November 17, 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 Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times

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

Atlantic/Pacific, "Patters" - Lush vocal harmonies and looped instruments highlight the softly alluring sound of this Brooklyn indie-folk duo, recently featured on The World Cafe. They remind me of a mix between '80s Aussie rockers The Church and solo artist Aqualung.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "Nowhere" - This never-before-heard song was believed to have been lost in 1979 when the band was moving its box of studio tapes daily to avoid the possibility they'd be confiscated as part of a record label lawsuit against Petty. Recorded for the band's breakthrough "Damn the Torpedoes" album, the original studio version was discovered recently, and added to the brand-new Deluxe Edition of the album, along with another never-before-released '79 tune, "Surrender." The band's Byrds influence is evident here.

Bryan Ferry, "Olympia" - When I grow up, I want to be as cool as Ferry. The ex-Roxy Music frontman sounds as sophisticated as ever on this album that has both a vintage and contemporary appeal. He enlisted some impressive help, including David Gilmour, the Scissor Sisters, Flea, Nile Rodgers and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, as well as former Roxy Music mates Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay.

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November 16, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

Enter to win front row tickets at wyep.org

ROBERT PLANT & THE BAND OF JOY
w/ North Mississippi Allstars
Band of Joy includes Buddy Miller & Patty Griffin!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at the Petersen Events Center

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November 16, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

Check out the new Adele song & video for “Rolling In The Deep”. The album, 21, is out February 22.

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November 10, 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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper

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

Sharon Van Etten, "A Crime" - This is the first track from Sharon's new LP, Epic. She's one of my favorites right now with respect to simple, folky guitar-and-voice songwriting -- this is one of the more upbeat tracks from the new one, and might be my favorite.

Smith Westerns, "Weekend" - This is a young Chicago garage rock-pop band that's picked up a lot of attention in the past year or so; this track is the first glimpse of the band's forthcoming album, Dye It Blonde, coming out in early 2011 on Fat Possum.

Kelley Stoltz, "I Remember, You Were Wild" - This is a fun, poppy track from Stoltz's recent LP, To Dreamers, issued on Sub Pop. Shimmery guitars, simple harmonies and a triumphant chorus make it a nice little addition to a mix CD.

The Chapin Sisters, "Palm Tree" - This might be my favorite track from the new disc by the two-piece band of sisters, who played in Pittsburgh last week. It's a relaxed (maybe even resigned) country tune and exhibits some of their better lyrics, I think.

November 8, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

If you dig bluegrass the fast-twanging, heavy stomping, whiskey-swilling party music of Appalachia, being in Pittsburgh this fall is a good choice.

Just last month, bluegrass titans Yonder Mountain String Band sold out Mr.
Smalls. This Thursday, rising stars Greensky Bluegrass hit the Rex Theater.
If you missed Yonder, Greensky is your best bet for a taste of bluegrass this season. Since winning the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2006 as relative unknowns, the Michigan-based band's been collecting fans in peers like Railroad Earth, Tony Rice, the legendary Sam Bush and, of course, regular-folk music lovers.

While Yonder Mountain String Band, Old Crow Medicine Show and Railroad Earth may own the bluegrass game right now, Greensky's looser, laid-back approach makes for a perfect liquor-sipping show.

Check them out at The Rex, Thursday, Nov. 11.

Contributor Justin Jacobs posted this concert preview.

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November 3, 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 Scott Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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

Peg Simone, "Mirst & Avel" - Deb Catanzaro was the guitarist for Pittsburgh punk bands The Pleasure Heads and Wormhole before taking on this alias for her more quietly seductive solo stuff. The essential piece on her new album, "Secrets from the Storm," is the opener "Levee/1927," but, at 22 minutes, it hardly fits any radio format. This song is still a pretty good representation of her currently Zeppelin-y mindset.

Bad Religion, "Avalon" - There's no reason why this California punk band, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, couldn't be in rotation somewhere up the dial. Bad Religion is a steady, solid presence on the punk scene, and 15 albums in, it's still churning out hard-nosed songs with little in the way of frills.

Ke$ha, "We R Who We R" - After one tedious 12-hour workday last week, this song on continuous repeat was somehow the antidote. As d-d-dumb trashy music goes, it doesn't get much better than this. (Apologies to Greg Graffin to Deb C. for this unlikely association.)

October 27, 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 Relix Magazine, AOL's Spinner.com and Pittsburgh's City Paper

In case you missed it here's what he played:

The Heavy, "That Kind of Man" - The word "heavy" in music usually describes some gutteral, brutal metal music. But somehow, this English band makes funky soul music that is undeniably heavy too, albeit in a much, much different way. This track came out in 2007, but The Heavy retooled it and yes, made it heavier, for an EP that just dropped last week.

Pomegranates, "Skull Cakin" - My favorite band you've never heard of. Dudes are from Cincinnati and make fun, arty dream pop. This jam, of their new album "One of Us," out yesterday, is the rocking-est thing they've ever done, but it's still weird and wonderful.

Dr. Dog, "Nobody Knows Who You Are" - A new Dr. Dog song! Everybody rejoice! The Philly pop-classicists have been releasing new songs online, and this one is too good. I'm admittedly a total fanboy, but Dr. Dog can do no wrong. Download this for free here.

Twin Shadow, "Castles in the Snow" - Being the latest band made famous by the Internet (thanks, Pitchfork!) usually warrants some sort of snarky, underhanded insult, but I don't have anything bad to say about Twin Shadow. Dark and catchy, 80's-reminiscent dance songs., not unlike The Cure. They stopped at Brillobox last month, and a buddy of mine kept yelling for "In Between Days." Not nice, but very funnny.

October 20, 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 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):

Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz. - The critically adored indie-folk singer delves deeper into electronica here. His swirling, spacey synth blips are grounded by bass that'll rattle your fillings. Multi-layered melodies with abrupt time changes provide a strong counterpoint to his simple ruminations on love. I singled out the 5-minute love-gone-wrong song "I Walked" with its emotionally delivered line, "At least I deserve the respect of a kiss goodbye." We've all been there.

The Drums, The Drums - OK, that's not the most original band name (What, was The Guitars already taken?) But you still gotta love the rookie effort from this Brooklyn indie-surf-pop band. Their pop is unabashed, highlighted by lush harmonies as you'll hear on my chosen track, "Down by the Water." The Drums list among their influences The Smiths and the Shangri-La's of "Leader of the Pack" fame.

I'm also digging...

Avett Brothers, Live Vol. 3 - One of the best live acts around, captured at its banjo-pluckin', foot-stompin', folk-punk finest. Who says sensitive love songs can't be fun?

October 13, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

Marc Cohn's latest release is Listening Booth: 1970.  The Kent Stage became our listening booth Tuesday night, as Mr. Cohn gave a reflective and emotional performance in front of what could be considered a hometown crowd.

During the nearly two-hour show Marc Cohn moved from playing the piano, to the guitar (he's a lefty like Jimi Hendrix) to standing alone center stage to sing.  Mr. Cohn soulfully feels the music he writes.  He also surrounds himself with a small, talented band which includes his long time guitarist, Shane Fontane (whose resume includes playing with Bruce Springsteen and playing for Presidents of the United States).

Mr. Cohn played a variety of songs from all of his studio albums Marc Cohn (1991), The Rainy Season (1993), Burning the Daze (1998), Join The Parade (2007), and Listening Booth: 1970 (2010).  Known as a singer-songwriter, ironically his highest charting CD to date is Listening Booth: 1970, from which Mr. Cohn sang and provided a commentary on his cover versions of  "The Letter", "The Only Living Boy in New York"  and "Into the Mystic". I've only had the chance to see Mr. Cohn in concert four times since his career began and I'm always amazed that he manages to come up with different arrangements.  His music tends to be reflective and he continues to breathe new life into his songs.  He is also very appreciative of the fans who support his music.

Cleveland is Mr. Cohn's hometown.  Many of his songs contain references to places around Cleveland and the weather (clouds, rain).  Mr. Cohn's most recent release looks back to music from 40 years ago and being in Kent, OH he remembered the events that took place at Kent State University in 1970. He even reflected on the attempted carjacking in Denver in 2005 when he got shot in the head (something Mr. Cohn does not often talk about.)  His stories continued as he shared how his Grammy award winning song (Best New Artist) "Walking in Memphis" came to life, giving most of the credit to the real life Muriel (who plays piano every Friday at the Hollywood.)

It was a family reunion for Mr. Cohn, as his three brothers were in the audience.  Mr. Cohn came out to do an encore with a cake in his hands, candles lit.  We sang happy birthday to his brother Al, who will be turning 70 this week. 

The evening of music came to a fitting end when Mr. Cohn sang "One Safe Place" and then he, his brothers and his band all took a final bow.

Opening the show with a 30-minute set was an 18-year-old singer-songwriter from the Jersey Shore named Cara Salimando. She reminded me of the singer Jewel, just needs some polish.  She plays the keyboards and ukulele.  It was a nice touch that she offered a free 3-song CD EP of her music.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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October 13, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

Cool new video featuring JJ Grey and Mofro along with Toots Hibbert on "The Sweetest Thing".  JJ Grey & Mofro are coming to Pittsburgh on Friday, November 19th at Mr.Smalls.

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October 13, 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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper

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

La Sera, "Never Come Around" - La Sera is the side project of Kickball Katy of Vivian Girls fame. This tune maintains the girl-group sound of that band, but is a little sweeter, more polished and less bored/angry than Vivian Girls.

Lohio, "Family Tree" - This is the second track off the local band's new EP of the same name. It's an upbeat number with airy vocals and fun little vocal flourishes. I like the direction this band has taken!

STRFKR, "Julius" - This track is from the naughtily named band's new single, a sample of its upcoming full-length to be issued on Polyvinyl. It's synth pop done exceedingly well, and, as I mentioned in the paper last week, will likely as not end up in a car commercial or something.

Sun Airway, "Infinity" - This Philly band is starting to get some buzz, having been featured on the World Cafe recently. The kinda muddy, psychedelic synth/vox band is touring with Bear In Heaven and will make a stop in Pittsburgh on October 26 -- incidentally, the day of the official release of this new album.

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October 7, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

The Dubmission airs each Saturday night, late night on 91.3fm WYEP from 1 until 5am.  The Dubmission is a weekly 4 hour mix of broken soul, downtempo, nujazz, house and rare grooves.

Host Kerem Gokman had a chance to catch up with TOKiMONSTA at this past weekend's Via audio and visual festival in Pittsburgh.  TOKiMONSTA was born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) was an unfocused pupil of classical piano. However, she has come to use this background to create vast textural soundscapes by utilizing live instruments, percussion, digital manipulation, and dusty vinyl. Through the creation of beats, she is able to fuse vintage sounds with progressive styles into something unique.

Tune in for the interview and excellent music on the Dubmission this Saturday night on 91.3fm WYEP.

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September 29, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

JP, Chrissie and The Fairground Boys debut release is called “Fidelity!”.  It's a concept album about an older woman’s relationship with a younger man.  This musical journey was shared with the audience at The New Hazlett Theater stage Tuesday night.

For about one hour-and-fifteen minutes, 59-year old Chrissie Hynde and 31-year old JP Jones brought the audience into their relationship.  The Fairground Boys provided the bass, guitar, drums and backing vocals.  There was no looking back to The Pretenders, only looking forward.  Ms. Hynde exhibited great energy on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and tambourine and more than kept pace with the younger Mr. Jones on vocals and guitar.

Their 15 song set (including 3 songs during the encore) was heavy on tracks from “Fidelity!”.  They performed a song that did not make it on to this CD “You’re the One That I Should Have Married” along with a cover of the 1969 Moby Grape song “Murder In My Heart For the Judge”.  They finished the night with a song about Christmas. 

It will be interesting to hear a follow up.  Will it be more like a Fidelity!: Part II or will they find other muses for their inspiration?

Opening the show, with a 40-minute 9-song set ,was Massachusetts singer-songwriter Amy Correia.  Ms. Correia was joined on stage only by a guitarist.  She performed more than half the songs from her current fan-funded release “You Go Your Way”.  She went back to her first album “Carnival Love” for “Blind River Boy”.  In the middle of the set she performed a cover of The Animals “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” (which was written for one her heroes Nina Simone) .  Rounding out her time on stage, Ms. Correia did an a cappella version of “Love Is” from her sophomore release “Lakeville”.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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September 29, 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 Relix Magazine, AOL's Spinner.com and Pittsburgh's City Paper

In case you missed it here's what he played:

Mark Ronson, "Somebody To Love Me" - This is one of the best tracks from Ronson's new "Record Collection" album that came out yesterday. It's a dancey, synth-y, 80s spin on his retro-soul sound he perfected with Amy Winehouse. Totally an in-your-car, shameless sing-along.

Drink Up Buttercup, "Young Ladies" - These dudes are nothing short of insane. Like, actually crazy. Their live show involves trashcans, tribal chanting and playing in the middle of the crowd. Listen to this Beatles-gone-evil psychedelic track and it'll all make sense.

Lohio, "Leave the City, Leave your Room" - Easily one of Pittsburgh's best bands, Lohio is releasing a new EP, "Family Tree," this week. This track encapsulates their growing sound — beautiful harmonies, fun melodies, Sufjan-esque orchestration and, as always, Greg Dutton's light, folky voice. If the world is a good and fair place, Lohio will blow up something spectacular.

Justin Rutledge, "Be A Man" - One of my favorite country-folk finds of this year. Guy's got a great, wounded-heart type voice, and his songs are equally as deep. Plus, what a fantastic name!

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September 22, 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 Scott Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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

Black Angels, "Telephone" - Even though I vowed not to embrace any more bands that start with the word Black, this Austin psych-rock band is too good to ignore. I always love songs, like "Telephone," that sound like they could have been on the "Nuggets" box. The album also expands on this idea with Doors and Stooges influences. One caution: as a live act, the band needs something more than a frontman that clings to a keyboard.

Maximum Balloon, "Communion" - Dave Sitek, the brilliant guitarist and producer for TV on the Radio, indulges his poppier instincts on this debut album with such guests as Kyp and Tunde (from TVOTR) and David Byrne. Here, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs takes front and center on a cool hypnotic dance track.

Robert Plant, "Silver Rider" - Robert Plant could be cashing in right now on a Led Zep reunion tour, but for some reason — perhaps to spare his vocal cords — he chosen to reinvent himself as an Americana artist. He makes a bold, tasteful choice here with a song by slowcore band Low that finds guitarist Buddy Miller exploring his inner Neil Young.

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