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The music video for today's Cool Kids song is pretty cool. The backdrop sort of grows up around the band, and it looks like paper mâchè mountains and volcanos and all sorts of stuff. Any kid can make paper mâchè, and it could be a fun activity for you and your kids to do while you listen to Ra Ra Riot's "Too Dramatic" on repeat.

All sorts of stuff can be made out of paper mâchè, and considering the vastness of childish imagination, even the simplest balloon mold becomes something like the death star or the head of their favorite TV character. Hopefully not an Annoying Orange though. We've all had enough of him.

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Today's Cool Kids jam is a fun song about a not so fun activity: working in a coal mine. Even though coal has been a major energy source here in Western Pennsylvania, it still has a dark and sooty past. Children used to work in the mines and suffered many major injuries and deformities as a result.

Luckily, there are now regulations in check to keep kids from working in coal mines. These days, kids think cleaning their rooms is the worst think that could happen to them. Imagine what would happen if they worked in a coal mine for one day! They'd never complain about making the bed again. Even if they won't cooperate, at least we can be glad they're safe.

Devo provides the room cleaning tune for the day. "Workin' In A Coal Mine" is the name of the song, and it's great to hear such a funky song while working. Enjoy!

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Awooooooooooo! Hear that howl? That means it's time for today's Cool Kids song! The song is "Awoo" by The Hidden Cameras, a fun song that will get your kids howling at the moon. The song even features a lyric that's about something they love, hating school!

"From the moment I was taught to resist the education, awoo
To hold it hostage until I know he loves me, awoo
With a shrug and an ugh, I unleash my holy power, awoo
The feeling of the end of my last examination, awoo"

Let out your wild side with the kids and join the pack to this song. The music video is fun too!

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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. Click the title to hear the song!

Morcheeba, “Make Believer”
The U.K. band that started out trip-hop now gets all dub-steppy here on this single from their month-old album. It’s just a good, lounge-y love song highlighting the alluring voice of Skye Edwards.

LA Font - “Diving Man”
Imagine if 1990s alt-rock band Semisonic had followed up “Closing Time” by adding a new singer; say, The Cure’s Robert Smith, or Black 47’s Larry Kirwin of Black 47. I’d bet it would sound a lot like this new L.A. group fronted by Danny Bobbe, who was born in Alaska, raised in Utah and went to college in Montana. His background gives him an outsiders’ perspective befitting this song about handling homesickness one dive bar at a time.

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For today's Cool Kids segment, we bring to you a special guest! Tim Wilson of Ivan and Alyosha has a son named Henry that loves music. According to Tim, Henry does a sweet cover of the ABCs. Henry will pick up an guitar and yell each letter of the alphabet in what Tim calls a punk version of the song.

Another song Henry likes is the Lumineers' "Ho Hey". "Probably when Henry was two, and the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" was going bonkers, he would sing that song on his own and on pitch, and nail it," Tim says. "The fact that Henry could pretty easily pick it up and sing it is a testament to how huge that song has gotten because it's so catchy. It's so simple, but it's so beautiful, and it's executed so well."

Listen to the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" below.

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Today's Cool Kids song celebrates today's weather, and the approaching holiday season. "Purple Snowflakes" by Marvin Gaye is a classic holiday tune, and even if you're not ready for it, winter is coming. Hopefully, we at WYEP can help you transition into the holidays with ease.

The holidays give our kids some of their best memories for later in life. Waking up early to open presents may be a pain in the neck, but it makes the kids happy. The holiday is really for them anyway, isn't it? Some of our best memories come from hearing those classic Christmas songs on the radio.

We promise we won't play "Silent Night" yet like the malls in the area, but maybe some Marvin Gaye will warm you up for the holidays without too much stress.

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Hallo! Mike Sauter here.

Although 7" single picture sleeves are by now a faded art form, there are many delightful examples of bands who tried to give their fans something more than just simply the music when they purchased singles. XTC usually went the extra mile for their 7" releases, and for some, they went many extra metaphorical miles. Because of this effort by the band, and because of my fondness for their music, I started collecting their picture sleeve singles back in the 1980s. I don't have a complete set, but here on the occasion of Andy Partridge's 60th birthday on Monday, I brought a bunch of them in to WYEP to share with you.

Here's a fairly basic one to start off. It's the single sleeve for "Senses Working Overtime" from 1982's English Settlement album. Nice if straightforward art illustrating the five senses. (click on this or any of the images below for a larger version)

Sense Working Overtime

Another simple one, "Wake Up" from The Big Express from 1984. Just a sleepy man's head recast as an alarm clock.

Wake Up

Here's the sleeve from the 1980 single "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)." The song is about a lovelorn guy envisioning comic-book tough guy Sgt. Rock helping him get and keep a girlfriend, so the art depicts a nebbishy guy following in the footsteps of a huge brute (the style seems patterned after Mad Magazine's Don Martin), with an arrow leading the reader towards the back of the sleeve....

Sgt. Rock 1

...and on the back, there's simply an explosion, suggesting that following in the Sergeant's footsteps didn't end very well.

Sgt Rock 2

The 1984 single "This World Over" is a Cold War nightmare, depicting life on earth following a nuclear war. Hence, the elaborate artwork with a series of postcards attached to the front of the single. Each postcard is captioned as an image of different major world cities ("Greetings from London," "Greetings from New York," etc.) but all of the show the identical bombed-out, destroyed landscape. The postcards attach to the single sleeve at an image of a button labeled "Push Once."

This World Over unfolded straight

Here's another angle on the unfolded postcards.

This World Over unfolded angle

This is a detail of one of the postcards.

This World Over postcard detail

1982's "No Thugs in Our House" is another elaborate sleeve design. Here's the way it appears flat from the front. Note the bottom is labeled "XTC Theater."

No Thugs flat

The sleeve has a flap which can unfold, revealing a proscenium arch lifting off a setting for the song's storyline. In keeping with the the song's refrain that "And all the while Graham slept on, dreaming of a world where he could do just what he wanted to," at the top is the sleeping Graham. The kitchen window is a cutout showing a landscape printed on the single's record label.

No Thugs inside art

The single also comes with cutout characters so that one could act out the song behind the proscenium arch flap. Characters include Graham's moother (the "insect-headed worker wife"), the young policeman, and Graham's father (later revealed to be a judge).

No Thugs cutout characters

Finally, the back of the single has its lyrics written out as if a theatrical libretto.

No Thugs script

Another picture of the single with all its parts:

No Thugs overview

"Ball and Chain" was another single from the same album as "No Thugs in Our House," 1982's English Settlement. The sleeve for "Ball and Chain" was simply designed, but obviously made to emulate classic '60s record sleeves. For comparison, here is a link to an image of the back of The Beatles' U.K. Please Please Me LP.

Ball and Chain back cover

This is a detail of the "Ball and Chain" sleeve back, with a parody ad for "XETIC" record cleaner. Compare this to EMI's ad on the back of Please Please Me for "Emitex" record cleaner.

Ball and chain XITEC

The sleeve for the 1986 single "Dear God" is as striking and controversial as the song itself. The song's lyrics, framed as a message to God, questions the rationale for a belief in God and finally proclaims, "If there's one thing I don't believe in, it's you." Thus, the single's cover image of a pen substituting for a crucifixion nail both reinforces and comments upon the song's theme in an unforgettable manner.

Dear God

"Dear God" denial of belief aside, XTC issued a 1983 Christmas single under the psuedonymous band name "The Three Wise Men." Neither "XTC" nor any of the band member's name appeared anywhere on the single, but the sweetly melodic music on "Thanks for Christmas" is pure XTC pop. Here's the cover with the members of XTC is heavy disguise as the biblical Wise Men.

Thanks For Christmas front

The back cover shows them all bearing their gifts.

Thanks For Christmas back

Here's a detail of the book carried by the middle Wise Man, titled "What's On in Bethlehem."

Thanks For Christmas back detail

Finally, here is the sleeve for 1989's "The Mayor of Simpleton." It's a painting on wood depicting, presumably, the titular mayor and the Simpleton landscape over which he administers. The wood is riddled, for some reason, with holes.

Mayor of Simpleton front

The back cover of the sleeve shows what appears to be the back of the wood (featuring the same holes) painting with a Simpleton-set depiction of the members of XTC. Andy Partridge is the bespectacled one bearing the guitar.

Mayor of Simpleton back

Well, that's it for this tour of some of XTC's 7" picture sleeves. Hope you enjoyed it. And happy 60th birthday, Mr. Partridge!

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“Remember remember the fifth of November…” All those in attendance for City and Colour’s performance at Stage AE certainly will remember how they spent their November 5th.

City and Colour is the alias for singer-songwriter Dallas Green.  The band’s name comes from Dallas – which is a city and Green - which is a color.  Although Green was a singer and guitarist in the post-hardcore band, Alexisonfire (disbanded in 2012), he started writing material for City and Colour at age 16.  Needless to say his music has progressed a long way since his 2005 release, Sometimes.  Green has grown from being a solo acoustic act to having a full band.

Although I’m personally more of a fan of the acoustic and stripped down City and Colour material, I was excited to see a full live band.

The second that Dallas Green emerged in the center of the stage the crowd awoke in an eruptive applause.  City and Colour started with a single off of their latest record, The Hurry and the Harm, “Of Space and Time.”  The full band was outstanding.  They didn’t just play songs off the record verbatim.  Each song was pretty much accompanied with some sort of impromptu jam.

Aside from the terrific musicianship, I was genuinely impressed by how funny and interactive Dallas Green was with the crowd.  Green took a stab at a popular (and unfortunate) trend at concerts before playing a few songs solo.

Green asked everyone the crowd to take out all there phones and hold them in the air.  He then immediately asked everyone to put their phones in their pockets and leave them there.  I loved it.  After Green’s anti-phone speech he broke into (my personal favorite!) “Body in a Box.”

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Green’s acoustic set was my personal highlight of the show.  He interacted with the crowd the entire time; he even brought up how he was pulling for the Pirates in the playoffs.  Green wasn’t just funny he was extremely honest and humble.  “It’s very surprising for me to come to the US and have this many people interested and listening,” Green thankfully exclaimed to the crowd before the full band joined Green again on stage.

The band continued to highlight The Hurry and the Harm during the later half of their set, including the hits “Paradise” and “Thirst.”  After a few more songs they band walked off the stage.

We all knew they weren’t done.  But still “like a dog on a raw meat” (thank you Mike Lang) the “Encore!  Encore!  Encore!” chants started the second the band left the stage.  After a few brief moments, Green appeared on stage on stage alone.  He thanked the crowd again one more time before starting to play “The Girl.”  Now for those who don’t know, “The Girl,” has a reprise, so the full band joined Green onstage for the second half of the song.  The City and Colour would play two more encores, closing with “Death’s Song.”

I honestly cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed The City and Colour’s performance.  Everything was solid; if you haven’t listened to or seen The City and Colour you are missing out!

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Welcome to Cool Kids, where we celebrate how truly awesome kids and their parents are. Today's cool kids makes everyone a little cooler, and hopefully a little happier. "No More Misty Days" by Bujo Banton, and featuring Rancid! This song grooves in all the right ways, and hopefully you'll feel a bit less blue for listening to it. Reggae has a way of making the spirit sing, and this song is no exception. Enjoy!

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Joni Mitchell is turning 70 today! Joni has a body of work spanning 40 years as a singer, composer, and lyricist of remarkable skill and unmatched influence, having been covered more than 4000 times, according to her website. Additionally, she is a talented painter, but since we cant play paintings on the radio, you'll have to settle for her music.

Today we'll be celebrating Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday, and in her honor we'll be treating you to songs of hers throughout the day. To cap off this day of celebration, at 7:00pm we'll showcase the talent of Joni Mitchell with a one hour special program hosted by Mike Sauter.

We'll provide the tunes if you bring the cake.

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