Son Of None, a Pittsburgh lo-fi duo active in the early-2000’s, mined sparse instrumentation and rudimentary recording techniques to unearth nuggets of oddball pop gold.
The product of Son Of None’s work from 2003-2005, called Blizzard of ’77, has just recently seen the light of day (or the light of Bandcamp, at least). On the album, Noah Nine sings, speaks, and sing-speaks (with Joy Von Spain providing backing vocals) overtop an array of acoustic guitar, Korg synthesizer, faint samples, and tinny percussion. “Digging 2 China,” the album’s second track, opens on a sidewalk encounter with a doomsayer who is “afraid of the sky”; he urges Nine to help him dig a hole. Nine, himself afraid (of the street prophet’s ravings, not of the sky), has no choice but to comply. This strange, faintly apocalyptic tale is told with minimal backing, not much more than a quiet drumbeat, fizzing with static, and a scrabbling acoustic guitar. The track does begin with an explosion that is repeated about 2/3 of the way through, perhaps symbolizing the start (and end/collapse/who knows?) of this ambitious construction project. “Digging 2 China” is surprisingly catchy, as is the rest of Blizzard of ’77; the album’s hooky, eccentric songwriting and DIY ethos remind me of music released by the legendary Elephant 6 Recording Company. Son Of None are a hidden Pittsburgh gem, and I’m glad their work has been made available to all.
Check out the rest of Blizzard of ’77