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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper.

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

Wooden Wand, "Winter in Kentucky" - It's not a seasonal song at this point, but it's a good one. James Jackson Toth records under the name Wooden Wand, and put this album out last fall, but it's being re-released, and I'm only now getting into it. You should too. I think some reference points for his rambling, storytelling style would include Bob Dylan and Craig Finn.

Good Night, States, "Tired of Making Sense" - This is the most straightforward guitar rocker on the local band's long-awaited new full-length. Not unlike the last one from GN,S, this one has grown on me a little each time I've listened -- and that's a good sign for an album.

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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 of The Beaver County Times.

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

The Forty Nineteens, “Take Me to Vegas” - Garage-rock turbocharged with a splash of late-‘80s alternative from a SoCal band featuring Monaca High graduate Nick Zeigler on drums and vocals. Produced by David Newton (The Mighty Lemon Drops), this debut disc, due out April 17, reminds me of the Hold Steady. The Forty Nineteens make their Pittsburgh debut in late July.

Van Hunt, “Character” - Dayton, Ohio, rhythm-and-blues artist Van Hunt had the fourth-best reviewed new studio album of 2011 according to Metacritic. At the suggestion of his manager, “American Idol’s” Randy Jackson, Hunt released a live album two weeks ago, from which this cut was taken. The live album showcases Hunt’s refreshing take on R&B, melding the raw sexuality and guitar virtuosity of Prince with the glam-rock dramatics of David Bowie, and a dash of P-Funk spaciness. See him Thursday night at the Thunderbird Café.

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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 (talking to us via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine.

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

Regina Spektor, "All the Rowboats" - She's back! Everyone's favorite Russian immigrant piano player will release her new record, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, in a few months, but in the meantime she's dropped this tasty bit of dark, deeply melodic and oddly tweaked pop. This one harkens back to her weirder days of 11:11 and (my favorite) Soviet Kitsch, instead of the brighter pop of latter records.

Suckers, "Turn on the Sunshine" - These dudes released my favorite record of 2010, and their second effort, the questionably titled Candy Salad, drops next month. This first single is a good teaser — more straightforward but still twisted indie pop, and happy as all hell. If you like this one, rest assured, it is not the best song on the album.

Extra fun track! -->

Lucero, "On My Way Downtown" - A time-tested country punk band hires a horn section and gets all Memphis-Stax-soul on us on new album Women and Work. It's a good look for the guys.

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Justin Jacobs Lucero Regina Spektor Suckers 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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper

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

Fanfarlo, "Deconstruction" - Not a lot about this fun track is Derridan in nature; it's more evocative of bleak, driving British synth pop a la New Order. Nice song from Rooms Filled with Light, the latest from the band led by a guy whose name is really Simon Balthazar.

Bear in Heaven, "The Reflection of You" - I'm a big fan of these guys, and this was the first track release off their latest, I Love You, It's Cool. The soft synths combine with Jon Philpot's vocals to hypnotic effect. A friend once likened Philpot to a cult leader; it may be true, but if so it's a cult of synths and love.

Retribution Gospel Choir, "The Stone (Revolution!)" - This is the other band helmed by Low's Alan Sparhawk; not everything they do thrills me, but this is from a free four-song EP they just released, and it's pretty great! When they do the Big Star-style power-pop rock, they do it better than most.

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Andy Mulkerin Bear in Heaven fanfarlo Retribution Gospel Choir 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 Tady of The Beaver County Times.

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

Dr. Dog, "Do the Trick" - Prior efforts were tagged as psychedelic-folk, though this Philly band rocks out on album No. 7, "Be the Void," their loosest, loudest, most live sounding yet. It's a very cohesive album, and entertaining from start to finish. To prove it, I steered clear of "That Old Black Hole" and "These Days," both being spun on WYEP, and chose a deeper cut that hearkens more to "classic" Dr. Dog, with a swirling melody, swelling harmonies and clever but un-fancy lyrics. Sample: "My talk is a nervous tick/Won't you freeze my hands of time?/Will you do the trick?." They're in town tomorrow for a concert.

Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, "Anaconda" - Joseph's songwriting is inspired by his years in Salt Lake City (where Jack Mormons is a local coffee company). You can practically taste the dry, dusty expansive setting of Utah in his music, which is guitar-driven alt-rock with jam-band elements. This isn't the angst of a New York songwriter affected by the hustle-and-bustle of a big city, but a guy whose demons are spurred by the Wild West with its lonesome highways and stark, barren landscapes. Jerry has written several songs for Widespread Panic, and his band has shared stages with Drive-By Truckers (who were the opening act). Alas, his touring in the past decade has been limited largely to the Rockies and Pacific Northwest. I'm hoping WYEP can bring him to Pittsburgh! Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons album goes public on March 30.

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Dr. Dog Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons 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 Justin Jacobs (talking to us via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine.

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

Nneka, "My Home" - This Nigerian goddess of awesome is like the perfect synthesis of two of my favorite singers — the soul and emotion of Corinne Bailey Rae and the funk and robot swagger of Janelle Monae. Play this track really loud, it'll be fun for everyone around you!

Tennis, "My Better Self" - Cutesy indie pop husband-wife duo gets so much better on their second album. Maybe it's because they weren't writing about a sailboat this time out, but who knows. This record was produced by the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, and though there's no dirty blues here, his crisp production sounds great.

Bonus track!

Dr. Dog, "How Long Must I Wait" - My favorite track from my favorite band's new album. Such a good mood-enducing track. Buy the whole album, Be the Void, and support these Philly boys.

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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 Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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

Gaslight Anthem, "Changing of the Guards" - The Boss is missing from the new Dylan tribute "Chimes of Freedom," but New Jersey is well represented by this raucous band that had the good taste to pick a masterpiece from "Street Legal" and rock it like they were in a bar.

Craig Finn, "No Future" - The drop-dead clever singer-songwriter took a break from The Hold Steady to venture into Nashville and make a more acoustic solo album. Rather than going all James Taylor on us, he keeps the edge on, with a string of breakup songs, including this one which name-drops Freddie Mercury and Johnny Rotten.

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Gaslight Anthem. Craig Finn Scott Mervis 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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper

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

Andre Costello and the Cool Minors, "Tumbleweed (They Call Me)" - Andre is an Ellwood City native and current Pittsburgher who recently released his first solo record through an Ohio boutique label called Wild Kindness. His warm, mature voice is offset at times on the album by sonic experimentation, but there'ms a simple, Americana basis for the tunes. Good stuff.

Jeffrey Lewis, "Cult Boyfriend" - Jeffrey Lewis is one of my favorite lyricists, because he mixes a depth of ideas with a penchant for clever wordplay. Sometimes it feels like he wrote the first line of a couplet as a challenge, to see if he can pull of a rhyme that makes sense. He usually can.

Damien Jurado, "Museum Flight" - Yes, it's Guys With Guitars Week here on the buzz. The latest full-length from the venerable songwriter, Maraqopa, is forthcoming on Secretly Canadian. This track is gorgeous.

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Andre Costello Andy Mulkerin Damien Jurado Jeffrey Lewis 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 Tady of The Beaver County Times.

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

The Shins, “Simple Song” - Well, it’s not THAT simple, or else more bands would figure out how to make such an uplifting song. The ingredients are elemental: lilting melody, a catchy hook, a swelling chorus where singer James Mercer scales the heights. The upbeat lyrical message, “you don’t have to go it alone,” inspires without getting bogged down in details. There are a few subtle layers, too, including some brief but pretty piano. Can’t wait to hear the full album, “Port of Morrow,” due out March 20.

Heartless Bastards, “Parted Ways” - Words like “primal” and “throaty” get used when discussing the distinct, powerful voice of Erika Wennerstrom. “I need a little bit of whiskey and a little bit of time to ease my troubled mind,” she sings with a dusty, soulful charm on this post-breakup rumination. Formed in Cincinnati but now based in Austin, Texas, the Heartless Bastards have been characterized as a garage-y, bluesy rock band, but this single also has some alt-country seasoning. See them next month at Club Café at a WYEP-sponsored show.

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Heartless Bastards Scott Tady The 9:13 Buzz The Shins

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 (talking to us via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine.

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

My picks this week cover a few sadly overlooked records of last year. It's not too late, check them out!

Thee Oh Sees, "Heavy Doctor" - From the band's 2nd 2011 release, Carrion Crawler/The Dream, this blast of psychedelic-garage punk sounds like an update on The Stooges: raw, fast, weird, awesome. The band is incredibly prolific (6 albums since 2008), and this latest record is among their best. Definitely a lot of fun, and simply wonderful for air guitar practice.

Youth Lagoon, "Afternoon" - This is the opening track from Youth Lagoon's The Year of Hibernation. It's an album of dreamy, lo-fi bedroom pop from an actual kid (Trevor Powers) in an actual bedroom (in Boise, Idaho). This is music for rainy day hibernation - under a blanket, maybe. It's beautiful and sad and makes me feel like I'm inside some bittersweet romantic indie movie.

The Roots, Undun - The latest album from The Roots was released way at the end of 2011, and was understandably overshadowed by the holidays, New Years Eve parties and our collective fear that the world would end in 2012. That's a shame because it's really, really good. Even for folks unfamiliar with The Roots' long hip-hop history, it's very worth checking out.

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