The Backgrounds – This Town review and interview

The Backgrounds: uncommonly good music from a commonly-named musician.

Andy Martin, lead singer of The Backgrounds, laments the fact that there are so many other musicians named Andy Martin. “I think there’s an ’80s hair metal guy, and maybe a killer trombone player named Andy Martin. I got tired of so many other musicians named Andy Martin. It kept me up at night,” says Martin, who is originally from Pittsburgh and now resides in Philadelphia. Martin followed up his eponymous 2007 debut album with the 2010 release of This Town, which was released under the new moniker The Backgrounds.

Despite the name change, Martin remains the driving force behind the music, which showcases a fusion of folk, blues, and classic rock elements. Other than keyboardist Mikel Azpiroz, none of the accompanying musicians on This Town played with Martin on his 2007 self-titled debut album. Rather than being part of a collaborative effort, Martin does most of the legwork in composing and executing his vision of the music. “I have no idea how to jam,” Martin freely admits. “I work out most of the songs and structure myself, and then try to share [my vision] with everyone else.” Continue reading “The Backgrounds – This Town review and interview”

The Backgrounds – This Town review and interview

Argyll’s Revenge

When I was in Pittsburgh going to Library School I had this great home teacher named Ben Keller. We became friends and visited back and forth in each other’s houses, doing things like helping with moves and making peanut butter sandwiches. We even got together and jammed a little bit, which we should have done more of. Since moving away, I found out that Ben and his brother Chris started a band called Argyll’s Revenge and had to repeat Alma 29:14 to myself several times. Their music is solid rock, ranging from tributes to fallen officers to catchy refrains that get you bouncing in the kitchen. Their sound won them the 2009 Battle of the Bands at Carnegie Mellon University and they have produced two recordings to date, one titled Train Chasers. They have a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Argylls-Revenge/61152629310?.

Ben graciously agreed to answer some interview questions, wherein he reveals the inner workings of the band, talks about upcoming releases, and reflects on outsiders’ perceptions of Pittsburgh. Continue reading “Argyll’s Revenge”

Argyll’s Revenge