By Margaret Welsh
Pittsburgh Current Music Writer
As we round-out the month, here’s a little round-up of new singles from local artists.
Feralcat and the Wild
“Anselm the Wise”
I hate to break out well-worn (and usually debatable) descriptors like “genre-bending” or (heaven forbid) “genre-defying,” but in the case of Feralcat and the Wild, it seems to fit. “Anselm the Wise” — the first single from the band since the 2019 EP Feralcat,” — comes out swinging. Bandleader Feralcat brings the saxophone into an unusual front-and-center position akin to heavy metal vocalist. The rest of the band — including guitarists Drew Bayura and Brandon Lehmon, keyboardist Caleb Lombardi, bassist Chris ‘Trip’ Trepagnier and drummer Allen Bell — helps build something that’s jubilant and explosive (and yes, there is a surprisingly fitting metalcore-style breakdown).
Lindsay Dragan released her new single, “Desert Palm,” on inauguration day, not as a celebratory gesture per se, but as a reminder — to the new administration, and the rest of us — that a lot of shit needs to be taken care of, and soon. “When California burns like a desert palm,” she sings, her voice powerful and raw, somewhere between plea and demand, “when the rivers open up wider to drown/When greed starts to pull your daughters down/will you, will you believe me now?”
Dragan developed her artistry in Arizona dive bars (she returned to her pre-AZ home of Pittsburgh in 2017), and no doubt she could capture the attention of even the most distracted patrons. Melodically, the singer/guitarist brings to mind the brooding brassiness of Blacklisted– era Neko Case, and the slightly reverby production sounds grungy and huge (and I mean that as a compliment). Despite having to dig deep for hope, Dragan says she isn’t a pessimist. And “Desert Palm,” to my ears, acts as a reiteration of Joan Baez’ famous quote: “Action is the antidote to despair.”
“Just My Luck”
Signed at the age of 15, Oakdale’s Gabriella Salvucci is Misra Records’ youngest artist. She’s got a six-song EP set for release in a few months, and today marks the release of her first single, “Just My Luck.” Press materials cite Fiona Apple, Florence and the Machine and Feist as connection points, but the theatrical early-to-mid-aughts singer-songwriter I hear is Regina Spektor — like Spektor, Salvucci is a pianist with a thing for dense, impassioned lyricism and freewheeling melody. A slightly more current comparison might be Lorde — Salvucci is folkier and a couple shades warmer, but “Just My Luck” expresses teenage pain in similarly relatable and validating terms.