August 2011

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 new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Scott:

The War on Drugs, "Brothers" - My first thought was, 'Wow, this sounds so much like Kurt Vile.' Then I found out he used to be in this Philadelphia band. Adam Granduciel is a kindred spirit to Vile, sharing an interest in hazy, guitar-driven psych-rock with a Dylan and Petty influence. Adam sings a lot like Dylan on this track, but it's more winking tribute than rehash.

Neighbours, "Real Talk" - If you live within shouting distance of Pittsburgh band Neighbours, what you're hearing from the rehearsal space ranges from Who-era power pop to Motown to blue-eyed soul. This track has the quartet, which formed in 2009 and features fellow 9:13 Buzz contributor Andy Mulkerin on drums, spinning along like The Four Tops.

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New Music Personal Picks

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 new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs, contributing writer to Billboard Magazine

Beirut, "East Harlem" - All the indie kids in town are excited for this one. Beirut burst on the scene a few years ago with an Eastern European music-aping debut, but with new album "The Rip Tide," he's finally finding a good balance of new and old, and the sound is all Beirut. Bound to find a place on year-end Best Album lists.

Grooms, "Tiger Trees" - Joining Girls, Men, Women and all the other assorted 'people' bands, Grooms mixes scuzzy electronics with dark, danceable rock. I love the mood of "Tiger Trees": delicate but powerful, loud but whispered, crisp but murky. Definitely a band to watch.

In case you missed it here's what he played:

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New Music Personal Picks

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 new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times.

In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott):

Jeff Bridges, "Maybe I Missed the Point" - Yesterday was a big day for The Dude! Along with the re-mastered Blu-ray debut of "The Big Lebowski," Jeff Bridges released his self-titled country-western album. Picking up where he left off with his Oscar-winning portrayal as a seasoned, cut-to-the-bone philosophy-slinging singer, "Bad" Blake, Bridges delivers 10 sincere, homespun tracks helmed by longtime friend/Oscar-Grammy winner T-Bone Burnett. Like a true country star, Bridges writes just 3 of the album's songs, and not this standout track penned by John Goodwin, where a guy admits life's been good, but he could of and should of done more. Bridges' weathered and wisdom-filled voice makes the song sound autobiographical on lines like, "I laid low when I could've stood high/I said nothing when I should've asked why" and "Inside I'd like to believe I'm cool/Easy to love and hard to fool/But I know there's more I could have enjoyed." In terms of Hollywood stars-turned-music-artists, I'd rank Bridges well above Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner ... though a step below Kevin Bacon.

Holy Ghost!, "Wait and See" - I saw this New York band make its Pittsburgh debut Saturday in a matinee slot on the Identity festival at First Niagara Pavilion. I liked their enthusiasm, tunefulness and the pop-rock spin they gave to techno-trance-house-EDM-dubstep (or whatever term you prefer for what many of us consider "rave" music.) A few of their songs, this one included, remind me a bit of Pet Shop Boys. The album's lead-off track has a Love & Rockets feel (remember them?)

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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 new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper

In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy (plus a  bonus song):

Future Islands, "Before the Bridge" - Future Islands is a formerly Baltimore-based, currently Brooklyn-based synthpop band led by the enigmatic and growly Samuel T. Herring. Their last full-length grew to be a favorite of mine; this single was released earlier in the summer in advance of their next full-length, On the Water, which is due in October.

Nikki Lane, "Gone, Gone Gone" - This is the title track from Nikki Lane's EP from earlier this year. She's a young singer-songwriter with a very classic take on country music; it's a little bit affected, but then, so is Dolly Parton, eh? She's got a full-length in the works; I'm interested in seeing how it comes together.

The War on Drugs, "I Was There" -This Philly-based band (which originally included Kurt Vile) is getting a lot of buzz for their ethereal new album, Slave Ambient. Is it wrong that I think Adam Granduciel sounds a little like Bryan Adams? Like, if Bryan Adams were the least bit cool?

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New Music Personal Picks

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 new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times.

In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott):

Glen Campbell, "In My Arms" - One of the most remarkable albums of 2011 is "Ghost on the Canvas," the farewell effort by 75-year-old Glen Campbell. Campbell has been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's disease, which sets a dramatic backdrop to an album, due out Aug. 30, where the country-pop singer poignantly comes to terms with his situation. Far from wallowing in sorrow or regret, Campbell celebrates the gift of life and the love of family on the album, providing inspiration to us all. The all-star lineup of guest musicians includes Billy Corgan, Jakob Dylan, the Dandy Warhols, Teddy Thompson and Paul Westerberg, who wrote the title track, reminiscent of Campbell classics "Wichita Lineman," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston" and "Gentle on My Mind." I've chosen here one of the liveliest songs, "In My Arms," which gets twanged and surfed up by the guitar triumverate of Chris Issak, Brian Setzer and Dick Dale.

Yawn, "Acid" - These suburban Chicago psychedelic rockers are drawing lots of Animal Collective comparisons. They're trippy, in case the title of this debut single left you wondering. The full-length album arrives Aug. 30. Having opened shows for the likewise memorably named Yuck, not to mention Pittsburgh's Girl Talk, Yawn hits the road next month with Mates of State. The second night of their tour visits Mr. Small's Theatre.

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New Music Personal Picks

Toad the Wet Sprocket is on the last leg of a tour before they head back into the studio to record their first new album in well over 15 years... so I thought I'd check them out live one more time, Monday night at The Kent Stage, in Kent, OH.

In 1998 Toad the Wet Sprocket parted ways and I didn't have my first opportunity to see them until 2009.  Thus; I don't know what their shows were like in the 1990's.  What I do know, however; is that I overheard other concert goers at the venue say that it was like listening to their records...that this was an awesome show...that they still sound great.  This was from both first timers and from those who've seen Toad perform many times over the years.

For about 1 hour and 45 minutes Toad delivered 23 songs, 3 of which came in the encore.  It was a live cranked-up version of their music catalog: Something's Always Wrong, Whatever I Fear, Good Intentions, Stupid, Windmills, All I Want, Crazy Life, Nightingale Song, Come Down, I Will Not Take These Things for Granted and Come Back Down.  In the middle of the set they tried out two new songs (which they also did at the show in Pittsburgh back in April): The Moment and Friendly Fire - they already sound like old Toad favorites. To me the overall mood seemed to trend a bit more moody and darker than the other concerts I've attended.  As part of the encore, Toad did an amazing version of Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie) and then slowed things down with their final song Walk on the Ocean.

Jonatham Kingham with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Jonathan Kingham pulled double duty.  Playing keys and other instruments for Toad, and opening the show. Mr. Kingham, who now lives in Nashville and resembles Keith Urban, immediately developed a rapport with the audience that carried him through his brief 5 song, 40 minute set.  The highlight was when Mr. Kingham did a free styling rap in the middle of Every Little Step (Bobby Brown).  He has this natural ability to improvise - encompassing everything that he talked about during his set into the rap.  The audience showed their appreciation by giving him a standing ovation before he did his final song Grace.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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