone Records, EB looks to tour in the spring and fall with their first full-length vinyl, “Dead and Pathetic” as well as debut their first video for the song “Growing Boys.” With an always energetic live show, which is at times confrontational, they want nothing more than to continue to bring honesty to their performances and have fun while challenging themselves and their audiences. Empty Beings is Nick Leombruno, Dave Rosenstraus, Adam Thomas, and Shani Banerjee. Catch them 1/24 @ 8pm at the 3 Pigs Vintage space in Lawrenceville with Ellen Siberian Tiger, Rue, & Patrick Coyle.

Sleeping Witch & Saturn

Sleeping Witch & Saturn

Sleeping Witch & Saturn are planning 2019 around touring, playing local events, and the release of its debut LP. Production on the record starts this spring when time allows guitarist Rowdy Kanarek (The Bird Hour, Jack Swing) to take on yet another project in his Post Office Studios, located in Hazelwood. The band’s self-titled EP, engineered and mixed by Kanarek, was put out independently last August, with a release show featuring performances by LA hardcore punk act Entry (members of Touché Amoré), and local hardcore act Resistance Wire (members of Code Orange). Physical copies of the EP are available for purchase on cassette from the band, and online via Select/Start Records.

The inspiration for the upcoming LP lies anywhere on the spectrum between Slint and Talking Heads. The ultimately murky and distorted aesthetic, shrouded in occult conceptualization, and complete with keenly steady and pounding cavernous drumming by Alex Nelson (The Bird Hour), can sometimes take the back seat to a more lighthearted and pop-tinged delivery. A notable imprint left in the formation of the album comes from local 1980’s Synth Punk group, The Cardboards.

With an amalgam of talents and influences from each member, the artistic value of the band is genuine and absolute. Bassist Anna Shaw and vocalist Matt Vituccio (Brightside) supply artwork for SW&S. They also take an interest in film and video, design, and other mediums useful to a DIY outfit. In years to come, Sleeping Witch & Saturn plan on pursuing whatever projects seem fun and exciting enough to take a stab at.

Wisteria

Wisteria
Photo by: Christopher McConnell‎

Wisteria is a four-piece post-punk band from Pittsburgh. Formed by Matt Schor on guitar, Aaron Grey on bass, and Elyse Hoffman on vocals in June of 2017, the quartet’s final line-up came together when they added drummer Stephen Bucklin in July of 2017.

With deeply personal lyrics about isolation, grief, and regret, Wisteria creates vivid elegies against a backdrop of effect-laden guitar licks and dynamic melodies. The interplay of bright tones and dark vocals reflect the disparities of the natural world. Drawing from a wide scope of influences, their sound is diverse and ever evolving. They’re fueled by a love of all things post-punk and “fizzy water.”

In their handful of shows, Wisteria has been fortunate to have opened for groups such as Skeletal Family, Actors, Bootblacks, and Wind Atlas. Their self titled demo was recorded by Matt Schor in The War Room, a recording studio which has also brought to life other local Pittsburgh bands like The Gotobeds, Icon Gallery, and The Karl Hendricks Trio. The demo was released by Pittsburgh’s Play Alone Records on New Year’s Eve 2018. The Demo was featured on Bandcamp’s New and Notable on January 9th, 2019. The band plans to follow up with a full-length album and an east coast tour by the end of 2019.

The Real Sea

The Real Sea

The Real Sea formed in September 2018 after Eric Sakmar (Show Pony), Christopher James (Host Skull, Life in Bed) and Sean Finn (The Red Western, Life in Bed) found a kindred spirit in vocalist / guitarist, Sharon Mok (Tiny Rhymes), a recent Pittsburgh transplant from Buffalo, NY. The band draws their sound from such diverse influences as dream pop, shoegaze, indie rock, folk and math rock with a strong emphasis on melody and rhythm highlighted by chiming guitars and Sharon’s lilting vocals. The band is currently preparing to enter the studio in February to record and look forward to introducing their music to the masses. The Real Sea’s debut show is scheduled for March 23 at brillobox.

Bat Zuppel

Bat Zuppel
Photo by: Shauna Miller

Bat Zuppel is a 4-piece outfit from Pittsburgh, PA that blends punk, noise, indie, and psych. Their name is derived from the scrambling of band members names, Zach Bronder and Matt Ruppel.

Zach and Matt were always fascinated with outer space and extraterrestrial beings. The two shared an Astronomy class in high school and went to the same college. While skating downtown and doing “hoodrat shit,” they talked about forming some sort of punk/garage rock group. Gordy joined in 2014 on drums, and Spencer joined on second guitar and vocals in 2015.

Bat Zuppel released their third album, MIRROR | RORRIM, in November of 2018 and hope to be touring and supporting the records throughout 2019.

Pittsburgh has a tremendous DIY scene. You can check out new bands in basements all over the ‘Burgh and in intimate venues like The Mr. Roboto Project, Spirit, Brillobox, or Gooski’s most nights of the week. Made in PGH loves Pittsburgh bands and musicians. We hope for big things to everyone on our list. Now go start your own Pittsburgh band!

Check out our article on the Top 10 Best Pittsburgh Music Venues

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Aaron Grey

Music Scene Contributor

Aaron co-owns local post-punk record label Play Alone Records, plays bass in local band Wisteria, and DJ's Pittsburgh post-punk dance night Second Skin. Needless to say, Aaron is all about DIY music and loves to contribute content on Pittsburgh's thriving music scene.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.