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

This morning, Scott shares some of his favorites from 2010. Look for his full list in the Post-Gazette right before Christmas. Here's what we heard today:

Spoon, "Transference" - Spare, driving and still filled with smart hooks, "Transference" is another winner from the Austin band. "Is Love Forever?" shows how Spoon locks into a groove and builds around it.

The Roots, "Dear God" - The Philly hip-hop band didn’t make one great record this year, it made two — one as just The Roots, and one a collaboration with John Legend. "Dear God," from The Roots-only "How I Got Over," is indicative of the increasing crossover with hip-hop and indie-rock as The Roots take a sample from the Monsters of Folk song "Dear God," featuring the angelic voice of Jim James, and add their touch of conscious-hip-hop.

Steve Wynn + and the Miracle 3, "Resolution" - Bound to be overlooked, the latest album from the former leader of the Dream Syndicate, "Northern Aggression," could have been made back in the post-punk/paisley underground era of the ’80s. And that’s a good thing. Taking its cues from the Velvet Underground, it’s a guitar record well stocked with melodic tension and dizzying jams, like this one that leads it off.

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Scott Mervis Spoon Steve Wynn The 9:13 Buzz The Roots

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

This time, Andy shares his Top albums for 2010. Take it away Andy! ....

Here are a few things you ought to know about me:

- I hate quantifying my favorite music. Or, generally, my favorite anything.
- I don't really care that much about telling other people what to like. (I know, I know, it's my job, sort of.)
- I've always liked paying attention to the microcosmic function of the local music scene more than I like paying attention to what big buzz indie band X is up to.
- I'm not very good at following directions.

With all that out there in the open, while I was asked to provide a top ten list of the best albums of 2010, I instead present to you a dual list: five new albums by local bands that I really liked in 2010, and five new albums by not-local bands that I really liked in 2010. In no particular order. Are they the best albums that were released this year? Maybe, maybe not. But they were the albums that spent the most time in my car and/or being pumped on my MP3 player.

My local faves:

Lohio, Family Tree - A light, fun, well-written collection of pop songs from the local stalwarts. Their most exciting material to date.

Meeting of Important People, Quit Music - A more eclectic collection than their first album, this release revealss the trio's versatility and showcases some spot-on pop songwriting.

Satin Gum, EP2 - This is one of my favorite local bands: messy, fun, none too self-conscious, often profane without being overbearing. Most underrated local release of the year.

The Ceiling Stares, S/T Cassette - A great debut from a band that's doing accessible rock (maybe art rock?) that's not formulaic.

Mariage Blanc, Mariage Blanc - An immaculate-sounding full-length from the reserved local indie-pop band.

My not-local faves:

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Let It Sway - This album has seven songs I absolutely love, three that are okay, and two that I just can't get through, but that I'm glad to skip in order to get to the good ones. It's just good, hooky pop-rock.

Beach House, Teen Dream - I wasn't sure if Beach House could keep it up after 2008's Devotion; their dreamy pop could get old pretty quickly. But solid songwriting saved them from losing me.

Aloha, Home Acres - Aloha has long been one of my favorites, and Home Acres didn't disappoint: the subject matter of the songs has slowly progressed to more grown-up themes, but Tony hasn't lost his ability to find magic in the mundane.

Secret Cities, Pink Graffiti - This one came out of nowhere; I wasn't familiar with Secret Cities until this album hit my desk, then it became a spacey, weird favorite.

Poison Control Center, Sad Sour Future - It's a double-LP that probably could've been a little shorter, but I forgive Poison Control Center because a good three-quarters of the material is stellar. Add an energetic live show to the mix and you've got a band that I hope finds the audience they deserve.

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Aloha Andy Mulkerin Beach House Lohio Mariage Blanc Poison Control Center Satin Gum Secret Cities Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin The 9:13 Buzz The Ceiling Stares

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

Today, Scott shares his Top 10 albums for 2010:

1. Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs" - A smart, stinging, vibrant and accessible essay on growing up, and then old, in the 'burbs. There's resentment, bewilderment, and equal bits respect and mistrust of rebellion, though a few rays of optimism, or at least acceptance, creep in eventually. Win Butler, the husband half of the spouse-fronted Montreal indie-rockers said he strived for a Depeche Mode-meets-Neil Young vibe. Nice!

2. The National, "High Violet" - Joy Division comparisons are inevitable, thanks to singer Matt Berninger's somber and spellbinding baritone. Textured guitars heighten the drama from these Brooklyn-by-way-of-Cincinnati rockers.

3. Black Keys, "Brothers" - The Akron, Ohio duo slips some funkiness into its raw and blistering, hook-laden blues-rock. "Next Girl" and "Tighten Up" are the best back-to-back songs on any album this year.

4. Titus Andronicus, "The Monitor" - Mine ears have heard the glory of this New Jersey punk band that sticks numerous Civil War references into its songs. Overall, though, the album is a contemporary call-to-arms, with singer Patrick Stickles rallying the troops by saying, "It's us against them, and they're winning," as his band pounds out a Pogues-Dropkick Murphys brand of defiance.

5. Sufjan Stevens, "The Age of Adz" - The alt-folk artist successfully experiments with electronica. His emotional voice is a grabber, especially on the supreme heartbreak track, "I Walked," where amid window-rattling bass thumps he fragilely sings, "At least I deserve the respect of a kiss goodbye."

6. Jason and the Scorchers "Halcyon Times." The unbridled enthusiasm is infectious on this raucous, rollicking comeback by the pioneering cowpunk/alt-country band.

7. Local Natives, "Gorilla Manor" - This L.A. band's rookie effort melds the rustic charm of Fleet Foxes with the more muscular moments of My Morning Jacket.

8. Deerhunter, "Halcyon Digest" - Dreamy, ambient pop-rock with enough feisty blasts of fuzzed-up guitar to keep you on your toes.

9. Gaslight Anthem, "American Slang" - Their "Born to Run" will come, but for now let's savor this "The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle"-caliber effort from a band that's endured its share of Springsteen comparisons because, well, they're from Jersey, and they craft songs with anthemic ardor. By the way, they've got plenty of alt-rock and punk references, too.

10.  ... will be revealed in my Sunday column (timesonline.com), though if the rest of Sleigh Bells' "Treats" is like the 6 songs I've heard from the Brooklyn noise-pop duo, then they'll be a lock. Also under consideration: Taylor Swift (sorry John Mayer fans) and Paul Weller.

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Arcade Fire Best of 2010 Black Keys Scott Tady The 9:13 Buzz the national

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 (plus some bonus songs):

Sharon Van Etten, "A Crime" - This is the first track from Sharon's new LP, Epic. She's one of my favorites right now with respect to simple, folky guitar-and-voice songwriting -- this is one of the more upbeat tracks from the new one, and might be my favorite.

Smith Westerns, "Weekend" - This is a young Chicago garage rock-pop band that's picked up a lot of attention in the past year or so; this track is the first glimpse of the band's forthcoming album, Dye It Blonde, coming out in early 2011 on Fat Possum.

Kelley Stoltz, "I Remember, You Were Wild" - This is a fun, poppy track from Stoltz's recent LP, To Dreamers, issued on Sub Pop. Shimmery guitars, simple harmonies and a triumphant chorus make it a nice little addition to a mix CD.

The Chapin Sisters, "Palm Tree" - This might be my favorite track from the new disc by the two-piece band of sisters, who played in Pittsburgh last week. It's a relaxed (maybe even resigned) country tune and exhibits some of their better lyrics, I think.

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Andy Mulkerin Kelley Stoltz Sharon Van Etten Smith Westerns The 9:13 Buzz The Chapin Sisters

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 (plus a bonus song):

Peg Simone, "Mirst & Avel" - Deb Catanzaro was the guitarist for Pittsburgh punk bands The Pleasure Heads and Wormhole before taking on this alias for her more quietly seductive solo stuff. The essential piece on her new album, "Secrets from the Storm," is the opener "Levee/1927," but, at 22 minutes, it hardly fits any radio format. This song is still a pretty good representation of her currently Zeppelin-y mindset.

Bad Religion, "Avalon" - There's no reason why this California punk band, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, couldn't be in rotation somewhere up the dial. Bad Religion is a steady, solid presence on the punk scene, and 15 albums in, it's still churning out hard-nosed songs with little in the way of frills.

Ke$ha, "We R Who We R" - After one tedious 12-hour workday last week, this song on continuous repeat was somehow the antidote. As d-d-dumb trashy music goes, it doesn't get much better than this. (Apologies to Greg Graffin to Deb C. for this unlikely association.)

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Bad Religion Ke$ha Peg Simone 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 Justin Jacobs, contributing writer to Relix Magazine, AOL's Spinner.com and Pittsburgh's City Paper

In case you missed it here's what he played:

The Heavy, "That Kind of Man" - The word "heavy" in music usually describes some gutteral, brutal metal music. But somehow, this English band makes funky soul music that is undeniably heavy too, albeit in a much, much different way. This track came out in 2007, but The Heavy retooled it and yes, made it heavier, for an EP that just dropped last week.

Pomegranates, "Skull Cakin" - My favorite band you've never heard of. Dudes are from Cincinnati and make fun, arty dream pop. This jam, of their new album "One of Us," out yesterday, is the rocking-est thing they've ever done, but it's still weird and wonderful.

Dr. Dog, "Nobody Knows Who You Are" - A new Dr. Dog song! Everybody rejoice! The Philly pop-classicists have been releasing new songs online, and this one is too good. I'm admittedly a total fanboy, but Dr. Dog can do no wrong. Download this for free here.

Twin Shadow, "Castles in the Snow" - Being the latest band made famous by the Internet (thanks, Pitchfork!) usually warrants some sort of snarky, underhanded insult, but I don't have anything bad to say about Twin Shadow. Dark and catchy, 80's-reminiscent dance songs., not unlike The Cure. They stopped at Brillobox last month, and a buddy of mine kept yelling for "In Between Days." Not nice, but very funnny.

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Dr. Dog Justin Jacobs Pomegranates The 9:13 Buzz The Heavy Twin Shadow

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 (plus some bonus songs):

Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz. - The critically adored indie-folk singer delves deeper into electronica here. His swirling, spacey synth blips are grounded by bass that'll rattle your fillings. Multi-layered melodies with abrupt time changes provide a strong counterpoint to his simple ruminations on love. I singled out the 5-minute love-gone-wrong song "I Walked" with its emotionally delivered line, "At least I deserve the respect of a kiss goodbye." We've all been there.

The Drums, The Drums - OK, that's not the most original band name (What, was The Guitars already taken?) But you still gotta love the rookie effort from this Brooklyn indie-surf-pop band. Their pop is unabashed, highlighted by lush harmonies as you'll hear on my chosen track, "Down by the Water." The Drums list among their influences The Smiths and the Shangri-La's of "Leader of the Pack" fame.

I'm also digging...

Avett Brothers, Live Vol. 3 - One of the best live acts around, captured at its banjo-pluckin', foot-stompin', folk-punk finest. Who says sensitive love songs can't be fun?

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Avett Brothers Scott Tady Sufjan Stevens The 9:13 Buzz The Drums

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 (plus some bonus songs):

La Sera, "Never Come Around" - La Sera is the side project of Kickball Katy of Vivian Girls fame. This tune maintains the girl-group sound of that band, but is a little sweeter, more polished and less bored/angry than Vivian Girls.

Lohio, "Family Tree" - This is the second track off the local band's new EP of the same name. It's an upbeat number with airy vocals and fun little vocal flourishes. I like the direction this band has taken!

STRFKR, "Julius" - This track is from the naughtily named band's new single, a sample of its upcoming full-length to be issued on Polyvinyl. It's synth pop done exceedingly well, and, as I mentioned in the paper last week, will likely as not end up in a car commercial or something.

Sun Airway, "Infinity" - This Philly band is starting to get some buzz, having been featured on the World Cafe recently. The kinda muddy, psychedelic synth/vox band is touring with Bear In Heaven and will make a stop in Pittsburgh on October 26 -- incidentally, the day of the official release of this new album.

Categories:

New Music

Tags:

Andy Mulkerin La Sera Lohio STRFKR Sun Airway 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 (plus a bonus song):

Black Angels, "Telephone" - Even though I vowed not to embrace any more bands that start with the word Black, this Austin psych-rock band is too good to ignore. I always love songs, like "Telephone," that sound like they could have been on the "Nuggets" box. The album also expands on this idea with Doors and Stooges influences. One caution: as a live act, the band needs something more than a frontman that clings to a keyboard.

Maximum Balloon, "Communion" - Dave Sitek, the brilliant guitarist and producer for TV on the Radio, indulges his poppier instincts on this debut album with such guests as Kyp and Tunde (from TVOTR) and David Byrne. Here, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs takes front and center on a cool hypnotic dance track.

Robert Plant, "Silver Rider" - Robert Plant could be cashing in right now on a Led Zep reunion tour, but for some reason — perhaps to spare his vocal cords — he chosen to reinvent himself as an Americana artist. He makes a bold, tasteful choice here with a song by slowcore band Low that finds guitarist Buddy Miller exploring his inner Neil Young.

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Black Angels Maxium Balloon Robert Plant 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 (plus some bonus songs):

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, "My Terrible Personality" - This track from the middle of the band's new release, Let It Sway, is a fun mid-paced number with the added appeal of a "Go!" breakdown in the middle. What's there to say, really? It's just catchy.

Mariage Blanc, "Move On" - This local band has always danced on the line between upbeat and introspective, between Beulah and Elliot Smith. This is from their new LP, to be released next month. Watch out for my piece on them in your City Paper in a couple weeks!

Darker My Love, "Split Minute" - This is an L.A. band with a weird pedigree: the drummer used to be in that Hellcat streetpunk band The Distillers, and two of the other members have backed up Mark E. Smith in The Fall. Darker My Love is about as far from those bands as possible -- with a laid-back California rock vibe, they're reminiscent of American Beauty-era Dead, perhaps, or later Byrds.

Marianne Dissard, "Les Confettis" - This is probably my favorite track on Dissard's latest, Paris One Takes. She takes the French take on rock a little further, incorporating Americana sounds into her tunes. Frenchicana? Sure.

Categories:

New Music

Tags:

Andy Mulkerin Darker My Love Mariage Blanc Marianne Dissard Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin The 9:13 Buzz

Pages

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google+ icon
Instagram icon
RSS icon
Vimeo icon