cindy@wyep.org's blog

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):

Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sound of Sunshine - Blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. Outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues. Scott says: "The hip-hop-reggae-funk-rocker delivers the most upbeat and lyrically positive album you'll hear all year. Interestingly, he began recording these songs after suffering what he describes as a near-death experience that included a ruptured appendix and eight days in the hospital. Judging by the songs on this album, Franti has his priorities straight, appreciating how love, friends and family are our most valuable commodities. I chose to play "Shake It," a buoyant song that emphasizes the importance of attitude and inner beauty. ("It's not the way you looked, it's the way you shook.") Another song on the album was inspired by Franti's time spent touring with U2. It's got Edge-y guitar!"

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs - Indie rock band in from Canada. This is their highly anticipated third album. Scott says: "If you're a child of the cul-de-sacs like me, or simply someone who likes intelligent but accessible indie-rock, then you'll love this Montreal band's highly touted album released on Aug. 3. It's a concept album that doesn't get bogged down by a narrative (erm... you listening Green Day?). Songs are from the point of view of an adult wistfully revisiting the suburbs where he was raised. I chose to play "Month of May," which is more revved up, and less keyboard-ish than most of the other songs, though it captures the album's lyrical essence in the verse about teenagers standing in the street with their arms defiantly folded tight. Being young and bored and unfulfilled is a heavy burden to carry, notes singer Win Butler, "But how you gonna lift it with your arms folded tight?" Good one!"

Also been spinning this week:

Justin Nozuka, You I Wind Land and Sea - Second release from the 21 year old singer. Scott says: "Canadian singer, with Japanese and American parents, has an emotionally gripping voice reminiscent of Paolo Nutini. His bloodlines are traced to Kyra Sedgwick and Edie Sedgwick, while his brother, Phillip, appears on TV's "Degrassi: Next Generation." Justin's lyrics, at times, are frustrating; sometimes too oblique; sometimes too basic. But put him on your radar, as this 21-year-old has a bright future."

Dick Dale, Guitar Legend: The Very Best Of - King of Surf Guitar who was brought to prominence in the Quentin Tarantino film, "Pulp Fiction". Scott says: "If you loved Dick's "Miserlou" in "Pulp Fiction" -- and c'mon, who didn't -- then you should already be tempted to buy this first-ever, career-spanning release from the surf-rock pioneer. Due out Sept. 7 on the retro-minded Shout! Factory label -- the 21st century Rhino Records -- this album includes signature surf songs, rare B-sides, a fantastic cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun" and a 1987 collaboration with Stevie Ray Vaughan on the Chantays' "Pipeline." You could play worse at your next party or picnic."

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New Music Personal Picks

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Arcade Fire Dick Dale Justin Nozuka Michael Franti Scott Tady Spearhead The 9:13 Buzz

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):

Robyn, "Dancing on My Own"- Swedish recording artist and singer-songwriter. Robyn was known in the late nineties for her dance-pop hits. She's currently an beloved indie-electro sensation. Justin says: "The Lady Gaga of the underground? And I mean that as a compliment. This is dance pop at its finest, with a rapid-fire fuzz beat and a chorus that will stick in your head and never let go. Plus, the lyrics go much deeper than any pop song on the radio — this is touching stuff. Bonus trivia: Robyn first broke onto the scene almost 15 years ago with hits like "Show Me Love." Back then, though, she was just a teen riding the late 90s pop wave."

Tame Impala, "Solitude is Bliss"- A four piece psychedelic rock band from Perth, Western Australia. This is from their debut record. Justin says: "Odd band name, but great sound. This is headphone rock at its finest — a scuzzy mess of late 60s psychedelia. Burn some incense, sit back, close your eyes and take a ride."

Grinderman, "Heathen Child"- This is Nick Cave's side project. They are on their second release. Justin says: "This is a single off of Grinderman's second album (out next month) called — surprise! — Grinderman 2. It's a side project from famously brooding Nick Cave; the tune is a down and dirty, unnerving and creepy stomp. Not a good pick for your next mixtape for your girlfriend."

Interpol, "Success"- Indie band formed in 1997 on their fourth LP. They are one of the biggest indie bands currently performing. Justin says: "These guys disappeared for a few years after their not-great 2007 album, but the new, self-titled record (also out next month) is a return to form — jerky post-punk that's dark and filled with reverb and echoes. It's not going to make Interpol young and hip again, but proves they still got it."

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Grinderman Interpol Justin Jacobs Robyn Tame Impala The 9:13 Buzz

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 a bonus song):

Samantha Crain - Lions
A 23 year old singer from Oklahoma who is making some waves in the indie-folk world. Andy says: "I wrote a short bit about Samantha Crain when she played at South Park last year; her 2009 release, Songs In the Night, was haunting, beautiful and folky. "Lions" comes from her new release, You (Understood), and has more of a rock feel, which -- perhaps suprisingly -- befits her. I listen to it again and again, and keep picking up on subtle rewards within."

Meeting of Important People - The Jesus Song
WYEP's local act of the year for 2009. From their new EP 'Quit Music'. Andy says: "This is a local band I've been a fan of since I encountered their first release early last year -- I had a great time interviewing Josh about their new record a couple weeks back, and I was particularly interested in this song. As he explains it, it's not sincere nor ironic; it's just a character song, an exercise in expression."

Love of Everything - Tin Can Phone
Project of Bobby Burg of the indie group Joan of Arc. It began in 1999 before Bobby was a part of JoA. Andy says: "This is the lead track from a recent collection of songs from the Joan of Arc-related project. Kind of lo-fi, a little bit amateurish, definitely naive and sweet, it fits well with the JoA vibe. Perhaps a slightly nostalgic pick on my part."

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Andy Mulkerin Love of Everything Meeting of Important People Samantha Crain The 9:13 Buzz

"Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises" from their new disc I and Love and You. Totally reminds me of Rt 28 in Pittsburgh. What do you think?

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New Music

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Avett Brothers Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises Video

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 some bonus songs):

Sleigh Bells, "Kids" - Duo based in Brooklyn. Sound is heavy on the noise and heavy on the pop. This is their debut. Scott says: "You know when Ke$ha (I love her) asks the DJ to blow her speakers up? He’d be wise to put on the debut album from this Brooklyn duo that’s been described as a clash between the White Stripes and M.I.A. Distorted beats, siren synths and the lurching guitar riffs of Derek Miller (former Poison the Well) are all topped by the spastic sing-song melodies of former elementary school teacher Alexis Krauss."

The Walkmen, "Angela Surf City" - Indie band from NYC & Philly. They formed in 2000 and are on their sixth album which will be released on 9/14/10. Scott says: "The album isn’t coming out until September, but it should be leaking on the Internet before that. This is one of the wilder songs, opening with a surf-rock beat and riff and then bursting into a monstrous wave of sound. Check out how he cribs a Dylan line — "life goes on all around you" — with a wink and a nod."

Bear Cub, "Mexico" - Local band Bear Cub and their self-titled debut is making some waves on the Pittsburgh music scene. Scott says: "When you put out a call for an online band competition, you don’t always expect much. But Bear Cub, which I’d never heard of, submitted this song for the PG’s Pittsburgh Rocks competition and I loved it right away. Yeah, it sounds like Bright Eyes, but seeing the band live and hearing the rest of the album, I realized there was more to them than that. Keep an eye on Jesse Hall ’cause he’s got talent to burning"

Smashing Pumpkins, "A Song for a Son" - Revived Alt-rock band that is basically Billy Corgan. Scott says: "I haven’t always been the biggest Pumpkins fan and the band’s recent history has been nothing short of a trainwreck. But I dig this song from Billy Corgan, which is part of a 44-track album-in-progress available as a free download on the band’s website. This epic tune, with an old-fashioned shredding solo, sounds like it would fit between "Stairway to Heaven" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on that classic-rock station up the dial."

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New Music Personal Picks

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Bear Cub Scott Mervis Sleigh Bells Smashing Pumpkins The 9:13 Buzz The Walkmen

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):

Gaslight Anthem, "American Slang" - An American rock band from New Jersey that perfects Blue-collar rock in the tradition that began with Bruce Springsteen. Scott says: "'We're not into just kinda being like a little footnote,' Gaslight Anthem singer Brian Fallon says in the press release for the Jersey rockers' new album. "We want to be The Ones, y'know?" They take a bold step in that direction with "American Slang," their third full-length effort that's loaded with anthemic melodies and raw-throated, Springsteen-ian singing. This title track is consistent with the band's hard-driving approach. If you dig the Hold Steady (or the early E Street Band) you're already a Gaslight Anthem fan."

Paul Weller, "Fast Car, Slow Traffic" - Former frontman for mod/punk band The Jam and also the soulful Style Council. This is his tenth solo album. Scott says: "A breezy summer-y tune, especially appropriate for traffic-snarled Pittsburgh. Weller, formerly of The Jam and Style Council, ditched the acoustic guitars and rocks out throughout this album, which in the liner notes he compares to "Diamond Dogs"-era David Bowie with a pinch of the Faces. A few reviewers have proclaimed this Weller's best album in 20 years."

The National, High Violet
- Originally from Cincinnati, OH, The National now based themselves in Brooklyn. Known for their flat-lined vocals surrounded by swelling rock music, this is their fifth LP. Scott says: "The Joy Division-ish vocals lure you in; the shimmering, smoldering sonics keep you coming back."

Dan Bern, Live in Los Angeles - An American songwriter often compared to Dylan, Phil Ochs and Woody Guthrie. Scott says: "The feisty, funny folk-rocker launches his live album with the 1998 masterpiece "Tiger Woods" -- which takes on a whole new relevance now. There are sweet songs, ("Love Makes All the Other Worlds Go Round," The Golden Voice of Vin Scully"), and surreal ones, ("Osama in Obamaland" and "The Fifth Beatle.") That latter tune includes hilarious and spot-on impersonations of Bob Dylan, Ringo
Starr, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young."

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New Music Personal Picks

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Cindy Howes Dan Bern Gaslight Anthem Paul Weller Scott Tady The 9:13 Buzz the national

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."

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New Music Personal Picks

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Baths Cindy Howes Good Old War Here We Go Magic Justin Jacobs Suckers The 9:13 Buzz The Young Veins

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."

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New Music Personal Picks

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Andy Mulkerin Baby Dee Cindy Howes Jenny and Johnny Jenny Lewis Jonanthan Rice Ola Podrida Secret Cities The 9:13 Buzz

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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B-Rad and The Best of The West Players Bill Deasy Brad Ladik Brownie Mary Cindy Howes Joy Toujours and the Toys Du Jour Local Pittsburgh Music Meeting of Important People Rich Jaques The Gathering Field The Local News Thomas Jefferson's Aeroplane

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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