Personal Picks

Pavement had received alot of critical praise for their release "Slanted and Enchanted" in 1992. It's still a great release, but Pavement would become more focused and sharper with the sophomore release, "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain".

Once again, growing up in the 90's, I remember hearing it first when I saw the video. It was on MTV's "120 Minutes". The video featured the band going into a barber shop and one by one getting their haricut. Crazy things happen as each member steps up. One seems to turn into a gorilla as he sits down, while another starts drinking the blue liquid that the combs are stored in. Someone else sneezes out a kitten, and Stephen Malkmus, the leader of the band, has a crown put on him. It was goofy and fit the band perfectly. The song just makes me feel great every time I hear it to this day. It's just one of those songs that makes you smile.

Pavement put out three more full lengths, and Stephen Malkmus has had a successful solo and fantasy baseball career. It all started for me, though, with this song.

-Andy , Tuesday Evening Mix

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Personal Picks

"Losing My Religion" is simply a great song. I haven't always thought so. I've liked R.E.M. since I was a kid, but I heard this song so much when it came out I couldn't listen to it for a long time. Also, to be honest, people talk about how great the video is, but I could do without it. R.E.M. has had lots of great videos, but in my book, this is not one of them. I would take the video for "Everybody Hurts" or "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" anyday over this one.

Anyway, I purposely didn't listen to this song for quite some time. About 6 or 7 years ago, I was listening to the release it is from, "Out Of Time", and I was going to skip over it but decided to give it a go. Oh, how wrong I had been. I could appreciate it now that there was some distance and time from when it came out. It's one of the best songs R.E.M. has ever written. Easily.

-Andy, Tuesday Evening Mix

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From my perspective, one of the best things about meeting new people has always been learning about new music. Growing up, my friends and I always had the common bond of music. We all loved it. Therefore, when I would be introduced to new people through friends, sooner or later that person would usually introduce me to an artist or band I had never heard of. I can pinpoint certain music with certain friends. With Justin, it was Modest Mouse.

I had met Justin in high school. I had noticed Clint, another friend, and Justin making comments for a few weeks about a band named Modest Mouse. It usually involved Clint making jokes about them being awful, and Justin defending them. Apparently, there was a line in one of their songs that mentioned something like, "God Damn / I hope I can pass high school". Clint thought this was awful, and to be honest when saying it out loud without heairng the song it does seem pretty bad. Also, there was supposedly another song about cockroachs that was bad, too.

A bunch of us were at a BBQ one day, when Justin mentioned he had to pick someone up to bring over. I said I would go along for the ride. Well, as Justin and I hopped in his car that day we began talking. He made some sort of comment involving this band Modest Mouse. I said, "Who or what is this Modest Mouse thing? You guys keep talking about it." Justin replied, "You haven't heard the Mouse?! Oh wow, you gotta hear it. This... this is good." Now please realize, looking back Justin was probably talking this up in hopes he could get me to agree with him about their quality, and therefore, have someone to back him when Clint made jokes. However, at the time I wasn't thinking about this. I was just intrigued. So then Justin put on a mix tape he had in the car, and found a Modest Mouse song on it. It was called "Doing The Cockroach".

From the moment it started, I liked it. It starts slowly with singer Issac Brock stating, "I was in heaven / I was in hell / Believe in neither / But fear 'em as well". On the word "fear" the drums kick in. As it builds the song chugs at an increasingly faster pace till Brock announces, "We're Doin The Cockroach, Yeah!!!". From there forward the song is pure rock n' roll. It's raw and primal. By the time the song ended, I was on board. Justin didn't have to sell it to me.

To this day, I have no idea how to "Do The Cockroach". I'm not even sure if it is suppose to be a dance of some kind. It's a great song, however. It's a sound that only a band as young and naive as they were could probably make. The trio had formed when they were teenagers, and when the song was released I don't think anyone was more than 21 or 22. They're clearly not doubting themselves or thinking too much about it. They're just going for it.

They have become a different band in recent years. I still enjoy it for the most part, but it's different. Issac Brock has learned how to craft a song. He's explored other areas and branched out. Early tunes, like "Doin The Cockroach", might not work on a more recent Modest Mouse record. That's okay, and probably good for him. I still love the cockroach, though.

Oh by the way, I believe within a year or so Clint had agreed that they were pretty good. Justin didn't need my help.

-Andy, Tuesday Evening Mix

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Personal Picks

Summer in the city means concerts and more concerts.

On August 2nd I’m venturing down the pike to Philly to see Sheryl Crow along with James Blunt and Toots and the Maytals.  To be honest, I’m mostly going to see James Blunt.  The only time James was scheduled to be in the Burgh, his concert was cancelled.  I’ve been looking for the chance to see James, so when I saw he was touring with Sheryl this summer, I had to go.  James is a 21st century singer songwriter with 70s songwriting sensibilities.  I last saw Sheryl almost two years ago when she co-headlined a tour with John Mayer which began in Burgettstown (a first night of the tour is like a glorified dress rehearsal, but fun for a fan to see it all coming together on stage).  I love Sheryl’s new CD “Detours”, I think it’s her best offering in years, taking us back to the “Tuesday Night Music Club” days with catchy timely lyrics.

A few days later, on August 6th I will be heading east again, this time to Greensburg to see Edwin McCain.  It will be an acoustic trio show.  I’ve been a long time Edwin McCain fan, but never was able to see him in concert until this year and that was in the middle of the Western Caribbean on a cruise ship (more on that journey into song in another post).  Edwin is very funny on stage and I believe under-rated as a singer songwriter.  I look forward to another entertaining evening of great music.

Speaking of John Mayer, his tour finally rolls through the area again on August 20th.  After seeing John with Sheryl in 2006, about a month later I had the opportunity to see him in a free outdoor concert in downtown Toronto.  I was attending a conference and found out he would be performing nearby.  That was a lot of fun, even though I was standing over a block away, the atmosphere was great.  John still did not yet have the confidence on stage to believe in his music and I’m hoping that touring over the last couple of years has built that level of confidence up.  I have his current CD/DVD “where the light is” and I can see and hear the maturity in his voice.  I’m also digging his new single “Say”.

On September 15th , Shawn Mullins will be back, this time in support of Dar Williams.  I’ve been a fan of Shawn’s music since I heard “Lullaby”.  He seems to play the Burgh at least once a year, and this will be his 2nd visit in 2008, his last solo show being April 1st right after “honeydew” was released.  I believe “honeydew” is Shawn’s strongest release in years.  You can hear the depth and experience in the lyrics.  “honeydew” was also released on vinyl and some of the tracks segue seamlessly into each other, like songs on albums would often do in the 70s.  I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Dar and I look forward to her set.  Dar has a new CD coming out in September called “Promise Land”.  Lending support on the album are such renowned artists as Suzanne Vega, Marshall Crenshaw, and Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks).

I wonder how many people watching the Oscars® ever heard of Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova.  I was rooting for their song “Falling Slowly” to take the coveted Best Original Song Oscar®.  A much deserved win for not only the talented singer songwriters, but for independent music as well.  What a moment it was to see Marketa come back out to give her acceptance speech.  The Swell Season will be in town September 21st.  I’ve vowed to finally watch the DVD of “Once”.  I’ve been enjoying listening to The Frames “the Cost” CD.  I was introduced to their music thanks to WYEP.

The fall will hopefully continue bringing us some more great concerts.  I’m looking forward to seeing Joan Osborne for the first time on October 23rd.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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