Friday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman

  • Mac DeMarco‘s mini-LP Another One (out August 7) is streaming over at NPR. He’s previewed several songs over the last few weeks, but now all 8-tracks are available for your listening pleasure. The album closer, “My House By The Water,” features DeMarco’s home address. According to DeMarco, anyone’s welcome to stop by and have a cup of coffee. He’s a brave soul. [Pitchfork]

  • Night Beds, aka Winston Yellen, will drop his sophomore album Ivywild on August 7, but today it’s streaming thanks to NPR. The Nashville artist has immersed his soulful voice with stunning synths, which is a complete 180 compared to his Country Sleep debut. He’s brilliant either way. Listen below. [Stereogum]

  • Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio has shared another song from his upcoming solo album The Names (out September 18). According to the press release, “Endless Rhythm” was inspired by a painting at London’s Tate Modern that caught Baio’s eye in spring of 2014. He describes the song as his “love letter to art and the artistic process.” Check out the song and it’s lyric video below. [Stereogum]

  • Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and producer Mark Ronson joined forces for a magnetic cover of Queens of the Stone Age’s track “I Sat By The Ocean.” The session is a part of Australian triple j Radio’s “Like A Version” video series. [CoS]

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Song of the Day: Prom Queen – Black Magic

photo by Alex Crick

photo by Alex Crick

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 DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Black Magic” by Seattle’s Prom Queen from the 2014 album Midnight Veil on Tsurumi Records.

Prom Queen – Black Magic (MP3)

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Album Review: Mas Ysa – Seraph


Thomas Arsenault is not afraid of feeling. He did it in droves on his debut EP Worth, and he does it again on this week’s full length effort Seraph. On song after song, Mas Ysa brings joy, pain, abandon, doubt, and suffering in quantities that most bands hope to capture once in their career. Meanwhile, against all odds and the extent of the human soul, Arsenault leaves himself threadbare to bless his listeners a live-giving gift of a record. Worth questioned its namesake, asking where worth comes from, and what choices in your life amount to growing and keeping it. Now, Seraph builds on that foundation, expanding Arsenault’s view from himself to his family and his heritage, ultimately asking a huge question: how do we know we are striving after goodness in tumultuous world? Mas Ysa has his beacons of light and his thorns of the flesh, and so do we. On Seraph, we get to dissect them together to a soundtrack that alternates evenly between whispering dream pop and pounding techno. It’s a magical mixture that fits its master wonderfully. Mas Ysa is a one of a kind dude, and his first full length record is an impressive gauntlet of emotions and motifs that demands repeat visits.

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Thursday Music News

photo by Victoria Holt (view set)

  • Revolution Girl Style Now! Or, err, September 22nd, when Northwest icons Bikini Kill release their 1991 demo tape of the same name on vinyl, CD, and digitally, via Bikini Kill Records. The reissue will also feature three previously unreleased tracks. The cassette was originally recorded by Pat Maley in Olympia, and will be re-mixed and mastered by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto and John Golden for the reissue. Watch a trailer for the release below, featuring footage from the band’s very first show. [Pitchfork]

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Review Revue: Skinny Puppy – Bites


I could have sworn I had covered an album by Pacific NW industrial (Or are they? More on that below.) legends Skinny Puppy in this space before, but unless Google is lying to me, I have not. (And if Google is lying to us now, we have bigger problems than whether or not I’m writing about Skinny Puppy too much.) Skinny Puppy is yet another band that I knew of mainly from the t-shirts and patches of cool and kind-of-scary girls I hung out with in high school, but have listened to very little, if at all.

The full-fledged flame war that Bites, the band’s first full-length album, incited among the KCMU cognoscenti has me really looking forward to finally sitting down with it, almost thirty years after its original release. It might not have been used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo, but it sounds like it was most certainly not for everyone here. Not that anything ever is, and ain’t that the beauty of college radio? Read More »

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Watch Live Streaming Video from Pickathon!


This weekend, on July 31st through August 2nd, Pickathon, the Northwest’s premiere roots festival, returns to the Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon. And once again, you’ll be able to watch the whole thing happen thanks to the festival’s live video webcast. From your very own porch, couch or office, you can see and hear over 40 hours of music on 7 stages by over 50 bands, including many KEXP favorites, like Ty Segall, Israel Nash, Viet Cong, Cloud Nothings, JD McPherson, DIIV, Shabazz Palaces, Leon Bridges, Tinariwen, and King Tuff, plus many other great discoveries. Between sets, you’ll also see intimate live acoustic performances captured by KEXP and others.

The live video webcast runs on 12:40PM Friday, July 31st, through 2:00AM Sunday, August 2nd.

Check out the entire webcast schedule and watch it live here.

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KEXP Presents: Parklife

Join KEXP DJs Michele Myers, Miss Ashley, Chilly, and more at Westlake Park for KEXP Parklife this August! With DJs hand-spinning tunes every Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Parklife is sure to brighten up your summer afternoons with music, dancing, and positive vibes all around. Parklife is an event put on as part of the Urban Parks Activation Partnership, a collaboration between KEXP, the Downtown Seattle Association and the Metropolitan Improvement District, working to make great urban spaces that are free for everyone to enjoy in downtown Seattle.

  • Sunday 8/2 DJ Miss Ashley / Reggae Vibes
  • Sunday 8/9 TBD
  • Sunday 8/16 Michele Myers / Variety Dance
  • Sunday 8/23 DJ Chilly / Latin Variety
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Live Video: Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Effortlessly weaving notes together to create airy, meandering harmonies, Shana Cleveland truly shines in the KEXP studio. In comparing Cleveland’s other music project La Luz, which has has quickly gained a respectable fan base over the past years, Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles‘ 6-year timeline is certainly much more laid back and chill, and it shows. Cleveland’s unique fingerpicking style is the highlight of Oh Man, Cover the Ground, The Sandcastles’ first solo LP and is a large departure from La Luz’s familiar girl group/surf rock sound. There’s a sense of nonchalance and dreaminess found in Cleveland’s neo-folk melodies that evoke the image of a lazy summer afternoon under a tree. Float away with Shana Cleveland and The Sandcastles here:

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Song of the Day: The Cairo Gang – Be What You Are

photo by Rachel Cassels

photo by Rachel Cassels

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 DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Be What You Are” by The Cairo Gang from the 2015 album Goes Missing on God? Records/Drag City.

The Cairo Gang – Be What You Are (MP3)

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Capitol Hill Block Party 2015, Day 3: Wet, DIIV, Sol and Friends

photo by Brady Harvey

Day 3 at Capitol Hill Block Party beckoned in a strong line up that brought in crowds despite the rainy weather. Wet kicked off Sunday on the main stage and set the tone for the rest of the day. DIIV brought their brand of effortlessly cool post-rock next before Sol bid Capitol Hill Block Party goodbye with a set that showed every one that Seattle hip-hop is the real deal. It was a day that closed out a great weekend with an excellent balance of local talent and beloved national acts.

Kelly Zutrau’s delicate voice quickly beckoned a crowd to Sunday’s opening main stage performance, where Brooklyn trio Wet played EP favorites like “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl” as well as album cuts like “Deadwater”. Zutrau’s voice pairs well with the echoing drums and plucky guitar riffs of band mates Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow while not infringing on the stark space that is present in much of the groups discography. Their beautiful brand of sparse pop captivated the early risers of Capitol Hill Block Party, and it was easy to see why so many “this band is my favorite”‘s could be overheard in the crowd. Unfortunately the group cut their set 10 minutes short, but there were no hard feelings, and it seemed to only leave the Seattle crowd craving for more.
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