Industrial music pioneers Ministry take a ‘Last Tangle in Paris’

Ministry‘Last Tangle in Paris’
Ministry (UDR/13th Planet)
4 stars out of 5

Long before Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails went mainstream with industrial dance music, Al Jourgenson and Ministry were thrilling punk and metal fans with their take on the genre. Never as commercially successful as NIN, Ministry nevertheless earned six Grammy nominations and sold boatloads of records before calling it quits last year.

Ministry CDThe 2-CD/1-DVD set “Last Tangle in Paris” chronicles Ministry’s 2012 DeFiBriLaTour and features blistering live performances, studio, rehearsal and backstage footage, along with one-on-one interviews. Ministry deliver high-octane renditions of “Psalm 69,” “Ghouldiggers,” “LiesLiesLies,” “New World Order (N.W.O.)” and “Just One Fix,” among others, and if played loud enough I’m guessing “Last Tangle in Paris” just might make your ears bleed. (Jeffrey Sisk)

Coming-of-age film ‘Boyhood’ buoyed by a terrific soundtrack

Various Artists (Nonesuch)
4.5 stars out of 5

Filmed with the same cast in 39 totla days over a period of 12 years, Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” took Sundance by storm back in January and is making its way into theaters across the country. The music in the film is a vital component as we see young actor Ellar Coltrane literally age before our eyes. He was 6 when filming started and 18 when the project wrapped for good.

Boyhood CDThe soundtrack to “Boyhood” is fantastic, with entries from Coldplay (“Yellow”), Gnarls Barkley (“Crazy”), Wilco (“Hate It Here”), Paul McCartney & Wings (“Band on the Run”), Bob Dylan (“Beyond the Horizon”) and Arcade Fire (“Deep Blue”) that add layers of depth to the film. It seems Linklater is as proficient a music buff as he is a filmmaker. (Jeffrey Sisk)

Zach Braff picks another set of winning tunes for ‘Wish I Was Here’ soundtrack album

Wish I Was Here‘Wish I Was Here’
Various Artists (Columbia)
4 stars out of 5

Zach Braff made his directorial debut a decade ago (Jesus, I’m getting old!) with “Garden State.” In addition to the generally favorable reviews the movie earned, the Braff-curated soundtrack — featuring The Shins, Coldplay, Cary Brothers and Iron & Wine — was a hit in indie circles. Braff’s latest writing/directing gig is “Wish I Was Here” and he again hand-picked the tunes for the soundtrack

Wish I Was Here CDBraff got a compelling group of artists to contribute to the project and this time has enough clout to merit new tunes from The Shins (“So Now What”), Bon Iver (“Heavenly Father”) and Cat Power + Coldplay (the title track). In addition, there are sterling entries from Radical Face (“The Mute”), Jump Little Children (“Mexico”), Paul Simon (“The Obvious Child”) and The Head & The Heart (“To Let You Down”). Don’t know if the film is any good, but the soundtrack is a winner. (Jeffrey Sisk)

ZZ Top still going strong with dynamite ‘Live at Montreux 2013’

ZZ Top‘Live at Montreux 2013’
ZZ Top (Eagle Rock)
4 stars out of 5

ZZ Top are one of the best and most enduring rock bands of all time. The trio comprised of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard has been together for 44 years and they’ve released dozens of albums and performed thousands of live gigs over the decades. The guys still have their chops as evidenced by latest stellar DVD release “Live at Montreux 2013.”

ZZ Top CDFilmed at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival last July, the 93-minute concert film showcases ZZ Top in all their bearded glory. In addition to riveting performances of classic hits like “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs,” “Tube Snake Boogie,” “La Grange” and “Tush,” the fellas showcase a handful of killer tunes (“I Gotsta Get Paid,” “Chartreuse,” “Flyin’ High”) from 2012’s unexpectedly terrific studio effort “La Futura.” Even in their mid-60’s, Gibbons, Hill and Beard can still get the job done. (Jeffrey Sisk)

Dog Fashion Disco top a blistering night of music at Pittsburgh’s Rex Theater on Monday, Aug. 4

080414-Dog Fashion DiscoMaryland-based hard rockers Dog Fashion Disco bring the America F*ck Yeah Tour to Pittsburgh’s Rex Theater on Monday, Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. Tickets for the all-ages show — which includes The Antediluvians, Diml!te, 2050 Black Omega, Coffin Notice and Guard Your Heart — are $12. The Rex is located at 1602 E. Carson St. on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Call 412-381-6811 or visit for additional information.

Talented siblings The Carmonas make Americana magic on debut

The Carmonas‘The Carmonas’
The Carmonas (self-released)
4 stars out of 5

Keep an eye on The Carmonas, a promising Americana collective built around the talents of siblings Aaron, Chad and Alison Carmona, who knock it out of the park on their self-titled debut album. While there have been comparisons to the likes of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Band and The Avett Brothers, truth be told, The Carmonas have carved out a sound all their own.

The Carmonas CDThough there is plenty of fiddle, banjo, upright bass and mandolin on the 11-track release, the subtle use of electric instruments and percussion make keepers “Into the Sun,” “Human Hurricane,” “Crickets,” “Salinas,” “Corner of the World,” “And So I Woke” and “Dead and Buried” really shine. Can’t wait to hear more from this up-and-coming outfit. (Jeffrey Sisk)

Stardeath & White Dwarfs return at last with freaky gem ‘Wastoid’

Stardeath & White Dwarfs‘Wastoid’
Stardeath & White Dwarfs (Federal Prism)
3.5 stars out of 5

Stardeath & White Dwarfs frontman Dennis Coyne is the nephew of Flaming Lips bandleader Wayne Coyne and there’s a similar freakiness to the music both groups make. Stardeath scored with their 2009 debut album “The Birth” and later collaborated with the Lips (plus Henry Rollins and Peaches) for a terrific reimagining of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” and at long last serve up sophomore platter “Wastoid.”

Stardeath & White Dwarfs CDThe 11-track album proves worth the wait as Stardeath & White Dwarfs mine the psych-rock territory favored by the elder Coyne quite effectively. Among the stronger entries here are “The Chrome Children,” “Hate Me Tomorrow” (with New Fumes), the Chrome Pony-aided title track and “Sleeping Pills and Ginger Ale.” Uncle Wayne and The Flaming Lips even guest on keeper “Screaming,” making “Wastoid” a true family affair. (Jeffrey Sisk)

Electronic musician No Lands makes ambitious debut with ‘Negative Space’

No Lands‘Negative Space’
No Lands (New Amsterdam)
3 stars out of 5

Experimental electronic musician/sound artist Michael Hammond records under the No Lands moniker and makes quite the first impression on ambitious debut full-length “Negative Space.” It’s a computer-fueled gathering of nine tunes that shows glimpses of greatness, only to fall a little short as a result of the relentless experimentation and electronic bells and whistles.

No Lands CDLead single “City” is flat-out terrific tune that was inspired by a telephone call that Hammond says changed his life forever. “Levee,” “Eyesore” and “Seawall” also merit a few listens, but I found it hard to make it through entries like “Icefisher,” “Pretender,” “Sleep Atlas” and “Outside of You.” Ambitious listeners should give “Negative Space” a shot. (Jeffrey Sisk)

Veteran punk rock trio The Muffs make triumphant return with ‘Whoop Dee Do’

The Muffs‘Whoop Dee Doo’
The Muffs (Burger)
4 stars out of 5

It’s been more than 20 years since punk rockers The Muffs snarled their way onto the scene out of Los Angeles, and the Kim Shattuk-fronted trio (which includes longtime rhythm section Ronnie Barnett on bass and Roy McDonald on drums) shows there’s plenty of gas in the take on terrific new platter“Whoop Dee Doo.”

The Muffs CDIt’s the first new album by The Muffs since 2004’s “Really Really Happy” (and best since 1995’s sophomore slab “Blonder and Blonder”), as Shattuck & Co. strut their way through a dozen uniformly strong tracks. The opening tandem of “Weird Boy Next Door” and “Paint By Numbers” gets things of to a rollicking start, and The Muffs also hit the mark on “Take a Take a Me,” “Where Did I Go Wrong,” “Because You’re Sad” and “Forever.” Welcome back. (Jeffrey Sisk)

The Casket Girls performing late-night show at Pittsburgh’s Club Cafe on Saturday, Aug. 2

080214-The Casket GirlsThe Casket Girls, whose terrific new album “True Love Kills the Fairy Tale” dropped earlier this year, take to the stage at Club Cafe on Pittsburgh’s South Side on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 10:30 p.m. Tickets for the over-21 show, which includes Dreamend, are $8. Club Cafe is located at 56-58 S. Twelfth St. Call 412-431-4950 or visit for additional information.