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WYEP Decades Week: 2014 saw old faves get back together and new bands get their starts


I just looked up the top news stories of 2014 and it’s just a little depressing that as much as things change, they mostly stay the same. We had a contagious disease outbreak, airline disasters, fighting in Ukraine and in the Middle East, hack attacks, and contentious elections.

Thankfully, we also had some amazing music to soothe our souls. While WYEP favorites like Oh Wonder, The Babe Rainbow, and You+Me got their starts, classic groups like L7, Nickel Creek, and Sleater-Kinney got back together.

From a Grammy award-winning Beck album to a posthumous Johnny Cash release and a pair of records by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, there’s something for almost everyone and you’ll hear quite a bit of them today on WYEP.

Lake Street Dive, "Bad Self Portraits"

Lake Street Dive are pretty much perfect, right? Fronted by the powerful, old-school voice of Rachael Price, the Beantown band are quick, capable, and quite fun to watch. For me, hearing the term “selfie” in a song feels kind of dumb, but calling it a “bad self-portrait’ — that’s just genius!

Future Islands, "Seasons (Waiting on You)"

So, you think you can dance, huh? Maybe you can, but you almost certainly can’t do it with as much vigor and passion as Samuel T. Herring — the charisma-soaked leader of Future Islands. Don’t believe me? Just check out their sensational performance of the song “Seasons (Waiting on You)” from the Late Show with David Letterman.

Johnny Cash, "She Used to Love Me A Lot"

Johnny Cash died in 2003, but he’s never going to really leave us. His music is too timeless to ever disappear. In 2014, we saw the release of "Out Among the Stars" — his fourth posthumously released record and 71st (!!!) overall. At the time of the release, the songs were already over 30 years old, coming from a project he started in 1981 that was shelved by his record label. The wait was worth it for the June Carter Cash duets alone.

Ben & Ellen Harper, "Learn It All Again Tomorrow"

 Wasn’t there a line in a movie once about there bei no place like home or something like that? That’s the feeling you get when you listen to "Childhood Home"the album Ben Haper did with his mom Ellen. As we’ve seen many times through the years with sibling bands, there’s nothing like the way that familial voices blend. This one didn’t set the world on fire, but it will certainly warm up your heart.

Lana Del Rey, "West Coast"

Lana Del Rey said she wasn’t sure if she’d put out any more records after her major label debut — Born to Die — came out in 2012, citing her muse as a fickle one. Thankfully, inspiration continues to strike. "Ultraviolence" uses dreamy and psychedelic sounds to envelope us in a world of haze, gloom, and reverb which feels like an incredibly comfortable place to be.

Alvvays, "Archie, Marry Me"

Alvvays put out their debut album a decade ago and immediately captured the attention of indie kids from Canada and well beyond. The album’s lead single “Archie, Marry Me” is a love song for the modern world. Instead of singing about being smitten and forgetting about the rest of the world, lead singer Molly Rankin croons about financial security and ditching the idea of a traditional wedding ceremony.

Hozier, "Take Me to Church"

Backstage at a festival last summer, I got to hang out with Andrew Hozier-Byrne in a very warm trailer. The Irish singer and songwriter told me that he believes that art can change the world and that it can open our minds to another way of thinking and feeling. When you hear a song like “Take Me to Church,” you know he’s telling the truth and is incapable of dishonesty. It was awesome to see a song so pure and so powerful climb to the peaks of pop radio where substance is very often hard to come by.

Joey Spehar is a Pittsburgh native who started as a volunteer D.J. at WYEP, fresh out of college in 2006. He took on any job they’d let him do like editing audio, engineering remote broadcasts, and shoveling snow.