Recent Blog Posts

June 17, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org


Can you please stop what you're doing and listen to Royal Wood? Fans of Rufus Wainwright, Ron Sexsmith & Andrew Bird please advise: Royal is right up your alley.

I've been waiting for Royal to release a follow up to his 2007 A Good Enough Day and it is finaaaaallllyyyy here! The Waiting (appropriate title, eh?), is the (Toronto!) Canadian singer's third release and from the album. It will be available digitally on June 29th, this is the video of "On Top Of Your Love":

Here ---> If you want catch up and hear him featured on "You Gotta Hear This" (the very first one! eek!)

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June 16, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

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 Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times

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

Black Keys,  "Next Girl" - New album from the Akron, OH duo, Brothers has the band producing themselves with help from Danger Mouse on one track. Scott says: "You guys are spinning a different tune, I believe, but this is the gem of the album."

Jason and the Scorchers,  "Moonshine Guy" - Nashville Cowpunk band returns with new release after a 15 year absence. They also return with a new Swede drummer named Pontus Snibb. Scott says: "The most fun song of the year!"

Rising Regina,  "Sheets" - A young bluegrassy band from Pittsburgh, PA. Scott says: "Another fun one. Bluesy sass from Pittsburgh's Celtic-newgrass band. Why aren't they on Lilith Fair? :-)"

Local Natives,  "Wide Eyes" - Great new band coming out the Silver Lake scene in Los Angeles (Rilo Kiley, Elliott Smith, etc). This band's sound is a great combination of Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend. Scott says: "Already penciled in for the year-end Top-10."

VV Brown, "Leave!" - Released last year in her native U.K., this album didn't arrive in the States until six weeks ago. Her influences are early-'60s girl groups, electronica and video game sound effects. Scott Says: "Gotta throw one curveball at you. This song, while bubblegummy, reminds me of something Duffy would sing if she let her hair down ... or Amy Winehouse would sing if she sobered up."

June 14, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

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.

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June 9, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

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."

June 8, 2010 by Josh W

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...

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June 8, 2010 by kathi@wyep.org

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...

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June 7, 2010 by Josh W

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.....

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June 3, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

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

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June 2, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

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."

May 28, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

Eli "Paperboy" Reed perfects an OUTRAGEOUS sound similar to James Brown or Sam Cooke. Check out the video for the smokin' lead track on his forthcoming release Come and Get It, out August 10th on Capitol.

Recommended if you like: Amy Winehouse, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

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May 27, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

We're featuring the new Donora video for "Shhh" on our main page (in the right corner). The video was directed by the incredible Casey Hanner (lead singer of Donora). Can you spot the drummer for Big Hurry?

More about Donora

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May 27, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

The Singer-Songwriter

A musical genre that can be acoustic and introspective.  Driven by the simple craft of songwriting.  It’s all about the song.  From the troubadours in the 1970’s through today, singer-songwriters are still keeping it real.  Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, Tom Waits, John Hiatt, Morrissey, Randy Newman, Shawn Colvin, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Norah Jones, Brandi Carlile, Paul Simon, just to name a few [Feel free to insert your favorite singer-songwriters name here]. 

Join me Memorial Day weekend on May 30th during the Sunday Mix from 2p-5p for a salute to the Singer-Songwriter.  Where the Music Matters, 91.3 WYEP.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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May 25, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

This was shot by a fan (it's actually not bad quality!) at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Band of Horses were opening for Pearl Jam- they invited Bridwell on stage to fill in for the part of Chris Cornell on Temple of The Dog song, "Hunger Strike". Results: Bridwell nails it. Oh man.

Stream the new Band Of Horses album

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May 24, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

You Gotta Hear This features an inside look into a new release you may have missed, hosted by Cindy Howes. Nik & The Central Plains are a great Pittsburgh band. Their self-titled debut features the masterful songwriting of Nik Westman. His meandering lyrics and dynamic folky vocals give you that back porch summer-time feel. Fans of The Shins, The Kinks and Pavement would enjoy.... You can hear a review and clips from the self-title debut on the latest YGHT.


Check your podcasts for an update or listen right here:
YGHT :: Nik & The Central Plains

YGHT is also heard on The Music Lab.

May 23, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

The 3rd installment of the Songwriters Spotlight, hosted by Joe Grushecky and Rick Witkowski, featuring Karl Mullen , Margot B., and Jon Belan was held Saturday night at the New Hazlett Theater.

The format: Each of the five songwriters shared stories about their original songs and then performed them. Then, each songwriter chose a song they wish they had written, talked about why they selected it and then performed it.

As one of the hosts, Joe Grushecky began the evening with "I Remember It" from 2002's “Fingerprints”, following up with "Don't Give up the Ghost" and "Talking to the King” from "End of the Century" (which was ironically released in 1992). "Talking to the King" came to him in a dream - he found Elvis Presley looking into his fridge.

The other host, Joe Witkowski said that he was now big with the 3 to 6 year old age group thanks to Nick, Jr. and we sang along on "Happy". Witkowski also did a song that he and his wife wrote with Ann Wilson of Heart in mind. She did not end up recording "The Last Heartbreak", but B.E. Taylor did.

For Karl Mullen (Carsickness, The Ploughman's Lunch) "Love Don't Walk Away" was his first choice. On the second go round, Mullen told a long story about a 13-hour train ride to record a folk album and then couldn't remember the lyrics, so he sang "Family Life" before going back to "True Romance". Mullen lives in Philadelphia now (via Dublin, Ireland) and in 1976 was a fixture at The Electric Banana.

Margot B.'s soulful songs all had one-word titles "Cool", "Timeless" and "Complete". She resides in New York City and had much praise for The Boogie Hustlers.

Jon Belan (of Gene the Werewolf) was introspective, selecting songs from Gene the Werewolf's debut EP. He sang "Superhero", "Light Me Up" (title track) and "I've Got the Love" (which became the 6th song on the EP; even though they recorded 12 songs, this was a new song written just for the EP).

Then the spotlight was put on a song that each songwriter had wished they had penned.

Joe Grushecky choose a Muddy Waters song "Champagne & Reefer". Karl Mullen selected an Ewan MacColl (father of the Kirsty MacColl) song from 1949 that was recorded by among others, The Pogues and Johnny Cash that reminded him of Pittsburgh, "Dirty Old Town". Margot B. went to the Top 40 for "Breakeven" by The Script which she said gives her the chills no matter how many times she hears it. Jon Belan performed a Pink Floyd Song "Wish You Were Here". The Beatles were again the choice for Joe Witkowski.

The final group number was another Beatles song. "Hey Jude", in which the spotlight shown brightly on Joe Belan as he sang and played the piano.

There was then a standing ovation for the songwriters. It was another wonderful two hours of great live music.

Also check out the post Singer-Songwriters Shine... for my review of the January 2010 Songwriters Spotlight.

The next Songwriters Spotlight will be held September 25th.

Barb S. – Sunday Mix Host

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