New Music

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:

Futurebirds, "Serial Bowls" - Nice alt-country-ish tune from the Athens, Ga., group that just released its Fat Possum debut (though the band's been around a few years and released records elsewhere). It has that crunchy guitar tone I'm known to enjoy.

The Joy Formidable, "This Ladder Is Ours" - I'm a big fan of this Welsh three-piece with the big rock sound. The new record, Wolf's Law, is a little more upbeat and a little more consistent than the first; some say that makes it inferior, but I tend to disagree.

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Andy Mulkerin Futurebirds Joy Formidable Morning Mix 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 Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times.

In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott).

Escondido, "Evil Girls" - This Nashville duo serves up a spaghetti-western vibe. It's all good (not bad, or ugly), especially when singer Jessica Maros' voice comes floating in. She might make you
think of Mazzy Star. They've got another song, "Bad Without You," in which she sings about "In the hills of Pennsylvania, closer to the moon/I'm bad without you." Well, all right then! Escondido made its national TV debut this month on Conan.

Said the Whale, "I Love You" - The Vancouver alt-rock quintet revs up the fun on a road-trip-worthy, Dandy Warhols-ish single from an EP arriving June 18. Sample lyrics: "You're kind of sad but I love you/You're kind of rough but I love you/Maybe I'm broke but I love you/I know it's stupid but I love you." Guess that's what you'd call unconditional love.

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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 Justin Jacobs (talking to us from Israel via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine.

In case you missed it, here is what he played with commentary by Justin:

The Features, "This Disorder" - These dudes have been around forever, but they've never quite had that breakthrough. Signed to Kings of Leon's label, this cut is off their latest, self-titled album. It's the catchiest slice of indie pop I've heard all day, and just may give The Features a well-deserved stab at the big leagues.

Portugal. The Man, "Evil Friends" - The first single off of Portugal. The Man's latest album is a trip, and a great indicator of the record: it's both the poppiest and most sinister thing they've done yet. This band was on an album-a-year streak, but this record took them two. The time off shows, and it's a creative, wonderfully weird album — and their first with producer Danger Mouse.

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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 Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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

Kurt Vile, "Never Run Away" - Another hazy stoner track from the Philly rocker who finds the sweet spot between classic and indie rock. This is one of the few radio-sized cuts from his fifth album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze, a 69-minute double LP that finds most of the songs stretching past the 7 minute mark.

Kacey Musgraves, "Follow Your Arrow" - Yes, she's a singer with a shot at mainstream success, but there's a refreshing authenticity to the songs on her major-label debut "Same Trailer Different Park." On this breezy and clever song, she makes a case for being yourself whether that means smoking weed or experimenting with sexuality.

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Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy are working together again on a new album. Produced by Tweedy, One True Vine is coming out on June 25 (ANTI-) and serves as Staples' 13th studio album. Staples, a veteran of the soul music world and one time member of The Staples Singers, worked with Tweedy on her 2010 album You Are Not Alone. One True Vine was recorded at Wilco's loft in Chicago and features Tweedy playing nearly every instrument. The only exception would be the drums, which were handled by Tweedy's 17 year old son, Spencer.

Check out the first song released online from the new album, a cover of Funkdelic's "Can You Get to That":

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Jeff Tweedy Mavis Staples Morning Mix

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:

Austra, "Home" - Unlike the scads of other popular songs about "home" lately, this one does not involve a banjo. Toronto-based Austra has a new album of goth-y, Pagan-ish dance pop coming out this summer, and this jam is the first single from it. Enjoy!

Generationals, "Spinoza" - This band has a way of changing form all the time -- they do electronic pop, they do doo-wop-sounding stuff, but this one's just a straightforward rocker. They're coming to town later this month, too!

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Andy Mulkerin Austra Generationals Morning Mix 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 Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times.

In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott).

J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten, “Prisoners” - We could use a new John Denver in this era of snarkiness. Denver’s simple, optimistic, pro-environmental acoustic songs still must resonate profoundly, judging by the bevy of musical hipsters who stepped forward to lend their voices to the new “This Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver.” From Jim James’ pretty singing on My Morning Jacket’s cover of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” to Old Crow Medicine Show’s twangy “Back Home Again,” to Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris harmonizing winsomely on “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” there’s plenty here to make you appreciate Denver’s songwriting. Dave Matthews, Kathleen Edwards, Lucinda Williams, Josh Ritter, Mary Chapin Carpenter and a surprisingly restrained Train also make memorable contributions. I was most intrigued by the guitar saturated cover of “Prisoners,” a 1972 track on the same Denver album as “Rocky Mountain High,” performed here by the tantalizing pairing of Sharon Van Etten and Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis.

Meeting of Important People, “Innocents Abroad” - The Pittsburgh garage-pop trio already is getting WYEP spins for their new single “Keep Your Eyes on Me.” The entire album, due out April 9, offers solid songcraft. I picked this track as a prime example of their multi-dimensional, accessible sound. I had the vocal hook stuck in my head all weekend (complete with the layered “whoa-whoa-o-o” harmonizing). I like how at the 2 minute mark they kick into another gear, then at 2:16 take things to an even louder, rawer level with cymbals bashing, and guitar slashing, which soon subsides back to that simple and catchy vocal hook. Way to represent, guys!

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Austin, TX based, Patty Griffin has released a new song from her upcoming American Kid, which comes out on May 7th. "Ohio", is a beautiful affair of subtle acoustic guitars (provided by North Mississippi Allstars Bros Cody and Luther Dickinson) and harmonies provided by her main squeeze, Robert Plant (as in Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant). According to USA Today, Griffin claims the song is "a story about the Underground Railroad, about slaves escaping. It's inspired by something I read in a Toni Morrison novel a few years back". Check out the song, streaming below:

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Illustrious UK chanteuse, Jessie Ware and her incredible debut album Devotion, will finally get a proper U.S. release on April 16th via Cherrytree Records. The album will include two new tracks: a remix of “Wildest Moments” featuring ASAP Rocky and “Imagine it Was Us”.

BBC Radio 1′s Annie Mac premiered “Imagine it Was Us”. Here's a radio rip of the new song from Jessie Ware:

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Devotion Jessie Ware Morning Mix
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 from Israel via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine.

In case you missed it, here is what he played with commentary by Justin:

Phosphorescent, "Song for Zula" - The first single from Phosphorescent's latest album, "Muchacho," is this totally beautiful track called "Songs for Zula." Matthew Houck's voice is creaky and broken, and it sounds perfect against the song's soft, swirling sounds. Granted, this is a change for Houck, who has made his name on dusty country rock. Some risks are well worth taking.

Young Galaxy, "Pretty Boy" - Tight, catchy, concise — it's pop's newest sensation, Young Galaxy! Wouldn't the world be better if that were true. No, this act won't become radio darlings, but this track is a lovely, affecting little piece of hard candy from a band that's been at it since 2006.

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