VIA2014 Preview: Deafheaven + Liturgy

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: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/668007

Post by Gesina Phillips.


Interview: Stretch Armstrong

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: stretchandbobbito.com.

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: http://stretchandbobbito.blogspot.com

Check out Stretch’s latest project at: www.stretchandbobbito.com

Interview and blog post by Marcy.


Hip Hop On L.O.C.K. May 2013 Newsletter

BMLDI and HHOL Team up to Present “Emanon”

In the spring of 2013, Hip-Hop On L.O.C.K. teamed up with The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Black Male Development Institute (BMLDI) to create a program that would not only engage the young men from BMLDI but that would challenge them to use their creative talents to come together to create a project that would inspire others.

Over the 10-week process, the youth have been engaging in workshops that have provided them with a foundation to build music on such as Math of Music and Writing Workshop and have had a full-blown photoshoot with a professional photographer and will create a music video for one of their tracks.  The program concludes with a graduation celebration where the young men will debut their music video and perform some of their music live.

“Leadership development is a critical element in addressing the economic, educational, social and emotional needs of young African American males.  At BMLDI we strive to help black boys discover and nurture the leader inside themselves, then challenge them to commit to putting that leadership into action,” said Sabrina Saunders, Co-Director BMLDI, Urban League Greater Pittsburgh.

The group, Emanon, no name spelled backwards, developed their cd project “Supremacy” to include inspirational tracks such as Boyz II Men.

HHOL Announces Partnership with The Pgh Cultural Trust

Hip-Hop On L.O.C.K. is proud to announce that it is parterning with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education and Community Engagement Department in the summer of 2013.

This partnership is a huge opportunity for youth ages 12-14 that are not currently involved with one of HHOL’s current partners to enroll in it’s intensive programming.  The program will take place downtown at The Trust’s facilities and will run daily from 11-4 pm on June 24-July5 with no class on July 4th.  For more information, or to enroll a student, visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s website.

HHOL Hosts Fab Fridays

On Friday, April 26th HHOL hosted Winchester Thurston middle school students as part of their Fab Fridays program. The students engaged with DJ Hank D to learn about Djing and then created their own group called “Ya Momz Kids” and a track called “Go So Far” that can be heard here.

Shout Outs to Propel Montour Youth

We would like to send a huge shout out to the students in grades K-8 at Propel Montour as they work on creating their own music from conception to completion. The students have learned to build their own beats and then wrote and recorded their own songs on top of those beats.

The 8th grade students will have the opportunity to create their own music video using the tracks they created during the beginning of their 12 week session.

The students at Propel Montour have been extremely dedicated to the class and have taken their creativity to a place that most students don’t. Each class each chose their own positive topic to write about incluing anti-bullying, studying and good sportmanship and created amazing tracks around these topics.

Please stay tuned to be able to view the music video that will be presented as a part of the school’s Celebration of Learning (COL) at the end of the school year.

Tune into L.O.C.K.down Radio Tuesdays at 7 p.m. You can subscribe to the HHOL mailing list by clicking here.


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