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 (talking to us from Lancaster County via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin: Passion Pit, "Cry Like A Ghost" - Passion Pit loves to play with opposing forces: ecstatic, jubliant synth pop sounds mixed with wildly personal and often depressing lyrics. Uppers and downers. Weddings and funerals. Stuff like that. But the result is some really compelling music — and the band's second album, Gossamer, is the best thing they've done to date. This is my favorite track on the record. I hope Cindy plays it twice just so you can hear it again. Whata you think, Cindy? Give the people what they (are about to) want! (Ha ha! - Cindy) Fang Island, "Asunder" - Also a band that works with jubilant, celebratory sounds, but without so much falsetto and hip-hop beats. These dudes create a guitar hurricane of joy. Whatever that means. I wans't a huge fan of their debut — too much guitar acrobatics, not enough actual songwriting — but their follow up, Major, is much more grounded with catchy, well-written songs. Definitely a band to watch out for. Bonus Track! The xx, "Angels" - Everybody stop what you're doing! Seriously, quit it! The xx released a new song! I figured after two dancey, happy tracks, I'd suggest this exercise in melancholy. It's a beautiful first release from the British trio's upcoming album, Coexist, out in September. The band nearly took over the indie music world when they first broke out a few years back — Coexist is primed to push them further. Google or YouTube this, smoke a cigarette somewhere cold, and enjoy.
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: Dead Sara, "Whispers and Ashes" - Why go to Warped Tour every year? It's fun to crowd surf in a 100-degree parking lot! No, the reason is that you can find a hidden gem on one of the smaller stages. This year, it was Dead Sara, an LA quartet led by front-woman Emily Armstrong, who combines a siren voice with a fierce stage persona. Some of the songs are heavy, like a punk Zeppelin or a grungier Sleater-Kinney. This one sounds a bit more crafted for a more pleasant radio station. For something more ear-damaging, do check out the explosive single "Weatherman" Karl Hendricks Trio, "The Adult Section" - In the midst of converting Paul's CDs into his own Sound Cat Records, acclaimed indie artist Karl Hendricks found time to record his ninth album, another blast of noisy guitar-rock with his wry lyrical touch. The title track, he says, carries the theme about "the conflict between our desires ... and our responsibilities."
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: Friends, "Friend Crush" - Still working out my feelings on Friends' debut album, but I think I might like it. At first I took it to be pretty shallow hipster pop stuff, but there's something charming about the sincerity of the songwriting. At the very worst, this is a great summer jam. Crocodiles, "No Black Clouds for Dee Dee" - Another one for the driving-around-listening-to-summer-songs pile. Crocodiles' latest, Endless Flowers, is a trippy garage-pop tour de force. Gem after gem after gem! Just don't take the sticker off the cover.