Arlo Aldo: Susanna Meyer, Brandon Forbes, Ariel Nieland and David Manchester.
By Scott Mervis Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
ARLO ALDO GOES TO 'ZELIE'
• Pittsburgh has no shortage of indie-folk acts that lay on warm, thick harmonies.
Happily, we can add Arlo Aldo, which is a band, not a guy named after Arlo Guthrie. It's fronted by David Manchester, a singer-songwriter who for 10 years led Baltimore's Kadman, a slowcore/sadcore band influenced by the cool minimalism of Low and Iron & Wine, among others. Mobtown Studios described it as "Lazy Sunday afternoon recovery music" and "Minimalist shoegaze sleepytime music."
The singer-songwriter relocated to Pittsburgh three years ago.
"My wife's family is from Cleveland and I'm from D.C., so we wanted to find a place halfway between. We love it here. I have to admit, when I thought Pittsburgh I thought, 'rundown steel mill collapsing industry town' not knowing how much the city had done to blossom. It's been fantastic. Pittsburgh is more of a Midwest culture where people are friendlier and there's less hustle and bustle."
He hooked up with keyboardist-vocalist Ariel Nieland and then drummer Brandon Forbes, and realized he wasn't in Kadman anymore.
"What I ended up doing was different than what I was doing under the Kadman name, so it deserved its own label." He named the band after two names that were considered for his 2-year-old son.
Arlo Aldo started doing shows for a year with the likes of Emily Rodgers, Big Snow, Big Thaw, The Armadillos and Host Skull. Last year, the band assembled at J. Bird Studio, a converted farmhouse in Zelienople, to record the 10-track debut album "Zelie." Arlo Aldo considers it "a soundtrack for the winter and spring ahead."
Songs like the dreamy "Snow Day" and the haunting "Highway," a memory of a funeral, reveal those slowcore roots, while "Josephine," about reunited lovers, surely points to spring with an upbeat honky-tonk trot.
Addressing the diversity of Arlo Aldo (which now includes bassist Susanna Meyer from Boca Chica), he says, "When I started Kadman it was an emotional release. A lot of stuff that was pent-up, I was able to get out there. With Arlo, I was trying to pull from experience and make the songs their own story, and not force them into a style. I let it be much more organic. If it comes out as an upbeat honky-tonk song, that's what it should be. It makes for a more diverse album, while there is still a cohesiveness to it."
Having a young son, he says, adds a new outlook as well. One of the most meaningful songs to him is "Galileo," which he says "is a song that goes with the ideals of having a child and this small package that has so much impact on your life, and wanting so much for him in the future."
Arlo Aldo plays its release show at the Brillobox, Bloomfield, at 9:30 p.m. Saturday with Emily Rodgers Band and Sleep Experiments. Admission is $7. Call 412-621-4900 or go to brillobox.net. For a sample, go to http://arloaldo.bandcamp.com.
MAC MILLER TALKS DRUGS, LAWSUIT
• Hometown rap star Mac Miller has started doing some press in advance of the new MTV2 reality series, "Mac Miller & The Most Dope Family" (Feb. 26), including a revealing interview with Complex magazine at his new home in the Los Angeles hills.
Complex finds him hanging with his entourage -- including Quentin Cuff, Jimmy Murton and Peanut -- in a largely empty mansion and working on his sophomore album, "Watching Movies With the Sound Off."
Miller tells Complex that harsh reviews of his No. 1 album, "Blue Slide Park," contributed to his descent into a brief addiction with the drug promethazine (aka lean) while on the 53-date "Macadelic" tour.
"I love lean; it's great," he tells Complex, saying that on the tour, "I was not happy and I was on lean very heavy. I was so [messed] up all the time it was bad. My friends couldn't even look at me the same. I was lost."
He managed to kick it, the story notes, in November.
Of the reviews, including a 1.0 on Pitchfork, he says, "A lot of the reviews were more on me as a person. To be honest, that was even worse. You're 19, you're so excited to put out your first album, you put it out -- and no one has any respect for you or for what you did."
In turn, he is critical now of the "Blue Slide Park" project himself as he sets his sights on the new album. "I can't make 'Up All Night' right now. That's the only record I regret. 'Party on Fifth Ave' -- great song, I guess. It's fun. But when I listen to that song and those verses, I hear nothing. I don't say anything."
Miller also reveals that the $10 million lawsuit filed last July by Lord Finesse against him, Rostrum Records and the mixtape website DatPiff.com over a beat used on the 2010 song "Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza" was settled. He does not offer a figure.
His new album, he says, is "taking a journey inside my own head." So far, the process includes collaborations with Flying Lotus and Odd Future members Earl Sweatshirt, and Tyler, the Creator.