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: Andre Costello and the Cool Minors, "Tumbleweed (They Call Me)" - Andre is an Ellwood City native and current Pittsburgher who recently released his first solo record through an Ohio boutique label called Wild Kindness. His warm, mature voice is offset at times on the album by sonic experimentation, but there'ms a simple, Americana basis for the tunes. Good stuff. Jeffrey Lewis, "Cult Boyfriend" - Jeffrey Lewis is one of my favorite lyricists, because he mixes a depth of ideas with a penchant for clever wordplay. Sometimes it feels like he wrote the first line of a couplet as a challenge, to see if he can pull of a rhyme that makes sense. He usually can. Damien Jurado, "Museum Flight" - Yes, it's Guys With Guitars Week here on the buzz. The latest full-length from the venerable songwriter, Maraqopa, is forthcoming on Secretly Canadian. This track is gorgeous.
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 Shins, “Simple Song” - Well, it’s not THAT simple, or else more bands would figure out how to make such an uplifting song. The ingredients are elemental: lilting melody, a catchy hook, a swelling chorus where singer James Mercer scales the heights. The upbeat lyrical message, “you don’t have to go it alone,” inspires without getting bogged down in details. There are a few subtle layers, too, including some brief but pretty piano. Can’t wait to hear the full album, “Port of Morrow,” due out March 20. Heartless Bastards, “Parted Ways” - Words like “primal” and “throaty” get used when discussing the distinct, powerful voice of Erika Wennerstrom. “I need a little bit of whiskey and a little bit of time to ease my troubled mind,” she sings with a dusty, soulful charm on this post-breakup rumination. Formed in Cincinnati but now based in Austin, Texas, the Heartless Bastards have been characterized as a garage-y, bluesy rock band, but this single also has some alt-country seasoning. See them next month at Club Café at a WYEP-sponsored show.
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 via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin: My picks this week cover a few sadly overlooked records of last year. It's not too late, check them out! Thee Oh Sees, "Heavy Doctor" - From the band's 2nd 2011 release, Carrion Crawler/The Dream, this blast of psychedelic-garage punk sounds like an update on The Stooges: raw, fast, weird, awesome. The band is incredibly prolific (6 albums since 2008), and this latest record is among their best. Definitely a lot of fun, and simply wonderful for air guitar practice. Youth Lagoon, "Afternoon" - This is the opening track from Youth Lagoon's The Year of Hibernation. It's an album of dreamy, lo-fi bedroom pop from an actual kid (Trevor Powers) in an actual bedroom (in Boise, Idaho). This is music for rainy day hibernation - under a blanket, maybe. It's beautiful and sad and makes me feel like I'm inside some bittersweet romantic indie movie. The Roots, Undun - The latest album from The Roots was released way at the end of 2011, and was understandably overshadowed by the holidays, New Years Eve parties and our collective fear that the world would end in 2012. That's a shame because it's really, really good. Even for folks unfamiliar with The Roots' long hip-hop history, it's very worth checking out.
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: Kathleen Edwards, "Change the Sheets" - We won't say the Canadian singer-songwriter was stuck in a rut, because her songs are usually thoughtful, passionate, pretty, sexy, etc. But on this fourth album, it's nice to see her get a little sonic makeover, thanks in part to new flame Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). You can hear their two styles at work in this atmospheric rock single. Sharon Van Etten, "Serpents" - I didn't know much about her going into Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead, when she opened for Iron and Wine, but was pretty blown away after a few songs. A year later, the New York singer-songwriter is on the brink of breaking out with this Jagjaguwar debut, "Tramp," produced by Aaron Dessner of The National. This is a rather straight-forward rock song on a record that has its pleasantly off-kilter moments.
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: Christopher Paul Stelling, "Mourning Train to Memphis" - Excited about the forthcoming debut LP from this Brooklyn-based Americana songwriter. It's beautiful and touching in an understated way. Howlin Rain, "Beneath Wild Wings" - One of my favorite bands of the past five years of so -- Howlin Rain is the post-Comets on Fire project of Ethan Miller. This is from their new album, The Russian Wilds, released by American, which finds them straying further from the noisy Southern rock they started out playing, and more into smooth Southern soul. Hospitality, "Betty Wang" - This is the first single from the garage-pop band's debut release on Merge. It's right up my alley, and I'm excited about it -- also about them playing Brillobox later this month.
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) - Best of 2011 version!: The Decemberists, “The King is Dead” - Oregon folk/alt-rockers tone down the theatricality and embrace a compelling, R.E.M.-ish flavored brand of Americana for their most accessible effort yet. Colin Meloy’s voice and phrasing compellingly set scenes. Released in January, the album still sounds fresh, even after numerous listens. Paul Simon, “So Beautiful or So What" - Simon is rhymin’ masterfully again on what he correctly labeled his best album in 20 years. The instrumentation is spry and imaginative; the lyrics are exceptional and straightforward. Sample verse from “Getting Ready for Christmas Day,” the album’s leadoff track: “I got a nephew in Iraq/It’s his third time back/But it’s ending up the way it began/With the luck of a beginner/He’ll be eating turkey dinner/On some mountain top in Pakistan.” Then there’s “Questions for the Angels,” on which Simon’s delicate voice strikes a potent note pondering “If every human on the planet/And all the buildings in it should disappear/Would a zebra grazing in the African savannah/Care enough to share a zebra tear?” The War on Drugs, “Slave Ambient” - Philly band laces shoe-gazer alt-rock with dream pop, then filters it through a classic-rock prism. The result is cerebral, visceral and catchy — in short, a band that can be enjoyed by fans of My Bloody Valentine as well as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Singer Adam Granducial’s poetic lyrics chronicle journeys in which thoughts, not landmarks, are the mileposts. He’s drawn Bob Dylan comparisons, owing much to the way his voice lingers on certain words. I’m reminded more of Lloyd Cole.
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 via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin - Best of 2011 version!! Dawes, "Fire Away" - Dawes' 'Nothing is Wrong' is my pick for album of the year, yet it isn't necessarily the edgiest or most innovative record — it's simply the best rock'n'roll album to come out in a long, long time, balancing classic rock guitar and harmonies with timelessly amazing songwriting. Nothing fancy here, just great rock music. Tune-Yards, "My Country" - Weird and wonderful, Tune-Yards' 'Whokill' was exactly the opposite of Dawes — innovative in every way and never looking back. Singer/songwriter Merrill Garbus mixes hip-hop, lo-fi garage pop and folk to make a seriously electrifying record. Lana Del Rey, "Diet Mt. Dew" - This lady was just booked to appear on Saturday Night Live - and she hasn't even released an album yet. That's nuts. Lana Del Rey, whose album 'Born to Die' drops early next year, is my pick for Most Promising of 2012. She writes sharp, sexy retro soul music; let's hope she isn't as self-destructive as pop music's last soul diva. Bonus! An orderless handful of my other favorite records of 2012: - Fleet Foxes, 'Helplessness Blues' - Drake, 'Take Care' - The Weeknd, 'House of Balloons' - Bon Iver, 'Bon Iver' - Oddisee, 'Rock Creek Park' - Beastie Boys, 'Hot Sauce Committee Part Two' - War on Drugs, 'Slave Ambient' - Jay-Z & Kanye West, 'Watch The Throne' - Felice Brothers, 'Celebration, Florida' - The Head and the Heart, 'S/T' - M83, 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming' - Ryan Adams, 'Ashes and Fire' Way to go 2011, you had some really great music! I'm proud of you.
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 - Best of 2011 version!! The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy" - If the Black Keys are going to make their jump to arena rock, they need an appropriate arena rock song. "Lonely Boy," from the Akron band's new album, "El Camino," is super-charged, with Danger Mouse helping to deliver one of the best openings to a rock song you'll ever hear. Kurt Vile and the Violators, "Puppet to the Man" - This would be a good entry for an Occupy movement playlist (stoner division), as Vile lashes out in his own weary way about being a puppet to the man. The song comes from the Philly band's latest, "Smoke Ring for My Halo," the best hazy, psych-rock album of the year. Wild Flag, "Boom" - Albums by "supergroup" suck, right? Well, move over, guys. Here's the inimitable Carrie Brownstein, leading the way with Sleater-Kinney bandmate Janet Weiss, Mary Timony (Helium) and Rebecca Cole (The Minders) on this Merge debut. This song delivers on the explosive promise of its title. For a more extended guitar jam, go to "Racehorse."
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 - Best of 2011 version!! I chose to bring songs from my five favorite albums of 2011, disregarding tracks that I thought were great songs from otherwise weak records. Fortunately, it so happens that my no. 1 favorite song of the year made it onto this list anyway! The Joy Formidable, "Austere" - This Welsh-via-London three-piece had a huge year, releasing The Big Roar and headlining a U.S. tour early then returning to open a leg of the Foo Fighters tour. (Dave Grohl said early on in the year that "Whirring" was his favorite song of 2011, or might be.) Great rock band. Wye Oak, "Civilian" - Wye Oak's Civilian is probably my second-favorite album of the year, and the title track is my favorite song of 2011, I'd say. I liked it when I first heard it; when I put it on a mix in spring and listened to it in the car a lot, I feel head-over-heels for it. It's not structurally interesting -- it just builds, musically and thematically. Jenn Wasner's vocals are mumblingly achey, and the band's sold-out Club Cafe show this summer was one of the best of the year. Austra, "Lose It" - I'll go ahead and call Austra's Feel It Break my favorite album of 2011. Katie Stelmanis' vocal calisthenics are astounding; the vibe of the record is dark but not hokey. It's been fascinating to see Stelmanis' transformation from slightly awkward-but-talented frontwoman a couple of years ago to the glammed-up consummate performer she is today. I missed them at VIA, so I hope they come back soon. Rounding out my top five albums: Tristen, Charlatans at the Garden Gate - It's rare that I say an album is too short -- I'm of the "Get in, get out, leave 'em wanting more" camp -- but I wanted more than 35 minutes from Tristen! Fortunately, I understand she's got a new album on the way. In the meantime, if you don't have this one yet, pick it up. Masterfully crafted country-inflected pop tunes from a ridiculously talented member of the Nashville underground. Pujol, Nasty, Brutish and Short - Another Nashville-ian on my top list -- Daniel Pujol released two new EPs as Pujol this year, this one (his debut for Saddle Creek) and "X-File on Main Street" (a more abrasive set of songs, from InfinityCat, which grew on me after a few spins). This one's poppy, but raw and daring; Pujol is one of the great young lyricists. Honorable mentions: The Poison Control Center -- Stranger Ballet Nikki Lane -- Walk of Shame Future Islands -- On the Water Emperor X -- Western Teleport Real Estate -- Days
Last night, the nominees for the 54th annual Grammy Awards were revealed. Select nominations were highlighted at the seemingly new tradition of the Grammys' Announcement Concert. There were some nice surprises in there as well as the mainstream regulars. Full list of nominees can be found here. Below is a list of songs and acts that have been played on WYEP. The results will air on the 54th Annual Grammy Awards show airing Feb 12 (on CBS) :: PARTIAL LIST OF 2012 GRAMMY NOMINEES :: 1. Record Of The Year "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele // from: 21 "Holocene" by Bon Iver // from: Bon Iver "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons // from: Track from: Sigh No More 2. Album Of The Year 21 - Adele Wasting Light - Foo Fighters 3. Song Of The Year (SONGWRITING) "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons "Holocene" by Justin Vernon, songwriter (Bon Iver) "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele) 4. Best New Artist Bon Iver 5. Best Pop Solo Performance Someone Like You - Adele // from: 21 6. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Body And Soul - Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse // from: Duets II Dearest - The Black Keys // from: Rave On Buddy Holly Paradise - Coldplay // from: Mylo Xyloto Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People // from: Torches 7. Best Pop Instrumental Album The Road From Memphis - Booker T. Jones Setzer Goes Instru-Mental! - Brian Setzer 8. Best Pop Vocal Album 21 - Adele The Lady Killer - Cee Lo Green 11. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Duets II - Tony Bennett & Various Artists 12. Best Rock Performance (Songs) Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall - Coldplay Down By The Water - The Decemberists Walk - Foo Fighters The Cave - Mumford & Sons Lotus Flower - Radiohead 13. Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance (Songs) White Limo - Foo Fighters // from: Wasting Light 14. Best Rock Song (songwriting) The Cave - Mumford & Sons // from Sigh No More Down By The Water - Colin Meloy (The Decemberists) // from: The King Is Dead Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall - Coldplay Lotus Flower - Radiohead Walk - Foo Fighters 15. Best Rock Album Wasting Light - Foo Fighters I'm With You - Red Hot Chili Peppers The Whole Love - Wilco 16. Best Alternative Music Album Bon Iver - Bon Iver Codes And Keys - Death Cab For Cutie Torches - Foster The People Circuital - My Morning Jacket The King Of Limbs - Radiohead 17. Best R&B Performance Is This Love - Corinne Bailey Rae // from: The Love EP 18. Best Traditional R&B Performance Good Man - Raphael Saadiq // from: Stone Rollin' 26. Best Country Duo/Group Performance Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars // from: Barton Hollow 39. Best Latin Pop, Rock, Or Urban Album Not So Commercial - Los Amigos Invisibles 43. Best Americana Album Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down - Ry Cooder Hard Bargain - Emmylou Harris Ramble At The Ryman - Levon Helm Blessed - Lucinda Williams 44. Best Bluegrass Album Paper Airplane - Alison Krauss & Union Station Reason And Rhyme: Bluegrass Songs By Robert Hunter & Jim Lauderdale - Jim Lauderdale Rare Bird Alert - Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe - The Del McCoury Band A Mother's Prayer - Ralph Stanley Sleep With One Eye Open - Chris Thile & Michael Daves 45. Best Blues Album Low Country Blues - Gregg Allman Roadside Attractions - Marcia Ball Man In Motion - Warren Haynes The Reflection - Keb Mo Revelator - Tedeschi Trucks Band 46. Best Folk Album Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive - Steve Earle Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes Ukulele Songs - Eddie Vedder The Harrow & The Harvest - Gillian Welch 48. Best Reggae Album Revelation Pt 1: The Root Of Life - Stephen Marley Wild And Free - Ziggy Marley 49. Best World Music Album Africa For Africa - Femi Kuti Songs From A Zulu Farm - Ladysmith Black Mambazo Tassili - Tinariwen 55. Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media Tron Legacy - Daft Punk, composers 56. Best Song Written For Visual Media So Long (From Winnie The Pooh) - Zooey Deschanel, songwriter (Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward) from: Winnie The Pooh 57. Best Instrumental Composition Béla Fleck & Howard Levy, composers (Béla Fleck & The Flecktones) Track from: Rocket Science 60. Best Recording Package Scenes From The Suburbs - Vincent Morisset, art director (Arcade Fire) 61. Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package - The King Of Limbs - Donald Twain & Zachariah Wildwood, art directors (Radiohead) - The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story - Dave Bett & Michelle Holme, art directors (Bruce Springsteen) 25 Years - James Spindler, art director (Sting) 62. Best Album Notes The Bang Years 1966-1968 - Neil Diamond, album notes writer (Neil Diamond) [Columbia/Legacy] 63. Best Historical Album - Band On The Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection - Deluxe Edition) Paul McCartney, compilation producer; Sam Okell & Steve Rooke, mastering engineers (Paul McCartney & Wings) - Young Man With The Big Beat: The Complete '56 Elvis Presley Masters Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, compilation producer; Vic Anesini, mastering engineer (Elvis Presley) 64. Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical - Follow Me Down Brandon Bell & Gary Paczosa, engineers; Sangwook "Sunny" Nam & Doug Sax, mastering engineers (Sarah Jarosz) - The Harrow & The Harvest Matt Andrews, engineer; Stephen Marcussen, mastering engineer (Gillian Welch) - Paper Airplane Mike Shipley, engineer; Brad Blackwood, mastering engineer (Alison Krauss & Union Station) 65. Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical - Danger Mouse: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi Present Rome (A) Meyrin Fields EP (Broken Bells) (S) - Paul Epworth: Call It What You Want (Foster The People) (T) I Would Do Anything For You (Foster The People) (T) I'll Be Waiting (Adele) (T) Life On The Nickel (Foster The People) (T) No One's Gonna Love You (Cee-Lo Green) (S) Rolling In The Deep (Adele) (T) - Ryan Tedder: Rumour Has It (Adele) (T) - Butch Vig: Wasting Light (Foo Fighters) (A) 77. Best Short Form Music Video - Rolling In The Deep - Adele Sam Brown, video director; Hannah Chandler, video producer - All Is Not Lost - OK Go Itamar Kubovy, Damian Kulash Jr & Trish Sie, video directors; Shirley Moyers, video producer - Lotus Flower - Radiohead Garth Jennings, video director; Garth Jennings, video producer 78. Best Long Form Music Video -Foo Fighters: Back And Forth - Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest A Tribe Called Quest Michael Rapaport, video director; Robert Benavides, Debra Koffler, Eric Matthies, Frank Mele, Edward Parks & A Tribe Called Quest, video producers - Nine Types Of Light TV On The Radio Tunde Adebimpe, video director; Michelle An & Braj, video producers
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): Snow Patrol, "Called Out in the Dark" - The Britpop band admits its new album -- the first in 3 years -- took longer than expected to finish. The wait was worth it, judging by the first two singles, including this track highlighted both by Gary Lightbody's elegant, Bryan Ferry-ish vocals, and cool and subtle indie-electronica synth squiggles. Yacht, "Utopia" - Trippy and danceable electro-pop from "Shangri-La," the sophomore release from the Portland, Ore. band that floats somewhere between The Talking Heads and Devo. This single typifies Yacht's sunny view of man's perpetual quest for utopia. Tune in, turn on and shake your body Dec. 5, when Yacht sets sail for the Rex Theatre on the South Side. It's been a breakout year for "Y" bands, namely Yuck, Yawn and now Yacht.
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 via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. Yukon Blonde, "Fire" - Isn't this song pretty? I think so, too. Sure, these Canadian dudes take more than a few pages from the books of Fleet Foxes and similarly bearded bands, but they pull it off well. This song is off of Yukon Blonde's new EP, "Fire//Water." It's hard to dock points for originality when the harmonies are this tight and the melody this catchy. And it's really pretty, amiright? Big Pink, "Give It Up" - This London duo got all the dark, indie kids dancing (read: coolly swaying) with its shadowy debut album a few years back. "Give It Up" is a great example of their new sound: more polished, bolder, sharper and, thankfully, still dark and catchy. Be wary, some tracks off their new album "Future This" go too far — one sounds like a car chase soundtrack — but most strike a good balance between grimy and glittering. Grouplove, "Colours" - Seems like I'm a little late to the Grouplove party, but I'm glad I finally found this band. Loose, jangling, sing-along-in-the-car anthems about having fun and going to the beach and such; Grouplove's debut album "Never Trust a Happy Song" is sugary fun. "Colours," originally out on an EP, is a perfect sampler.
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:
Carole King, "Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday" - The other day my job required that I endure repeated plays of the new Anthrax album, which was fine, but once done with that, I needed the antidote. The closest thing was the soothing new Carole King album, her first foray into holiday music. The legendary singer sounds like her old self here, just
as she did at the Arena with James Taylor. This one is cover of a soul song by William Bell and Booker T. Jones.
Summer-Winter, "Shine" - The second album from Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Terry O'Hara (who goes under the moniker of Summer-Winter) is suitable for gazing out the window at a snowy winter scene. If you like Grandaddy, Sparklehorse or even Kurt Vile, you'll appreciate his slow, spacey mode of indie pop.