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):
Jonathan Coulton, “Good Morning Tucson” - This song made me laugh out loud when I heard Jonathan play it a few weeks ago as opening act for They Might Be Giants. The song is set at one of those ultra-perky, local TV news morning shows where the aging anchor is starting to snap. Jonathan told Pittsburgh audience he’s played lots of those shows, and the host seldom knows who he is. But he sympathizes with them for having to wake up so early.
Ray Bonneville, “Night Walker” - This Austin-based, Canadian-born blues-roots-rock singer has been hailed for having “the sexiest guitar styles around” (Acoustic Guitar magazine). Bonneville does pluck an alluring tone; I also like the rich imagery in his songwriting. The lyrics here are about a guy gazing out his second-floor window each night, becoming increasingly fascinated by a mysterious character he sees walking the streets. The singer wonders if they are kindred souls. Bonneville will perform Oct. 6 at the Calliope Center Stage in Shadyside. He also will be performing Oct. 7 at the Hollywood Gardens, in Rochester, Beaver County!
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
Mr. Heavenly "Bronx Sniper" - If you're like me, this track arrives with a serious "Whew!" Mr. Heavenly is a sorta-supergroup featuring members of Man Man, Islands and Modest Mouse. They self-described themselves as a 'doom wop' band, but until now, their songs didn't live up to that seemingly awesome new genre title. With "Bronx Sniper," though, we get a hellish and huge guitar romp. If the band's debut follows suit, I might have a new favorite album.
Big Harp "Everybody Pays" - Think The National playing songs by Will Oldham - with Big Harp we've got a married couple creating sincere, gorgeous folk rock with a slight grin. I really hope this act gets the attention they deserve; Big Harp's debut "White Hat" is seriously a gem, filled with country heartbreak, smart lyrics and even some fun.
Headliner - Fountains of Wayne
Rock the Block’s headliner this year is the fun and quirky Fountains of Wayne. Having not released an album since their 2007 effort Traffic and Weather, the band is back with a musical vengeance to create catchy tunes with their latest release Sky Full of Holes. The album takes listeners on an emotional roller coaster, causing a chuckle here and there and bringing on the heavy stuff with songs like “Cemetery Guns”.
Fountains of Wayne has been deeply involved in TV and film soundtracks. Their songs have appeared on hit series such as How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls and Scrubs. There is sure to be a song known by every Rock the Block attendee, such as their hit single “Stacey’s Mom”?
If you are in need of a pop-rock revival, allow Fountains of Wayne’s up-beat, poppy melodies to bring in the festive air of a night on the town at WYEP’s Rock the Block!
VIP Performer - Ben Sollee
There is no better artist to perform the intimate Rock the Block VIP session than the pop-folk cellist Ben Sollee. His songs are layered with a sweet innocence meant to bring a crowd together. Every track is filled with his honey-brushed vocals and passionate, percussion style cello plucking.
Sollee is a devout environmentalist and uses many of his songs to speak out against ecological atrocities. Born in Kentucky, he struggles with the sight of his Appalachia being ripped apart by the removal of mountaintops in coal mining. His lyrics are often a plea for a nature that cannot speak for itself.
Collaborating with talented artists such as Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck and Casey Driessen, Sollee has had incredible opportunities to formulate and tweak a sound that is all his own. Come see this unique performer live at WYEP’s Rock the Block and you will not be disappointed.
Local Opener - Chet Vincent & The Big Bend
The Pittsburgh music scene is overflowing with local musical talents. Chet Vincent & The Big Bend are representing this cultural niche at Rock the Block with their blend of alternative rock and country.
The band started out as a group of young guys playing music together, just scratching the surface of Pittsburgh’s nightlife. A few years later, they all met up again to dive right into a city thirsty for new artists.
Chet Vincent & The Big Bend’s old-timey clothing style gives their performances an air of entertainment and whimsy. They come to shows guitars tuned, shoes shined and suspenders at the ready.
--- All previews written by WYEP Summer Marketing Intern Katie O'Leary
Rock the Block takes place Saturday, September 17 at The WYEP Community Broadcast Center (67 Bedford Square) and in Bedford Square on the South Side.
VIP starts at 6pm, General Admission starts at 8pm. Tickets are available until 12pm Saturday at showclix.com. Tickets will then be available at the gates, day of the event, starting at 5:45pm. More information at wyep.org.
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:
Wild Flag, "Romance" - If you've been missing Sleater-Kinney, here's the remedy. Singer-guitarist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss are back with this indie-rock "supergroup" that also features guitarist Mary Timony (Helium) and keyboardist Rebecca Cole (The Minders). This song is on the poppier side, but you still get Brownstein in all her Wild glory on the band's Merge debut.
Donora, "The Story" - This is the lead-off track on the pop-rock trio's new album, its second on Rostrum Records. Despite the label being the home of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, the rappers make no appearance here. Rather, Donora gives us 10 tracks of adorable pop, going all the way back to '50s/'60s girl group and '80s New Wave for influences.
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):
New Shouts, "Reins to Your Heart" - These local retro-ish indie rockers are about to unleash a 7-song EP; they dwell somewhere between throwback and contemporary hip stuff, which I like. This easy jam almost has a Philly soul sound to it.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, "Letter Divine" - Someone still loves you, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It's me! You just released a new double album filled with unreleased songs old and new, and some demos of songs we already knew. It's great, and this song is sweet and fun and makes me feel young. Thanks!
Mandrake Project, "Transitions" - This is the title track from the local band's new album; last year they took on John Schisler (formerly of New Invisible Joy) as a full-time vocalist, and it works really well; I think they've really taken it to the next level. Good, pretty, cinematic stuff.
Editor's note: Andy Mulkerin loves this boat --->