November 21, 2012 by [email protected]

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.
November 14, 2012 by [email protected]
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.
November 7, 2012 by [email protected]

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.
October 31, 2012 by [email protected]

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. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott): The Walkaways, “Local Honey” – Baltimore alt-country band scores big with twangy, Son Volt-ish melodies and vivid storytelling. Their album “Romance and Medicine” is available digitally on Dec. 4. This song, about life in the second-biggest city of a state’s third-biggest county, includes imagery of an empty smokestack; tracks that haven’t seen a train since ’69, and families gathered for holidays, telling the same old stories then driving away in their cars with out-of-state plates. Matthew Ryan, “Stupid World” – From the alt-folk artist’s 15th album, “In The Dusk of Everything,” released Tuesday. It’s a cinematic-sounding work he compares to films like “Mystic River” and “Cinema Paradiso.” In our sit-down interview a week ago, Ryan told me, “I think this record is uniquely dependent on one’s bravery to see themselves in these stories because it’s ultimately a pretty story – a beautiful story, but it has its fair amount of struggles.” Co-produced by David Ricketts (half of David & David of “Welcome to the Boomtown” fame), the album’s key moment, lyrically, is on this song, which ends with “I showed her my scars/then she showed me her bruises/You’re someone’s salvation in a stupid world.” Ryan hits the road next month to open dates for The Gaslight Anthem. He moved his family to Beaver last year, after many years in Nashville.
October 24, 2012 by [email protected]

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. Django Django, "Firewater" - What do you get when you mix early psych rock, acoustic strumming, 60's folk harmonies, touches of electronics and just a bit of pretentiousness? The answer is Scottish art students Django Django! The band excels in mixing musical parts like puzzle pieces, making a satisfying and unique sound. Check out the cover of their debut album; it's what the band calls the physical representation of their music. Kaki King, "Bowen Island" - Oh, sweet, sweet lord, what this woman can do with a guitar. Her instrumental pieces range from stunningly beautiful to beautifully rockin'. As in, it's all very good and captures different moods. Her latest record, "Glow," just dropped this month. She's not a showy player, but her skills push her into the upper echelon of today's guitarists. Bonus track! Books on Tape, "Retired Numbers" - Out in November, electronic producer Books on Tape makes wonderfully schizophrenic pop music that sounds like you're tripping on acid whilst caught inside a video game. A really, really awesome video game.
October 17, 2012 by [email protected]

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: The Rolling Stones, "Doom and Gloom": Having devoured Keith Richards' book and been blown away by Mick Jagger's 'SNL' appearance, I half-expected a new single from the Stones would be good. It's not. It's great. "Doom and Gloom" sounds like it could have come off of "Let it Bleed" or "Beggars Banquet" or one of those classic late '60s/early '70s albums. It has that dirty Stones guitar sound, and Mick is singing like he's discovered the fountain of youth. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, "Walk Like a Giant": This was the centerpiece of the band's set at the Petersen Center earlier this month. The new song from "Psychedelic Pill" is one of those distortion-heavy Crazy Horse stomps very much in the vein of "Hey Hey My My." It devolves into about 14 minutes of feedback. What we played on the air is the more reined-in single version, which is still killer.
October 3, 2012 by [email protected]

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: Divine Fits, "My Love Is Real" - This is the first track on the indie supergroup's debut album; Divine Fits is made up of Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Handsome Furs/Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown, the drummer from New Bomb Turks. This is one of the most-toured records of this fall; expect to hear plenty from these guys in the future. Guards, "Silver Lining" - Guards came to Pittsburgh last year with that buzz-band Cults; it made sense, because the guy from Guards is the brother of the woman from Cults. Anyway: They're a pretty good band. Upbeat, fuzzy pop the like of which I often play during these segments. Enjoy!
September 26, 2012 by [email protected]

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. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott): Stars, "Hold You When You Get Love, Let Go When You Give It" - Tantalizing electro-pop from a Canadian band whose members are part of the Broken Social Scene music collective. This song has an Erasure-ish appeal. Try saying that fast three times "Erasure-ish ... Erasure-ish..." Bad Books, "It Never Stops" - Rich harmonies reminiscent of Dawes from the sophomore effort by an act that pairs Brooklyn solo artist Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull of Atlanta.
September 19, 2012 by [email protected]

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. Alt-J (∆), "Breezeblocks" - My pick for Best New Band of 2012. Fusing rock, hip-hop, trip-hop, folk and electronica, this quartet of Brits has created a wholly new and exciting sound. The album, "An Awesome Wave," is out in the states Sept. 18. Hopefully we take a page from the UK, and make this band a success story. They've been streaming the whole album on Soundcloud, so try it before you buy it. You won't regret it for a second. Dispatch, "Josaphine" - This funky folk trio from Boston broke up a decade ago, with sparse reunion shows popping up throughout the 2000's. But now they're actually back, with a great new record called "Circles Around the Sun." The band amassed a huge, scruffy, college-aged following in the late 90's with its acoustic, tongue-twisting jams. Make all the jokes about 'dorm-room-rock' you want; this is feel good stuff, and the new songs are among their best. Extra bonus! Alt-J, "Fitzpleasure" Jim James Remix - That's right; the leader of My Morning Jacket saved his first ever official remix for these dudes. Google this track and hear James' spacey interpretation of an already-incredible song.
September 12, 2012 by [email protected]

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: Meeting of Important People, "Got a Clean Head" - What a polished pop gem here from the Pittsburgh power-pop trio! MOIP has a few different tricks, including sounding like vintage Who or flat-out punk. This is Josh Verbanets and the band in "Village Green"-era Kinks mode, pulling off that percolating Britpop with impeccable vocal harmonies. The Harlan Twins, "Mama Jo" - The Pittsburgh-based Americana band has a pair of talented and very different singer-songwriters in Carrie Battle and James Hart. This is Carrie at her sweet, Appalachian-sounding best with the Harlans carrying on like The Band behind her. Although the title and sound might evoke the South, it's actually about Mary Jo (aka Momjo), who books the bands and serves as a mom to them at Howler's Coyote Cafe in Bloomfield.
September 5, 2012 by [email protected]

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: Rumer, "P.F. Sloan" - This is a little outside of my wheelhouse as far as contemporary stuff that I pick for the Buzz goes ... but, it's a song that was written by Jimmy Webb about his 1960s contemporary, P.F. Sloan, who wrote "Eve of Destruction." British singer Rumer revived it on her recent album Boys Don't Cry, on which she covers tunes by male songwriters of earlier decades. I'm a big Jimmy Webb fan, and Rumer's voice has a Karen Carpenter-ish quality to it. Mark Lanegan, "White Light/White Heat" - Everyone knows "White Light/White Heat," the song penned by Lou Reed for The Velvet Underground. You also likely know Lanegan, if not for The Screaming Trees then for his many collaborations and production credits over the years. This cover is on the soundtrack of the new Nick Cave/Warren Ellis movie, Lawless. There's also a pretty haunting version of this song performed by Ralph Stanley on the same soundtrack.
August 29, 2012 by [email protected]

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. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott): Sean Rowe, “Bring Back the Night” - Alt-folk artist Rowe’s remarkable, emotion-stirring baritone is put to great use on the nature-loving, upstate New Yorkers’ “The Shark and The Salesman” album released yesterday. Instrumentation is sparse and the vocal delivery is unhurried, but there’s plenty of feeling and power. Gypsy and his Band of Ghosts, “Vagabond” - Giuseppe Capolupo sounds like someone who should be playing striker for A.C. Milan. He’s actually a former heavy metal drummer indulging his folk-pop side fronting this gifted Pittsburgh band. This particular radio edit, fine-tuned to make its debut today on WYEP, is representative of the upbeat, intelligent and infectious songwriting on the band’s six-song album that debuts Tuesday. Reminds me a bit of Good Old War. See Gypsy and His Band of Ghosts this Saturday at the South Park Rib & Wing Challenge.
August 22, 2012 by [email protected]

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. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin: Trampled By Turtles, "Widower's Heart" - This Minnesota band is getting closer to perfecting that aching, slow-crawling bluegrass sound, and this song is proof. It's from their latest album, "Stars and Satellites," which dropped in April. Disregard the silly name - these guys create beautiful music that won't trample you — it'll gently blow over you. That sure sounds cheesy, but give this band a shot. You won't be disappointed. Yonder Mountain String Band, "Whipping Post, July 20, 2012" - YMSB has been the staple of the jamgrass scene for years now, with fans in both the jamband and bluegrass worlds. Though their own songs are certainly fun, I wanted to play a recent cover. This is the Allman Brother's "Whipping Post," played by YMSB at All Good Music Festival this summer. Their take is a lot faster and arguably more aggressive, despite being totally acoustic. You can find this whole set to (legally) download at www.archive.org. Extras: Here are a few more of my favorite bluegrass bands for you to sort through in between spins of Mumford & Sons: Greensky Bluegrass The Infamous Stringdusters Hot Buttered Rum The Rumpke Mountain Boys
August 15, 2012 by [email protected]

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. Special thanks to Brian Siewiorek for filling in for me!!! In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Scott: Ponderosa, "Navajo" - With a name like Ponderosa you expect a country band on the bottom of a Kenny Chesney festival. Not the case. This band, produced by Dave Fridman (Flaming Lips), is more in line with a Fleet Foxes or Band of Horses, as it demonstrates on this dynamic track. Ian Hunter & The Rant Band, "When I'm President" - At a ripe old 73, the former leader of Mott the Hoople still sounds fired up here, as he takes on the 1 percent, with Who-like synths and vocals that nod to Dylan. The album is due on Sept. 4.
August 8, 2012 by [email protected]

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: Beachwood Sparks, Sparks Fly Again - Nice little country-rock ditty from the California band -- it's got that early-'70s California sound. This song has an American Beauty-era Dead vibe; there are other tunes on the record that are reminiscent of Gram Parsons. Their new record, The Tarnished Gold, is out now on Sub Pop. Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan - This is the title track of the eclectic art-pop band's latest album. Parts of the record are loud and rowdy; this song is quiet, stripped-down and sweet. One of my favorite albums of 2012, and their show at Small's was one of my favorite shows this year, too.

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