The Joy Formidable

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 - Best of 2011 version!!

I chose to bring songs from my five favorite albums of 2011, disregarding tracks that I thought were great songs from otherwise weak records. Fortunately, it so happens that my no. 1 favorite song of the year made it onto this list anyway!

The Joy Formidable, "Austere" - This Welsh-via-London three-piece had a huge year, releasing The Big Roar and headlining a U.S. tour early then returning to open a leg of the Foo Fighters tour. (Dave Grohl said early on in the year that "Whirring" was his favorite song of 2011, or might be.) Great rock band.

Wye Oak, "Civilian" - Wye Oak's Civilian is probably my second-favorite album of the year, and the title track is my favorite song of 2011, I'd say. I liked it when I first heard it; when I put it on a mix in spring and listened to it in the car a lot, I feel head-over-heels for it. It's not structurally interesting -- it just builds, musically and thematically. Jenn Wasner's vocals are mumblingly achey, and the band's sold-out Club Cafe show this summer was one of the best of the year.

Austra, "Lose It" - I'll go ahead and call Austra's Feel It Break my favorite album of 2011. Katie Stelmanis' vocal calisthenics are astounding; the vibe of the record is dark but not hokey. It's been fascinating to see Stelmanis' transformation from slightly awkward-but-talented frontwoman a couple of years ago to the glammed-up consummate performer she is today. I missed them at VIA, so I hope they come back soon.

Rounding out my top five albums:

Tristen, Charlatans at the Garden Gate - It's rare that I say an album is too short -- I'm of the "Get in, get out, leave 'em wanting more" camp -- but I wanted more than 35 minutes from Tristen! Fortunately, I understand she's got a new album on the way. In the meantime, if you don't have this one yet, pick it up. Masterfully crafted country-inflected pop tunes from a ridiculously talented member of the Nashville underground.

Pujol, Nasty, Brutish and Short - Another Nashville-ian on my top list -- Daniel Pujol released two new EPs as Pujol this year, this one (his debut for Saddle Creek) and "X-File on Main Street" (a more abrasive set of songs, from InfinityCat, which grew on me after a few spins). This one's poppy, but raw and daring; Pujol is one of the great young lyricists.

Honorable mentions:
The Poison Control Center -- Stranger Ballet
Nikki Lane -- Walk of Shame
Future Islands -- On the Water
Emperor X -- Western Teleport
Real Estate -- Days

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

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Andy Mulkerin Austra The 9:13 Buzz The Joy Formidable Wye Oak

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 a bonus song):

The Joy Formidable, "Cradle" - The new one from this Welsh synth-pop-post-punk band is one of my favorites of 2011 so far. Fans of catchy pop hooks; energy; lush, deep recordings; and big words should check it. They play at the Smiling Moose April 27.

Tristen, "Baby Drugs" - I didn’t know a thing about this woman until like a week ago, but this song, and a few others on her debut album, captured my heart. She tows the line between alt-country and straight up pop (in the classic sense) songwriting, and has a wonderful voice. She plays Stage AE next Tuesday (April 12). I also like the video:

Goldenboy, "She Belongs to Me" - This is my favorite track off a stellar release, sleepwalker, by this band headed up by former Elliot Smith guitarist Shon Sullivan. It’s simple, understated and pleasing to the ear.

The Rural Alberta Advantage, "Stamp" - This is my favorite song off this Canadian band’s latest release. I was hoping it would be their breakout, but I feel sort of ambivalent toward the album as a whole – it doesn’t have any tracks that I don’t like, which the band’s previous LP Hometowns did, but it also doesn’t have any that stand out as being amazing, which Hometowns also had. This song, though, has a pretty genius video:

Categories:

New Music Personal Picks

Tags:

Andy Mulkerin Goldenboy The 9:13 Buzz The Joy Formidable The Rural Alberta Advantage Tristen
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