To find out about up-and-coming local bands for our Sense of Place stop in Pittsburgh, we went straight to one of the city's best-known sources: Cindy Howes, host of Morning Mix on NPR member station WYEP.
A close observer of Pittsburgh's music scene, Howes couldn't pick just five bands to feature on Wednesday's episode, so she gave us six. She also gives listeners insight into the wide variety of music playing at any given night in the clubs of Pittsburgh's East End.
Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Early on, they did have some hot Edgar Sampson arrangements that Benny Goodman would soon turn into hits, like "Blue Lou" and "Don't Be That Way." But the Webb band also had an old-school crooner, Charles Linton, with pre-jazz-age enunciation.
Hear some of today's most innovative and inspirational Celtic music in recordings of its most ancient instrument. William Jackson, Wendy Stewart, Maire Brennan, Grainne Hambly, Savourna Stevenson and Alan Stivell all feature in an hour dedicated to small harps.
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For those drawn to doom and gloom, the most affecting music sometimes takes a while to reveal itself. In 2008, the happily named duo Have a Nice Life released Deathconsciousness, a messy yet fascinating double-album fixated on the darker side of life and endowed with a gauzy, shoegaze-drenched underbelly. As time went on, I'd continue to see Deathconsciousness pop up in RSS and Twitter feeds from those just discovering an album too weird and too bleak for its time — or any time, for that matter. I should know; I was one of them a few years ago.