Courtney Barnett

Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of WYEP’s trusted music experts joins me (Cindy Howes) on The Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Sarah Wardrop from WFUV in New York! We asked Sarah to bring in her favorites of 2015. In case you missed, it here’s what she played: Favorite Song: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, "S.O.B." - I picked this song, partly because of seeing people's reactions to it. When it comes on, it's hard not to stomp, clap, sing or shout along. Even though the story it tells is on the bleak side, there's a side of satisfaction too, knowing that Rateliff has come out of some dark times and into hard-earned and well-deserved success.

Favorite Album: Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit - "Avant Gardener" built the buzz about Barnett and her debut album hopefully made any doubters sit and think. As a wordsmith, she meanders with intention and wit, and as a guitarist, her mix of rhythm and lead expands and contracts to suit the songs. The song "Small Poppies" knocked me over with its smirk of a title, gritty lilt and expansive sound, but I thought I'd pick this track in honor of holiday party season.

Favorite Shows: This category is a tie for me. The Sleater-Kinney show was my first time seeing them live, so add that fact to the crowd-wide glee of knowing "they're back," and the energy in the room was palpable and incredible. With the musical Hamilton, there's not a lot that hasn't been said about how good it is, so I will just add that I was blown away, I've had several songs from it stuck in my head all year, and do try to see it if you can. Sleater-Kinney at Terminal 5 (2/26) This is from a different show, but a good one!:

Hamilton at The Public Theater (1/30)

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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! This week, we asked Scott about his favorites from 2015.

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

Favorite album of the year: Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit -  Spry, smart, sassy and self-deprecating fun from the Australian singer-songwriter's full-length debut. Her "Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To the Party" is also my song-of-the-year -- refreshingly indecisive in a world of social surety. Chorus: "I want to go out, but I want to stay home." The cleverness of her prose and exuberance to her brash delivery, often matched with full-on rock arrangements, is delightful. Signature lyric (from "Pedestrian at Best"): "Put me on a pedestal and I'll only disappoint you/Tell me I'm exceptional and I promise to exploit you/Give me all your money and I'll make some origami honey/I think you're a joke but I don't find you very funny."

Favorite song of the year: Kacey Musgraves, "Family is Family" - Funny and true tune with the typical bright tones and jaunty delivery from the 26-year-old Grammy-honored country singer. How can you argue with lines like "Family is family, in church or in prison/You get what you get, and you don't get to pick 'em/They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys/Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family."

Favorite concert of the year, The Mavericks at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall - A sleeper of a show -- I've seen 'em before and enjoyed them, but wasn't expecting to be blown away like this. Raul Malo's voice was exquisite as you'd expect, and the horns were full-throttle and the Tex-Mex-Cuban rhythms so alluring. It was Saturday night, and the crowd was feeling good and totally engrossed in the music (translation: Not yakking and constantly checking their cell phones.) We got up and danced in unison, not because Raul told us, but because the music made us, and we were grateful.

I reviewed 75 national act concerts this year for the Beaver County Times. Also in my Top-10: The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Damien Rice, Foo Fighters, Old Crowe Medicine Show, Ed Sheeran, Stevie Wonder and The Decemberists.

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Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of WYEP’s trusted music experts joins me (Cindy Howes) on The Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Sarah Wardrop from WFUV in New York!

In case you missed, it here’s what she played:

Matthew E. White, "Rock & Roll Is Cold" - This Virginia-based songwriter, producer and arranger released his debut Big Inner in 2012, and his new album, Fresh Blood, is due out on March 10th. Hopefully the title doesn't scare you off, because the songs showcase White's talent for building intricate-but-not-extravagant arrangements that perfectly suit his low-key vocal style. He's proving his range live too, with upcoming album release shows that are either solo or with a 30-piece band.

Courtney Barnett, "Depreston" (live at WFUV) - One highly anticipated album of the year (and not just by me) is Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, which will be out on March 24th. The guitar-focused "Pedestrian At Best" is one preview we've gotten. Another is a song Courtney and her band performed at WFUV back in February of last year, called "Depreston." I'm very curious to hear how it ends up sounding on the album, but this version sets Barnett's clever wordsmithing in some sweet, melodic melancholy.

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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 Pop City's Patrick Bowman

In case you missed, it here's what Patrick played:

Waxahatchee, “Air" - Waxahatchee is the moniker of Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, who in 2013 recieved rave reviews for her sophomore breakthrough album Cerulan Salt by pairing intimate, literate, lyrics with the guitar moves and slacker atmosphere of 90s alternative rock. She returns in April with her third album Ivy Tripp, and just released the record’s debut single “Air,” which builds neatly on the success Cerulean Salt: wirey, pared down guitar parts, lyrics that sound like fractured bits from a short story, and now, a bolder sense of production, with swelling keyboard parts, and small studio touches like the space and echo she affords her percussion.

Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian At Best” - Aussie singer-song writer Courtney Barnett first got attention stateside in 2014 with her debut official release The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. The records’ relaxed collection of country-tinged rockers betrayed a knowing sense of cynicism and intelligence in Barnett’s songwriting that gave her music a bite that otherwise wasn’t present. For the lead single “Pedestrian At Best” from her forthcoming full-length debut, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Barnett kicks up the energy a knotch with squealing feedback, crunchy power chords, and practically spoken word verses that grow gradually urgent as the song progresses. “Pedestrian At Best” is Barnett’s real breakthrough, a track that promises great things when the accompanying album drops in March.

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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 Andy Mulkerin of City Paper!

In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary from Andy.

Courtney Barnett, "Avant Gardener" - I'll go ahead and call this my favorite song of the year: I'm a lyrics-oriented listener, and Courtney Barnett is a careful lyrical songwriter. The Australian burst onto the scene in 2014 with her Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, and I'm hoping 2015 holds a Pittsburgh appearance from her, which we haven't had yet.

Sharon Van Etten, "Nothing Will Change" - While it's stuck in the back half of the record, this is, I think, the centerpiece of Sharon Van Etten's Are We There. It's a great album front to back, with some more complex instrumentation than we're used to with Van Etten, and the use of bass clarinet here in specific is wonderful. Favorite album of 2014.

1,2,3, "Mile High Grass" - I'll go ahead and call 1,2,3's Big Weather release show at Brillobox -- one of only two appearances from the band this year -- my favorite show of the year. Everything was spot-on, the place was packed but not overwhelming, and the songs -- at least the ones the band was willing to play live, as they felt they could translate them correctly -- were powerful. Great release from a great Pittsburgh band I hope gets its due for this self-released album after its debut in 2011 was put out by a big indie.

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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 Andy Mulkerin!

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

Courtney Barnett, "Avant Gardener" - I had an old-fashioned "remember some of these lyrics so you can search them online later and find out who this is" moment when I first heard this song in the car. Courtney Barnett is an Austrailian singer-songwriter with a droll, charming style and an immense talent with words. Hopefully she makes it to Pittsburgh sometime soon.

Clare Maguire, "Paper Thin" - Clare Maguire is a British singer-songwriter who deals mostly in jazzy pop with minimalist, electronic production. My real favorite song off her recent free mixtape is "Whenever You Want It," but it has naughty words in it, so I settled for playing my second favorite, "Paper Thin."

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