• Singer-songwriter Terry O'Hara, who works under the banner of Summer-Winter for his slow, pretty and melancholy Americana, is back with a third album, "Heart of a Starling."
The nine-song album is actually perfect for late fall listening, with its lazy acoustic guitars, gentle accents of organ, pedal steel and strings, and vocals of Mr. O'Hara, who matches Kurt Vile or Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters) for tender weariness.
One of the more endearing entries is "Pop Song," on which he sings, "I think I'll write a pop song for you/I'll take out the death and loneliness/I'll take out the fear/I'll put in chorus so that you can sing along." Of course, he does nothing of the sort in one of the album's most fragile songs.
The last Summer-Winter record came with a cryptic bio about Mr. O'Hara working in a hen house in North Oregon and busking the streets of Portland.
This time he notes of the album, recorded at J Bird Studio in Zelienople, "J worked as an engineer and producer, and dissuaded me from presenting a new 'biography' of me feigning death and introducing a lost brother, living in a mountainous Peruvian sanctuary, who is brought to tears in finding out about my death. He resolves to learn to play the guitar and all the songs and do a show in my honor."
He gets a hand from an all-star cast of Pittsburgh indie musicians: Josh Verbanets (Meeting of Important People), Dan Harding and Megan Lindsey (Good Night States), Guy Russo (Broken Fences), Phil Johnson (Sleep Experiments), Megan Williams (Boca Chica), Pete Freeman (City Dwelling Nature Seekers) and Chris Bellin (Satin Hearts).
There's no local release show for now -- "very young children to raise, work to be done, relatives dying, chickens to be hatched," he says -- so the only release show scheduled for now is a session on Saturday at the Daytrotter studios in Illinois.
It's available on iTunes, at summer-winter.bandcamp.com/releases and at Sound Cat Records, Bloomfield.
'Evils' of Casino Bulldogs
• It's hard to shake the image of Casino Bulldogs as a bar-rock band, until you pop in the CD and get hit with the wave of fuzzed-out guitars and vocals more in the style of Smashing Pumpkins.
The Pittsburgh trio of singer-guitarist Greg Trimeloni, bassist Jason Hahn and drummer Brad Pfeuffer, which formed in 2006, has already released full-length albums and two EPs.
The latest is the nine-song "Fashion in Various Evils," which departs from last year's six-song EP "La Bala."
"Those songs naturally took on a slightly darker, grittier vibe for us," Mr. Trimeloni says. "This time around, we wanted to try and make a slightly cleaner sounding alternative rock album that was more about the hooks and melodies, and as a result, maybe a bit more accessible. We thought, 'Let's keep the loud drums and driving guitars but make the vocals a bit louder and less distorted.' "
The band's last full-length, 2010's "Descendant of the Glorious Dead," was a concept album about two friends who die of electrical shock during a boat accident and become ghosts. Each song on "Fashion in Various Evils," the frontman says, carries its own individual story or meaning.
"I think that the variety of emotions is what balances the new album and ties all of the songs together ... joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, and redemption come to mind."
Once again, the band did not use outside producers or engineers.
"Recording was a very comfortable experience because, frankly, we were the only three people involved in making the album ... and we really enjoy hanging out together. We rehearsed and recorded until everyone was happy. In between takes, we ate chocolate, watched thunderstorms, listened to rap music, fed cats, repaired cars and texted significant others."
The release show is Friday at Brillobox with Triggers and The Yellers. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
Kid Millions and Raw Blow
• Kid Millions, drummer and singer for Brooklyn's Oneida, was one of this summer's all stars as the drummer for Spiritualized, which opened here for The Flaming Lips.
He returns to Pittsburgh on Friday at Gooski's, Polish Hill, with Oneida multi-instrumentalist Bobby Matador in their People of the North incarnation, described as being "more staunchly devoted to minimalism, repetition, improvisation and sternness than the wide-ranging efforts of the big brother band."
As part of the bill, Pittsburgh super-group Raw Blow will play its first show in more than year. Why the downtime? Frontman T. Glitter says it's good for creativity and adds, "Even though we write songs by ripping off other people's songs, we see ourselves primarily as a songwriting/recording band. Despite the fact that our live show blows most indie/rock/electronica 'acts' off the stage, not all of us share the same passion for live performance that we do for the act of creation."
The third act on the bill is Come Holy Spirit, featuring drummer Sam Pace (Centipede Eest, Gangwish) and Gina Favano. It begins around 10 p.m. 412- 681-1658.