September 15, 2010 by

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):

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, "My Terrible Personality" - This track from the middle of the band's new release, Let It Sway, is a fun mid-paced number with the added appeal of a "Go!" breakdown in the middle. What's there to say, really? It's just catchy.

Mariage Blanc, "Move On" - This local band has always danced on the line between upbeat and introspective, between Beulah and Elliot Smith. This is from their new LP, to be released next month. Watch out for my piece on them in your City Paper in a couple weeks!

Darker My Love, "Split Minute" - This is an L.A. band with a weird pedigree: the drummer used to be in that Hellcat streetpunk band The Distillers, and two of the other members have backed up Mark E. Smith in The Fall. Darker My Love is about as far from those bands as possible -- with a laid-back California rock vibe, they're reminiscent of American Beauty-era Dead, perhaps, or later Byrds.

Marianne Dissard, "Les Confettis" - This is probably my favorite track on Dissard's latest, Paris One Takes. She takes the French take on rock a little further, incorporating Americana sounds into her tunes. Frenchicana? Sure.

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September 11, 2010 by

Colonizing The Cosmos

“Sonic production” is a term coined by music critics to describe music that capitalizes on our fascination with space. It conjures up all the vast mystery of the cosmos, of our yearning for answers, of our sense of otherworldliness, our desire to chase the final frontier, the excitement of new technology. It describes music that transgresses our worldly expectations, music as sleek and barren as the cold metal of a spaceship floor.

And sometimes it just means lots of reverb and effects pedals.

Whatever it is, don’t expect it from Colonizing The Cosmos.

The local Pittsburgh band, who’s kicking off Rock The Block next week, released their first full length album earlier this year, called “The First Frontier.”

Here’s a video a live studio performance of “Dear Citizen.”

Despite the name and comparisons to The Flaming Lips, CTC makes music remarkably grounded in loyalty to folk instrumentation.

Starting as a two-piece and growing to six (sometimes more), CTC sounds like a band of studio folk musicians: well mixed layers of guitars, banjos, a trumpet and backup singers. And the musicianship really shows in the video.

It’s a welcome change of pace in folk, a compromise between trends of “me-first” production and lo-fi production. On "The First Frontier," each instrument fills its shoes modestly, yielding a well-rounded and satisfying sound.

Vocally, CTC falls somewhere between The Shins and Eels, catchy but not without a hint of quirk. There’s something otherworldly about the album, but no single sound or style will step up and take credit. There’s a slyness to the production, irony in the catchiness, intelligence in the delivery.

And yet, CTC is not “sonic.” They’re not trippy, or psychedelic, or freak folk (or my favorite, NASA-core). CTC makes honest folk music with a tinge of self aware irony, that music so seemingly audacious can be so anchored in a time-honored folk style.

CTC has likely not yet hit their prime, but its a very strong start.

Colonizing The Cosmos opens for Alejandro Escovedo at Rock The Block, September 18th in Bedford Square at 8pm.

Tickets available at

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September 10, 2010 by
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September 10, 2010 by Josh W

Cloud Cult are nothing if not prolific. The Minnesota band just finished up their eighth studio album, Light Chasers, which is set to hit stores on September 14th.

Light Chasers picks up right where Owl and Bear favorite Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) left off, exploring the relationship between the human experience and the unknown. Frontman Craig Minowa took some time out from tea-partying through tornadoes to talk to us about loss, the environment, and what the band has in store for us in the future. Continue Reading....

September 9, 2010 by

Video for "Always" from Junip. José González seems like he's got a pretty swell sense of humor. This video is highly entertaining!!

Full album from Junip (Fields) is out on 9/14/2010 (next Tuesday)

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September 8, 2010 by

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):

Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, Junky Star - Now that he’s an Oscar-winning songsmith, Bingham can’t swoop under the radar. Yet, “Crazy Heart” success didn’t make him sell his soul, judging by this artistically bold album released Aug. 31. Sparse melodies evoke the wide-open spaces of the Southwest where the 29-year-old ex-rodeo bull-rider was raised. Native American-sounding kick drums, jolts of slide-guitar and Bingham’s wisdom-worn vocals paint an absorbing if not overtly commercial landscape.

Shonen Knife, Perfect Anthem - Japan’s legendary pop-punk girl-band Shonen Knife just released the English-language versions of its latest album, “Free Time,” and 2007’s “fun! fun! fun!”  That latter title perfectly describes this single. Kurt Cobain was a big fan, you know, once saying about Shonen Knife, “When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical 9-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.” See Shonen Knife Sept. 24 at the 31st Street Pub in Pittsburgh.

K.T. Tunstall, Tiger Suit - This third studio album is a crucial one for the diminutive Scottish singer with the mighty vocal pipes. There’s nothing on here that’ll get as much radio or movie soundtrack action as her 2004 rookie album’s twin hits, “Suddenly I See” and “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” But give “Tiger Suit” grows on you after a few listens, owing to Tunstall’s feisty lyrics and singing, and imaginative, occasionally techno-ish rhythms.

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September 7, 2010 by

I've had the pleasure of interviewing singer-songwriter Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet SprocketWorks Progress Administration) via email for the WYEP Music Blog a couple of times.  Now you have the opportunity to ask Mr. Phillips a question.  Ask Glen Phillips / Toad / WPA - Fan Questions. You will find some interesting questions and even more intriguing answers from Mr. Phillips.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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September 3, 2010 by

Vampire Weekend cover's Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Going Down". Much fanfare and rejoicing! Great band covering a great song...

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September 1, 2010 by

Michael Franti & Spearhead

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September 1, 2010 by

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):

Villagers, “Becoming A Jackal” - The title track to a brilliant and richly orchestrated debut album complete with soaring string arrangements, piano runs and horns. Yet, singer/songwriter and Ireland native Conor O'Brien makes it sound as warm and intimate as a lo-fi bedroom recording. Villagers were recently nominated for this year's Mercury Prize which is a short list of the best releases of the year in the UK and Ireland. This track  immediately caught my ear with the very deliberate sounding delivery O’Brien employs, its very brooding and elusive and kind of leave you with a sense of nostalgia.

Cut Copy, “Where I’m Going” - An Australian band known for their hypnotic electronic dance tunes, but not so much for their Beach Boy-esque psychedelic rock. Which is precisely what we have with their sneak peak single “Where I’m Going” from the as-of-yet-untitled forthcoming LP. The record was mixed by hot commodity producer Ben Allen, the man behind the mind bending mixing on Animal Collective's widely acclaimed 2009 release, Merriweather Post Pavillion. If this single is just a warm up then their new album is undoubtedly one of my most anticipated of 2011.

Toro Y Moi, “Leave Everywhere” - Usually known for his hazy synth driven tunes , Toro Y Moi sheds the synths in favor of instruments. The results are a great summer song that keeps conjures the endless summer romantic in all of us. And with summer just about behind us, this song may help you to hang on for just 3 minutes longer.

Tennis, “Marathon” - Husband-and-wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore make up much buzzed about band Tennis. A band that burst onto the national scene with their single “Marathon”. Its a Brian Wilson meets Daniel Johnston lo-fi gem of a song. They just released a 3-song 7-inch on Underwater Peoples that will only serve to wet the appetite of the indie masses until they release their first full length in 2011. They are definitely a band to watch in the coming months.

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August 30, 2010 by

British author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, 31 Songs/Songbook) and piano man Ben Folds have teamed up on the album Lonely Island, due out September 28.

It will be available as a special edition LP with short stories by Hornby (and was recorded with vinyl in mind as the preferred method to enjoy it), as well as standard edition LP, CD, or as a download.

Check out the video for "Things You Think", also featuring Pomplamoose.



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August 25, 2010 by

Mavis Staples, southern soul legend and gospel queen, will release her new album, You Are Not Alone, on September 13. It's produced by Jeff Tweedy. It's set to include covers of songs from Randy Newman, The Rev Gary Davis, John Fogerty, and Allen Toussaint (just to name a few).

I hope you enjoy the video of Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy

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August 25, 2010 by

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 and Pittsburgh's City Paper

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

Lissie, "When I'm Alone" - She started off a folkie, but her debut album Catching a Tiger is pretty rocking. Doesn't matter her genre, though - Lissie's got one of the strongest, most beautiful voices I've heard in a long time. Bonus trivia: director David Lynch is a huge fan and Tweeted Lissie his phone number. And now they're friends.

The Thermals, "I Don't Believe You" - Unshakable proof that all rock'n'roll needs is a few chords, a lot of energy and some lyrics about how much love sucks. Plus, Thermals jams always have lots of 'Whoa's and 'Yeah's, so singing along is fun and easy. Their new album, Personal Life, is more fun than a winning Pirates game.

Perfume Genius, "Mr. Petersen" - Just one man and a piano, but the whole thing seems haunted by ghosts. This is a song seemingly about an older man introducing our young narrator to Joy Division and smoking pot, as well as some far, far less appropriate things. Beautiful, but scary.

The Love Language, "Brittany's Back" - This band is all about swooning romantics and the sweeping dramatics. But if you love love, you'll love The Love Language.

Lost in the Trees, "Love on my Side" - This band is half folk rock, half classical music; several of their songs are simply instrumental movements played by a mini-orchestra. This tune falls way more in the former genre, though, and is a catchy, touching little ditty.

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August 18, 2010 by

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):

Jaill, "Everyone’s Hip" - This band’s first Sub Pop release just came out, and while on the whole it’s pretty solid, this is the real stand-out track. Hooky, poppy, and with an entire verse in Spanish (Does it actually mean something? Not sure.), it’s been on repeat on my MP3 player and in my head.

Sambassadeur, "Days" - My friend Brian won’t stop talking about this band. And rightly so – simple pop constructions draped with lush string orchestration and a vocalist who sounds like a Scandanavian Chrissie Hynde? Yes, please!

Satin Gum, "Flea Markets & Libraries" - This local band is a fun one to catch live, and writes catchy pop-oriented rock with a lot of stop-start action and time changes. I tend to think they’re going somewhere – either rising to fame or going back to the bar for another few drinks, or, most likely, both.

Modern Mothers, "Allison" - There’s not much information around on this Philly-based garage-glam band, which released Berserker with the help of the venerable Bada Bing label. Their imagery and aesthetic are weird to say the least, but this song is a pop gem – starting out with a poppy Ramones/Screaching Weasel feel then progressing into a Diamond Dogs-era Bowie-style bridge.

August 17, 2010 by

Tune in to the Dubmission this Saturday and every Saturday late night on 91.3fm WYEP. The Dubmission is a weekly 4 hour mix of broken soul, downtempo, nujazz, house and rare grooves.

This past week Scuba was in Pittsburgh for a rare appearance and Kerem was able to catch up with one of the most influential figures in the worlds of both dubstep and techno.

One of the key figures in crossing the sounds of techno and dubstep, Paul Rose aka Scuba has been shaping the scene as one of the pivotal figures on the triple B axis of Bristol, Berlin and bass - running Hotflush Records in Bristol, running the Sub:stance night at Berlin's Berghain club, and bringing plenty of bass in either case. Along the way he's finding time to produce some ground shaking tracks and take them to places around the world.

Tune in for the interview and music this Saturday beginning at 1am on 91.3fm and

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