The Local 913: Bikini Islands

 
00:00

Formed about three years ago, the Pittsburgh surf and garage rock band Bikini Islands recently released their new self-titled studio debut. When front man Kyle Wacker, originally from Robinson, PA, was first interested in guitar as a teenager, he was surprised to know there was a musician in his family.

“I found out during that time in middle school that my uncle played guitar. I had no idea that he had guitars! He gave me an old Yahama acoustic and the action was like an inch off the fingerboards. I had to work to learn how to play this guitar. It wasn’t gonna be easy. I couldn’t use a pick, so I kept getting blisters on my thumb. I would just hit strings with my thumb. I didn’t really know what I was doing.”

After creative differences in his previous band, Wacker took some time to regroup. He began writing songs that he planned to sing, which was a first for him (“I was always the guy shoe-gazing in the back with the guitar. It’s kinda weird to be up front”). Although the songs were a more simple pop structure, he found interesting challenges in his new writing. 

“Just to learn how to sing and how to write a song, really. There’s more to it than putting the music together. You gotta put more of yourself into it, which is why I shied away from it before. It’s scary to put your ideas out there and write words and then people can see you a little bit of you in the song. That’s what’s terrifying.”

Wacker cites The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson’s writing as a big influence on his writing

“I saw that movie “Love & Mercy.” I remember listening and watching Brian write. The melody for vacation, I thought it has to have a super strong melody for the beginning of the song. Like a Beach Boys song. I’m not trying to copy the Beach Boys, but I wanted a nice melody to start the song and set the tone. After I saw that movie, I went home and really worked on just that one line.”

For more on Bikini Islands, go to their website.

 

Local Music

Local 913, Episode 67: Eva Eris

Latrobe native and former X Factor contestant Jessica Saenz recently underwent an intense and inspiring change in creative direction:

Local 913, Episode 66: Delicious Pastries

After bonding over interests in rare 1960s pop, Jonathan Chamberlain and Jesse Ley got together for a songwriting session and then found themselves forming the experimental rock band Delicious Pastries. 

Local 913, Episode 65: As Ladders

Although they are relative newcomers to the music scene, As Ladders has already released some very impressive music from their Yarns EP last year to their Maybe True EP released earlier this year.

The Local 913 Live: Ferdinand The Bull

Ferdinand The Bull performs at WYEP's local music happy hour on June 16th, 2016

Local 913, Episode 64: Lofi Delphi

Back with their second EP, Lofi Delphi has been working on establishing their unique sound. Pianist and vocalist Becki Gallagher talked about the changes the group instilled this time around

Local 913, Episode 63: Pet Clinic

The band Pet Clinic, who formed about six years ago, just released their second album No Face. David Bubenheim, front man for the band, originally came up with the name after seeing a sign for a business on Route 8:

Local 913, Episode 62: Emily Rodgers

2 Years, Emily Rodgers’ follow-up to her 2009 album Bright Day, sees the shoe-gaze inspired singer-songwriter working again with famed producer Kramer, best known for producing bands like Low and Galaxie500.

Local 913, Episode 61: Chet Vincent & The Big Bend

Since 2008, Chet Vincent has been the front man for the local rock band, Chet Vincent and The Big Bend. 

Local 913, Episode 60: Emerson Jay

Coming from a musical family, Jared Gulden left his home in Dormont to study audio engineering in Chicago:

The Local 913 Live: The Telephone Line

The Telephone Line performs at WYEP's local music happy hour on May 19th, 2016.

Local 913, Episode 59: Cold Weather

Mark Ramsey, front-man for the Pittsburgh indie rock band Cold Weather, took some piano lessons as a child and ended up revisiting the instrument in college in a class called “Piano for Non-Pianists.”

Local 913, Episode 58: Locks & Dams

“Barbeque Rock and Post Country!”

Local 913, Episode 57: Morgan Erina

“I think it’s still in the same common thread of what I used to write. I’m not necessarily writing to make sure that there can be harmonies anymore, which is what I did in Broken Fences. 

Local 913 Live: The Boogie Hustlers

The Boogie Hustlers perform at WYEP's local music happy hour on April 28, 2016.

Local 913, Episode 56: Zoob

“I am from New York City. I went to school at Carnegie Mellon. By the time I had graduated, I was caught up in the local scene here. So, I just sort of stayed. By the time I had lifted my head back up, I recognized that I had made a life here.”

Local 913, Episode 55: The Buckle Downs

“I showed up, just sang a couple songs and next thing you know, I’m in the band! It was kind of, I don’t wanna say an accident, but I didn’t really mean to get into a band. I didn’t think I’d be good enough to do that.”

Local 913, Episode 54: Wooly Woman

...

Local 913, Episode 53: Joe Grushecky

...

Local 913, Episode 52: Standard Broadcast

The Pittsburgh group Standard Broadcast formed in 2014 when pianist Nathan Jay and cellist Leland Shaw’s previous band dissolved.

Local 913, Episode 51: Brewer's Row

When Nicholas Hohman, frontman for the band Brewer’s Row came home from college about ten years ago, he discovered the most likely bandmates for his new project were in his own family.

Local 913 Live: Jimmy Adler

Jimmy Adler performs at WYEP's local music happy hour on March 17, 2016.

Local 913, Episode 50: Crooked Skulls

...

Local 913, Episode 49: Meeting of Important People

Formed in 2008, Meeting of Important People has become one of Pittsburgh’s premiere indie-rock bands. Led by Josh Verbanets, MOIP just released their third album TROIKA.

Local 913, Episode 48: The Hawkeyes

Originally, Jay Wiley, front man for the alt-country band The Hawkeyes, thought he was hiring the Pittsburgh band Country Music Gas Station as his backing band for a couple of gigs. What resulted from the very first rehearsal was clearly an all new direction and band for the singer/songwriter....

Local 913, Episode 47: Arlo Aldo

Arlo Aldo front man, David Manchester made the decision to move to Pittsburgh with his wife in 2011 not really knowing what they would find when they arrived.

Pages