January 2011

  Joshua Radin

Joshua Radin started off his latest tour Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd in Millvale. Over the course of one-hour and ten-minutes, Mr. Radin performed songs with his three-piece band from his three-releases.  There was the poignant song that was one of the first he ever wrote around the time of  Hurricane Katrina "Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby)". The title track from his most recent (2010) release "The Rock and The Tide".  Showing his rock side on "Nowhere to Go".  A more pop side on "Brand New Day".  Mr. Radin, talked between songs, about being from Cleveland and how his songwriting has been influenced by two failed relationships. Brandon Walters proved he was a talented sideman by playing the guitar, keyboards and zylophone it seemed all at one time.  Audience participation was also encouraged from clapping to screaming out lyrics. "Today" was the song Mr. Radin sang at the wedding of Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. Mr. Radin also included a song he wrote in one of his darkest times "You Got Growin' Up To Do".  "Closer" was the final song before the encore of "Winter". Opening the show was Anya Marina. There was the first night on tour glitch when Ms. Marina's microphone was not working during her initial song.  Once that was fixed, her 35-minute set continued on with the next 6 songs, including the title track of her latest EP "Spirit School".  A combination of Cyndi Lauper and Jill Sobule crossed my mind. She also got the crowd to sing and clap along with her songs. Barb. S - Sunday Mix Host

Introducing "Lamplight" - EPK from Katie Costello on Vimeo.

An artist that has filmed a video at The New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh has a interesting, upbeat 2nd release out in February called Lamplight.

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: The Decemberists, "Rox in the Box" - The first truly great album of 2011, "The King is Dead" from The Decemberists, is more jangly and twangy than 2008's "The Hazards of Love," with notable contributions from R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and Americana artist Gillian Welch. Let's face it: The Decemberists' Colin Meloy would sound great singing the instructions on a 1040EZ form. But he really shines on this solid material, including my favorite track, "Rox in the Box," the folkiest one on the album. Yuck, "Holing Out" - Just when you thought rock had exhausted its supply of creative band names, along comes Yuck. Luckily, Yuck doesn't literally live up to its name, offering an engaging brand of Sonic Youth-ish, fuzzy guitar, lo-fi garage rock. Band members hail from New Jersey, London and Hiroshima... that pretty much covers it! Their self-titled, self-produced debut will be released by the Fat Possum label on Feb. 15. Get hip to Yuck now.

Lubriphonic plays on Friday January 28th @ The Thunderbird in Lawrenceville

Info on Lubriphonic here Preview by Justin Jacobs:

Like all good Americans, you like your winters snowy and white, your eagles bald and soaring and, most importantly, your funk music hot and heavy. We lucked out in Pittsburgh this month with a wild show from Maceo Parker (he of James Brown and George Clinton band fame) at the Byham Theater. On Friday, Jan. 28, we'll get another dose — up-and-comers Lubriphonic will hit the Thunderbird. Where Maceo's brand of funk included a bit of jazz, this Chicago septet rolls up the funk in a driving rock'n'roll package. I'm not too sure where they'll fit all seven players in the small Lawrenceville venue, but that should make for a loud, brassy show. Lubriphonic's latest is called The Gig Is On; seems appropriate, as funk has always been best presented with a few stiff drinks someplace where you can dance. Check them out this Friday.

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 Justin Jacobs, contributing writer to Billboard Magazine, Relix Magazine and Pittsburgh's City Paper In case you missed it here's what he played (plus two bonus songs): The Low Anthem, "Hey All You Hippies!" - These folks are WYEP (and Cindy Howes) favorites, so I'd expect to hear some more of them once their fourth album drops. It's called Smart Flesh, and it's full of ragged rockers like this one, as well as beautiful, hushed folk tunes. If you like folk, gospel, country or, really, any music at all, I think you'll dig The Low Anthem. Jay Reatard, "My Shadow" - Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Jay's death. He was found in his home in Memphis last year, dead of an overdose at 29. Jay was, hands down, one of the most important voices in punk rock in the last 20 years - he released dozens of albums, 7"s and EPs in his short time here, and it was all raging, 77-era, speedy punk that fit right alongside The Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols. Here's to you, dude. Callers, "Life of Love" - Picture a slower, more sultry Florence and the Machine. This new band creates some sexy chamber-pop just in time for Valentine's Day. Even the record is called Life of Love. Lead one yourself and check out this band. Mister Heavenly, "Mister Heavenly" - This sorta-supergroup features band members from Islands, Man Man and Modest Mouse. The band calls their music 'doom-wop,' but I call it awesome. No record out yet, but this track just dropped and is 3-minute party perfect for weird-ing-out by yourself or with friends.
Even though it’s only January, I have a CD already on my Best of 2011 list.  “The Next Right Thing” is the sophomore release on MPress for singer-songwriter Seth Glier.  This musician from Massachusetts has assurance well beyond his 22-years.

The CD opens with the title track.  It only includes vocals, drums and percussion coming in under 2 minutes.  A unique way to take the listener into the next dozen tracks.  There are also two short instrumental transition pieces among the 13 tracks.  “Beauty in the Breakdown” is one of the songs that have a brief instrumental introduction which helps the song build.  “Walk Katie Home” and “What The Others Have Done” tell stories in about 4 minutes.  “First” gives you the hint that this is a young lyricist with a line referring to high school sweethearts who keep the zip code where their folks live. The song also includes current events like what’s going on in Detroit and Bagdad.  You may write about what you know, but with Mr. Glier you can relate to the images he paints no matter what your age.  My favorite track is “Lauralee”  This song sounds like Ellis Paul joining with Coldplay (really!)  Edwin McCain provides backing vocals on “I Don’t Need You”.  Mr. Glier has performed over 200 shows and “No Place to Land” talks about missing someone while out on the road. Mr. Glier’s friends / mentors / fans include the likes of James Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Ellis Paul, Maia Sharp, Edwin McCain, Stephen Kellogg, and The Verve Pipe.  I too am a fan of Mr. Glier and this CD.  I’ve seen Mr. Glier open for Livingston Taylor and Maia Sharp.  I look forward to the day Mr. Glier earns his status as a headliner. Barb S - Sunday Mix Host
A Bit of a preview of the forthcoming R.E.M.

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 Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Scott: Gang of Four, "She Said" - Gang of Four is one of my favorite bands ever, despite the British post-punkers only having about three albums worth of stellar material. It's been 16 years since we've heard anything new from them, so the appearance of "Content" is a thrill. From the sound of this lead track the new rhythm section sounds as solid as the original and guitarist Andy Gill is as menacing as ever. Social Distortion, "Alone and Forsaken" - These are hard times, so it's a good time for this vintage Orange County band that delivers its punk rock with a bluesy edge. "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" doesn't break any new ground (why would it?), but it rocks from start to finish and Mike Ness brings the same old passion to these tales of woe.
Many listeners have been turned onto The Low Anthem over the past couple of years. The band did a great studio session at WYEP and we carried their show Live from Club Cafe. The band was recently out on tour with the great Emmylou Harris and really impressed the crowd with their new material. Enjoy "Ghost Woman Blues" their new video and song. The band is back for a full show in Pittsburgh on February 26th at Brillobox.

The first show of the second season of what is usually a quarterly event, the Songwriters Spotlight, took place Saturday night at the New Hazlett Theater.

Hosted by Joe Grushecky and Rick Witkowski. The guest songwriters were Greg Joseph (The Clarks), Maddie Georgi and Jeff Schmutz (Good Brother Earl). The format:  Each singer-songwriter performs two to three of their original songs, then each performs a cover of a song that they wish they wrote, and the two hours of music ends with a group collaboration / sing-a-long. The hosts Mr. Grushecky and Mr. Witkoswki are at each end of a semi-circle with the guest singer-songwriters in the middle. Mr. Grushecky offered "The Sun is Going to Shine" (East Carson Street), "Another Rainy Day in Pittsburgh (Fingerprints) sounding like it was from Jimmy Webb/Burt Bacharach 1960's era, "Beauty Fades" (A Good Life), along with his cover of The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses".  He also reminisced, on the anniversary of Elvis Presely's birth, about a visit to Graceland before it was open to the public, which gave way to an impromptu short medley of Presley's songs. Mr. Witkoswki sang the rocky hip hop Gothic "Do You Have it (Guts)" and a song from the "Prog Rock" group Crack the Sky's 3rd album that he wrote with his wife that had the 1940's feel to it "A Night on the Town" (played on the ukulele).  He covered the Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". Mr. Joseph performed "Mississippi Mud" (with a sampling of "Delta Dawn" at the end), "Snowman" (a children's song about cocaine), and "Magazine" along with a cover of David Gray's "Babylon" which was spot on. Ms. Georgi is a freshman in college, who found herself center stage amongst the more seasoned songwriters.  She sang "Shades of Green", "I Like The Way That Feels", and "Already Gone" (about your senior year of high school going by too quickly).  Ms. Georgi's cover of Leonard Cohen's "'Hallelujah" was simply breathtaking. Mr. Schmutz songs included "Glass Tiger" and "Firefly" with a cover of the Hank Williams Sr. song "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" which gave him a chance to yodel. The final number was Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" with the audience accompanying the talented singer-songwriters each time on the chorus. It was the 3rd Songwriters Spotlight I was able to attend and I look forward to future installments to discover more local singer-songwriters. Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host