November 2012

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.

This month, we're asking our music writers about their favorites from 2012. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott):

Grizzly Bear, “Shields” – Just the right amount of weirdness, aggressiveness and fragile beauty from a band we might as well proclaim as America’s answer to Radiohead. The sonic blend of trippy and challenging chamber-pop melodies and vulnerably voiced, tension-filled songs command attention. The drums are more pronounced and the sound is rawer than their 2009 album “Veckatimist” (which also had made my Top-10.) My ‘YEP pick: “Yet Again.”

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Wrecking Ball” – Like his last masterpiece, 2002’s “The Rising,” this is an album perfectly suited for our times. The Boss wants people back to work, cleverly and poignantly railing against 21st century Robber Barons, greedy bankers and their ilk. Not a “Nebraska”-ish downer, but more of a call-to-arms for working class heroes. My ‘YEP pick, “Death to My Hometown” embodies Springsteen and Co.’s recent dabbling in foot-stomping Celtic-rock. The new songs sounded great live, too, at Springsteen’s Consol Energy Center debut, one of my three favorite concerts of the year.

Sean Rowe, “The Salesman and the Shark” – Such a rich, powerful, emotional bass baritone voice… I’d pay to hear him sing a cell phone contract. The depth of Rowe’s songwriting makes this a Top-3 finalist, as he steps out from backwoods alt-folk scene for an album that’s got textural diversity, without sounding like he’s reaching too far. The slow-burning album opener “Bring Back the Night” and my ‘YEP pick, the surf-rock twangy, psychedelic-finishing “Downwind,” are good entrance points for the uninitiated. If you like Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, you’ll dig Rowe.

The rest of my Top-10 is still jockeying for position. Count on Jack White, Fiona Apple, Riverboat Gamblers and Field Report being in there.

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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 (talking to us from Israel via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine.

Graveyard, "Fool in the End" - This is the kind of band that makes rock history nerds tight in the jeans. Graveyard is a bunch of Swedes who rock like they are touring with Black Sabbath in 1972. Fast, heavy and loud, but not in the sense that bands are fast, heavy and loud today. Just pictures mustaches and heavy metal parking lots. Their new album just dropped, and is making some serious waves in rock writer circles. Hopefully they catch on.

Cody ChesnuTT, "Don't Wanna Go the Other Way" - Another throwback, and equally as convincing. Cody ChesnuTT's new record, his first in a decade, is some of the world's finest soul music: personal lyrics, big and bold horns, thumping rhythm sections and ChesnuTT's smooth, Marvin Gaye-gone-wild voice. His first album, The Headphone Masterpiece, was 36 lo-fi songs recorded in his bedroom. His second, last month's "Landing on a Hundred," is the opposite, a big, shiny soul record with all the trimmings.

Bonus!

Jim James, "Know Til Now" - The My Morning Jacket frontman is prepping a solo album, and his first single is a tasty space funk treat. Stream this one at work and watch your coworkers faces as you float away.

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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 Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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

Family Of The Year, "Never Enough" - This is just a nice sounding neo-folk song from the LA band very much in the vein of Band of Horses or Fleet Foxes. This Family, complete with two brothers from Wales, nicely captures Beach Boys-style harmonies.

Black Moth Super Rainbow, "Window Smasher" - The Pittsburgh area band emerges from the wood with a seventh album led by this single, which combines its hazy electronics and vocoder-ized vocals with a new burst of distorted guitar. You have to see the hipster-smashing video.

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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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper.

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

Rodriguez, "I Wonder" - If you haven't seen the documentary Searching for Sugar Man yet, it comes recommended; it tells the story of how this Detroit artist, Rodriguez, cut a couple albums circa 1970, had no U.S. success, became a huge deal in South Africa without knowing it, and found out 25 years later. This song's from his album Cold Fact, which is gaining worldwide popularity on the heels of the movie. It's a pretty incredible record.

Satin Gum, "Never Let Go of Tonight" - One of my favorites from this local band's new release, LP2, which, as you might have imagined, is their second full-length. It's a return to the classic Satin Gum sound: deceptively complex power-pop with a young, headstrong feeling about it. One of my favorite bands in Pittsburgh.

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New Music Personal Picks
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