To look at Jonathan Wilson, you know where he’s coming from, or more likely when. His long straight hair tied back, well but not too neatly kept beard, worn army green coat over a very well-worn low neck DIY band t-shirt, the beaded jewelry, the knit hat -- it all evokes a 70′s hippy chic tempered by a modern esthetic. As with his look, Wilson’s music straddles the line of new and old, evidenced on his well-reviewed but vastly underappreciated 2011 debut, Gentle Spirit. Self-produced and recorded entirely on analog in LA’s Laurel Canyon, the album was conceived as a double vinyl LP, not as a CD, and features a warmth of both song and sound that echoes the voices of the canyon and its storied past. Just as his music is the lifeline from those days until now, Jonathan Wilson is just as likely to perform with legendary artists as contemporary ones, and in fact has toured recently with Jackson Browne, performs periodically with Bob Weir, is soon to be opening for Neil Young, and has just now finished a touring leg with Tame Impala. In other words, he was the perfect fit for the intimate setting of the rustically adorned US Social Club, a private events studio in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, the kind of place you can expect to find many of Seattle’s modern Americana peddlers and performers. So while the Aussie psychsters he was touring with were out at the Gorge for Sasquatch, the KEXP video crew recorded an exclusive live set with Jonathan Wilson and his band performing songs from Gentle Spirit in addition to a pair of covers and a new song that we hope to see on his sophomore release due sometime this fall. Relive the moment now and watch this very special session:
We’ve always known Nathan Williams had a sense of humor, but Wavves‘ new video for “That’s on Me” feels both humorous and deadly serious. Sometimes you are just mad and need a cheerleader and a ... sword? The video pairs destruction born of frustration and the playful metal-wannabe riffing of Williams singing “that’s on me.” [Pitchfork]
In anticipation of their upcoming album, An Object, No Age has released “No Ground”, another anthemic guitar driven killer of a track that’s gracefully layered and complex. “Who do you think you are? Trying to get backstage ... the line is set in stone!” they shout, “Does anybody care?” It seems pretty tongue in cheek, the mocking those of call for a status quo of concert-goers. All the voices get mixed up though - who’s asking who, who they are? [NPR]
Ever since we caught sight of Rising Mountains, their 2009 release, we’ve been fans of Capsula. The Bilbao by way of Buenos Aires band always thrills with their glam rock inspired riffs and pounding rhythms, reminding you as much of Sonic Youth as T.Rex and David Bowie. Their stage shows, in particular, are a spectacle to behold, as Martin Guevara wails, flails and grinds his guitar on any and every object near him while Coni Duchess lays down the most alluring bass lines ever, and if ever The Muppets’ Animal were embodied in an actual human, that would be drummer Ignacio “Nacho” Villarejo, who beats his kit like a wild man. That the band’s very genesis comes from a deep reverence of Ziggy Stardust should be no surprise, but their love for all things Bowie (even their name comes from a line in “Space Oddity”) has finally culminated in their collaboration with legendary producer Tony Visconti, fresh off his work on Bowie’s The Next Day, on their forthcoming release, Solar Secrets, due later this year. During their recent tour with their other heroes, Os Mutantes, Capsula stopped by KEXP to share a few of the songs they recorded with Visconti, live in our studio... and, as all things rock when it comes to Capsula, even their mascot piñata (Capzilla? T.Wrecks?) shreds. Watch it here:
Noise for the Needy, a music festival that raises money for Seattle charities through a variety of shows and events, will culminate in June with performances at the Conor Byrne Pub, the Sunset Tavern, Hattie’s Hat and the Tractor Tavern June 20 - 23 in Ballard. Two artists featured in this year’s performance will be Julia Massey and Jared Cortese from the Seattle bands, Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount and The Jesus Rehab, respectively. The two artists, who will be live at NFTN on June 22 at Conor Byrne, also happen to be married to one another. KEXP caught up with the happy couple in Wilkes Barre, PA, on a day off from their joint summer tour.
Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song comes from Memphis garage band Oblivians. “Run For Cover” is from their first record in 16 years, Desperation, out now on In The Red.
For good reason, Foals have earned a reputation for some wild and frenetic peformances, mixing high energy math rock with modern take on 90′s Britpop. It’s not really a show if frontman Yannis Philippakis isn’t surfing the crowd or climbing the walls. Yet Foals have never been one-dimension and through the choas, the band members’ individual talents inevitably shine through -- Jimmy Smith’s shimmering fingerpicking, Walter Gervers’ melodic bass and angelic vocals, Edwin Congreave’s atmospheric keys and Jack Bevan’s ridiculously tight and ferocious drumming. In-studio, though, the band tends to strip back their songs to bare essentials. Party song “My Number”, for instance, perhaps one of the most carefree numbers on their new album, Holy Fire, resonates with new poignancy as Yannis, Jimmy and Walter present it stripped down in-studio at KEXP. Check out three songs from Holy Fire in this exclusive session:
In addition to producing about three months of shows and two new songs, The Postal Service reunion can now add a video to the list of things its produced. The AB/CD/CD-directed clip for the new song “A Tattered Line of String” finds a man fighting off a laundry machine that’s trying to suck him in. So, in other words, they’re still making quirky videos to go with their mostly melancholy music. (It’s like ten years never went by!) Watch the clip below and if you haven’t gotten a chance to see them on the farewell jaunt, there are still some left for their July 18th show here.
K-vicker? No, K-vaker! Today’s release of Sigur Rós‘ 2013 album, Kveikur, may seem like a speedy turn-around on the heels of their 2012 LP, Valtari, but the ground-shaking sound on the new LP is what the Icelandic band has been building toward over the past few years. While the relatively placid Valtari surfaced some earlier Sigur Rós compositions, Kveikur churns out a loud moody sound. As our Music Director, Don Yates, notes, this one “finds them dramatically shifting to a notably darker, more aggressive take on the band’s ambient post-rock sound by way of an ominous blend of rumbling electric guitars, atmospheric synths, mournful strings, fuzzy bass and clattering drums accompanying Jonsi’s ethereal vocals.” Kveikur is easily one of this year’s best albums to date, but it’s certainly not the only one you’ll want to pick up this week.
In long distance running, there’s a term for a moment near the end of a race where a runner’s mental resolve breaks down: “The wall”. Sunday at Bonnaroo is that wall. If they were able to break through on Sunday morning, there were still plenty of things to see and do all day, but if they weren’t, fest goers might have been lucky to catch the end of The National or passing out to Tom Petty before begrudgingly hitting the road. Sunday was the weekend’s hottest day, but for those that were able to pace themselves, it might have also been the weekend’s best. Although no one wore a jellyfish mask (like Bjork) or brought out fireworks (like Paul McCartney), the day’s lineup was both diverse and consistently high quality, which was a fitting end to this year’s iteration of music’s most consistently head-scratchingly brilliant festivals.
Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Reason’s Run” by The Mantles from the 2013 album Long Enough to Leave on Slumberland Records.