July 2013

When post-punkers get a new sense of rhythm, things brighten up a little. Such is the case with Franz Ferdinand, Scotland's premiere mopey-yet-dance-able musicians, who fell into a bit of a funk after hitting it big with songs like "Take Me Out." But their latest single, "Right Action," off their first album in four years, Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action, is a breath of fresh air. Wacky and groove-heavy, not unlike early Talking Heads, "Right Action" is illustrated in this Jonas Odell-directed music video as a step back into the classics section of the design department. (Odell also gave his recognizable touch to the "Take Me Out" video back in 2004.) With Cold War-era instruction manual graphics, bright colors, and wonderfully skewed perspectives, "Right Action" has almost as much to look at as there is to hear. It's a tough call, but probably the best pictures are the cow diagram (divided into sections such as "right words," "sunshine," and "love") and the meticulous human skeleton that appear. It's a sensory overload, and too many details to take in during a single viewing. But along with the fuzz-rocker B-side "Love Illumination," Franz Ferdinand seems to be heading in the right direction to reclaiming their stance as the cultural juggernauts they were in the mid-2000s.

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: Summer-Winter, "Borrowed Time" - This is from Heart of a Starling, the new album from the talented and somewhat mysterious local solo artist Terry O'Hara, who goes by Summer-Winter. He's got help from a lot of notable locals here, including members of Good Night States, Meeting of Important People, Broken Fences and Sleep Experiments. Heliotropes, "Awake" - This is a Brooklyn band that's getting some good attention lately; some of the tunes are slow and spacey and sound like Mazzy Star, some of them are loud and psyche-y and sound like Boris.
Belle and Sebastian have announced that they're releasing a new album, The Third Eye Centre.  The album will feature the band's B-sides and rarities from the period between Dear Catastrophe Waitress and Write About Love.  The new album, The Third Eye Centre, is being released on August 27 via Matador. Belle and Sebastian will be performing with Yo La Tengo at Stage AE  Saturday, July 13 as a part of the Warhol Sound Series.  You can fine out more information about the show on our concert calendar. Check out a remix of "Your Cover's Blown" by Miaoux Miaoux below.
Saturday July 6 the Deutschtown Music Festival will be taking over Pittsburgh's Northside.  The festival will include more than 45 bands and performers on an outdoor stage and various bars from 2pm-2am.  There is an up-and-coming music scene in Deutschtown, an area of Pittsburgh's Northside. One of the Deutschtown Music Festival organizers, Ben Soltesz, comments on the inaugural year of the fest, "After we saw what happened in Lawrenceville, they did the R.A.N.T event and a lot of people came out to see some local music, we realized we could do that on the Northside.  We thought it was a good time to promote the neighborhood, get some more venues involved, and try to get as much music as we can one event.  This whole event is being worked on by community organizers as a community effort to bring people into an area that doesn't have a lot of activity on weekends.  What we're really  trying to do is give people an alternative to going out to Lawrenceville or the South Side." There is fun for everybody at the Deutschtown Music Festival.  There is a family friendly main stage which will have performances from 2 to 8pm.  After 8, the music will move indoors to various bars and venues throughout the Northside.  Some of the bands playing the Deutschtown Music Festival include Meeting of Important People, The Harlan Twins, Neighbours, Chet Vincent, and a special performance by Lonesome Bob.  Admission is free, so all the more reason to come and enjoy the music. You can find more information about bands, set times, etc. at http://deutschtownmusicfestival.org
Scottish alternative band Travis has been around since 1990, but the singles preempting their seventh (!) studio album are full of life and energy. "Moving," the second song off Where You Stand, out August 19 (the first since 2008's Ode to J. Smith), came with an accompanying music video that is simple and beautiful, much like the tune itself. Standing in their hats and jackets in the cold, Fran Healey and his Glasgow group sing and blow into the cold air, with animated figures of men running coming out of their frosted breaths. But the music video was made with no post-production, apparently; the animations were all projected from that light in the back, and the cold air made by their breathing was enough for the light to project onto. That explains the imperfections and swirls in the heads and figures that appear. The song itself is classic Britpop, with that belted, moving chorus making obvious the influences that bands like Coldplay took from Travis way back when. "Where You Stand," the title track and first single, is another sweet midtempo tune, although more acoustic than "Moving."
Fourth of July means time for cooking out and getting together with friends and family to celebrate America. While you might be all set for food, drinks and party guests, you might need some assistance with your musical selections for the day. Over the next couple days, we’re going to offer some suggestions for your FOURTH OF JULY MIX. We've created this Spotify playlist in honor of our nation's birthday, July 4.  We've chosen some of the traditional American classics that go all across the board musically.  You'll find everything from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to The Ramones on our Fourth of July Mix. Non-Spotify users can check out the playlist below.  If you have any songs you feel should be added to the playlist, leave a comment with your suggestion! Neil Diamond – America Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – American Girl Johnny Cash – I've Been Everywhere Paul Simon – Graceland X – 4th Of July Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days Chuck Berry – Back in the U.S.A. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around The Bend The Allman Brothers Band – Blue Sky Tedeschi Trucks Band – Bound for Glory The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - 2000 - Remaster Estelle – American Boy - feat. Kanye West DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime - Single Edit Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa The Decemberists – Sons & Daughters Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady Nina Simone – To Love Somebody Ryan Adams – New York, New York Grateful Dead – Tennessee Jed - Remastered LP Version Gladys Knight & The Pips – Midnight Train To Georgia Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Feel the Illinoise! Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream Kim Wilde – Kids in America The Hold Steady – Massive Nights JAY-Z – Izzo (H.O.V.A.) James Brown – Living In America Lenny Kravitz – American Woman Weezer- Surf Wax America Portugal. The Man- So American The National – Fake Empire Arlo Guthrie – The City of New Orleans - Original Version Wendy Rene – Bar-B-Q Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – This Land Is Your Land The Beach Boys – Spirit of America (Stereo) Steve Tannen – San Francisco Ramones – Rockaway Beach Chicago – Saturday In The Park Ray Charles with Alicia Keys – America The Beautiful
Bob Dylan's guitar from his 1965 Newport Folk Festival set is going on auction. The Fender Stratocaster was a part of Dylan's infamous July 25, 1965 three song set in which he chose to go electric. This was the first show in which Dylan had performed with a backing band, which marked an evolution in his already iconic career. The guitar spent nearly 50 years in the home of New Jersey resident Dawn Peterson's. Peterson recently settled a legal dispute that allowed her to sell the guitar. Peterson's attorney Christopher DeFalco explained some of the conditions of the sale of the guitar, "One term of the agreement that I obviously can disclose is that Mr. Dylan will participate in the sale to the extent that he will be signing off on any ownership interest after the sale. The person who buys it will receive a bill of sale that will be signed both by the Petersons and Mr. Dylan or his representatives." The sale will also include handwritten Dylan lyrics from 1965 which were also found in the guitar case. The lyrics include fragments of the songs, "Just Like a Woman, "Medicine Sunday," and " Temporary Like Achilles." Peterson commented on the sale saying, "I would feel unsafe hanging it on a wall now, after all this went on," she says. "I would have to pay to keep it locked up, and I want somebody else to enjoy it. I'm hoping it goes to a museum so it can be shared with everybody."  The exact details of the settlement allowing Dawn Peterson to put the guitar up for auction remain confidential and neither party will say whether or not Dylan will share the profits of the sale.