By Hugh Twyman
Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer
Brother’s Crickets is the new project from former Pittsburgh resident Brad Austin. Formerly of experimental folk-rock band The Slant, whose members have gone on to make music as André Costello and the Cool Minors, Polar Scoüt, and Yarn Wallows, Brad has since relocated to Annapolis, MD and has just released his debut solo effort, a lo-fi avant-pop collection entitled Love You Over and Over, under this new moniker. I want to thank Brad for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.
The first album you ever bought?
I’m not quite sure, but I remember my good friend Zach Dow (Yarn Wallows, The Slant) giving me a copy of Radiohead’s live album I Might Be Wrong for Christmas in, I think, 2002. That was a real eye-opener for me and was probably the first CD someone gave me that I didn’t know I wanted. I gave him an alarm clock. His gift was better.
Your last album bought?
Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens.
Favorite album of all time?
This is a tough one. It’s probably The Beatles’ Abbey Road or Takk… by Sigur Rós. These are always in heavy rotation in my house.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
After mulling over some options, I think Lover by Taylor Swift is the winner here. 1989 is a guilty pleasure of mine and I’ll defend it any time, though.
First concert attended?
Silverchair after their album Diorama. Our friend’s dad drove us six hours to New York City from rural PA and back again on a school night. (Thanks again, Lonnie.)
Sigur Rós at Merriweather Post Pavilion. They performed as a three-piece and it really changed my perspective on what is possible with that many musicians on stage.
Favorite concert ever?
Sufjan Stevens at the Beacon Theatre in New York for the Age of Adz Tour. It was like everyone (both audience and band) was bursting at the seams with pure joy by the end of it, and it was just an incredible atmosphere to be a part of.
Least favorite concert?
I struggled with this one, and this is probably going to contradict my previous response, but I think Radiohead at Blossom Music Center would be my least favorite. The band was great but didn’t really stray from the album versions at all, which was fine, and they played a great show from what I could tell. We had seats under the pavilion, but when we met up with some friends in the lawn area, we were surprised that everything sounded better out there. Maybe I just had high hopes/expectations, maybe we just didn’t have good seats, who knows. We still had a blast, though.
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
One of the experiences that will always stand out for me was living in Brookline and having regular band practices in the dining room of the house where we all lived. We’d take breaks and go outside to find neighbors sitting on their porches listening to us. We’d even hear a yelp/cheer on occasion. These were just regular families in a residential neighborhood, but their implicit and sometimes more vocal support of a group of loud guys in their 20s was something special. Big thanks to those neighbors for their support and for not calling the cops.
Thanks, Brad. It is funny that I never saw The Slant perform before you broke up but I am such a fan of every member of the band’s solo output ever since. You were a supergroup before you even knew it!
Hugh Twyman (AKA HughShows) has been documenting the Pittsburgh music scene since 2004. His website (www.hughshows.com) features a comprehensive Pittsburgh Concert Calendar, episodes of HughShowsTV, a newly launched public Pittsburgh music database, exclusive audio streams from local bands, thousands of his concert photos and his trademark First/Last interview series.
Support Brother’s Crickets: www.brotherscrickets.com/
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