February 2014

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: Courtney Barnett, "Avant Gardener" - I had an old-fashioned "remember some of these lyrics so you can search them online later and find out who this is" moment when I first heard this song in the car. Courtney Barnett is an Austrailian singer-songwriter with a droll, charming style and an immense talent with words. Hopefully she makes it to Pittsburgh sometime soon. Clare Maguire, "Paper Thin" - Clare Maguire is a British singer-songwriter who deals mostly in jazzy pop with minimalist, electronic production. My real favorite song off her recent free mixtape is "Whenever You Want It," but it has naughty words in it, so I settled for playing my second favorite, "Paper Thin."
Saturday night at Miley Cyrus' show in Los Angeles she was joined on stage by The Flaming Lips to perform "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1" for the 31st anniversary of the band's first show. Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips recently claimed how much of a fan he has been of Cyrus since she has taken a more free spirited route of performance. Check out the video below!
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! In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Scott. The Nox Boys, "Take My Heart and Break It" - Fox Chapel High School kids from Blawnox playing garage-rock legit enough for esteemed local label Get Hip? Believe it. These kids -- with slide guitar veteran Bob Powers -- went to Detroit to record with producer Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Cynics) and came back with a killer debut loaded with rockers like this. Cloud Nothings, "I'm Not Part of Me" - The forthcoming third album from the Cleveland band is said to find frontman Dylan Baldi in a happier state than he was when he was raging on "Stay Useless." This first single is proof that he be there without losing his edge.
Last year David Bowie surprised many fans with the release of his album The Next Day, his first studio record in almost a decade. This past weekend at the Music Producer's Guild Awards in London, Bowie won the Innovation Award for The Next Day  where his producer Tony Visconti picked up the award and talked about Bowie's unreleased tracks. Visconti claimed that while many critics were skeptic on the rest of Bowie's career in the music industry and talked of his retirement, he was writing amazing songs. Visconti claims a few songs written for the album that were not released are astounding and may be released some day. Bowie is also nominated for two 2014 BRIT awards for Best Male and Best Album which will take place next week. Check out his video for "Where Are We Now?" off of the most recent album.
Your kids might be familiar with "Whip It," Devo's 1980 hit single, but WYEP Morning Mix host, Joey Spehar, knows that they'd really love to dive deeper into this New Wave bands discography. Beautiful World was released on New Traditionalists, Devo's fourth studio album in 1981. When on tour for this album the band developed a new style which included the "New Traditionalist Pomp" based off of John F. Kennedy's hairstyle, and wore getups they called "Utopian Boy Scout Uniforms". Yikes! This song features a positive message for kids to adhere to with lyrics that talk about how beautiful the world is. The beats and synths in this song will get anybody moving. Check out the music video below!
Not too long ago our Cool Kids pick was Jack Johnson's "Radiate" and received some positive feedback. Check out what one listener said, and if you missed the song before, check it out now! "I played the CD for my 2 1/2 year old son Jake one time and he began requesting Radiate by name. I am not exaggerating when I say that for the past week he wakes up in the morning and/or from his nap asking to play the video on the ipad. In a moment of weakness (and those without children may say poor parenting) I gave him the ipad so that I could get the house cleaned up a bit. I think he may have played it for about an hour!! It ends up the song was written about Jack Johnson watching his own son slip off into his imaginary world radiating all kinds of wonderful childhood energy out. I learned this little factoid from multiple views of the video on YouTube - I'm sure we are logging at least 1000 of the posted views! I think it's pretty cool that of all the songs on the CD, this is the one my son connects with!!"
For those who weren't captivated by the thrill of Superbowl XLVIII that took place Sunday night, the halftime show must have been quite the treat. Bruno Mars, widely known American singer-songwriter and record producer, performed a full 12 minutes of extravagance that really set the bar high for future halftime performers. Working through some of his top hits and adding in The Red Hot Chili Peppers with their song "Give It Away", Bruno Mars took us through a short tour of musical history ranging from 1960's Motown to current Hip-Hop influence. Speaking of cool things that came out of the Superbowl that aren't sports, a few commercials really stood out that night featuring pivotal artists like U2 and Bob Dylan. U2 released a single titled "Invisible" which will continue to be free on iTunes until 24 hours after the commercial was debuted. For every download, Bank of America will donate $1 to the (RED) charity to fight AIDS. Bono wants everyone to know that this is not the debut single off of their new album, which they are hoping to release this summer. Check out the commercial: We saw our good friend Bob Dylan in a commercial for Chrysler last night as well. It seems every year Chrysler get's a quintessential American, like Clint Eastwood or Berry Gordy, to try and make us feel real life feelings about a car company and it totally works. Bob Dylan's homage to American cars finishes with the line "Let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car." Can we expect to see counterculture icon, Bob Dylan, in more commercials now?
Verve Remixed is a series of albums which combine classic jazz musicians with electronic music producers. This particular song, "Slap That Bass" originally by Ella Fitzgerald and remixed by Miguel Migs, who is known for his extensive list of remixes, is off of the second Verve Remixed. In the original tune, Ella Fitzgerald sings about daily troubles that could all be remedied by simply hearing someone slap the bass. A jazz musician singing about bass is something any EDM producer might get excited about even if Fitzgerald is talking about, perhaps, an upright bass. All of you cool kids getting ready to enter into the world that is jazz music, this might be just the track for you.