By Jim Dunn
I am an indie/grunge nerd.
My pal Rishi Bahl of the Spacepimps is Pittsburgh pop punk royalty.
Two Saturdays ago, at Stage AE, The Full Steam released "yours truly" an
ep that would be in the midst of catapulting them into the upper echelon
of Pittsburgh rock, if not for their impending move to LA. The greatest
example of the sheer power and mass appeal of The Full Steam, is Rishi
and I continually exchanging "holy sh*t" looks of bewilderment during
the onslaught of hooks and grooves in one of the finest sets I've seen a
band from this city play. Ever. If this was their last Pittsburgh show,
they went out with a bang.
"Yours Truly" is the follow up to 2010's "The Colorage" released when
the band was still called Yours Truly. (there's a "who's on first" joke
somewhere in here, but I'll just blow right by it) Guitarist/Lead
Vocalist Justin Portis, Bassist Jaron "DJ Huggy" Lamont and
drummer/vocalist Eric Downs have been on Pittsburgh's radar since 2011's
finals appearance in the X's winter rock showcase.
The EP is a triumph on many levels.
Recorded throughout 2012, mostly with Sean Cho at +\- studios and
mastered at Treelady Studios, "Yours Truly" packs more of a punch than
"The Colorage" while still staying true to the bands melodic foundation.
Songs like the opening track "incinerator" and the EP highlight
"Laundry Service" showcase Portis and Downs weaving perfect harmonies
through Downs frantic beats and Huggy's thumping bass lines. Other songs
like "the prosecutor" showcase Portis' penchant for storytelling and
character creation. "the act of taking a theme and creating a song
around it is a new concept for us. It was something we tried to do with
the Prosecutor. It's about a woman who works in the courtroom where the
main character is on trial for murder" says Portis.
It was a slow process to finish a record that speeds through 6 tracks in
under 30 minutes. "it took us most of 2012 to record and finish the
album" explains Portis. "it took about 50 hours to record and just about
the same to mix and master, it just happened to be over many months, a
little at a time"
The band will now take their new record to Los Angeles. The reasons are
plentiful. "we felt the quality of music that we were producing was of a
caliber that could compete in major markets" says drummer/vocalist Eric
Downs. "LA is home to decidedly progressive minded people and the
weather allows the music scene to live on perpetually through the year."
the Full Steam departs our city on an upward trajectory. "Pittsburgh is a
beautiful transitional, springboard city. on the negative side with it
being a sports town, it's easy to be a party/cover band, but it's very
difficult to be an independent band." says Downs.
Despite leaving Rishi and I scouring the city for a band that appeals to
pop punkers and grunge nerds alike, the guys in The Full Steam leave
with fond memories. "Pittsburgh has allowed us to meet life long friends
and fans who have shown us that we have a unique strong and viable
product, which has given us the confidence to make a cross country move"
A great band like this leaving the city can serve as a reminder to all
music lovers. if you really like a Pittsburgh band, support them as much
as you can or you might be waving goodbye someday too.