September 2013

In July of 2012, Alastair Moock learned that one of his five-year-old twin daughters, Clio, had leukemia. Alastair and Clio sang and wrote together while she was in the hospital, and over the next year Alastair continued to write and collect songs. With the help of an amazing fundraising campaign, those songs came together in an album called Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World's Bravest Kids. Now Alastair is bringing that album — and live performances — to hospitals, clinics, and camps around the country. For today's Cool Kids selection, Alastair shared one of the most powerful songs on his new record. "When I Get Bald" takes a look at one of the most visual parts of cancer - losing one's hair. Watch the charming video for "When I Get Bald":
This installment of Cool Kids features a classic and historic song by Bo Diddley. "Hey Bo Diddley" is a rockin' track, and it will really get your feet moving. You can hear how excited the ladies are in the clip below from 1964. Check out the women on backup vocals too. One of them is even playing a guitar! How cool is that? The B-Side to this record featured a song called Mona (I Need You Baby) that was covered by the Rolling Stones for their first album!
The Coen brothers are releasing a new film this holiday season that focuses on the American folk music scene in the 1960s. Called Inside Llewyn Davis, the soundtrack will feature many notable artists including Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, Bob Dylan, Jack White, and many more.. The latest track to be released, which is featured in the official trailer for the film, is called "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)", and it's recorded by Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons and actor Oscar Issac. It is a new rendition of a folk song that's been performed by the likes of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Buckley. The first recording of the song was sung by an African American woman named Dink and recorded by an ethnomusicologist named John Lomax in 1908. The film will be released on December 20th, but you don't have to wait quite so long if you really like the soundtrack. The soundtrack will be out on November 12th, and there's no doubt that it will be an interesting mix of songs.

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: Bear's Den, "Agape": This trio from London opened for Mumford & Sons and also brought along a banjo. The difference was, Bear's Den (yes, another animal band name) didn't try to play to the last row. Instead, the group pulled us in with tender, beautiful harmonies like you hear on this song from the new EP, also titled "Agape." Bill Callahan, "Spring": This guy is no stranger to the indie scene. He worked for 15 years under the name Smog before becoming a solo artist in 2007. His new album, "Dream River," is some of his best work, and should be all over Top 10 lists at the end of the year. This song, which has touches of Marvin Gaye soul, is indicative of his honest and assured delivery.
Today on Cool Kids, we bring you I'm My Own Grandpa as recorded by Willie Nelson. Originally written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe, who were inspired by a book of Mark Twain anecdotes. Twain had discovered a way that, through a series of marriages, a man could become his own grandfather. It's a very complicated process, but wikipedia has the whole thing figured out. Maybe you could turn this into an exercise where you teach your kid about everyone in the family and how they're related. If your family is as complicated as Willie's, though, maybe you should keep some headache meds around. This video is cleverly done in The Sims 2, and having a visual for the family is actually very helpful. Enjoy!
The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records is a massive collection being put together by Jack White and John Fahey to cover the eclectic recordings done by the Wisconsin Chair Company starting in 1917. The set is going to contain six 180 gram LPs (87 songs) collected in a hand crafted oak case reminiscent of phonograph cases in the 1920s. There will also be a cool app distributed with The Rise and Fall on USB devices. The app will feature unique music and art to help the layman navigate the massive collection. Paramount Records produced a huge number of recordings, but kept no records of what they recorded. So Jack White and a team of artists, writers, musicians - 30-50 people in all - collected as much information as they could for the release of Volume One. Volume One will be out October 29th, with more volumes to follow in the coming years. Artists in the Paramount collection include Louis Armstrong, Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and so many others. Be warned, The Rise and Fall isn't a "best of". Jack White's partner for the project, Dean Blackwood says that it's a collection of some big names and "not even one-hit wonders, they're one or two recording wonders."
Really, though. September is kind of a huge month for Nirvana. It's the month that two of their biggest albums were put out. Today, in fact, is the 22nd anniversary of Nevermind, Nirvana's breakout album. Nevermind features awesome tunes like "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Lithium", "Come As You Are", and "In Bloom". Also today is the release of the 20th anniversary edition of In Utero, Nirvana's last studio album, which was released on September 13th of 1993. The reissue of In Utero actually has some more content than just a remastering of the original album. The deluxe version features all kinds of treats, like unreleased demos, B sides, and live tracks. One of the tracks included is a complete live performance from 1993 featuring the final touring lineup of the band from Seattle’s Pier 48. Steve Albini produced the album, and he is the one responsible for crafting In Utero's raw and unpolished sound, relative to Nevermind. Scott Litt, who produced for R.E.M. was brought in by Nirvana to alter Albini's mixing though, and changed "Heart Shaped Box" and "All Apologies" to something the band was more approving of. If these two events aren't enough to convince you to listen to Nirvana all month long, then you're just being silly. Here is a clip, you silly person.
Today's Cool Kids song is actually a cover! Pavement originally did "Spit on a Stranger" on their 1999 release Terror Twilight, but Nickel Creek covered it only three years later on This Side. The Nickel Creek version is a bit less atmosphere-y, but it's also more lighthearted and fun for your kid! Don't encourage them to actually spit on strangers though. That's just rude! Some of the last lyrics of the song are "I see the sunshine in your eyes, I'll try the things you never try". Just imagine all the things that our children will be able to do that we've never dreamed of!
The Music Icons Forever stamp series club is going to have a new member soon! The legendary Ray Charles is being featured on a stamp this season. The stamp is available at post offices across the country, as well as a CD called Ray Charles Forever that features an unreleased recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me". Charles is the latest music icon in a series that has included the likes of Johnny Cash and Lydia Mendoza. The stamp features a photo of Charles taken by Yves Carrère later in Charles' career. Forever Stamps will always be equal to the current First Class Mail one once rate. Listen below to Ray Charles performing "Georgia On My Mind".
Unknown-2 As if there wasn't enough hype around Arcade Fire already, the band recently announced they will be playing a 30-minute NBC special.  Arcade Fire will be joining former SNL star Tina Fey on the premiere of the show's 39th season on September 28th.  But that's not all! In honor of their upcoming album, Reflektor, Arcade Fire will be hosting a 30-minute special that will immediately follow their SNL performance.  The news was fist reported by Consequence of Sound.  NBC has only confirmed the news, no other details regarding the special have been released.  It's expected that Arcade Fire will highlight a lot of material from Reflektor. Arcade Fire have promoted Reflektor in a rather unique manner.  They released their album date via Twitter, released an interactive music video and played a secret show in costume.  So if you are a fan of Arcade Fire and had plans on Sep. 28, break them because their NBC special is certainly not one to miss! Also! Look for Arcade Fire's fourth studio album, Reflektor, is due out October 29.