Secret Cities

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  bonus songs):

Man Man, "Bangkok Necktie" - This is from the new album, Life Fantastic, from the Philly-based band. The record is, on the whole, quite pleasant and energetic; this was the song I could find that didn’t have swears in it.

Secret Cities, "Always Friends" - This is from Strange Hearts, the new album from this Midwestern three-piece psyche outfit. It’s got their signature muddy baroque sound, but is upbeat and has elements of old rock steady to it.

Poison Control Center, "Porcelain Brain" - Longtime Buzz listeners know I like this Iowa-based band a lot. Their new album, Stranger Ballet, comes out next month, and this song – a Silver Jews-sounding rocker – is on it.

Bare Branches, "Kids in Love II" - This Butler-based band issued a solid album, Haunts, earlier this year. There’s something nostalgic to me about the band’s guitar sounds and Christopher Wagner’s Ian Curtis vocals.

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New Music Personal Picks

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Andy Mulkerin Bare Branches Man Man Poison Control Center Secret Cities 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

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

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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 news 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 by Andy (plus some bonus songs):

Ola Podrida – "The Closest We Will Ever Be"
Second release from the group, lead by David Wingo. Wingo got the name from a mall in Dallas where he had a beer thrown at him during his first public performance. He is also a film composer and a member of Wooden Birds. Andy says: "This is the lead track from Ola Podrida's new album; most of the record is quiet and introspective and this track, while mid-paced and not exactly rockin', is probably the most upbeat. As evidenced from my experience in the studio with Cindy, it lends itself well to hula dancing."

Jenny and Johnny – "Scissor Runner"
Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and her long-time boyfriend, Johnathan Rice. Andy Says: "This is the lead single from the new debut album from a couple of old heads. It's a wonderful little pop gem that's perfect for driving in the sun. "

Secret Cities –" Color"
They come from Fargo, North Dakota and met at band camp as teens. Their sound is dark romantic pop with a Spectoresque twist. They began mailing tapes back and forth to each other and adding their own parts. Andy Says: "Secret Cities just released their newest album, also on Western; it's a hot mess of pop and dreamy noise. They borrow equally from '60s girl pop and the minimalists, which pleases me. "

Baby Dee – Lilacs

A harpist and accordion player from Cleveland, this is from Baby Dee's seventh release, 'A Book of Songs for Anne Marie'. Her voice is extremely theatrical and deep. Andy says: "Some critics are turned off by the voice of Baby Dee, a transgendered woman harpist/pianist from Cleveland. I happen to think it's charming, and if you feel the same way, you'll find that she's one of the best songwriters today. This is from her latest, put out by Drag City; it's a quieter bunch of songs than some of her previous releases, but keeps the quality high."

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

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Andy Mulkerin Baby Dee Cindy Howes Jenny and Johnny Jenny Lewis Jonanthan Rice Ola Podrida Secret Cities The 9:13 Buzz
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