VIA2014 Preview: Deafheaven + Liturgy

September 24, 2014

This year’s VIA festival boasts an impressive lineup, including an event that I have been drooling over since it was announced: Deafheaven, Liturgy, and local act Slices at the Rex Theater on Thursday, October 2nd.  Cinematic post-metal, experimental black metal, and a dash of Pittsburgh’s own punk scene for good measure; apart from the showcase on Saturday, this is the VIA event I am most excited to see.

Deafheaven broke onto the scene last year with the release of Sunbather, which quickly earned them a spot as Pitchfork’s darlings.  If that sounds pejorative, give them a listen anyway—post-rock and black metal fuse into haunting landscapes in Deafheaven’s particular formulation of “heavy,” alternately pummeling and uplifting the listener throughout the course of the often 10+ minute tracks.  I have been waiting since the album’s release to catch this phenomenon live, and I am especially proud of the VIA festival for incorporating this sound into their lineup this year.

2011’s Aesthetica put Liturgy on the map with its blend of black metal and moments of relative simplicity, featuring vocal loops or sounds as breathing room amongst the frenetic pace and tortured vocals of the more traditional material.  Although Liturgy’s transcendental, manifesto-driven aesthetic might not be for everyone, I am very excited for their VIA set.  A band with an experimental bent and a flair for the dramatic is a live music event that I would hate to miss.

Of course, it’s also great to see the local scene getting its due along with these national acts.  Pittsburgh hardcore outfit Slices promise to deliver a blistering opener, setting the stage for the deluge of sound to follow.  I’m planning on showing up early for this late show so as not to miss a second of this wonderfully loud and varied bill.

Tickets to the show are available here:

Post by Gesina Phillips.

Interview: Stretch Armstrong

August 24, 2014

Adrian “Stretch Armstrong” Bartos is a world-renowned DJ and producer. He grew up in New York City, and starting at the age of 18 he developed his passion for music and DJing by frequenting various nightclubs. Stretch eventually met his friend and long-time collaborator Robert “Bobbito” Garcia in the late 1980s, and from 1990-1998 they co-hosted the now legendary “Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show” on WKCR. Airing from 1 a.m. – 5 a.m. on Thursday night/Friday morning, the show featured demo tapes and in-studio freestyle performances from then un-signed acts such as Nas, Big Punisher, the Wu-Tang Clan, the Notorious B.I.G., Big L, Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and the Roots. Needless to say, the “Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show” became a fixture of the hip-hop community in New York City.

Earlier this month I got to talk with Stretch on the phone. It was awesome. He is a totally nice dude, and he knows a lot about music. Take a listen to the interview segments below!

In segment one, hear Stretch talk about a few of his first memorable experiences with music and the formative early years he spent on the New York club scene.

In segment two, Stretch discusses the origins of the “Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show,” including he how met his friend and long-time collaborator, Robert “Bobbito” Garcia. The two are currently working on a documentary film about their radio show and its cultural and social impact. The film is set to be released in 2015, and more information can be found at:

In segment three, Stretch talks about how technological changes have impacted his work as a DJ and how he took on the persona of “Stretch Armstrong.”

Browse the archives of the “Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show” here:

Check out Stretch’s latest project at:

Interview and blog post by Marcy.

We Are WRAS: A Special Broadcast, June 26 at 1 p.m.

June 23, 2014

On Thursday, June 26th, WRCT will join college radio stations across the country to unite and say “We Are WRAS,” as WRAS, the college radio station of Georgia State University, offers an unprecedented radio simulcast to highlight their fight to remain a student-run radio station. For one hour, starting at 1 p.m. EDT, from coast to coast, listeners will hear the Atlanta-based station on their own college radio station as participating stations show their support for WRAS.

On May 6, 2014, the WRAS staff was informed of a deal made unilaterally between Georgia State University and Georgia Public Broadcasting that will replace WRAS programming with GPB news programming from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Anastasia Zimitravich, outgoing General Manager of WRAS, issued this statement:

“To our fellow college stations across North America, we at WRAS humbly ask for your support in this battle to retain our student voice. By airing this 1-hour public affairs program, which focuses on the history and legacy of WRAS Album 88.5FM, you can show support for our cause and help spread the word of college radio’s influence. In our changing media landscape, there are frequent arguments against radio’s relevance which we hope to disprove. WRAS-Atlanta asks you, the future broadcasters of America, to help us educate the public on how college radio affects music, media, and opportunities for students.”

Peter Kreten, President of College Radio Day, states, “In this hour program, WRAS will show just how much of an impact they have made in their 43-year history and why it’s important that they should continue to be student-run.” The program will also include audio messages of support from many of the participating radio stations. “Many college radio stations throughout the country want WRAS to know that they are not alone during this time,” added Kreten.

Please tune to WRCT Pittsburgh this Thursday at 1 p.m. to show your solidarity for student-run college radio broadcasting. WRCT is proud to stand by WRAS in this uncertain time for the members of that station. The issue currently facing WRAS is quickly becoming an issue that college stations around the country are liable to face.

Join WRCT in saying to everyone listening, “We Are WRAS”.

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