Michael Franti

Michael Franti's career in music began with a strong political bent.  The music was powerful, but not necessarily friendly to children's ears.  In recent years, however, with his band Spearhead, Franti has embraced an ethos of peace, love, and joyfulness.

No song in the Michael Franti & Spearhead catalog embodies this joyful feeling more than "The Sound Of Sunshine".  They lyrics speak of finding happiness even in hard times.  With lines like, "Yo, yo, here we go /I want to go where the summer never ends /With my guitar on the beach, there with all my friends /The sun so hot and the waves in motion /And everything smells like suntan lotion" it's hard not to feel the warmth of summer even on the coldest of days.

Today's Cool Kids selection was chosen by Dave Panasiuk, owner of Dave's Music Mine - a record store on Pittsburgh's South Side.  Dave and his wife Michelle have a daughter named Rosalie with whom they share their wealth of music knowledge.  Rosalie is quite the cool kid already and will certainly be the envy of her friends one day with her massive music collection.  Dave says that Franti's music makes her dance around like no other.  He bashfully admitted that he can't resist a few moves himself when she gets going...

Watch the video for Michael Franti & Spearhead's "The Sound Of Sunshine":




Cool Kids dancing Dave's Music Mine Joey Spehar Michael Franti Michael Franti & Spearhead Morning Mix Pittsburgh South Side Spearhead sunshine the beach

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):

Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sound of Sunshine - Blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. Outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues. Scott says: "The hip-hop-reggae-funk-rocker delivers the most upbeat and lyrically positive album you'll hear all year. Interestingly, he began recording these songs after suffering what he describes as a near-death experience that included a ruptured appendix and eight days in the hospital. Judging by the songs on this album, Franti has his priorities straight, appreciating how love, friends and family are our most valuable commodities. I chose to play "Shake It," a buoyant song that emphasizes the importance of attitude and inner beauty. ("It's not the way you looked, it's the way you shook.") Another song on the album was inspired by Franti's time spent touring with U2. It's got Edge-y guitar!"

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs - Indie rock band in from Canada. This is their highly anticipated third album. Scott says: "If you're a child of the cul-de-sacs like me, or simply someone who likes intelligent but accessible indie-rock, then you'll love this Montreal band's highly touted album released on Aug. 3. It's a concept album that doesn't get bogged down by a narrative (erm... you listening Green Day?). Songs are from the point of view of an adult wistfully revisiting the suburbs where he was raised. I chose to play "Month of May," which is more revved up, and less keyboard-ish than most of the other songs, though it captures the album's lyrical essence in the verse about teenagers standing in the street with their arms defiantly folded tight. Being young and bored and unfulfilled is a heavy burden to carry, notes singer Win Butler, "But how you gonna lift it with your arms folded tight?" Good one!"

Also been spinning this week:

Justin Nozuka, You I Wind Land and Sea - Second release from the 21 year old singer. Scott says: "Canadian singer, with Japanese and American parents, has an emotionally gripping voice reminiscent of Paolo Nutini. His bloodlines are traced to Kyra Sedgwick and Edie Sedgwick, while his brother, Phillip, appears on TV's "Degrassi: Next Generation." Justin's lyrics, at times, are frustrating; sometimes too oblique; sometimes too basic. But put him on your radar, as this 21-year-old has a bright future."

Dick Dale, Guitar Legend: The Very Best Of - King of Surf Guitar who was brought to prominence in the Quentin Tarantino film, "Pulp Fiction". Scott says: "If you loved Dick's "Miserlou" in "Pulp Fiction" -- and c'mon, who didn't -- then you should already be tempted to buy this first-ever, career-spanning release from the surf-rock pioneer. Due out Sept. 7 on the retro-minded Shout! Factory label -- the 21st century Rhino Records -- this album includes signature surf songs, rare B-sides, a fantastic cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun" and a 1987 collaboration with Stevie Ray Vaughan on the Chantays' "Pipeline." You could play worse at your next party or picnic."


New Music Personal Picks


Arcade Fire Dick Dale Justin Nozuka Michael Franti Scott Tady Spearhead The 9:13 Buzz
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