New Music

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Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of our most trusted music aficionados joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs!

For today's 9:13 Buzz, we asked Justin to bring in his favorites from 2015.

Favorite songs:

Beck, "Dreams" - Even though Beck won tons of accolades for his last album "Morning Phases," I couldn't help thinking it was a little, well, boring. The world just didn't need a less-good "Sea Change." So when he dropped "Dreams" this summer, I was thrilled. Here's the Beck I know and love: off-kilter, endlessly funky and catchy as all hell. I probably listened to this song 50 times this year, and it never gets boring. Maybe even cooler is that "Dreams" isn't attached to an album — Beck just dropped this red-hot little gem as a teaser, to get us excited for whatever it is that comes next. Whenever he decides that will be.

Kurt Vile, "Pretty Pimpin" - Kurt Vile's been releasing laid back odes to Neil Young for a handful of albums now. But with this year's "b'lieve i'm goin down," he dusted off the edges of his folk into something with a bit more modern momentum. "Pretty Pimpin" is the album's lead single: a gorgeous, gentle, thumping, meditative guitar anthem with tons of delicious Vile lyrics: "I wonke up this mornin', didn't recognize the man in the mirror, then I laughed and said, 'oh silly me, that's just me,'" he sings. "Then I proceeded to brush some stranger's teeth."

Favorite Albums:
Allen Stone "Radius"
Tame Impala "Currents"
The Weeknd "Beauty Behind the Madness"
Courtney Barnett "Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit"

Favorite Show:

Kanye West, Tel Aviv, September 30 - We don't get a ton of amazing international shows here in Tel Aviv (I mean, thanks for coming Bon Jovi...), but I would've been hyped for this one no matter where I was. Who else can rip through a 2-hour set alone onstage — and make it completely captivating? And who else can get a stadium of people shouting obscene one-liners in their second language? Nobody looks quite as dedicated onstage (dude can sweat like nobody's business) quite like Yeezy.

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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! This week, we asked Scott about his favorites from 2015.

In case you missed it here’s what he played with commentary by Scott:

Favorite album of the year: Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit -  Spry, smart, sassy and self-deprecating fun from the Australian singer-songwriter's full-length debut. Her "Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To the Party" is also my song-of-the-year -- refreshingly indecisive in a world of social surety. Chorus: "I want to go out, but I want to stay home." The cleverness of her prose and exuberance to her brash delivery, often matched with full-on rock arrangements, is delightful. Signature lyric (from "Pedestrian at Best"): "Put me on a pedestal and I'll only disappoint you/Tell me I'm exceptional and I promise to exploit you/Give me all your money and I'll make some origami honey/I think you're a joke but I don't find you very funny."

Favorite song of the year: Kacey Musgraves, "Family is Family" - Funny and true tune with the typical bright tones and jaunty delivery from the 26-year-old Grammy-honored country singer. How can you argue with lines like "Family is family, in church or in prison/You get what you get, and you don't get to pick 'em/They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys/Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family."

Favorite concert of the year, The Mavericks at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall - A sleeper of a show -- I've seen 'em before and enjoyed them, but wasn't expecting to be blown away like this. Raul Malo's voice was exquisite as you'd expect, and the horns were full-throttle and the Tex-Mex-Cuban rhythms so alluring. It was Saturday night, and the crowd was feeling good and totally engrossed in the music (translation: Not yakking and constantly checking their cell phones.) We got up and danced in unison, not because Raul told us, but because the music made us, and we were grateful.

I reviewed 75 national act concerts this year for the Beaver County Times. Also in my Top-10: The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Damien Rice, Foo Fighters, Old Crowe Medicine Show, Ed Sheeran, Stevie Wonder and The Decemberists.

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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 Patrick Bowman sharing his favorite song and favorite album of 2015.

In case you missed, it here's what Patrick played:

Jamie XX, "SeeSaw" Feat. Romy Croft - Jamie XX, producer/mastermind behind British electronic rock outfit The XX, dropped his debut full-length solo effort In Colour in May to wide critical acclaim. The album bounces around with some different styles, but almost always, there's a chilly, particularly English melancholy coloring his sonic palette. "SeeSaw" featuring fellow XX member Romy Croft, is, for all intents and purposes, a new XX song, but it's probably Jamie XX's most dynamic and emotive song to date. He builds the track simply, with a breakbeat sample followed by percolating arpeggios of synth before Croft comes cruising in with her sensually cryptic lyrics; lyrics that sound more like she's forcing herself to feel something after some smoldering passion has withered away. One of my favorite tracks of the year.

The Alabama Shakes, "Sound and Color" - The Alabama Shakes' first album, 2012's Boys and Girls, was an above average retro-soul rocker that was, above all else, a showcase for lead singer/songwriter Brittnay Howard's incredible talents. But Sound and Color, the group's follow up released in the spring of this year, is a massive leap forward in vision and execution, allowing the group to maintain their sonic identity and influences while charting a bold, confident new direction full of limber, unexpected melodies, risky compositions, and an overall futurist soul vibe. The album's title track (and track one) is an otherworldly and beautiful song that shows what Sound and Color is trying to do in miniature: the humming organ/xylophone opening and proceeding relaxed instrumentation, Howard's dream-like lyrics, and unusual song structure, it all makes for a seriously immersive listener experience.

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Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of our most trusted music aficionados joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs!

Quilt, "Eliot St." - This Boston band has been bubbling under the surface of the psychedelic folk scene for a few albums now, but their upcoming "Plaza," out in February, aims to change that. The band is among peers with Real Estate and Woods, but they add a refined sound to their catchy, weird little jams that set them apart. Think psychedelic rock via The Beatles' White Album rather than The Grateful Dead.

Israel Nash, "LA Lately" - This is the latest single from current Texas resident Israel Nash — he recorded his new album, Silver Season, in the studio he built himself on his 15-acre ranch. As such, his folk rock feels wide open, his songs full of space. Nash is most often compared to a modern day Neil Young, and the similarities are hard to ignore. Just take a listen to the guy's gentle falsetto on this beautiful track. Guaranteed to put you in a great mood, and want to take a long, long drive.

 

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Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of WYEP’s trusted music experts joins me (Cindy Howes) on The Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Sarah Wardrop from WFUV in New York!

In case you missed, it here’s what she played:

Santigold, "Can't Get Enough of Myself" - This new song from Santigold premiered a couple of weeks ago, and her album 99¢ will be out until January. As the title indicates, there is a humorous confidence in the lyrics, but they include some social commentary too. Sonically, Santigold has incorporated anything from indie-rock to electronica on her past two albums, so I'm curious to hear the range of the new songs. This one is dance pop with a reggae tinge, bringing a light, fun and summery feel for the fall.

Dylan LeBlanc, "Cautionary Tale" - Dylan LeBlanc returns to his Muscle Shoals roots for album number three, teaming up with Single Lock Records (including John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars, and Ben Tanner, of Alabama Shakes). They let his songs shine, but hauntingly so. This song is the title track of LeBlanc's January release, and although it has a stripped-down, ghost town feel, the layers it does have are tastefully added and beautifully arranged.

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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!

In case you missed it here’s what he played with commentary by Scott:

Jimmy & the Revolvers, "The Morning Paper" - Four lads from Liverpool provide catchy pub rock with horns on this scrappy, not-too-serious song about questioning one's decisions.

Official Burnt Toast, "Money as Debt"- Socially conscious U.K. trip-hop trio with some spoken-word poetry, lashing out here against a banking/financial system too willing to let people fall into debt.

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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 Patrick Bowman

In case you missed, it here's what Patrick played:

Grimes, "Flesh Without Blood" - Canadian Art popper Grimes (Claire Boucher) made a ton of end of year lists back in 2012 with her debut full length album Visions, including mine, and now she's back with the impending release of Art Angels, out this Friday.

Dusk, "Too Sweet" - DUSK, a new side project from Tenement frontman Amos Pitsch, just released the Steely Dan esque “Too Sweet” — the B-side on the Wisconsin band’s upcoming debut single — and Pitsch lets Julia Blair take over on vocal duties to imbue the track with a robust bit of soul, tinged with country twang.

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1buzz_web

Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of our most trusted music aficionados joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs!

In case you missed it here’s what he played with commentary by Justin!

Nikki Hill, Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists - In the post-Amy Winehouse era, we have no shortage of modern soul singers who can belt out a tune and sink into a groove. But few of them really try rocking. Nikki Hill is a North Carolina singer who's as influenced by Otis Redding as she is AC/DC, and her album "Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists" rocks as much as it swings. Hill's voice is powerful and bluesy but she manages to convey heartache through the squall of guitars — and the album's title track cranks the guitars all the way up. Watch out for Nikki Hill. If there's any justice in the world, you'll be hearing more from her.

GospelbeacH, Sunshine Skyway - You can't quite call GospelbeacH a supergroup, but these five dudes certainly have an impressive CV: they've played with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Everest and other great rock bands. Together, they create a mellow, California-driving soundtrack that bleeds influence from Jackson Browne, The Byrds and especially the folkier side of The Grateful Dead. The marquee name here is Neal Casal, a guitarist whose played with everyone who's anyone in modern folk rock. The whole thing feels like the band making fun of itself and the scene that spawned it, but it's loose and solid listening regardless. Their debut album, Pacific Surf Line, is a great time for a toke as the sun goes down.

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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!

In case you missed it here’s what he played with commentary by Scott

Stutter Steps, "Fog" - Impressive debut single from a Pittsburgh indie-pop band fronted by Andy Warhol Museum special events curator Ben Harrison. He gets some guest slide guitar from Dean Wareham of national acts Luna on this song that has a nice hook and alluringly languid vocals. An enjoyable album throughout.

Escondido, "My Heart is Black" - A little more intensity on this new single from the desert-rock/Spaghetti-western-loving Nashville duo. Jessica Maros' voice is a thing of beauty. The reverb-ed guitar work of Tyler James sets the mood. Says Jessica: "We wanted it to match the song’s sentiment and feel like a train going off the tracks."

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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 Patrick Bowman

In case you missed, it here's what Patrick played:

DIIV, “Dopamine”DIIV’s main singer songwriter Zachary Cole has had a rough road since he debuted his band's first album to critical acclaim back in 2012, dealing with various legal troubles, which ensnared his girlfriend and synth pop chanteuse Sky Ferreira as well, stemming from a pretty serious drug problem. Over the past 18 months, he’s gotten himself in a good place, and looks finally ready to release his sophomore album Is The Is Are before the end of 2015. The album’s first single “Dopamine” pretty much takes on all Cole’s problems in one dose, as he breathlessly sings poetically clipped lyrics about how quickly drug use can spin out of control. Using the group’s trademark overlapping/time-signature warping guitar work, which owes a huge debt to Thurston Moore/Sonic Youth, “Dopamine” really does hit like a rush of blood to the head. It’s a thrilling song and I can’t wait to hear the whole album.

Mount Moriah, Calvander - The veteran Durham/Chapel Hill indie rock group Mount Moriah is gearing up to release their third album, their second on Merge because of course, and just dropped their latest, excellent single “Calvander.” This track is like an old, trusty pair of jeans, and from the opening lazy guitar riffs, that possess the perfect alchemy of Built to Spill/Superchunk guitar work tempered by country-fried twang that, it sounds familiar and easy going. Lead singer Heather McEntire shows and doesn’t tell, singing about hitchhiking out around Calvander (a small rural North Carolina town outside of Durham) and doling out little details and touches of a main character who’s on their last legs, looking for salvation in all the wrong places.

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