WYEP's Top 5 2015 Local Releases


WYEP has been proud to support the Pittsburgh music community for decades and in 2015 we were pleased to further extend our enthusiasm by instituting The Local 913, a weekly on-air highlight of a new local release. The Local 913 has been a great way to throw a spotlight on local talent, along with our monthly local music happy hour: The Local 913 Live. These five releases are the best of the best in our town for 2015. We encourage you to support each one of these fine hometown musicians!

*** WYEP’s Top 5 Local Acts for 2015 ***

1. Brooke Annibale The Simple Fear (Brooke Annibale)
Fear can be a complicated emotion when its root source is unclear. When layers of self-doubt, uncertainty, and miscommunication are peeled away, the truth tends to be relatively simple, and universal. Brooke Annibale explores and demystifies complications of the heart, drawing from personal insight without becoming overtly confessional. She uses concise, reserved language to express the frustration of waiting for an overdue apology, or the gentle acceptance of a relationship’s lost potential. Her spirit lifts with the hope of redemptive love. Annibale’s beguiling folk-based melodies reveal glimmers of pop and country. They unfold in subtle ways—a lone guitar is joined by piano, strings emerge, and percussion enters almost imperceptibly. Annibale’s vocals have a sweetly smoky, enigmatic quality, but her songs clearly depict the human experience. (RMW) 

2. Billy Price & Otis Clay This Time For Real (Vizztone)
Local mainstay Billy Price has known Otis Clay, the Mississippi-born soul and R&B legend (and Blues Hall of Fame inductee), since the early 1980s. The two have recorded a few songs together over the years, and they decided it was time to record a full album. Blues guitarist Duke Robillard signed on to produce it; and the result is an entertaining romp through a variety of soul classics and other choice material. Robillard and his band provide crisp backing, and the Roomful of Blues horns keep the energy level high, but it's Price's and Clay's expressive voices that steal the show. (MS) 

3. Donora Ha Ha Heart (Rostrum)
The nearly decade-long run of Donora’s catchy, bright, indie-pop continues on the band’s fourth effort titled Ha Ha Heart. The trio completely engulfed themselves in the creative process by diving into drummer and producer Jake Hanner’s newly created home studio in Gibsonia. The space worked in bringing out the band’s energy in a more complete form than previous efforts. Ha Ha Heart is filled with bouncy and catchy riffs, shiny choruses from Casey Hanner, and a 60s meets modern-electro pop collection of songs. The home-studio process is captured with a handmade booklet documenting the album with lyric pages, stories and production notes. (KS) 

4. Cold Weather When Waking (Cold Weather)
Chamber indie folk Cold Weather has a gentle touch that might just knock you over with their delicate, yet intense album When Waking. Frontman Mark Ramsey’s vocals not only have a similar tone to Elliott Smith, they also have that emotional delivery where is seems like he’s not actually going to get the words out. Producer Jake Hanner, who has been the production master-mind of the indie-pop Donora, shows his versatility when working with Cold Weather, adding his magic touch here and there. He lets Ramsey and the rest of the band set the tone for this fantastic album. (CH) 

5. Mariage Blanc No Autobiography (Mariage Blanc)
“Welcome to sunny… Pittsburgh?” Visions of 1960s Laurel Canyon don’t come to mind when pondering the Steel City, but local “melancholy pop” band Mariage Blanc have successfully summoned the feelings of a lazy afternoon in the California mountains on their new record “No Autobiography.” Lush instrumentation complements the subdued, lilted, sometimes whispered singing of a band that has aged like a fine California wine. Mariage Blanc demonstrates that, while rock and roll may be for the kids, the maturity and refinement that comes with age sounds incredibly compelling. (JS)