VIA2014 Preview: WRCT Selects

The fifth annual VIA Music & New Media Festival is coming up next week, Oct. 1-5. This year’s festival features over 50 artists at more than 15 events, so we’re here to help you decide which to go see. The full lineup and ticketing info is online at Check out some of WRCT’s picks for VIA 2014:

Blue Hawaii / October 4 / Union Trust Buliding
Blue Hawaii is a duo from Montreal. They make ambient pop infused with techno, layered with gentle female vocals. Check out a few of their singles:

IVIES / October 3 / Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive
The Pittsburgh-based Milwaukee producer, has been rolling out beat after beat, pumping his sounds full of vintage distortion, found samples, and sunshine. His latest sound, “Burgundy,” is a loose, hip-hop-influenced rhythm. If you enjoy the eclectic, patchwork beats of Koushik or Oh No, and crave the smooth sampling of producers like Vanilla or AshTreJinkins, IVIES deserves a listen.

Little People, A/V showcase / October 4 / The Rex Theater
Little People is a instrumental hip-hop artist thats been releasing these sick cerebral videos to accompany songs on his most recent release, We Are But Hunks of Wood.

Mark McGuire, A/V showcase / October 1 / The Shop
Mark McGuire, a midwestern producer and guitarist, is coming to blow your mind with his gorgeous soundscapes.

Tell your friends: Saturday’s main event at the Union Trust Building feat. Zebra Katz, Blue Hawaii, Cakes Da Killa, Traxman, and more is just $15 at the door for students with valid ID.

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:

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:

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.

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