Local Scene: Lovebettie's 'Swagger Rock'; Record Store Day
April 18, 2013 4:00 AM
Lovebettie settles in to "Rise."
By Scott Mervis Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Lovebettie's new 'swagger rock'
• One of the reviews of its 2009 debut, "... And We're Never Coming Back," noted that Lovebettie sounded like two bands in one, flipping between post-grunge and a rootsier Triple A.
Singer Alexandra Naples believes that several years and hundreds of shows later, the Pittsburgh band has worked out its disparities.
"I think over the past three years, we've really gotten to know our own sound. In the beginning, we were a little all over the place, because we listened to so much different music and it was like whatever comes out, comes out. But as we've been playing shows and writing songs, I think we've got our own niche, which we call 'swagger rock' -- it's like rock, but it's like pop, but it's like soulful but it's like funky."
With Ms. Naples' commanding vocals, it's also a little like '70s powerhouse Pat Benatar fronting Stone Temple Pilots.
That's the vibe of the new six-song EP "Rise," recorded with producer Jim Wirt at a Cleveland studio. It follows "Red Door," an EP the band banged out with him in four days. For this effort, its raised money through a Kickstarter campaign and doubled its studio time.
"We promised that we would never rush it, never work that way again," the singer says. "We worked around the clock and really took the time with each song. The love we put into these songs and he put in made it worth doing."
Now, the band has fresh material to take out on the road, where Lovebettie practically lives. Of the 150 shows the band did last year, guitarist C.T. Fields estimates that 120 were out of town.
"The second we did well in Pittsburgh, we wanted to tour," he says. "The mission has always been to be a national act. It's easy to get stuck in your hometown. We wanted to build up a following everywhere. We're confident that we're on the right track. It would be hard to be on the road if we didn't see the crowds getting bigger and the festivals getting bigger."
A recent feather in Lovebettie's cap was playing 10 shows at the SXSW conference in Austin last month. Lovebettie manages to pull that off without fitting clearly into the indie, punk or metal categories.
"I think at first, we thought it would be harder," he says, "but eventually it's something that helps us a lot, because we can be on a metal show and it works, we can be on a pop show or an indie or folky set. We've been fortunate that we can slide in there. This summer we're booked with Carly Rae Jepsen [at Music Fest in Bethlehem], Rusted Root and Foxy Shazam. It just seems like we can kind of blend on all of them."
• Record Store Day, the annual celebration that started in 2007, takes place Saturday at a store near you, which in Pittsburgh means The Attic (Millvale), Sound Cat (Bloomfield), Eide's (Downtown), Dave's Music Mine (South Side), Mind Cure (Bloomfield) and 720 Records (Lawrenceville), among others.
Eide's will have an acoustic performance and signing by All Time Low at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Stores never know what they're going to get until the last minute, but the coveted releases this year include:
• The White Stripes, "Elephant" (12-inch colored vinyl)
• Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, "Munich '59" (12-inch LP)
• At The Drive-In, "Relationship of Command RSD Exclusive Re-issue" (12-inch LP)
• Brian Eno, Nicolas Jaar, Grizzly Bear, "Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear" (12-inch vinyl)
• Bob Dylan, "Wigwam" (7-inch single)
• The Joy Formidable, "A Minute's Silence"/"Badlands" (12-inch vinyl)
• The Notorious B.I.G., "Ready to Die" (2 x 12" white vinyl)
• Pink Floyd, "See Emily Play Pink Vinyl" (7-inch vinyl)
Jerry's Records doesn't bother with new releases (unless they come in used), but the Squirrel Hill store will take part once again by giving away more than 5,000 albums, 45s and 78s (100-plus per box), along with a Giant $ Dollar $ Sidewalk Sale (albums and 45s). It will also be selling original Robert Crumb Jerry's T-shirts, in new colors. Jerry's, at 1236 Murray Ave., 2nd floor, will be open from 9:30 a.m. till 6 p.m. Call 412-421-4533.
'Guitars Over Cancer' screening
• In June 2010, Pittsburgh musicians assembled at Altar Bar in the Strip to pay tribute to the legacy of Warren King, the Silencers/Houserockers/Mystic Knights guitarist who died of cancer in January.
The event raised more than $12,000 for cancer charities and also resulted in a film, "Guitars Over Cancer," produced by radio producer and DJ Lee Kann (aka Mr. Lee), that featured performances and interviews with Norman Nardini, Billy Price, Gil Snyder, Don Hollowood, James Dougherty, Shari Richards and more.
It will be screened at the Hard Rock Cafe, Station Square, at 8 p.m. Sunday, preceded by a short set by Toms and Reisman at 7:30 p.m. and followed by The Mystic Knights at 10 p.m.