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I don't think anyone aspires to live in a trash can like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, but this song from the Elmopalooza soundtrack featuring Aerosmith's Steven Tyler perfectly sums up the carefree, 2 year-old mindset and is sure to get everyone rockin' out. Oscar was always my favorite on Sesame Street, he was always called "The Grouch," but if a beat-up old shoe is your most prized possession, you truly are an optimist. Tyler really grinds this classic sing-along with some grit, but the song is anything but trash.

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www.adam-mistick.squarespace.com Album Art by Adam Mistick

 

WYEP’s Reimagine Media project is a teen-led program that focuses on media creation, creativity, and discovery. WYEP plays an integral role in shaping and supporting ten of the best Pittsburgh high-school bands by providing them with outlets to express their creativity.

Each band involved in the project received the opportunity to record one song at The Church Recording Studio, which was included in the inaugural Reimagination compilation CD. The CD is diverse, with genres ranging from rock to reggae, country to hip-hop, blues to soul, and everything in between.

Matthew Spangler, WYEP Director of Education & Community Engagement, initiated this project in order to give the burgeoning musicians “a taste of what it is like to be a professional musician, while working alongside professional producers and recording in a professional recording studio.”

Because the Reimagine Media project aims to give young musicians a glimpse into the life of a professional musician, WYEP provides the bands with numerous outlets to perform their music live. The bands performing at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival on Saturday, June 28 starting at 2:00pm are Hat Co, Jessica Bitsura, FYFS, and The Options.

Each of bands could not sound more different, but their songs on the CD exhibit a high level of professionalism, energy, and musical talent.

Hat Co’s song featuring Zoe Z., “Gold Chains,” has an R&B / Soul flavor. Zoe sings with a mature confidence, emotion, and power, which is usually difficult for young musicians to convey through a recording, but Zoe does it successfully.

Jessica Bitsura’s song, “That Smile,” has all the components of an enjoyable country-pop song: a melodic voice, acoustic guitar, delicate harmonies, and a powerful kick-drum.

FYFS’ song, “Don’t Look Back,” has a unique feel in that the band has the ability to genre-hop. The song begins as a danceable rock-punk tune and then shifts to a laid-back reggae jam. The band’s talented horn section gives the band another distinctive quality.

The Options’ song, “Sonder” is a ‘50s do-wop song with a modern twist. It’s not often that we hear this classic genre incorporated in music today, but it is refreshing to know that young musicians today are still influenced by the sounds of the past.

As an alumni participant of WYEP's Reimagine Media project and now a current intern at WYEP, I am pleased to know that WYEP is continuing the tradition of recognizing and nurturing Pittsburgh’s most talented high-school musicians and bands.

Please support the future of music and the Reimagine Media project at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival on Saturday, June 28 at 2:00pm at Schenley Plaza.

Lisa Fierstein, WYEP Music & Programming Intern

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Since Beastie Boys member MCA died in 2012, the Boys really haven't been in the spotlight let alone performing at all. Now after two years, one of the remaining members Mike D has offered new details on the Beastie Boys' future and, unfortunately, it looks like there isn't one.

In a recent courtroom appearance for an ongoing court case, Mike D testified against Monster Beverage Corp. that used the groups songs in its "Ruckus in the Rockies" video which the corporation also dedicated to MCA. When Yauch died, his will said that his art and his work with the Beastie Boys wasn't going to be used for advertising by any means.

Diamond said in a statement that the band hasn't toured since MCA died and that without him the group can't make new music — the last full Beastie Boys Record being 2011's Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.

More recently, the band denied the use of their song "Sabatoge" in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name released earlier this year. Mike D said it was "too much of an endorsement" and none of the members were particular fans of Schwarzenegger anyway.

Though the Beastie Boys remain classic in the name of hip-hop, it'll have be through their remaining material, CDs, records, etc.

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"Daddy What If" is a short but strong musical conversation between a father and child. "If the sun stopped shinin'" a child asks, "what would happen then?" It seems like, when we're young, parents have all the answers to these childish questions. The song does this with a few other questions before ending with one of the hardest questions, "daddy, what if I stop lovin' you?" as a child wonders if these scary things have to happen for us to grow up. What's cooler is the fact that though the original song features Bobby Bare and his son Bobby Bare Jr., later videos of the song can be found of Bobby Bare Jr. singing the song with his own kids. Maybe one day, those kids will pass on the song as well.

 

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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!

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

Manchester Orchestra, "Cope"-  Boy, oh boy, is this song loud. Right now, press play and turn up your car stereo or your shitty computer speakers. This Atlanta band has been messing around with some 'alternative rock' sounds for a few albums now, but on their fourth record, they come up with something that sounds like a sonic upgrade of 1994.

Tune-Yards, "Water Fountain"-Merrill Garbus' new album, Nikki Nack, squeezed its way into my head last month, and I don't think it'll leave until Christmas. The music is out-there weird but totally funky and undeniably fun. This is her first single off the album. Enjoy!

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Today's Cool Kids pick is by a Nashville americana group named Old Crow Medicine Show. Old Crow Medicine Show has been around since the late 90's and can be popularly recognized as the group who brought to life an old Bob Dylan bootleg, "Wagon Wheel."

"Let it Alone," today's Cool Kids song choice comes from the 2006 album Big Iron World and relays a message important for people of all ages. The group tells listeners to mind their own business when it comes to other people's problems. It's the safe thing to do! Here's the song:

Cool Kids airs every weekday morning at 8:15 AM. If you have a Cool Kids suggestion send Joey a message!

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Gary Clark Jr is considered to be the savior/renaissance man of blues music.  He hails from Austin, Texas and has been playing guitar since age 12.  He earned recognition early on from playing gigs at Antone’s music club in Austin (the same place that launched the career of blues icon Stevie Ray Vaughn).  Clark has landed spots on countless music festivals and played sold out shows nation-wide.   With such an impressive resume it was hard to believe that he was going to be playing Mr. Smalls Theater, which also sold out (duh right?).That was the question each fan in line including myself had.  What grace of god (or whomever you fancy) allowed Gary Clark Jr to play a small intimate club show when he was literally playing the TD Garden in Boston two days earlier?  Whatever it was, we were all pumped and ready for a night of the blues.

There was no national act supporting Gary Clark Jr, so Pittsburgh’s own Grand Piano (pictured below) opened.

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I had heard a few songs by these guys before, but never saw them.  To put it simple, Grand Piano blew the crowd away.  Their sound was like nothing I’d ever heard; they used a sax, trumpet, and steel guitar on top of the traditional guitar, drum, and bass.  I couldn’t get over how much the drummer and horns set the pace for each song.  Grand Piano was also very modest about their opening spot, thanking the crowd and club numerous times.  They were corky and joked with each other on stage in between songs but were completely business while playing, it was treat.  After Grand Piano left the stage everybody started to huddle towards the front.  It was time for Gary Clark Jr!

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He came out and just gave a smile and a hello before busting right into a cover of Robert Perry’s “Catfish Blues.” Gary Clark Jr continued to play homage to the pioneers of blues by covering BB Kings “3 O’clock Blues,” Albert Kings’ “Pretty Woman (Can’t Make You Love Me), and The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Third Stone from the Sun.”

Gary Clark Jr’s choice of covers told a lot about him, his music, and the way he plays.  He is commonly compared to the late Jimi Hendrix because of his ability to shred the guitar and jam for seemingly endless amounts of time (which is a good thing, we appreciate a good jam here at WTMO).  You could really tell that he and his backing band had great chemistry.  That being said, not a single track sounded like an original recording verbatim, each song was basically a jam.

Gary Clark Jr is also compared to BB King in the sense that he “feels” his guitar when he plays.  While playing he would commonly make these faces that almost looked like he was in pain.  However, said made faces occurred while some of the most soothing music was being played.  Gary Clark Jr wasn’t just in tune with the audience he was pouring his heart and soul out on the stage. To hear the classics being played with neo blues twist was like a full circle experience for all those in attendance.  It was almost as if Mr. Clark was trying to serenade the crowd with this guitar.

Before heading off the stage the first time, he highlighted the hits from his latest and critically acclaimed release Blak and Blu and played both the title track and “Bright Lights.”

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Now we all know about “the encore.”  The band exits on a high note and more importantly leaves the crowd wanting more.  Gary Clark Jr added a little zazz to this encore.  He came out alone and with an attached harmonica (pictured above) and proceeded to play his cover of Leroy Carr’s “In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down).  The band proceeded to rejoin him on stage as he wrapped up and closed the show out with “You Saved Me” and fan favorite “Numb.”

This was certainly a special concert; Pittsburgh and a few other cities do not know how lucky they are to see Gary Clark Jr perform in a small intimate club.  Next time he comes around on tour I guarantee it will be at a venue with five maybe even ten times the crowd capacity, the demand will be too high for venue like Mr. Smalls.  So if you consider yourself a fan of blues and you already haven’t listened to Gary Clark Jr, DO IT!  You’ll thank yourself.  And more importantly stick around and check out our blog for other show reviews and previews, interviews, and much more!

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Today's Cool Kids artist, Angelique Kidjo, is characterized by Time Magazine as "Africa's premier diva". She is a Beninoise singer-songwriter, social activist and brings upbeat tunes that kids and parents alike will get a kick out of. The pure energy that Kidjo gives off makes it borderline impossible to not feel the good vibes, even in this polar vortex.

"Kelele" is the ninth track off of the 2010 album, Oyo, and tells the story of Angelique Kidjo combining influences of traditional Benin music, 60's and 70's soul and even Bollywood. Check out the song below!

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Your kids might be familiar with "Whip It," Devo's 1980 hit single, but WYEP Morning Mix host, Joey Spehar, knows that they'd really love to dive deeper into this New Wave bands discography. Beautiful World was released on New Traditionalists, Devo's fourth studio album in 1981. When on tour for this album the band developed a new style which included the "New Traditionalist Pomp" based off of John F. Kennedy's hairstyle, and wore getups they called "Utopian Boy Scout Uniforms". Yikes!

This song features a positive message for kids to adhere to with lyrics that talk about how beautiful the world is. The beats and synths in this song will get anybody moving. Check out the music video below!

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Not too long ago our Cool Kids pick was Jack Johnson's "Radiate" and received some positive feedback. Check out what one listener said, and if you missed the song before, check it out now!

"I played the CD for my 2 1/2 year old son Jake one time and he began requesting Radiate by name. I am not exaggerating when I say that for the past week he wakes up in the morning and/or from his nap asking to play the video on the ipad. In a moment of weakness (and those without children may say poor parenting) I gave him the ipad so that I could get the house cleaned up a bit. I think he may have played it for about an hour!!

It ends up the song was written about Jack Johnson watching his own son slip off into his imaginary world radiating all kinds of wonderful childhood energy out. I learned this little factoid from multiple views of the video on YouTube - I'm sure we are logging at least 1000 of the posted views! I think it's pretty cool that of all the songs on the CD, this is the one my son connects with!!"

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