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Once in a great while you hear music that just makes you feel cool.

Every time it comes on, you feel like you should be walking in slow motion, dark shades on, gliding into a room as all eyes fix on you. Maybe you're wearing an old, black, leather jacket and flicking a cigarette as smoke billows from your mouth.

There are only a handful of groups in recent memory that have given me that feeling: Autolux, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Leonard Cohen, to name a few. And now, thanks to their new album, Eyelid Movies, Phantogram have joined those hallowed ranks. Read More.

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Ready or not, don't fret. This deceptively-named band actually comes from the land down under -- Townsville, Queensland, Australia to be exact.

They create music as beautiful and diverse as the Great Barrier Reef itself. Their strings, harmonies, and layers have delighted audiences worldwide, yet they remain one of Australia's best kept secrets.

But now, they have their sights set on America. Read More.

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So.... this is pretty much how I spent my weekend... with Lissie's Lady Gaga cover stuck in my head. I also downloaded Lissie's EP Why You Runnin' and spent a good amount of time trying to figure out when her full length will be out (got nowhere). She's a new favorite, for sure. Hope you like it, too.

More on Lissie is here

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This is an awesome song! Video is like Toy Story vs Saving Private Ryan.

more on Turin Brakes: Right Here

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I've always thought of John Hiatt as simply a prolific songwriter.  His songs have been covered by numerous artists.  At his concert Friday night he proved that he was more than just a writer of songs, he is truly a gifted singer-songwriter and performer.

John Hiatt shared the stage with a very talented combo of players.  Doug Lancio on guitars, Kenny Blevins on drums and Patrick O'Hearn on bass.  What I found intriguing was that only Hiatt had a microphone.  He provided the vocals, along with accompaniment on various guitars. For over two hours, Hiatt sang, played a guitar and told stories; like about being married and the importance of the toilet paper being placed correctly on the dispenser (under or over).  Hiatt mixed in a few songs from his newly released CD "The Open Road", including the title track, "Haulin'", "Carry You Back Home" and "Like a Freight Train".  But, really, it was like being at a 'best of' concert: "Drive South", "Master of Disaster", "Crossing Muddy Waters", the fun "The Tiki Bar is Open", "Buffalo River Home", "Perfectly Good Guitar", "Tennessee Plates" (by request), "Feels Like Rain" (definitely a highlight), "Memphis In The Meantime" and the encore of "Riding with the King" and "Have a Little Faith in Me".  Hiatt is a consummate performer whose songs continue to endure the test of time whether performed by the writer himself or another artist.

Opening the show was the granddaughter of Hank Williams, Sr., daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. and half-sister of Hank Williams III.  Holly Williams did a brief 30-minute set of 7 songs, pulling from her 2 releases: "The Ones We Never Knew" and "Here With Me".  "Sometimes." "Mama" (about her mother.) "Three Days In Bed" (about the men she met while touring internationally.) Williams is a newlywed and her husband Chris Coleman joined her on guitar, harmonica and vocals mid-way though her set.  A cover of her favorite John Prine song "Angel from Montgomery."  Ending with "Without Jesus Here With Me" (chronicling a near death experience for her sister in a car crash.)  Williams celebrated her 29th birthday in Pittsburgh; the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to her before she left the stage.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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'Sugarcoating' is the new release due out April 6th from soulful singer-songwriter Martin Sexton.  Martin's been busy in the studio and video blogging during the live recording experience for his upcoming release. There are samples of a few of his new songs on his website www.martinsexton.com

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29 acts. Five days. Ports of call in Belize and Mexico.

During the last week of February, Mr. Barb and I embark on our 3rd journey through song. The chartered cruise is on the same ship as last year.

The returning headliners: Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile are joined by Steve Earle .

Other returning singer-songwriters on-board will be: Katie Herzig, Edwin McCain, Buddy Miller, Shawn Mullins, Darrell Scott, and Vienna Teng & Alex Wong.

New to the line-up: Chuck Cannon, Edie Carey, Luke Doucet, Hoots and Hellmouth, Gregory Alan Isakov, Robert Earl Keen (solo), Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Lissie, Melissa McClelland, Scott Munns, Larkin Poe (formerly the Lovell Sisters), Samantha Crain, Scythian, Ben Taylor, Francisco Vidal, Sara Watkins, Works Progress Administration, and Rachael Yamagata.

Again this year, the organizers of the event sent us a 2-CD set of 24 songs from the artists scheduled to be on the 2010 cruise.

It’s always great to see the returning artists; and we know we will discover some new artists too. In addition, there are some events I’m really looking forward to: A Songwriting Workshop hosted by Shawn Mullins and Chuck Cannon; Songwriters in the Round with Katie Herzig, Luke Doucet and his wife Melissa McClelland, Gregory Alan Isakov and Vienna Teng; plus on the last day a Session that will include Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips, Rebecca Lovell, Chuck Cannon, and Edie Carey who will discuss their writing process and perform some of their collaborative songs.  In addition, as third-time alumni we will have the chance to sit in on one of the special interviews with artists, hosted by David Dye of NPR's World Cafe.

We chose the earliest headliner show time of 6:00 PM this year. In previous years I’ve been known to (ahem) take a nap during the headliner shows, so I can be rested for the late night shows. The schedule this year is mercifully more friendly to those of us who are “morning people” and don’t necessarily want to try to stay awake until 12:30 AM to see a performer. Although I must admit some of my favorite memories are from the post Midnight shows, as you never know what you’re going to get. Our first headliner act on the day we sail is Mr. Lyle Lovett.

We expect plenty of sunshine, happy smiling faces, unexpected impromptu collaborations, and to add to our CD collection. Besides some stories for the WYEP Music Blog; I plan to bring back some sun and warmth in my suitcase for a winter weary Burgh.

Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host

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Congratulations is the new release from MGMT. It's the follow up to their debut Oracular Spectacular, which garnered them critical acclaim, a large fan base, shows at many festivals, and being tagged as a 'visionary force in pop music '.

Congratulations is Produced by MGMT and Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, E.A.R., Spectrum), Congratulations was recorded throughout 2009 in upstate New York, Malibu, and Brooklyn and features Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, MGMT's core duo, performing with Matt Asti (bass, backing vocals), Will Berman (drums, backing vocals), and James Richardson (guitar, backing vocals), the band's live line-up.

The new release is due out April 13th.

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Willie Nile will be opening our next WYEP Free member show with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers on Tuesday, February 2nd at the New Hazlett Theater. Here's a recent video from a benefit concert in Asbury Park in which Joe Grushecky & Bruce Springsteen joined Willie Nile on stage for a rocking version of Willie's song 'Heaven Help The Lonely'.

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the inductees for the "class of 2010" yesterday. Among them were The Stooges, Iggy Pop's influential protopunk group, who were on their 8th nomination for the honor. Also to be inducted are the Swedish-pop group Abba, who had also been previously nominated. Filling out the bunch is reggae star Jimmy Cliff, Genesis, and British-invasion group The Hollies.

To be inducted in the non-performer category is songwriting duos Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Also, songwriters Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell and music impresario David Geffen.

This year's induction ceremony will be at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on March 15th.

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