Local 913, Episode 5 - Meeting of Important People

Meeting of Important People If you've been listening to WYEP over the past half-dozen years, you've probably heard about the Pittsburgh trio Meeting of Important People. Over the course of their two full-length albums, the group has made some tremendously catchy pop-rock songs that can stick in your head in the best possible way. The band is fronted by guitarist/vocalist Josh Verbanets, and propelled by bassist Aaron Bubenheim and drummer Matt Miller. Each member has been playing in different area bands since they were much younger, and they got together as sort of a local supergroup in 2007. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2009, earning them plaudits from a number of sources including from us here at WYEP who declared them our 2009 Local Artist of the Year. In 2012, Meeting of Important People returned with the album My Ears Are Having a Heart Attack, once again continuing their tradition of crafting engaging songs with big hooks and a bright sound. The band promises on their Facebook page that they keep the "loud parts loud and the pretty parts pretty," and while that's a whimsical way to sum up their sound, they do have a knack for pulling off rock songs with harmonies, a fun sound, and clean production. They can take elements reminiscent of The Kinks, Fountains of Wayne, Guster, and The Who Sell Out-era The Who, and make it sound their own. Their new single, "All Ride Off Together," puts into one song a lot of what the band has been seemingly working towards since they began recording. An energetic rhythm and gentle guitars start the song which builds to a gigantic sound, including a chorus of notable guests from the local music scene, including Chet Vincent, Morgan Erina, and Andre Costello. Find out more about Meeting of Important People at their website.

Local 913, Episode 1 - Morgan Erina

Morgan ErinaBorn and raised in the Bronx, indie-singer/songwriter, Morgan Erina, relocated to Pittsburgh in 2010 after releasing her debut solo album. The goal was to start a new music project with family friend and collaborator Justin Sane of Anti-Flag. Instead, Erina paved her own way musically with her duo Broken  Fences, who released one full length album and an EP over the course of the group’s existence. Since  the dissolution of Broken Fences, Morgan Erina has  maintained a strong local following with her solo  material. Erina’s haunting, sensitive lyrics and finger-picking acoustic guitar, bring to mind names like  Elliott Smith, Kurt Cobain and Sinead O’Connor. Last fall, she released a new single titled “October” with  the hope of finishing a new solo EP in the near future. Check out more information about Morgan Erina at her website: morganerina.com.

Local 913, Episode 34: The Full Counts

The Full Counts, led by local veteran musician Eric Vermillion, have managed to perfectly capture the sound of a band that is truly Pittsburgh. Vermillion has the experience of partaking in several local bands since the early 90’s, including The Steel Minors, Charm School Confidential and the band Food. After Food members started going their separate ways, Vermillion paired up with Michael Hickman of Electric Eye Recorders studio in Polish Hill. In the studio, Vermillion started recording a new project that eventually became a new band: The Full Counts. First Out, the new album from The Full Counts, is actually available in electric and acoustic forms. Listen below for more on The Full Counts and visit their Facebook. 

The Local 913 Live - Winners of the 2015 Dos Equis Singer-Songwriter Competition

WYEP's November Local Music Happy Hour featured the three winners of the 2015 Dos Equuis Singer-Songwriter Competition: Melinda Colaizzi, Amy Melissen & Peter Perkins.Set list: Melinda Colaizzi- Trouble- Love Me Like A Man- Don't Be Sweet- Keeper of the Flame- Leave Your KeyAmy Melissen- Enough- In Life- Distraction- Half of the Beer (written by Andrew Lasswell)Peter Perkins- Callie's Song- Charlane- Sweet Dreams- Lunatic

Local 913, Episode 33: Jason McIntyre & Junior Tutwiler

Formerly of the State College alt-country band The Rustlanders, Jason McIntyre & Junior Tutwiler released their duo debut album last year, but the two had been performing some years before The Rustlanders’ existence.  Junior Tutwiler, whose real name is also Jason, explains how he and Jason McIntyre originally met in 2003:“I came up through a guitar store called Alley Cat. There’s like four other Jasons there, so I got coined Junior. I took lessons there and gave lessons there and that’s actually how we met. He was working there and the owner, Mark Ross, suggested that we get together and start playing. We’ve been playing ever since.”The pair teamed up and started performing in Central PA, playing bar gigs and covering some of their favorite artists like Tom Petty, The Band and Muddy Waters. They pulled in some like-minded musicians to form The Rustlanders. After The Rustlander’s released their debut album and toured the country, the act called it quits in 2010. J-Mac & Jr continued performing together and eventually recorded and released their debut album Miles. The two are currently working on their next release, making it work even after McIntyre made the move to Denver. For more on Jason McIntyre and Junior Tutwiler, check out their website.

Local 913, Episode 32: Brightside

The indie-pop quartet Brightside have just released a new EP, The World Reversed to follow up the full length, Now & Loud released in 2014. This time around, the band recorded at Machine Age with Dave Cerminara, who has been associated with Pittsburgh bands like The Gotobeds and Shakey Shrines. As usual, Brightside have a lot of different influences coming to the table when making this album. Front man Matt Vittucio explains how they balance everything out, particularly when there are conflicting interests:“That’s one of the main issues in our band, finding a balance. We usually work it out because there is a lot of common ground there. When you put them together, they really influence our sound and have forever. I listen to some darker stuff that wouldn’t work for Brightside. Matt listens to some really poppy stuff that might not necessarily work. Dylan and Steve really like punk and while that has really influenced the band, we have to sometimes maybe cut some of that stuff out as well as my darker elements.”  Listen below to hear their new song, "The High Priestess". For more on Brightside, check out their Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/brightsidepgh/?fref=ts

Local 913, Episode 31: Stutter Steps

Stutter Steps is the musical project of Ben Harrison, who also happens to be the curator for performing arts at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. In Fall of 2012, Harrison decided that it was time to create his first studio record after several DIY recordings in the past. He assembled a group of local musician friends and headed to the Laurel Highlands the following year to a make an album in an isolated cabin in the woods. “Growing up in a rural area, I always like that Falling Water/Powder Mill/ Laurel Highlands area. It’s such a bucolic setting back in the woods, with this stream that runs behind the cabin. It really takes you away from day to day. I think there are some warm tones on the record, kind of like a 70’s Nashville vibe on a couple of songs. I don’t know how to describe it, but I think it kind of made its way in the overall fell of the record.”Stutter Steps’ album also features a very special guest: Dean Wareham of Luna and also Dean and Britta. “[I’ve gotten] to know him over the last 8 years with collaborations through The Warhol and film projects, and working with him and Britta, particularly on the '13 Most Beautiful Project.' Coming out of that project, I asked him if he would contribute a guitar part. When we were arranging that song, we could just kind of hear it, like 'Boy, that could use a nice, dreamy guitar part!' He was up for it, which was extremely gratifying.”Click below to listen to “Fog” from the new Stutter Steps album and check out their Facebook page to learn more. 

Local 913 Episode 30: The Clarks

Like lots of young bands The Clarks began their career as a cover band. Listening to and performing songs by other artist served as a learning tool for the band, and helped the Clarks discover their own voice. In June the band released Rewind, an album of cover songs. Bass player Greg Joseph tells why the band chose to do this now.“We wanted to give fans an insight into 30 years of what The Clarks were listening to, going all the way back to the mid-80s. We did a lot of cover songs at the beginning of our career. We started with 2 original and 30 covers and we really cherished a lot of those songs. We made sure we never lost touch with cover material. It was always a good influence and learning lesson for how our records would turn out in the future.”Listen below to hear The Clarks cover The Plimsoles' “A Million Miles Away”. More on The Clarks is at their website. 

Local 913 Live: Heather Kropf

Heather Kropf performs at WYEP's local music happy hour on October 22nd, 2015. Set list:The Good RoadGhost in My HousePoison for WaterOut of Our AtmosphereValentineCometTalk About ItDream of DreamsLas VegasMile Marker 

Local 913, Episode 29: The Luna Programme

Indie folk band, The Luna Programme, made up of childhood friends John Stuart and Sam Stucky, are originally from Moon Township, and now based in Pittsburgh. Their new album Whatever The World Is contains nine songs that explore themes of war, violence, reconciliation and peace. Stuart and Stucky also include their own experiences in their songwriting. The music brings to mind acts like Neutral Milk Hotel, The Head & The Heart and Beirut. The breezy melody and instrumentation proves to be pleasant listening alongside some more serious topical issues that humans face in modern times. Whether the focus is on their message or on tapping your toe along, The Luna Programme deserves a listen. For more on The Luna Programme, visit their Facebook. 

Local 913, Episode 28: Joe Marini

In 2003, drummer Joe Marini proclaimed to his band that he would be releasing a solo album in 2004 that reflected his career. Fast forward, it might be eleven years late, but his new album Sympathy and Criticism, is just that: a collection of songs that acts as a retrospective of all the musical outfits he has drummed with. The album is diverse featuring genres like jazz, blues, rock and even the experimental. Playing professionally in the Pittsburgh area for 34 years, Marini explains why he chose to play the drums as opposed to any other instrument: “Playing drums is a little more physical. There’s a little more therapy in it. I really love that ability to play drums and get certain aggressions out. I enjoy how dynamic it is. You have to concentrate on the louds and the softs, the battle between the two and making them both work to advance the music.” A track very dear to Marini is one that features vocals from the late Pittsburgh Jazz singer, Maureen Budway. Joe got permission from Maureen’s brother, Dave Budway who insisted that it be included on the record. Also on the album, you hear Joe playing drums as well as singing lead vocals on a few originals mixed in with cover songs from acts like Steely Dan, Badfinger and Paul McCartney. Listen below to hear “Freight Train Shuffle” and find more on Joe Marini on his Facebook. 

Local 913, Episode 27: The Crew Of The Half Moon

Based in Johnstown, PA, The Crew Of The Half Moon brings together some very smart and talented artists. After playing in separate high school bands, Dan Oatman and Kate Rhodes started as a duo in 2012. Although the pair had grown up in the same music scene, Oatman’s background was punk, while Rhodes’ was more acoustic based. Due to lack of electric instruments, the band started off with a more acoustic, folk driven sound. After acquiring the proper electric amps and guitars, they invited drummer Claire Horvath to complete the lineup. The Crew Of The Half Moon’s unique image does not always match audience expectations of how they will sound. Oatman explains that the way they look often effects people’s perception of the band:“We get written off for it and pretty often, too. I think a lot of people have carried some kind of sentiment along the line of “You guys look like you’re just gonna be a sloppy punk band.” Usually they come off telling us that we have an older soul than they expected us to.”Oatman also explains the origins of the band’s name:“There’s an old Washington Iriving story about Rip Van Wrinkle. When Rip goes out in the woods, he meets these ghostly figures that give him some kind of mead or elixir that he drinks. He falls asleep and he wakes up on the other side of The Revolutionary War. So, they’re called The Crew Of The Half Moon in Washington’s story. We really liked the idea of The Crew being a very working term and The Half Moon being a bit more abstract or distant or spiritual or something. [We liked] the cross between those two. Kate and I are Lit majors, so, you know, we’re nerds. “  Listen below to hear their song “The Party After The Show” and for more on The Crew of The Half Moon, go to their website. 

Local 913, Episode 26: Nameless in August

Since 2012, the band Nameless in August has organically acquired a new member and instrument for every year they have been together. It all began with lead singer, Zach Rock, and banjoist, Jason Buzon meeting at a local coffee shop. The two planned to get together and started writing music from the first session and have continued to do so ever since adding bass, more guitar and drums along the way. After playing out in the city for a few years, Nameless in August released their debut album Wheelhouse last summer. Although he is the lead singer, Zach Rock does not consider himself to be the only songwriter in the band:“I write a lot of lyrics, but this band really does do a lot of collaborative writing. I can't take credit anymore. I used to say that, but I don't think it's right. Last night, I was singing this song, and, in the past I would say “I wrote this song”. But as I’m listening back to it, everything that I love about the song is [coming from] another member of the band saying “Why don’t we just try this small thing? Why don’t we try this here?”One of the highlights on the album is “The Way It Goes”. Zach explains how that song became a collaboration between himself and Jason Buzon:“’The Way It Goes’ is a good example of Jason just grooving on a banjo lick that was pretty catchy and firey. I started doing falsetto work on it and started writing some lyrics. The melody popped up, I wrote a verse and [sings] “the waaaay It goooes” just came about. That song formed and it was just natural: as in he had some music and I just scatted on the melody. You can’t give credit to either person in that sense of who wrote what, you know?” Listen below to hear “The Way It Goes” from Nameless in August and check out the website for more information. 

Local 913, Episode 25: Brooke Annibale

Brooke Annibale began writing songs at 15 and released her first album as a 17-year-old student at Moon Area High School. Since then she’s earned a degree in Music Business, and built a career through years of touring and honing her songwriting skills. This October she’ll release her fourth album.  The Simple Fear features songs that draw a fine line between what is personal and what is universal. Annibale explains how she handles revealing enough, but not too much: “I feel like it’s all about finding a metaphor for what you're trying to say. When I started writing, all my songs were very personal. It was always about whatever I was going through; that was my form of therapy as a teenager. Then as you get older the situations are obviously more real and more serious. Now, I feel like there's a lot that I share within my songs that I sort of try to hide within a metaphor.”  The first single from The Simple Fear, “Remind Me”, represents a new direction in Annibale’s songwriting: “This song, “Remind Me”, did come out differently, but I don't know if it was intentional. When I wrote it, it was at the end of a bought of writers block where I wasn't really liking anything I was writing. Then this song came out in one day! I thought that it sort of seemed like a new direction for me. I almost want to call it “swagger folk” because it has so much Pop rhythm in it, but it is still very clearly folk.” Listen below to hear “Remind Me” from Brooke and check out her website for more information. 

Local 913 Live: Jakob's Ferry Stragglers

The Jakob's Ferry Stragglers perform at WYEP's local music happy hour on September 19. 2015.Set List: - Red Prairie Dawn- Night Train to Memphis- The Legend of Gandy Grey- Mannington #9- Six Days on the Road- Beaumont Butter's Blues- Blue Diamond Mines- Checkmate

Local 913, Episode 24: Tom Breiding

Americana singer songwriter, Tom Breiding’s new album, River Rails or Road, is a tribute to his home state of West Virginia. The 17 track release is filled with stories of its people and the almost forgotten history of West Virginia coal miners. Breiding has spent the last few years working at the Wheeling Jesuit University, which reconnected him to the working people of West Virginia. Tom became involved with the United Mine Workers of America and started acting as their unofficial poet laureate, lending his voice and songwriting skills to their cause. According to Breiding, "The UMWA has exclusively and actively recruited me to write for and perform at all of their events for the past three years". River Rails or Road also comes with an 18 minute documentary focusing on Breiding’s roots in Wheeling, WV. Listen below to learn more about Tom’s new album or check out his website. 

Local 913, Episode 23: The Weathered Road

The Weathered Road has mainly been the project of singer/songwriter Christopher Bell. Bell’s surrounded himself with revolving band members and genres over the last ten years, but the current formation of The Weathered Road’s output on their second release Willing To Fall proves to be rooted in lyric-driven folk-rock. Listen below for more on The Weathered Road and to hear their new song I Need an Answer. Check out The Weathered Road on their website.

Local 913, Episode 22: Gregg Welty

Banjo luminary Gregg Welty, born in North Carolina, made his way to Pittsburgh a couple years ago as a Pitt medical student. His new release Memoir commemorates his musical journey, which is rich in bluegrass, a genre introduced to him by his father Eric Welty, who is also a master banjo player. Formerly playing with the Allegheny Drifters, these days, Welty plays with South 79, a band based out of Mercer, PA. Gregg is joined by a few of his bandmates on the album, including vocalist Herschel Blevins. Listen below for more on Gregg Welty, including comments from WYEP’s Bluegrass Jam Session Host, Bruce Mountjoy. Get details on Welty’s new album at his website 

Local 913 Live: Run Forever

Run Forever performs at WYEP's Local 913 Live on August 20, 2015.Setlist:Braddock BeachClose To The SunSeparate BedroomsA Few Good ThingsShifting ResponsibilityPlungeFall HardHikkomariExceptionally OrdinaryAmerican DumpSun BruisedBig VacationWeight Under Me

Local 913, Episode 20: Silencio

The group Silencio came to be due to a series of conversations between David Jamison and Kirk Salopek about the soundtracks to their favorite films by directors Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. The pair talked about doing the Twin Peaks soundtrack live, which finally materialized through demos. The rest of the band was formed after those demos were recorded, which turned out to be Silencio's first album. For their second release, Silencio stuck with the David Lynch theme. Listen for more on Silencio and a song off their new album She's Bad. For more information, check out their website. 

Local 913, Episode 19, The Feel-Good Revolution

Indie-folk band The Feel-Good Revolution is mainly the duo of Claire Secen and Cody Kraski. The group, who met while attending the University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg, take influence from sounds and songwriting of acts like Bright Eyes, Sea Wolf and Sarah Harmer. Their latest LP, Home, was released in September of 2014. Kraski and Secen trade leads on the latest album that has a light indie feel of an upbeat Iron & Wine or early Ingrid Michaelson, with mature vocals from both singers. Tall Trees is a stand-out track on their latest LP, which was written by Claire about coping with college lifestyle. Listen below to the song and comments from Cody Kraski and the band. For more information on The Feel-Good Revolution, go to their website. 

Local 913, Episode 18: The Jakob's Ferry Stragglers

Coming from Washington County, The Jakob's Ferry Stragglers were recommended by WYEP's Sunday night Bluegrass Jam Session host Bruce Mountjoy. The relatively new band featuring Gary Antol, Libby Eddy, Mitch Hall and Ed Croft, hail from the mountains and river towns of southwestern PA, West Virginia, and Ohio. Bruce Mountjoy talks a little more about why he likes the group, who has a new Bluegrass record, The Lane Change. The first track on The Jakob's Ferry Stragglers new album is The Legend of Gandy Grey, which catches the ear immediately. For more on The Jakob's Ferry Stragglers, check out their website. 

Local 913, Episode 17: Heather Kropf

Heather Kropf has forged a reputation as a talented, dedicated songwriter and performer in Pittsburgh and beyond. She learned her craft through years of playing live with bands and as a solo artist. Her training in classical piano shines through in songs that deftly weave folk, pop, and jazz into songs that capture the complexity of modern life and romance. As a seasoned performer Kropf knows the challenges of a music career including the stress of recording. Listen below to learn about Kropf’s recording process on her new album, Chrysalis. For more on Heather Kropf, check out her website. 

Local 913 Live: Mariage Blanc

Mariage Blanc performs at WYEP's local music happy hour on July 16th, 2015.

Local 913, Episode 16: Run Forever

A distinct 90s alternative and grunge rock influence is present on the band Run Forever’s new EP, Big Vacation. It makes sense that it was produced by Matt Talbott of the Chicago 90s band HUM, best known for their hit song “Stars” from 1995. Run Forever EP’s title cut “Big Vacation” is a hazy summertime jam showcasing vocalist/guitarist Anthony Heubel’s impressively diverse evolution as a songwriter. Its memorable hooks and melodies grab hold of listeners with each telling note, while the bittersweet lyrics are fed by Heubel’s newfound discontent for complacency and exploitation. Anthony says of the song” "I tried for a really long time to be the guy that loves everyone… I have finally accepted that I will never be that person. I have always loved songs that poke fun at the human experience, mundane life styles, American culture. “Big Vacation” is a song about looking around you and feeling like everyone is trying to sell you something to make your life better, or more personalized or more convenient." Run Forever have a full length album coming the fall, but in the meantime, check out their 3 song EP Big Vacation. They will also be playing on August 20th for WYEP’s Local 913 Live.  For more on Run Forever, visit their website.