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Pittsburgh Artist of the Week: Century III

Our Pittsburgh Artists of the Week are Century III. The fun Pittsburgh band have returned to the studio after a few years and their latest releases are definitely worth the wait. The band’s unique blend of garage rock, girl group doo wop, and dark surf vibes ooze with a simplistic cool.

Singer and guitarist Carrie Battle recently spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar.

Century III

Century III are:

Carrie Battle - lead vocals, guitar
Sarah Ellis - bass, background vocals
Kayla Schureman - drums, background vocals
Teal Fitzpatrick - keys, background vocals

What’s your musical history up to this point?

Century III’s been playing shows since 2019, but we’ve all been playing music in various bands for a long time. My (Carrie) first band was the Harlan Twins, and since I’ve been in Dream Phone, Side Eye, and Jiant Eagle. Smellis (Sarah Mary Ellis) also plays with Boiled Denim and SFX. Kayla started performing and recording as a drummer for songwriters, then as a singer-songwriter herself, and now as a drummer for Century III, Sweat, and RICH. Teal plays keys with Chet Vincent and the Music Industry and Molly Alphabet, and was in the Slow Reel.

How do you describe your sound?

Describing our sound is always a little tough for me haha. At it’s core and in my heart, it’s basically 50’s and 60’s inspired garage rock, but we also veer into the doo wop girl group sounds of the 60’s, some darker surfy vibes, and the occasional smooch of Ramones. I’ve always been heavily influenced by the cool simplicity of the Velvet Underground, so that’s definitely in there a lot too.

Tell us more about the song "Tied In Knots." What inspired you to write it and what does it mean to you?

Tied in Knots is a song about that person you know you absolutely should not go back to but do. A few times to be clear, much to the annoyance of your friends and your own better judgement haha. They just charm their way back in and you let it happen knowing it’s not going to work out. Most of us have been there at some point I think, and while they’re obviously not our finest moments, it happens, and there’s so much strength and power that comes from finally letting go and walking away.

What was the first album that really changed your life?

Carrie: "The Velvet Underground & Nico"
Sarah: Prince "Purple Rain"
Kayla: Rilo Kiley "Under the Blacklight"
Teal: The Shangri-las "The Leader of the Pack"

Who are some other Pittsburgh artists you think more people should listen to?

Astrology Now, Natural Rat, Sweat, Tiny Wars, Tony from Bowling, Odno Okno, Grand Piano, Sunny Daze & the Weathermen, Good Sport, Wild Onion, Arie Cole, Sewerheads, Stealth, Benji

Joey Spehar is a Pittsburgh native who started as a volunteer D.J. at WYEP, fresh out of college in 2006. He took on any job they’d let him do like editing audio, engineering remote broadcasts, and shoveling snow.