Donora

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week.

Listen to the audio:

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WYEP

WYEP has been proud to support the Pittsburgh music community for decades and in 2015 we were pleased to further extend our enthusiasm by instituting The Local 913, a weekly on-air highlight of a new local release. The Local 913 has been a great way to throw a spotlight on local talent, along with our monthly local music happy hour: The Local 913 Live. These five releases are the best of the best in our town for 2015. We encourage you to support each one of these fine hometown musicians!

*** WYEP’s Top 5 Local Acts for 2015 ***

1. Brooke Annibale The Simple Fear (Brooke Annibale)
brooke
Fear can be a complicated emotion when its root source is unclear. When layers of self-doubt, uncertainty, and miscommunication are peeled away, the truth tends to be relatively simple, and universal. Brooke Annibale explores and demystifies complications of the heart, drawing from personal insight without becoming overtly confessional. She uses concise, reserved language to express the frustration of waiting for an overdue apology, or the gentle acceptance of a relationship’s lost potential. Her spirit lifts with the hope of redemptive love. Annibale’s beguiling folk-based melodies reveal glimmers of pop and country. They unfold in subtle ways—a lone guitar is joined by piano, strings emerge, and percussion enters almost imperceptibly. Annibale’s vocals have a sweetly smoky, enigmatic quality, but her songs clearly depict the human experience. (RMW) 

2. Billy Price & Otis Clay This Time For Real (Vizztone)
BILLY PRICE
Local mainstay Billy Price has known Otis Clay, the Mississippi-born soul and R&B legend (and Blues Hall of Fame inductee), since the early 1980s. The two have recorded a few songs together over the years, and they decided it was time to record a full album. Blues guitarist Duke Robillard signed on to produce it; and the result is an entertaining romp through a variety of soul classics and other choice material. Robillard and his band provide crisp backing, and the Roomful of Blues horns keep the energy level high, but it's Price's and Clay's expressive voices that steal the show. (MS) 

3. Donora Ha Ha Heart (Rostrum)
DONORA
The nearly decade-long run of Donora’s catchy, bright, indie-pop continues on the band’s fourth effort titled Ha Ha Heart. The trio completely engulfed themselves in the creative process by diving into drummer and producer Jake Hanner’s newly created home studio in Gibsonia. The space worked in bringing out the band’s energy in a more complete form than previous efforts. Ha Ha Heart is filled with bouncy and catchy riffs, shiny choruses from Casey Hanner, and a 60s meets modern-electro pop collection of songs. The home-studio process is captured with a handmade booklet documenting the album with lyric pages, stories and production notes. (KS) 

4. Cold Weather When Waking (Cold Weather)
COLD WEATHER
Chamber indie folk Cold Weather has a gentle touch that might just knock you over with their delicate, yet intense album When Waking. Frontman Mark Ramsey’s vocals not only have a similar tone to Elliott Smith, they also have that emotional delivery where is seems like he’s not actually going to get the words out. Producer Jake Hanner, who has been the production master-mind of the indie-pop Donora, shows his versatility when working with Cold Weather, adding his magic touch here and there. He lets Ramsey and the rest of the band set the tone for this fantastic album. (CH) 

5. Mariage Blanc No Autobiography (Mariage Blanc)
MARIAGE BLANC
“Welcome to sunny… Pittsburgh?” Visions of 1960s Laurel Canyon don’t come to mind when pondering the Steel City, but local “melancholy pop” band Mariage Blanc have successfully summoned the feelings of a lazy afternoon in the California mountains on their new record “No Autobiography.” Lush instrumentation complements the subdued, lilted, sometimes whispered singing of a band that has aged like a fine California wine. Mariage Blanc demonstrates that, while rock and roll may be for the kids, the maturity and refinement that comes with age sounds incredibly compelling. (JS)

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Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week.

Listen to the audio:

Pairings Aug 14 2015 by Cindy Howes on Mixcloud

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Pairings With Bill Fuller

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Chef Bill Fuller Crosby Stills Nash and Young Donora Pairings The Morning Mix

Photo by Gabe Rosenberg

Around 12,000 people flocked to the 54th Three Rivers Arts Festival this past Friday, but I can safely say that the reopening of the Point State Park fountain had nothing to do with it. Although the reintroduction of waterworks was certainly a welcome sight to the area, which had been dry for the last four years, the real pull all came from the evening’s musical headliner. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros promised, and delivered, a summer festival-worthy performance that drew a crowd from a larger radius and a younger age group than the festival usually experiences.

While the free and open nature of the concert certainly didn’t hurt, Edward Sharpe’s mostly teenage-to-college-age fans are so fervent that they would be willing to shell out a small price for the band, playing Pittsburgh for the first time. The 10-person ensemble makes hits out of ‘60s-style jangly rock, touting a communal, free-love aesthetic and directing a heavy dose of positive energy into easygoing, catchy tunes like the excellent “Man on Fire” and “Up From Below.” They’re festival regulars at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella, and for good reason— front man Alex Ebert, along with singer Jade Castrinos, know how to engage their audience, no matter how large.

Three Rivers Arts Festival, for once, felt like a “legitimate” festival, the sort you travel across the country to attend. Local band Donora were a pitch-perfect pop-rock opener, bouncing up and down with their audience, many of whom were quite familiar with the lyrics to the group’s hook-heavy songs. But Edward Sharpe and his merry band of musicians were the musical saviors of the night (and looking the part, too). Although Ebert generally takes the lead vocals, while climbing into the audience and literally reaching out to his yelling fans, Castrinos’ songs are often standouts, such as the gospel-tinged “Fiya Wata.” The two-hour performance took material from both the band’s debut and last year’s Here, as well as the recent single “Better Days,” which sounded much more lively than on its recording.

Some of Edward Sharpe’s onstage antics can seem kitsch at times – handing the microphone to concertgoers to talk about mortality, for one – but they rarely degraded the vitality of the show. The best moments of the performance often rode on the shoulders of the musicians rather than the singers, such as when band members whipped out trumpets for solos. Whatever the band did, whether Ebert moved into reggae-esque sing-talk territory or gave another band member the spotlight, the audience followed along. “Home,” their most well known hit, marked the beginning of the end of their set, but also the pinnacle moment that the crowd showed up for. There are songs, and then there are showstoppers, and “Home” was made for outdoors, drop-all-inhibitions sing-a-longs, the sort that Pittsburgh dearly needed for its own festival. And so it received.

You can watch the just-released video for Edward Sharpe's "Better Days" below.

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New Music

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Better Days Donora Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes Three Rivers Arts Festival

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 of The Beaver County Times.

In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott).

Joy Ike, “Everything You Have” – I like Ike. How could you not? Pittsburgh soul-pop singer Joy Ike is upbeat, intelligent and can flat out sing. She’s got an ear for hooks, too, evident on this single from her third full-length indie release, “All or Nothing,” which she will introduce Sunday with a show at the New Hazlett Theater. I like this song’s message, as Joy vows not to let possessions and objects rule her life. She’s answering to a higher calling.

Donora, “Under the Lights” – Imagine if Karen O joined the Go-Go’s. Yeah, yeah, yeah that would sound fabulous. And it might sound a little like this effervescent cut by local indie-pop trio Donora. Their new 5-song EP, “Play Nice,” arrives Tuesday. Singer-guitarist Casey Hanner & the two Jakes (her drum-playing, music sampling brother Jake Hanner and bassist Jake Churton) are gearing up for an East Coast and Midwest jaunt before gigging at the prestigious SXSW music festival in Austin. Donora has scored key song placements recently, such as the plucky piano melody from their “I Think I Like You” jazzing up the latest Nationwide Insurance commercial. Another previously released Donora song, “Champion,” was used in the second episode of the current season of “Glee” (Gleeks will remember the scene, where Rachel spots Brody doing crunches in the park, as he’s listening to headphones.) You can catch Donora Feb. 16 at Brillobox.

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New Music Personal Picks

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Donora Joy Ike Morning Mix Scott Tady The 9:13 Buzz

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 Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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

Wild Flag, "Romance" - If you've been missing Sleater-Kinney, here's the remedy. Singer-guitarist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss are back with this indie-rock "supergroup" that also features guitarist Mary Timony (Helium) and keyboardist Rebecca Cole (The Minders). This song is on the poppier side, but you still get Brownstein in all her Wild glory on the band's Merge debut.

Donora, "The Story" - This is the lead-off track on the pop-rock trio's new album, its second on Rostrum Records. Despite the label being the home of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, the rappers make no appearance here. Rather, Donora gives us 10 tracks of adorable pop, going all the way back to '50s/'60s girl group and '80s New Wave for influences.

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New Music Personal Picks

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Donora Scott Mervis The 9:13 Buzz Wild Flag

We're featuring the new Donora video for "Shhh" on our main page (in the right corner). The video was directed by the incredible Casey Hanner (lead singer of Donora). Can you spot the drummer for Big Hurry?

More about Donora

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New Music

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