June 2010

You Gotta Hear This features an inside look into a new release you may have missed, hosted by Cindy Howes. Bonnie "Prince" Billy is basically singer songwriter Will Oldham. He's been recording under Bonnie "Prince" Billy since 1999 and before that was involved in a few projects like The Palace Brothers and Palace Music. This new release is an excellent collection of minimalist indie-folk songs that are made nice and dark by Oldham's unique voice, but stay positive with his inspirational, yet intense, lyrics. You can hear a review and clips from his new self-titled release on the latest YGHT. Check your podcasts for an update or listen right here: YGHT :: Bonnie "Prince" Billy

YGHT is also heard on The Music Lab.

Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh's finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite news songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs, contributing writing to Paste Magazine, AOL's Spinner.com, City Paper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, etc. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin (plus some bonus songs): Deer Tick, "Twenty Miles" - Providence, RI band that will most likely be a breakthrough act this year. They will appeal to fans of The Avett Brothers, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, etc. Justin says: "I didn't dig the first two albums by these guys, but the third one - The Black Dirt Sessions, which came out yesterday - blew me away. This is the record's highlight, a plaintive, longing love song, with an aching chorus: 'If you're running away, I'm looking for you; if you've lost your way, I'm seeing you through.' Not overstated or gimmicky, this is their vintage Neil Young moment." Janelle Monáe, "Cold War" - With advocates like P. Diddy, No Doubt and Outkast on her side, Kansas City native, Janelle is poised to be a big deal this year in the crossover world. While her album is sonically diverse, this song evokes comparisons to Duffy and The Noisettes. Justin says: "I usually wouldn't think twice if P. Diddy was talking up an artist, but he was right when he said that Janelle was the most important artist he's ever signed. This is what great pop music should be: bright, unique, catchy and most importantly, weird as hell." Mynabirds, "Numbers Don't Lie" - This is Laura Burhenn post-Georgie James. Burhenn's worked with Richard Swift on the debut of her new project. People are saying this album sounds like Neil Young's Motown record. The name of the project even references a very famous R&B band that Neil Young was once in. Justin says: "This record came out just a few weeks ago, and it hasn't left my music rotation. I doubt it will for awhile. If you dig Cat Power, but blame her for your deep depression, this is for you. It's a soulful, bluesy, no-tears singalong." Best Coast, "When I'm With You" - A 22 year Bethany Cosentino old from Los Angeles is Best Coast. She plays sunny surf rock with a scratchy edge. She was once groomed for stardom as a teen, this project combines her obsession for the Cocteau Twins and sappy love songs. Justin says: "This song came out last fall, but it's a perfect summer jam: simple, loud and filled with the syllable 'woo.' You might take her "When I'm with you, I have fun" chorus as sarcastic, because her voice is pretty deadpan, but if you take her seriously it's a total 'us against the world' rocker." Sleepy Sun, "Rigamarole" - A band that is from all over California, Sleepy Sun have just released Fever, their second record- a quick follow up to their debut (2009's Embrace). Their sound has been described as "summery folk jams with thunderous sludge". Justin says: "This track is probably the most accessible one Sleepy Sun ever wrote: hushed, hummable acoustic folk. If it turns you on, though, dig deeper — this band creates huge, crazed psychedelic anthems. It'll scare you, and you'll love it."
There are over one hundred bands playing at this year's Bonnaroo festival, so you might as well face it -- you're not going to see everyone you like. Instead, you're inevitably going to be faced with a choice that could very well make or break your musical experience. No one wants to be on the wrong end of the "Oh man, did you see so-and-so's set? It was mind-blowing!" conversation, silently steaming over why you chose to watch Gaslight Anthem over Edward Sharpe. But don't despair -- after hours of intensive, scientific research, we here at Owl and Bear have come up with a list that guarantees your satisfaction. Continue Reading...

With more than 100 musical acts and six stages to choose from, it's easy to fill your day at Bonnaroo. And then there are movies, comedy (Conan O'Brien, Aziz Ansari, Margaret Cho and more), even World Cup soccer or NBA finals to watch if you need to get a sport fix beyond seeing people deal with the inevitable muddy conditions. (The weather people are calling for mid to high 80s and thunderstorms. Every day of the festival.)

This will be my first trip to Bonnaroo, so naturally I will be cramming as much music into my days there as possible. I have to see Stevie Wonder, b/c he's Stevie Wonder! I'll be going to see Brandi Carlile, either her full set at That Tent, or her 30 min appearance at the Sonic Stage. Oh, who am I kidding, I'll probably go to both, despite the fact that I'll will be seeing her again two more times summer. I trekked to Chicago to see Calexico a few years back, and I'm excited to see them again, as well as my 2nd show by The Gossip. I'll kick myself, or my fellow 'Roo-er Amy, if I miss the Dave Rawlings Machine, Carolina Chocolate Drops, or Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Two TRAF acts, Ingrid Michaelson & Kris Kristofferson, are at Bonnaroo, so I'm going to try to make it to see them. And I have a chance to get a preview of what Joshua James will play at the WYEP Summer Music Festival. My big decision happens on Friday, when The National, Tori Amos, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Raiders, and Michael Franti & Spearheadhave sets that overlap at some point. What is a girl to do? Ultimately, I'll probably try to see as much of Michael Franti's set as possible, and the others are going to have to fight for a piece of me. And, surprise, surprise (if you know me) I am probably going to see my first DMB concert, as they're closing things out on Sunday night. Never say never, I guess. Keep reading as Josh from Owl & Bear weighs in with some of his show picks later today. As for me, I have to go re-watch The Lost Boys so that I can skip the temptation to watch it Thursday afternoon...
Since its inception in June 2002, Bonnaroo has become the premiere North American music festival. This year's outing will be my third excursion to the farmlands of Manchester, Tennessee -- I was there for Wilco and Bob Dylan in 2004, and I returned for Beck and Radiohead in 2006. Each year challenges attendees to survive three days of camping, sweating, and drinking with 80,000 of your strangest friends. So, in part one of Owl and Bear's Bonnaroo preview, we'll let you in on a few secrets to surviving a sweltering -- but inevitably fun-filled -- weekend at Bonnaroo. Continue Reading.....
On Thursday May 20, 2010, Colonizing The Cosmos PACKED the WYEP Community Broadcast Center and played an amazing set. Check out the recording from that night on the recently posted Third Thursday podcast. It's on your Mp3 player or listen below. More photos here. Third Thursday: Colonizing The Cosmos

Wednesday June 1,2010 (Today!) marks the debut of The 9:13 Buzz, a brand new segment on The Morning Mix. Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh's finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite news songs and share some insight. First, we welcome Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper

In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy (plus two bonus songs): Poison Control Center “By The Wave” - This is from PCC's second full length 'Sad Sour Future'. The band is from Ames, Iowa and is on well respected indie label, Afternoon Records. Andy says: "This song has a very '90s indie sound – the verses sound like David Berman (Silver Jews) could have penned them, the airier chorus vocals sound like Mercury Rev. This is one of those unsolicited CD sends I get on my desk that actually pan out; I've been listening to the album non-stop lately." Beach House “Zebra” - Baltimore-based Beach House is a duo that concentrate on dreamy pop music. This is from their second release Teen Dream. Andy says: "I liked Beach House's last album, Devotion, but I wasn't sure if they could maintain the quality for another full-length; Teen Dream proved me wrong. It's more lush, more mature, and I hear they're touring with a full band now, which makes me, as a drummer, happy." Aloha “Search Light”Aloha began summer 1997 in Bowling Green, Ohio. The four members of Aloha are scattered across the eastern half of the country, but spend most of their time making music together. Andy says: "I wrote about Aloha's new album, Home Acres, when they came through town in April; they never fail to disappoint. Tony Cavallario is a top-notch lyric writer, and a former Pittsburgher to boot!" Retribution Gospel Choir “Hide It Away” - From of Duluth, MN, RGC plays short, driving songs that often start out poppy melodic and then turn into psychedelic improv and drum & bass-heavy dub. Current members of the band include, Alan Sparhawk and Steve Garrington- both are also in the band Low. Andy says: "On the whole, Retribution Gospel Choir's new album is so-so; there are a number of tracks that are basically studio silliness, and a few that just don't appeal to me. But a few – including “Hide It Away,” are amazing power pop tunes that should be on everyone's driving mix."

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