Anti-Flag takes peace and punk to Asia
• Anti-Flag is out making new friends -- in Southeast Asia.
On its first-ever swing through the region, the political Pittsburgh band has been rallying the punks at the Silver Lake Music Festival in Thailand (with the likes of Incubus, Owl City and Seether) and in Indonesia, and is now moving on to Malaysia and Hong Kong.
In a text sent Wednesday, singer Justin Sane related that the tour is "madness in all the best forms!!!"
"First of all, half of the places we go we are instant celebrities. Not because we are in Anti-Flag but because we are four weird looking white dudes in black (one of which looks like Billy Idol) in a places where people who look like us are rare."
He added, "There are these Muslim kids in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia that have found punk. Guess what? They're just like the Christian kids in America who have found punk! They don't want to suicide-bomb anyone. They just want to rock and see everyone treated equally. It's very life-affirming. If these people were any more welcoming or friendly I think my heart would burst. This trip has affirmed everything I believe in my heart, the very essence of the message that is Anti-Flag. Humans aren't a color of skin, a religion, a sex, a sexual orientation, or a flag. We are human beings and that is how we need to see and treat one another."
Along with the music, fans and media have latched on to the band's left-leaning anti-war, pro-human rights message.
"People here are psyched on what we have to say and they want to know what we think. Pat [Thetic] and I did a press conference in Thailand at the Silver Lake Music Festival outside of Bangkok. The whole time I was thinking 'Two outcast dudes from Shaler and look at us now... Wow! Haha!' "
Over the weekend, Sane tweeted a pic with some of his Thai fans.
The new album, "The General Strike," comes out March 20.
Code Orange Kids sign with Deathwish
• Pittsburgh's Code Orange Kids can now claim to have a Deathwish.
The local hardcore punk outfit -- made up of recent high school grads -- has signed to Deathwish, the independent label that launched such bands as Boysetsfire and Knives Out, and currently features the likes of Converge, the Hope Conspiracy and Touche Amore.
Deathwish writes that Code Orange Kids "remind us of our own embryonic days in the aggressive music scene. ... Unconcerned with the direction of other artists, their brand of gritty hardcore/punk is simply refreshing to hear. Merging cryptic melody, dirty hardcore power, and intense dirge into their own uniquely inspired sound."
The band plans to hit the studio for a 2012 release.
COKs, which relocated to Philadelphia last summer and is now back in Pittsburgh, features drummer/singer Jami Morgan, guitarist Reba Meyers and Joe Goldman (all from CAPA) and guitarist Eric Balderose (son of Calliope founder George Balderose and PA Virtual Charter School grad).
The band worked its way up through the Pittsburgh scene in part by opening for such bands as Anti-Flag, The Misfits, The Bronx and Subhumans.
Code Orange Kids, who recently released a 7" called "Cycles," are currently on tour on the West Coast.
• Good Night, States announced this week that its new album, "Country/Static," will be released on April 5. The melodic indie-pop band released its first album, "Short Films on Self-Control," in 2007 and the EP "Into the Impossible Tension" in 2009.
• Kelly Clarkson, who played in Johnstown Saturday night, made a pit stop on the South Side Friday.
She popped into the dog grooming shop A Diamond in the Ruff with her two little pups, Joplin and Security. She spotted a doggie shirt bearing the title of her hit, "My Life Would Suck Without You." She bought that for Joplin, and then found a second shirt that said "Security." Of course, she had to get that one, too.
Mac on MTV
• The MTV News segments this week on Mac Miller not only went backstage at the Pittsburgh rapper's sold-out Stage AE show in December.
The network followed him to Blue Slide Park in Squirrel Hill, where it got a close-up look at the slide for which his debut album was named, and the little league field where he played as a kid -- which wasn't all that long ago.
You can check out the segments at www.macmillerofficial.com.