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, City Paper and Relix Magazine In case you missed it here's what he played (plus bonus songs): Dawes, "If I Wanted Someone" - This California band is a perfect mix of CSNY, Jackson Browne, The Band and assorted other totally awesome classic rock acts, and they do it without any irony or nostalgia — just great songwriting, amazing lyrics, perfect harmonies and killer guitar solos. I totally hate this band, if you couldn't tell. The Antlers, "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" - Pretty much the opposite of sunshiney Dawes — The Antlers just released "Burst Apart," the spooky, minimalist and ice cold follow up to their epic, much beloved "Hospice." The band is great at creating a mood; frankly, I hope they remain about as popular as they are now. It's hard to imagine a sell-out crowd at Smalls getting down to this. Best appreciated with headphones, or when lost in the woods. Bon Iver, entire album "Bon Iver" - It's really a beautiful record, and completely different than the now-classic "For Emma, Forever Ago." Also, it leaked a month early, so you can likely find it online pretty easily... not that I'm suggesting you do. My Morning Jacket, entire album "Circuital" - This one drops May 31. It's weird and awesome, and you should totally buy it. The title track alone makes my brain turn into a July 4th sparkler.
I am certain that everything Bob Dylan does is very humorous to Bob Dylan. The Victoria's Secret Ad? Playing the keyboard at concerts? Those are knee-slappers for old Bobby D. Take a gander at this recent blog post where Bob clears the air about what really happened with China. Hilarious! The ending is my favorite part:
"Everybody knows by now that there's a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I'm encouraging anybody who's ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them."
What!?!? LOL, Bob! You are a comedian through and through.
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: The Love Me Nots, "He Doesn't Share Well" - As a rule, I'd rather not be driving around Sunday nights between 10 and midnight, but when that happens, it's a treat to flip on Little Steven's Underground Garage on that rock station up the dial. He focuses on '60s garage- and psych-rock and the bands that were influenced by it. Arizona band The Love Me Nots are a perfect fit, rocking hard with a fat, distorted guitar tone and Spector-style girl pop. The local connection is that the band, which just released "The Demon and the Devotee," features former Pittsburgher Bob Hoag (The Breakup Society) on drums. Ezra Furman & The Harpoons, "I Killed Myself But I Didn't Die" - For years, indie-rock bands played down the importance of lyrics to the point where a lot of people didn't even care about them anymore. With this Chicago band, which just released "Mysterious Power," the words jump out and demand your attention. But it's far from easy-listening singer-songwriter stuff. The Harpoons rock with noise and clatter, like on this song which recalls such indie greats as The Pixies and Pavement.
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.
The petite and feisty Tift Merritt took the stage all in black. With a lot of energy and spunk Ms. Merritt played the guitar and keyboards. At only 5 feet tall, she commands the stage with her strong voice and musicianship. She performed music from her catalog that included Broken and Mixtape, a song she wrote in France, Another Country, along with a couple of new songs and Good Hearted Man from her CD Tambourine, which was Grammy nominated in the Best Country Album category.
When you see Stephen Kellogg without the Sixers, it really makes you focus on his strong songwriting skills. I found myself listening intently to all the lyrics. He stayed center stage, playing the guitar and harmonica with a crate nearby acting as a table holding his mugs and various harmonicas. Mr. Kellogg, tall and slim all in black, performed for about 70 minutes with mostly a mix of Sixers fan favorites. There was one new song 1993 that will be on the upcoming Sixers CD due out in September. It’s another love song, about meeting his wife and starting a family. Among the songs: A (With Love), 4th of July, Sweet Sophia, My Old Man. Mr. Kellogg shared some quotes about life, romance, work and success. Ms. Merritt joined Mr. Kellogg on stage for a duet on the Kenny Loggins penned Danny’s Song. The 3-song encore included The Bear and Satisfied Man followed by a toast to the audience.
Barb S. – Sunday Mix Host
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 Smithereens, "Sorry" - No, the Smithereens hadn’t stashed their new album in a vault for 20 years, it just sounds that way. And that’s a good thing. Fuzzed-up guitar and crunchy drums and bass — British Invasion melodies filtered through East Coast pub rock — provide the vibrant backdrop to Pat DiNizio’s rich, vibrato-heavy voice. “The Smithereens 2011” kicks off effectively with this jangly, stomping single with brooding lyrics like, “Well my back’s against the wall/But I’m not afraid at all/I would like to say I’m sorry, but I won’t.” Andy Friedman, “Old Pennsylvania" - In typically off-kilter fashion, one of Brooklyn’s best and world weariest alt-country singers paints a picture of a late-fall Pennsylvania day in an old, rural town. Critical exultation for Friedman include “the king of art country” (Minneapolis’ City Pages), “art-damaged, ragged-but-right” (L.A. Weekly), “dusty, paint-splattered Americana sage” (Rochester News & Democrat) and “Ingenious originals” (The New Yorker, one of the New York publications for which Friedman has done freelance illustrations.) Indie-rock icon Sufjan Stevens once said, “I’ve always wanted to be Andy Friedman.”) See what the buzz is about May 9, when Friedman performs at Hollywood Gardens, an eclectic, TV-less bar in Rochester, Beaver County.