Recent Blog Posts

April 14, 2010 by Josh W

Every once in a while you hear something instantly raises your eyebrows and you must know who is creating it. That is what happened to me when I first heard Fitz & The Tantrums.

Mainly because in this day and age soul music isn't nearly as popular as it once was in the 60's. And that's a real shame if you ask me. Some of the best songs ever made are soul songs. "Change Is Gonna Come" ,"My Girl" and "Where Did Our Love Go" just to name a few and I could go on and on.

Fitz & The Tantrums come to us from Los Angeles and began when the groups leader Michael Fitzpatrick purchased a old church organ for $50 from a friends roommate who needed money for a last minute move.

Fitzpatrick found that the organ inspired his songwriting and began writing what was to be Fitz & The Tantrums first EP Songs For A Breakup Vol.1. Once friend James King was brought into the fold to add horn arrangements they knew they were onto to something and Fitz & The Tantrums were born.

These sharply dressed gentlemen have a sound that would fit nicely into any Stax or Motown Records catalogue and I think you'll agree their first single "Breakin The Chains Of Love" is a undeniably catchy song and once you've reached the first hook your eyebrows will be raised as well. Its yours to download below.

Fitz & The Tantrums - Breakin The Chains Of Love

Posted in
April 12, 2010 by Josh W

Ready or not, don't fret. This deceptively-named band actually comes from the land down under -- Townsville, Queensland, Australia to be exact.

They create music as beautiful and diverse as the Great Barrier Reef itself. Their strings, harmonies, and layers have delighted audiences worldwide, yet they remain one of Australia's best kept secrets.

But now, they have their sights set on America. Read More.

Posted in
April 8, 2010 by

Colonizing The Cosmos are a great new local band with a stellar debut (The First Frontier). The fellas in the band were kind enough to send us this video of "Dear Citizens" from their CD release.

Check 'em out live on the Morning Mix on Wed May 5th at 9am. CTC are also on tap for the May 20th Third Thursday, so you can catch them for free. Details on Colonizing The Cosmos Third Thursday are here

Posted in
April 6, 2010 by

So.... this is pretty much how I spent my weekend... with Lissie's Lady Gaga cover stuck in my head. I also downloaded Lissie's EP Why You Runnin' and spent a good amount of time trying to figure out when her full length will be out (got nowhere). She's a new favorite, for sure. Hope you like it, too.

More on Lissie is here

Posted in
April 5, 2010 by

Broadcasting every Saturday latenight from 1am - 5am since 1998 on 91.3fm WYEP, the Dubmission is a weekly 4 hour mix of broken soul, downtempo, nujazz, house and rare grooves.

On Dubmission #591 - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - This week tune in for Kerem In Conversation w/DJ Vadim - His music has been a staple on Dubmission since his 2002 release U.S.S.R. - The Art of Listening, with 9 albums under his belt, the Russian-born British-bred DJ Vadim aka Daddy Vad stops by the WYEP Community Broadcast Center to discuss music, technology, life & more.

Posted in
April 1, 2010 by

Wilco performed a very intimate and haunting version of "Country Disappeared" for the French-based blog, La Blogotheque. Take a moment to watch this, it's pretty sweet:

Wilco - Country Disappeared - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Visit La Blogotheque for more videos from some of your favorite indie bands and say goodbye to your afternoon

Posted in
April 1, 2010 by

New local music featured on WYEP's The Local News. Podcast it or tune in to The Local News (Mon-Thurs @ 9 PM).  

Nik & The Central Plains - "You're The Blues" (Nik & The Central Plains)
Nik Westman fronts this twangy/indie band. He's one of the best songwriters in Pittsburgh, noted for his meandering flow of conscious lyrics. You'll like this album if you are a fan of The Grateful Dead, Bob Marley or Pavement. The songs on the record range in dynamics- this one is a fairly breezy back porch folk number.

Larkin Mayberry - "In The Parlour" (IV)
Paul Rouse uses the moniker Larkin Mayberry. The recordings are sparse, but his voice is quite striking. Fans of Devendra Banhart may like this. Seems like he is just getting started on something with great potential.

Mark Rice - "Maybe This Time" (Topography of a Bird)
A native of Weirton, WV and now living in Pittsburgh. Mark has a nice gentle Josh Ritter type of voice with writing skills like Glen Hansard. The CD is very well produced and his band compliments his sounds quite well.

The Sparrows - "Hitchhiker" (Back In The Red)
This is a fun band with a classic Americana/Rock sound. The lyrics are nothing deep, but they are not trying to be. It seems like this band would put on a good live show- their guitar player is killer on the CD. Also features a former member of The Cynics.

Posted in
March 31, 2010 by

Here's the link if the above video won't play for you

MGMT- "Flash Delerium" from Congratulations out 4/13 via Sony/Columbia

I'd give this video a 6.4 on the gross/creepy scale and a 7.8 on the awesome scale. I like the song more each time I hear it. These guys are onto something. Keep your eye out for the eye patch! Eye patches are the best!

Hear the rest of the new album here

Posted in
March 29, 2010 by

It's hard to believe Eric Clapton's career has spanned 5 decades and he's not showing any signs of slowing down. Join us throughout the day on Tuesday, March 30th as we attempt to blow out 65 candles with a selection of Clapton tracks that span his career between 6am and 6pm. Tuesday night, Andy Cook will present and hour of music that features music from artists he's worked with, collaborated with, or have covered his work. Expect to hear some Cream, Toots Hibbert, Yardbirds, and a few other surprises tomorrow night at 8pm on 91.3fm WYEP.

Posted in
March 27, 2010 by

This is an awesome song! Video is like Toy Story vs Saving Private Ryan.

more on Turin Brakes: Right Here

Posted in
March 26, 2010 by

Here's the latest video from Ben Harper for "Lay There and Hate Me". If you click "Play with it", it allows you to remix three different versions of "Lay There and Hate Me"

Posted in
March 25, 2010 by

New from the Brooklyn den of new music is the dream pop band Xylos. They'll be in Pittsburgh on April 14th, check out our concert calendar for more details. Their latest single is 'Not Enough' and is a well arranged and layered dream pop gem. Check out some free music from the band - "Not Enough" is a free download on the band's website

Posted in
March 14, 2010 by

I've always thought of John Hiatt as simply a prolific songwriter.  His songs have been covered by numerous artists.  At his concert Friday night he proved that he was more than just a writer of songs, he is truly a gifted singer-songwriter and performer.

John Hiatt shared the stage with a very talented combo of players.  Doug Lancio on guitars, Kenny Blevins on drums and Patrick O'Hearn on bass.  What I found intriguing was that only Hiatt had a microphone.  He provided the vocals, along with accompaniment on various guitars. For over two hours, Hiatt sang, played a guitar and told stories; like about being married and the importance of the toilet paper being placed correctly on the dispenser (under or over).  Hiatt mixed in a few songs from his newly released CD "The Open Road", including the title track, "Haulin'", "Carry You Back Home" and "Like a Freight Train".  But, really, it was like being at a 'best of' concert: "Drive South", "Master of Disaster", "Crossing Muddy Waters", the fun "The Tiki Bar is Open", "Buffalo River Home", "Perfectly Good Guitar", "Tennessee Plates" (by request), "Feels Like Rain" (definitely a highlight), "Memphis In The Meantime" and the encore of "Riding with the King" and "Have a Little Faith in Me".  Hiatt is a consummate performer whose songs continue to endure the test of time whether performed by the writer himself or another artist.

Opening the show was the granddaughter of Hank Williams, Sr., daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. and half-sister of Hank Williams III.  Holly Williams did a brief 30-minute set of 7 songs, pulling from her 2 releases: "The Ones We Never Knew" and "Here With Me".  "Sometimes." "Mama" (about her mother.) "Three Days In Bed" (about the men she met while touring internationally.) Williams is a newlywed and her husband Chris Coleman joined her on guitar, harmonica and vocals mid-way though her set.  A cover of her favorite John Prine song "Angel from Montgomery."  Ending with "Without Jesus Here With Me" (chronicling a near death experience for her sister in a car crash.)  Williams celebrated her 29th birthday in Pittsburgh; the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to her before she left the stage.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

Posted in
March 9, 2010 by

Local News

New local stuff for March!!! Podcast it or tune in to The Local News (Mon-Thurs @ 9 PM)

Colonizing The Cosmos- "Dear Citizens" (The First Frontier)
This band has potential to be one of the best local debuts this year. They have a great snappy sound that emulates The Mountain Goats, The Flaming Lips and Sufjan Stevens. It's a little weird, but still very catchy- not one clunker on the disc. The trio is made up of multi-instrumentalists who's day jobs list as an attorney, a filmmaker and a photographer.

summer-winter- "It Makes You Cry" (Alone Is Yes)
This is for fans of the shoegaze genre (Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine). The CD is full of slow, sombre songs with delicate instrumentation. This song might be the most exciting track on the album. It's very pretty, though. Good for crying times.

JD Eicher and The Goodnights- "The Shape of Things" (The Shape Of Things)
Fronted by 20 year old JD Eicher, the band has a Celtic/Indie rock sound in the tradition of The Waterboys and Carbon Leaf. They have been together for 4 years and stretch across Youngstown, OH and Pittsburgh. This is their first album. 

The Wreckids- "Millions In Money" (Singing You To Sleep, But Giving You Nightmares)
Formally know as Scotts Roger, this adorable husband and wife duo have finally released a collaborative EP together as The Wreckids. Scott and Sarah sing sweet funny songs together that will make you wonder if Scott has listened to tons of Loudon Wainwright III (he hasn't by the way- he's more of a Dar Williams Man).

Posted in
February 28, 2010 by

The shortest of these three themed singer-songwriter cruises may go down as the best one to date. We heard a lot of music and witnessed amazing performances in our five day journey through song.

Of the 29 acts on-board, thanks to much collaboration, between the two of us, we saw all but Rachael Yamagata. You sometimes have to take a nap, shower or eat.

Day One: Glen Phillips (solo), accompanied by Jonathan Kingham, was a great way to begin our journey out to sea. We were supposed to attend our first headliner show, Lyle Lovett, but due to technical difficulties the start of the Lovett show was delayed. So we checked out other artists instead: the married couple Luke & Melissa (Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland) from Canada, then Darrell Scott, followed by Shawn Mullins (who brought Chuck Cannon up to share the stage for a few songs), then Ben Taylor (joined by Brandi Carlile and the Twins on an Everly Brothers song) and ended the evening with a show by Edwin McCain. Our day began at 3:00 a.m., ending after 12:30 a.m. the following day. Thank goodness we sailed into Central time & gained that hour.

Day Two: A day at sea. In the morning, I attended a Songwriting Workshop hosted by Shawn Mullins and Chuck Cannon. Cannon has written six #1 hits and many top 20 country songs. They talked about the mixed blessing of having a hit song. The hardest part is getting the idea. Mullins praised AAA radio stations. They discussed their pick up systems (both use bags). Cannon tunes down. Using a new song “I Just Want to Light You Up”, Cannon and Mullins talked about writing that song and invited us to all sing along on the chorus. Mullins is old school, melodic; as is Cannon. Cannon noted that even the great songwriter Leonard Cohen re-writes his songs to make them better. Using a computer and GarageBand are modern conveniences to songwriting. Cannon does not write down anything, if it’s good enough, he will remember it. Jimmy Webb uses a rhyming dictionary. Love only rhymes with so many words. Both Cannon & Mullins value hard rhymes (love, above; true, blue) vs. soft rhymes. Even if you’re never heard a song before, with a hard rhyme you know what line is coming next. Jimmy Webb has the top 5 performed songs (e.g. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Galveston", "Wichita Lineman") Theater music is another example of hard rhymes, where they have only one chance to grab you. With hard rhymes, those songs have staying power for 25-30 years. You don’t have to hear them over and over again on the radio. Someone asked about the bridge in a song. Mullins said it was an extra while Cannon said he doesn’t need that approach. Smokey Robinson songs typically are verse, chorus, chorus, chorus, chorus, etc. thus, getting in to your head. The bridge needs to say something. Mullins talked about starting out on a larger label and moving to a smaller label where he has more creative freedom. When co-writing, Darrell Scott was quoted “gotta be honest”. You need to have chemistry. It was a very interesting hour hearing the two songwriters talk about their craft. Cannon is so modest about his songwriting abilities and a definite find for us on this cruise.

Day two performances: Gregory Alan Isakov, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Shawn Mullins, Vienna Teng & Alex Wong (with Jonathan Kingham doing an impromptu rap about the cruise, which he had done the previous year – one of those memorable moments), Hoots and Hellmouth, our headliner that night, Brandi Carlile brought out Shawn Mullins to sing “Beautiful Wreck” and Katie Herzig and her band to do “Wish You Well”, and later Brandi’s younger sister, Tiffany joined her on stage. Another show by Edwin McCain, followed by the first show of Works Progress Administration which performed as a 7-piece band, including Sara Watkins on fiddle and vocals and Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar (Every show, WPA started with “Always Have My Love” and with the addition of the pedal steel guitar it was just amazing), and we ended the night with Robert Earl Keen (solo), who told the funniest stories (at one point I was laughing and crying) and the highlight each show was “Merry Christmas from the Family”. Keen is one of our favorite discoveries from the cruise.

Day Three: Belize City, Belize, Central America: A chance to get off the ship and bask in their one season of 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity. The evenings music began on the pool deck with Works Progress Administration, followed by Darrell Scott and friends, which included two of his former students (Sarah Sample being one) and Luke Bulla from WPA. While we were having dinner an announcement was made that a special concert was being added in the movie theater. The Watkins Family Hour. Sara & Sean Watkins were joined by other members of WPA and Mr. Buddy Miller on a couple of songs (including one by Hank Williams). That’s an example of some of the surprise unexpected collaborations on-board. The Watkins regularly get together to play in Largo and the people they usually play with were on the ship, so why not get together and play for us. And it was wonderful to listen in on such an amazing group of musicians. After a quick visit to the chocolate buffet (including chocolate sushi), we went to see Ben Taylor again who was once again joined by Brandi Carlile who eventually made her way to sing with Katie Herzig and her band, along with Carlile’s drummer and the Twins.

Day Four: Costa Maya, Mexico was the port city. As we sailed away, I went to see Edwin McCain on the pool deck. Despite some rain drops, the show continued. Afterward McCain graciously signed autographs and posed for photos. McCain’s song “I’ll Be” was a #1 hit in the Philippines and some of the wait staff on the cruise from the Philippines were there and they treated McCain like a rock star, each posing with him for a photo. While I was seeing McCain, Mr. Barb checked out Sara Watkins, who of course had members of WPA join her on stage. We had to catch Robert Earl Keen. Then I saw Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers again, while Mr. Barb went to see Brandi Carlile again (she was joined on stage by John Hiatt, Ben Taylor and Gregory Alan Isakov). Followed by Buddy Miller, who filled the room past capacity (Mr. Barb and I had to share a seat) and he brought on stage a few of his friends including Ms. Emmylou Harris (they did “Sea of Heartbreak”), Sara Watkins and a previous headliner on the cruise, who was just on-board as a guest, Ms. Shawn Colvin. We ended the day with Shawn Mullins and friends, which included (among others) Edwin McCain, Alex Wong, Glen Phillips, Chuck Cannon and Jonathan Kingham (who did another cruise rap). Before we turned in we caught the energized band Scythian.

Day Five: Back into the Eastern time zone and a very rocky day at sea until mid-afternoon. David Dye, host of NPR’s World Cafe was on-board for the first time to conduct interviews with John Hiatt, Robert Earl Keen, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Ben Taylor & Stephen Kellogg. These interviews and performances from the cruise will be broadcast on the World Cafe in April. I was able to attend the interview session with Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle. Dye focused on both performers’ musical roots in Texas. No spoilers, but Earle impressed me as being very articulate (even if some of his comments will have to be edited for radio). Lovett, as usual, was very professional. While I was at the World Cafe interview, Mr. Barb caught a bit of Lissie performing. We then attended the Session which included Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips, Rebecca Lovell, Chuck Cannon, and Edie Carey along with Megan Lovell on dobro. These talented singer-songwriters gathered together in the fall to write songs. Six songs were written in three days. They discussed the process with each song and performed them, along with a few other songs in this 90-minute session. All of the songs written during that session would be a wonderful addition to any of their future CD’s (although Cannon added at this rate he didn’t think his next CD would be out until 2018). The songwriters really respect each other and enjoyed co-writing. Mr. Barb got to see Samantha Crain, and then we went to an autograph session with Shawn Mullins in the merch area. I went to the Songwriters In the Round with Katie Herzig, Luke Doucet and his wife Melissa McClelland, Gregory Alan Isakov and Vienna Teng.  Each artist talked about the songwriting process for a song and then performed that song. Luke and Melissa performed a song they wrote while on the cruise. Mr. Barb went to see Larkin Poe (formerly The Lovell Sisters) instead, on the pool deck. In the evening we went to the final performance by WPA, then to see our headliner, Mr. Steve Earle (solo). We rounded out the evening with a bit of Vienna Teng, who was joined by The Lovells, Luke Bulla and a member of Hoots & Hellmouth. We just had to catch Robert Earl Keen again and a little of the final act, Darrell Scott, before heading off to sleep.

The amount of collaborations and the chance to interact more with many of the artists, including the headliners, really made this cruise even more amazing than previous years. Next year they are thinking about going back to a 7-day cruise and have confirmed John Prine as a headliner. I wasn't able to bring back any warmth and sunshine, (reality check, as we landed at the airport while it was snowing); instead I came back home with a cold.  Amazing is the best word to described the memories and music going around in my head for this very unique and special journey through song.

Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host



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