Not that they can't get along in the same package, but there will be no mistaking that the Red Western/Grand Piano split release is in fact two different bands.
While both Pittsburgh acts fit nicely in the indie-rock spectrum, they're on separate trips here on RW's "There's a Fire" and GP's "America's America."
The Red Western is a song-driven female-fronted band increasingly toeing the line between alt-country and power-pop, while Grand Piano (which has no piano, grand or otherwise) likes to set the scene and then venture off into head-spinning jazzy, proggy jams between the guitars and horns.
"We had all been fans of their old band, had become friends with them from hanging out at the [Birmingham Bridge Tavern], and have had a great time at all of the shows we've played with them," says Red Western guitarist-singer Sean Soisson. "So this seemed like a fun, unique project to do with friends. We also wanted to split the cost of getting vinyl pressed. We're not millionaires."
The Red Western formed in 2007 and is fronted by Lauren DeLorenze and Mr. Soisson, with guitarist Jonathan Gunnell (who produced the both halves of the LP), bassist Leon and drummer Sean Finn. The band released a debut album, "Loves You," in 2011. Now, it shifts away from that alt-country sound.
"It just sort of ended up that these were the types of songs we were writing," Mr. Soisson says. "Jay and I had originally talked about how we didn't really want the band to be anything in particular, just a vehicle for whatever type of songs we felt like playing (within reason, of course) and it just ended up that what we wrote in 2007 is a little different than what we wrote in 2012."
Grand Piano came along in 2010, but the core group of singer-guitarist Zak Kane, guitarist Thomas Cipollone, bassist Wesley Conroy and drummer Nick DeAngelo -- goes back much longer. They added a horn section in trumpeter Bob Kircher and saxophonist Ryan Booth, and released the five-song EP "$1000." Narrowing "America's America" down to an EP proved to be a challenge.
"By the time we went in to record 'America's America' we had about 30 or so songs already written and just chose five that were the most relevant and polished," Mr. Conroy says.
The band noticed a theme or concept emerging in the songs about a person's search for happiness in the face of mortality. "That answer," he says, "comes to them when they realize on this journey that it was in front of them the whole time by living in the moment, which is why the EP ends with an epic instrumental."
The split release is on vinyl with a download of the album as well. The release show is at 10 p.m. Friday at the Brillobox in Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900.