December 2013

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! In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy. Ezra Furman, "My Zero" - This one dropped in the fall and is a great mix of raucous punk-y stuff and literary lyricism. One of my most lamented show-misses of the year; I think I had band practice the night he came to town or something. But I did see him a few years back, and it was excellent! Phosphorescent, "Ride On/Right On" - Phosphorescent (Matthew Houck) brought one of my favorite albums of the year, Muchacho -- vulnerable but self-assured, soft but not boring. Everyone knows the first single, "Song for Zula"; this song, the song I played, "Ride On/Right On," comes immediately after that one on the album, and amps up the energy some. Mount Moriah, "Younger Days" - Mount Moriah gave one of my favorite shows I DID make it to this year. I've been following Heather McEntire (metaphorically speaking) since her early days in Bellafea; she's quieted down but also rounded out well as a songwriter in Mount Moriah. Pretty alt-country stuff from North Carolina.
Kim Shattuck Iconic indie rock band The Pixies recently reunited and began touring again. Their original bassist, Kim Deal, however, quit the band about a month before their tour began. That didn't slow The Pixies down, though. They recruited former Muffs bassist Kim Shattuck to fill in on the low end and things were going pretty well. Recently, we learned that Shattuck was abruptly fired from the band rather unexpectedly. Nobody really knew the reason as to why Shattuck was discharged from her duty, but now we do. In a recent interview with NME, Shattuck explained that the band asked her to leave for "being too enthusiastic". It all stems from a concert at The Aztec Theater in Los Angeles where Shattuck found herself so worked up with joy that she decided to launch herself from the stage into the crowd of adoring fans. Shattuck remarked to NME, "I know they weren't thrilled about that," she said. "When I got offstage, the manager told me not to do that again. I said, 'Really, for my own safety?' And he said, 'No, because the Pixies don't do that.'" The Pixies have filled the void left by Shattuck's firing by bringing on A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin. The Pixies will stop in Pittsburgh on January 25th. We'll just have to wait and see who's going to be in the rhythm section by then!
Today's Cool Kids tune was picked by a pretty cool cat, namely Toby Leaman of Dr. Dog! His pick for the day is Cardova by The Meters, an entirely instrumental guitar-driven jam. Toby's daughter is 10 months old, and she loves music with good beats. While Toby usually puts on WRTI in Philadelphia, a classical and jazz station, his daughter has her own taste. She loves music with a good beat, like dub music, reggae, and the Meters. "It's not how me or my wife dances, she's got her own little jam going on," Toby says. Even Joey admitted that a few people have told him their kids like The Meters, so there's got to be something there. "It doesn't get much better than that even as you get older," says Toby.
sweetheart-2014-album Still not over Christmas? That holiday is so two weeks from now. Why not celebrate the next big thing in holidays, Valentines Day? And while you're at it, check out this sweet compilation of romantic covers that Starbucks is putting out in February. This version of Sweetheart is actually the 5th in the Sweetheart series. The Valentines Day album, called Sweetheart 2014 has a whole bunch of artists we at WYEP love, doing covers of songs about love. You'll hear Phosphorescent covering Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow Is A Long Time", Beck doing John Lennon's "Love", The Head and the Heart channeling Harry Nilsson in their version of "Don't Forget Me", Vampire Weekend's Andrea Bocelli inspired "Con Te Partirò", and many others. You can find the whole track listing below, and you can find Sweetheart 2014 on sale February 4th. Sweetheart 2014: 01 Jim James: "Turn Your Lights Down Low" (Bob Marley cover) 02 Vampire Weekend: "Con Te Partirò" (Inspired by the Andrea Bocelli recording) 03 Beck: "Love" (John Lennon cover) 04 Phosphorescent: "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" (Bob Dylan cover) 05 The Head and the Heart: "Don’t Forget Me" (Harry Nilsson cover) 06 Valerie June: "Happy or Lonesome" (the Carter Family cover) 07 Bahamas: "Always on My Mind" (Willie Nelson cover) 08 Thao: "If You Were Mine" (Ray Charles cover) 09 Ben Harper: "Fade Into You" (Mazzy Star cover) 10 Fiona Apple: "I’m In The Middle of a Riddle" (Anton Karas cover) 11 Brandi Carlile: "The Chain" (Fleetwood Mac cover) 12 Blake Mills: "I Hope" (Bobby Charles cover) 13 Sharon Jones: "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours" (Stevie Wonder cover) Just the track list itself gets us in the mood for lovin', so this album should be pretty excellent. As a sneak peek for your ears, listen to Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) cover Bob Marley's "Turn Your Lights Down Low" here. Lay back with your sweetheart and a glass of wine, and get ready for this sweet Valentine's Day.
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! In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Scott. Click the title to hear the song! Overseas - "Old Love". Lyrically accessible, patiently combustible songs dot the debut album from this indie-rock band that includes David Bazan (Pedro the Lion; Headphones). This standout track casts an unflinching eye at marital strife and acceptance via quiet acts of desperation. The opening line: “I’m thinking back to a sensual act I enjoyed with a girl in my teens/While me and the Mrs. exchange goodnight kisses, roll over and pretend we’re asleep.” Ashley Monroe - “Weed Instead of Roses”. The other side of the long-time married coin, where the wifey suggests to her hubby that they send the kids to grandma’s, and pull out the whipped cream, sexy underwear, a whip, a Polaroid and some of her brother-in-law’s homegrown. Monroe’s songs are entertaining, and I love the trend she represents – along with newcomer Kacey Musgraves and The Pistol Annies (Monroe’s side project with Miranda Lambert) – namely female-led country acts steering the genre away from dumbed-down pop, with songs that sound traditional in a Parton-esque or Loretta Lynn-ish way, with a few pinches of modern lyrical edginess. Arcade Fire - “Reflektor”. How could rock’s most important band du jour possibly follow-up 2010’s best album, “The Suburbs”? Well, by incorporating disco and Haitian influences alternately good for a party or a deep-think session. This is the title track from their long, ambitious album that never ceases to intrigue. Now that they’re famous, a backlash is inevitable. But Arcade Fire is ready for that as indicated in another album cut, “Joan of Arc,” with its prescient line “First they love you/Then they kill you/Then they love you again.” My overall top-10 albums: 1. Kanye West, “Yeezus" 2. Ashley Monroe, “Like a Rose” 3. Foals, “Holy Fire” 4. Arcade Fire, “Reflektor” 5. Two Cow Garage, “Death of the Self-Preservation Society” 6. Jason Isbell, “Southeastern” 7. Disclosure, “Settle” 8. Overseas, “Overseas” 9. Justin Timberlake, “The 20/20 Experience” 10. My Bloody Valentine “M_B -V”
Belle and Sebastian were some of the coolest kids in indie music in the 90s, and they continue to be super cool to this day. They came through Pittsburgh this summer with label-mates Yo La Tengo, and they did an awesome show. Belle and Sebastian's song "The Blues Are Still Blue" is today's Cool Kids song of the day, and it has a hilariously awesome music video you can find below. The band's name actually comes from a French children's book called Belle et Sébastien, written by Cécil Aubry and published in 1965. The book features a young boy named Sébastien and his dog Belle, and it has actually been adapted into both a television series and an anime. If your child likes reading, or being read to, maybe you should pick this one up!
johnny Johnny Cash departed from this world ten years ago, but his music lives on. No, he's not recording from beyond the grave, rather his son John Carter Cash discovered a record of the elder Cash's from the 80s that was never released to the public. Now this record, called Out Among the Stars, will be released March 25. The record was supposed to be released by Colombia Records in 1986, but the label shelved the record indefinitely. John Carter Cash told the Associated Press that "It was the 'Urban Cowboy' phase. It was pop country, and dad was not that." It seems like not fitting the mold is what caused this record to be hidden from the world, but now that Johnny Cash's legacy is that of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, there is enough confidence to release Out Among the Stars. The record was produced by Billy Sherrill, and features two duets with June Carter Cash and one with Waylon Jennings. "We were so excited when we discovered this," announced John Carter Cash. "We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard. Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He's pitch perfect. It's seldom where there's more than one vocal take. They're a live take and they're perfect." Look for the new old record on March 25 of 2014.
Optimistically, today's Cool Kids Song says "Don't take it so bad, You know the summer's coming soon," and eventually that will be true. But for now we're stranded on the highways in snow just before the Winter Solstice has even hit us. Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne is today's appropriate Cool Kids tune, and it's much more relaxing than driving in this weather. Maybe it should be required listening after getting out of the car just so everyone can cool down, as if the snow weren't chilly enough. Finally, after this past weekend and today's snowfall, kids probably have had enough snow to make a halfway decent snow man or snow woman. Maybe, if their imaginations take them there, they can imagine them singing this song to each other.
Band-of-Horses-acoustic On Black Friday, Band of Horses released a special 7" for Record Store Day: a small EP called Acoustic at the Ryman. If that was all the information we had to give, that would be seriously old news by now. But lo and behold, Band of Horses is releasing a full LP of their acoustic performances on February 11th. The album, also called Acoustic at the Ryman will be released on the first day of their latest North American tour. The album is composed of 10 tracks recorded at the Ryman back in April of 2013. The acoustic tour will be kicking off in Los Angeles, then bounces between the US and Canada, and finally concludes back at the Ryman in Nashville. The full tracklist is as follows: 01. Marry Song 02. Slow Cruel Hands of Time 03. Detlef Schrempf 04. Everything’s Gonna Be Undone 05. No One’s Gonna Love You 06. Factory 07. Older 08. Wicked Gil 09. The Funeral 10. Neighbor Listen below to a track from the RSD Black Friday EP:
Even the coolest kids these days probably have limited exposure to Motown, so here's your chance to take your kids back in time. Today's Cool Kids track is Heat Wave by Martha and the Vandellas! You've probably heard this song before. Its been feature in a few movies from way back including classics like Carrie and American Graffiti, and you can't hear it without feeling like you belong in the 60s. It even feels like we're going through a heat wave with all these warm temperatures. 60 degrees in December? I'm not really complaining... Check out Martha and the Vandellas below!