On local artists

It’s common to hear complaints about Pittsburgh’s “horrible” music scene — remarks about how many venues have been closed down, how many mainstream bands bypass Pittsburgh on national tours, or even how nothing creative comes out of Pittsburgh. These statements are totally untrue, especially the last one. To prove it, here’s a list of local bands that are starting to gain national attention (at least within their genres).

Caustic Christ. Formed in 2000, Caustic Christ is a hardcore punk band akin to Municipal Waste and the Subhumans. Caustic Christ has toured throughout the US and Europe. When in Pittsburgh, the band often plays at the Mr. Roboto Project, which is a cooperatively run show space in Wilkinsburg.

Xanopticon. If you’ve been to an electronic show in Pittsburgh, you’ve probably seen Xanopticon open. Remember the guy in the black hoodie with the long greasy hair? Wait, that’s everyone. Well, he was probably the opener, twitching spastically on the crossfader, thinking melodies are unnecessary. If you’re into breakcore, which redefines the meaning of “relentless,” then Xanopticon’s a decent choice. Check him out at basically any Garfield Artworks show that’s even kind of relevant.

Grand Buffet. Pittsburgh is also home to a burgeoning hip-hop scene, and Grand Buffet is right there at its forefront. A duo made up of two Pittsburgh natives, they’ve been producing satirical hip-hop with a local bent for 10 years, and have long been known for their entertaining (usually with lots of audience participation) shows. Now, they’re starting to get really big, having just toured with Of Montreal and played with Sage Francis, Sole, Magnolia Electric Co., and Wesley Willis. You should probably look into their shows before they get as big as…

Girl Talk. You already know all about him. Or, if you don’t, just go read Pitchfork or Stylus or something — he’s an indie darling. Still a nice guy, though; he was only playing basement shows last year and is already getting international contracts. Still, you can catch him around Pittsburgh for cheap fairly often. No one is able to make stoic indie kids dance like him, and it’s not possible to interact with the crowd more. (Last year, when he opened for Prefuse 73 on campus, he smashed a mic into his head, drawing blood, and told the audience to call University Police on a girl for “having too much fun.” Definitely a fun night.)