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New Releases

Reviews of new albums by Cold Weather and Shad Ali

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Cold Weather
When Waking

Sometimes when a new band reminds you of another artist, it feels kind of pointless. Why not just listen to the "real" thing? But sometimes, when done just right, it makes you grateful that someone out there is making music so reminiscent of the stuff you already love. In the case of these Elliot Smith (near) sound-alikes, the latter is true. The first full-length by the trio Cold Weather  — singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Ramsey, bassist Sarah Lacy and drummer Alex Platz — When Waking is a lovely, affecting collection, delicately produced by Jake Hanner of Donora. Well worth a listen. Margaret Welsh

Shad Ali

Shad Ali
The Speaquinox

This new record by MC Shad Ali, a Wilkinsburg native, is perfect for listeners in search of a mature hip-hop sound. The album has an East Coast feel, with content that reflects strong Pittsburgh roots. A range of producers — including Chuck Yayger and J Card — help to create the perfect backdrop for Ali's poetic lyrical style: Lyrics such as "Stimulate unzip a file / minutes and seconds don't measure ours / I was early, spent my life waiting wild young and free" will definitely garner a second listen. Songs like "Outside of Me" show Ali's ability to be subjective regarding his life and circumstances, while other songs, such as "You're Responsible," highlight how he's able to be objective without being preachy. Jeremiah Davis

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