Recent Blog Posts

July 12, 2010 by Josh W
I must admit: when critics and blogs began to praise Sleigh Bells earlier this year, I was skeptical about their staying power. They had burst onto the scene with virtually no prior recordings, and that dearth of material led me to wonder if they weren't just another dime-a-dozen buzz band. Then came Treats, their highly anticipated debut album. Continue Reading...
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July 10, 2010 by Josh W
In today’s fickle, post-Pitchfork world, each new band can start to feel like the latest chillwave flavor of the month. In the ambiguous sea of lo-fi turned glo-fi turned back to shoegaze whatever, it is important to give certain bands the distinction they deserve. Phantogram duo Joshua Carter and Sarah Barthel are a reminder that, behind the indie genre’s similarities, there are subtle but important shifts in influences and backgrounds. Conceived on an isolated farm in Upstate New York, their debut album, Eyelid Movies, is the lovechild of 90’s hip-hop beats and urban dream-pop. Continue Reading.....
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July 7, 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 new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs, contributing writer to Paste Magazine, AOL's Spinner.com and Pittsburgh's City Paper

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

Suckers, "Black Sheep" - Suckers formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2006, where members Quinn Walker, Austin Fisher, Pan, and Brian Aiken began mixing tribal indie rock with flourishes of chamber pop and Bowie-inspired eclecticism. Justin says: "I think Suckers are the most exciting new band this year (Ok, ok, they put out an EP last fall). They pull off some pretty wild music — nonsensical lyrics, sing-along gang vocals, huge synths — but it's all done with more sincerity than any weirdness-as-irony indie band out there. Suckers go there, and you want to come along."

Here We Go Magic, "Collector" Band based in Brooklyn, New York. Formerly the moniker of folk singer Luke Temple, they signed to Secretly Canadian as a five piece band in September 2009. This is from the new record 'Pigeons' Justin says: "This band's earlier work was a lot less structured; it was hazy, free-floating psychedelics. Normally when a band tightens up its sound, the result loses some of the original music's greatness, but not here. "Collector," and the rest of the album Pigeons is just as trippy — and even catchier — than HWGM has ever been."

Good Old War, "That's Some Dream"- Philly based and made up of Keith Goodwin, Daniel Schwartz, and Tim Arnold. The band's name comes from the last names of the three members; Goodwin for Good, Arnold for Old, and Schwartz for War. Justin says: "From this acoustic folk-pop trio' second album. Find a song with prettier harmonies and a catchier hook than this song, and I will buy you a beer. Seriously."

The Young Veins, "Heart of Mine" - On July 6th, 2009 Ryan Ross and Jon Walker left Panic! at the Disco, citing creative differences as the reason for their departure. Soon afterwards, it was announced that their new project would be a retro-leaning rock band called The Young Veins. Justin says: "Who would've thought that some of the dudes from Panic at the Disco would turn around and create Zombies-influenced 60's guitar rock? Not me, but I'm not complaining. The Young Veins' debut, Take a Vacation, is summer bliss."

Baths, "Aminals"New project of 21 year old Will Wiesenfeld- a musician now based in L.A., but hailing from the suburbs of The San Fernando Valley. The sound of Baths goes its own way: fueled by spontaneity, tempered by Wiesenfeld's background in classic songwriting. Those two influences collide in glorious ways on Cerulean, the debut album. Justin says: "I really don't like chillwave. This track, from Baths LP Cerulean, takes the same laid-back dance vibe of chillwave artists like Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi, but makes the music actually go somewhere. Amen."

July 2, 2010 by Josh W
In case you haven't noticed, we are big fans of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros here at O&B. Their breezy debut, Up From Below, topped our Best of 2009 list, and it's still in heavy rotation here at O&B headquarters. The album has just been given the iTunes Deluxe Edition treatment, with three bonus tracks and two music videos added to sweeten the deal. You can purchase it here. We had the pleasure of sitting down with messianic frontman Edward Sharpe, né Alex Ebert, to discuss his personal transformation, hadron colliders, and the new solo album he just finished recording. Read More...
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June 30, 2010 by Josh W
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my14xP07Lcc Friday kicked off with an acoustic set by Dr. Dog -- a good start to any day. O&B favorites Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros put on a standout performance that had the entire crowd singing and foot-stomping along to "Home." Unfortunately, their set was unusually short -- clocking in at just over half an hour. Read More..
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June 30, 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 Andy Mulkerin of City Paper In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy (plus some bonus songs): Ola Podrida – "The Closest We Will Ever Be" Second release from the group, lead by David Wingo. Wingo got the name from a mall in Dallas where he had a beer thrown at him during his first public performance. He is also a film composer and a member of Wooden Birds. Andy says: "This is the lead track from Ola Podrida's new album; most of the record is quiet and introspective and this track, while mid-paced and not exactly rockin', is probably the most upbeat. As evidenced from my experience in the studio with Cindy, it lends itself well to hula dancing." Jenny and Johnny – "Scissor Runner" Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and her long-time boyfriend, Johnathan Rice. Andy Says: "This is the lead single from the new debut album from a couple of old heads. It's a wonderful little pop gem that's perfect for driving in the sun. " Secret Cities –" Color" They come from Fargo, North Dakota and met at band camp as teens. Their sound is dark romantic pop with a Spectoresque twist. They began mailing tapes back and forth to each other and adding their own parts. Andy Says: "Secret Cities just released their newest album, also on Western; it's a hot mess of pop and dreamy noise. They borrow equally from '60s girl pop and the minimalists, which pleases me. " Baby Dee – Lilacs A harpist and accordion player from Cleveland, this is from Baby Dee's seventh release, 'A Book of Songs for Anne Marie'. Her voice is extremely theatrical and deep. Andy says: "Some critics are turned off by the voice of Baby Dee, a transgendered woman harpist/pianist from Cleveland. I happen to think it's charming, and if you feel the same way, you'll find that she's one of the best songwriters today. This is from her latest, put out by Drag City; it's a quieter bunch of songs than some of her previous releases, but keeps the quality high."
June 29, 2010 by Josh W
O&B Best of 2008-ers Dr. Dog get more popular by the day, thanks to a solid discography and some of the best harmonies around. Despite their ever-expanding acclaim, the band wasn't too busy to talk with us at this year's Bonnaroo festival. We sat down with bandmates Toby Leaman and Zach Miller to discuss their latest release, Shame, Shame, and they even dropped some juicy details about new material that they have planned. Read More...
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June 28, 2010 by Josh W
Let me paint a picture for you: it's at Friday 7:10 a.m., you're sleeping in your tent, face buried in an air mattress. The sun is screaming at you to wake up or suffocate. You went to bed three hours ago while hardcore techno music throbbed in the distance. You consumed about ten beers the day before -- that's a low ballpark estimate -- and you're already sweating profusely. You smell the way you feel. Read More...
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June 28, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

Well, the acts featured in The Local News for July all coincidentally have long complicated titles. All quality artists and all available on The Local News Podcast. You can also check them out on-air Monday-Thursday at 9 pm (starting tonight). Let me know what you think: cindy@wyep.org Thanks! Cindy Joy Toujours and the Toys Du Jour - "Touchez Moi" I have to say the name of this band very slowly: Joy Toujours and the Toys Du Jour. They've been playing for a few years and have a new record entitled Onward. Definitely of the experimental indie persuasion, Joy Toujours' new record would please fans of bands like Morphine, Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers and Talking Heads. Meeting of Important People - "Leap-The-Dips" Last year, WYEP named Meeting of Important People our local act of the year for their excellent self-titled debut. They boys are back this month with a new EP titled Quit Music, which hopefully they don't plan on doing. The seven song release further demonstrates the pure talent of lead singer Josh Verbanets in songwriting and performing. B-Rad and The Best of The West Players - "Oh, My Baby" B-Rad and The Best of The West Players is lead by Brad Ladik. The new B-Rad CD features players from local favorites like Donora, Meeting of Important People and Mariage Blanc. It also covers a broad sonic spectrum with clear influences of country, garage rock, punk, soul and funk. Thomas Jefferson's Aeroplane - "This Changes Everything" Thomas Jefferson's Aeroplane consists Bill Deasy and and Rich Jaques- who led two of the finest bands to come out of Pittsburgh in the late 90's- The Gathering Field and Brownie Mary. Together, they've created very catch music with skillful songwriting and creative interesting electronic instrumentation. This is their second release.
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June 23, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

The UK group Mumford & Sons album Sigh No More is an excellent release full of songs that will please fans of Fleet Foxes, CSNY and Arcade Fire. They were recently featured on WYEP as our CD of The Week and also they recorded a live session for the French music blog, La Blogtheque. Give it a watch here, the music starts around 2:40:

Mumford & Sons - The Banjolin Song / Awake my soul - A Take Away Show #105 from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.
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June 23, 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 Josh Walkos of the music blog Owl & Bear In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Josh (plus some bonus songs): The Morning Benders - Excuses The Morning Benders have steadily been gaining buzz ever since the release of their second LP Big Echo. Their sound has been called baroque pop because of the use of strings and orchestral arrangements. The band met while going to school in Berkely California and recorded their first album Talking Through Tin Cans in 2008. The album was named iTunes best alt/indie album that year and landed on many prominent 2008 Editors Pick lists. Josh says: "With Big Echo, The Morning Benders teamed up with Chris Taylor from the band Grizzly Bear to create a gorgeous album that us sure to land on many top lists by the end of 2010. "Excuses" is the first single off of Big Echo and showcase the band at their best with tons of strings and sing along chorus'." Phantogram - "When I'm Small" Phantogram are from Saratoga Springs, NY and  fancy themselves a "Street beat psych pop" duo. A description that makes sense once you've heard their songs. Their sound relies heavily hip hop leaning beats with spacey electonic sounds layered on top to create a sound all their own. Throw in Sarah Barthels angelic but ominious vocals are you have a winning recipe. Josh says: ""When I'm Small" is a song that immediately grabbed my attention and allowed me to give the rest of their debut album "Eyelid Movies" a chance. It has such a cool vibe and is unlike anything i'm hearing out there right now. If Portishead and Zero 7 had a love child it would be named Phantogram."
The Love Language come to us from Chapel Hill N.C. and are project born out of lead singer Stuart McLamb's heart break. The new album Libraries will be released on Merge Records July 13th and is full of upbeat, toe tapping goodness. Josh says: "The first single "Heart To Tell" is a great introduction to the Love Language and will have you humming the hook all day."
Caribou - "Odessa" Caribou is a one man electronic/dance project that has been evolving for more than a decade. With his new album Swim he his sound has fully evolved into a perfect blend of electronic/ambient/dance music that is multi-layered and undeniably catchy. Josh says: ""Odessa" has been on repeat for more than two months now and I never seem to tire of it. There are just so many sounds to be discovered within the song."
June 19, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

A friend recently point out comedian Morgan Murphy to me. She's a writer on Jimmy Kimmel and has a very funny stand-up routine. Her humor is dry and her hair is awesome. I looked up her Wikipedia page (something I do when I start forming a new obsession about someone/thing) and it mentioned she appears in Aimee Mann's "31 Today" video. I have not laughed this hard in a long time. Check it out:

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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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