By Melanie Stangl
We’re only two weeks into 2017, but already, there’s new local music to get excited about. This Saturday, January 14th, ambient indie rock band Ancient History will be hosting a release show for their new album, Good Friend Electrical. The concert takes place at The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, where they’ll be joined by their Wild Kindness Records labelmates Slugss, Honey, and It It. The three supporting acts all have albums set to come out later this year, so the event will also serve as a showcase of what the label has in store for 2017.
“I’m extremely excited about the bands playing on Saturday because they represent the next generation and the new, upcoming sound of Pittsburgh music,” says Jeff Betten, general manager of Misra Records, of which Wild Kindness is an independent subsidiary. “We’re witnessing an emergence of what’s to come, and this showcase will put that on full display for folks who might not have previously been in the know.”
You might recognize those two label names from their associations with more well-known artists in the scene, such as Chet Vincent and the Big Bend or Andre Costello, respectively. But Saturday’s lineup offers listeners a chance to discover Wild Kindness’ wide range of artists and genres. From the hard-hitting rock of Honey and the experimental musings of It It to the psychedelic-influenced Slugss and the poignant dreaminess of Ancient History, this roster is diverse and dynamic. Donald Ducote of Ancient History also serves as Wild Kindness’ general manager; thanks to him, Betten says, “the label is free to find its own unique, creative voice, wholly apart from Misra, but benefitting from its wide array of resources.” That creative voice, in addition to the three other bands in the show, will be bringing new records from Dinosoul, Swampwalk, Good Sport, Thousandz of Beez, and more in 2017. If you’re looking to keep up with the pulse of innovative local music this year, Wild Kindness will have you covered.
This sampler platter of a show has another occasion, of course: the release of Good Friend Electrical. Ancient History combines effect-heavy guitars, engrossing melodies, honest, introspective lyrics, and vocals that recall a gentler Morrissey. The resulting songs are appealingly atmospheric, chilling you out while never leaving you bored. Good Friend Electrical amps up the noise and grittiness somewhat from their prior release, Tracks, while maintaining their well-crafted sense of immersion. “Donald and his band have been hard at work on this [new] album for quite some time, and I think it really shows. It’s a fantastic record.” says Betten. “He’s a relatively recent transplant from Brooklyn as well, and I think the city in general can benefit from learning about what’s happening musically elsewhere.”
Luckily, you only have to travel to Millvale to hear and see this passion and innovation for yourself. On Wild Kindness’ website, they lay it out plainly: “We are sincere, post-ironic dreamers who create the things we enjoy. …We are regionalists who believe that you don’t necessarily have to live in New York or Los Angeles to make art happen, and that, often, your creative family is in your own back yard.” Betten concurs, promising that “[a]nyone who likes great music, great beer, and free records will have an amazing time at The Funhouse on Saturday!”
The show is 21+ and starts at 8 PM on January 14th, with doors at 7. Tickets are $8, including a copy of the record, and can be pre-ordered here. See the Facebook event page here for more information. You can also follow Ancient History on Facebook, and stream Good Friend Electrical here. Keep up with future projects from Wild Kindness Records directly, via their Facebook page.