KEXP Suggests: The Offbeat Music Films Series at NW Film Forum 2/10-2/24


On every Wednesday this month, the Northwest Film Forum presents the Offbeat Music Films Series: five cinematic captures of the bands themselves, labels, fans, and more. All these unique films are premiering for the first time ever in Seattle, and most are one-night-only engagements, so you won’t want to miss out! Check out a trailer below:

The series kicks off on Wednesday, February 10th, with screenings of Live from UB and I Am A Knife With Legs. For Live from UB, filmmaker Lauren Knapp spent ten months in Ulaanbaatar (UB), Mongolia, exploring its burgeoning rock scene and discovering the important role musicians play in giving voice to the newly independent nation’s cultural identity. The second film screening this night, I Am A Knife With Legs, is a goofy farce from writer/director/actor/producer/editor Bennett Jones aka Euro pop-star Bené (described by the NW Film Forum as, “think Flight of the Conchords with a smidge of Borat”), who is hiding out in Los Angeles after a fatwa is declared against him because of his song “All Religion is Stupid, Especially Yours.”

The series continues on Wednesday, February 17th with Never Get Tired: The Bomb the Music Industry! Story, a documentary about the fiercely-DIY artist Jeff Rosenstock. For nearly a decade, he’s led the punk rock music collective Bomb The Music Industry, building a worldwide following without the help of labels, album sales, or distribution. Rosenstock was the first to introduce the pay-what-you-can model for album downloads, and adhered to the principles of only playing all ages shows, with a $10 maximum ticket price, and if you learned a song and brought an instrument to the show, you could jump up on stage and play with them. (The band have been called “the Fugazi for the internet age.”) This feature-length film, directed by Sara Crow, spans five years of their truly independent music career, showing Rosenstock’s struggle to sustain himself.

Later that night, you can catch a screening of Ruined Heart (subtitled: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore), from Filipino director Khavn De La Cruz. What sets this film apart from those other stories is a soundtrack from European electronic lo-fi duo Stereo Total, whose eclectic score lends the film a punk noir opera quality.

On Friday, February 24th, the series concludes with the premiere of Morphine: Journey of Dreams. The Cambridge-based trio formed in 1989, combining saxophone, two-string bass, and the distinctive baritone of frontman Mark Sandman. Sadly, in 1999, Sandman suffered a massive heart attack during a show in Italy. He collapsed on stage and died instantly. Journey of Dreams relives that all-too-short ten year career through the stories of the surviving members, and the fellow musicians who shared their stage, like Henry Rollins and the late Joe Strummer. Rare live footage punctuates the film, so for those of us who never got to see the band in concert, director Mark Shuman provides a loving alternative. Later this night, you can also catch an encore screening of Ruined Heart.

Tickets are available online, either individually or for the whole series, with any leftover tickets available at the door day of show.

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Album Review: Junior Boys – Big Black Coat

Junior Boys return this week with their first record in five years. Listening to it, it’s hard to picture the space in between. Truly, the electronic scene to which the Ontario duo belong has seen a massive shift in that time period, largely towards a directive that Junior Boys initiated. For comparative context, think about Dan Snaith releasing Caribou record Swim in 2010, then his Daphni garage-style side project JIALONG in 2012, then Our Love a year and a half ago back in 2014. And now, here we are in 2016, still catching up with Junior Boys’ It’s All True, whose R&B and UK garage vibes held terrain for an unheard of amount of time for the genre. And now, it’s time to hear from Greenspan and Didemus again, with Big Black Coat – a record that, in a lot of ways, veers a hard left from the pristine R&B polish of It’s All True. Junior Boys enter 2016 with a Detroit techno influenced record of hard hitting, fast moving magic. Herein, Junior Boys have their most accessible record yet, albeit in sonic territory that exists far outside the present realm of trend. It looks like Junior Boys are back to set another precedent, in the style and the mastery that we can expect from them.

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Song of the Day: Mr. Silla – Holding On

mr. silla

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 “Holding On” by Mr. Silla from her 2015 self-titled debut on 12 Tónar.

Mr. Silla – Holding On (MP3)

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Fat Tuesday Tunes: A Mardi Gras Video Roundup

Down in New Orleans, the streets are filled with drunken debauchery as Carnival comes to a close. On this Fat Tuesday, KEXP joins the festivities with a Mardi Gras mix, sure to get your toes tappin’. Take a musical trip to the French Quarter with this some funky favorites in this Video Roundup of New Orleans-based artists:

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Tuesday Music News

photo by Morgen Schuler

  • Next Friday (2/19), Wild Nothing‘s will drop Life of Pause, the indie pop outfit’s third studio album. Today they’ve shared a new, dazzling single called “A Woman’s Wisdom.” In April, Jack Tatum and company will head out on an extensive world tour in support of the album. Be sure to catch them at The Crocodile on April 25. [Stereogum]

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Midnight in a Perfect World: Niña Mendoza

Niña Mendoza is a Vancouver, BC-based DJ renowned for her exquisite taste and deep knowledge of soul, R&B, hip-hop, boogie, and funk that spans everything from the deep cuts of past decades to breaking the latest jams from new underground artists. A trusted staple in the nightlife scene of her home city, Niña has set the stage and vibe for headlining acts such as Erykah Badu, Shabazz Palaces, Frank Ocean, Thundercat, and Little Dragon. Her exclusive mix for Midnight in a Perfect World flexes her love for slinky mid-tempo R&B, soul, boogie, and pop grooves, sneaking in glorious throwback 80s cuts alongside brand new material from the likes of Majid Jordan and Anderson .Paak.

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Album Preview: Radiation City – Synesthetica

Radiation City

Things haven’t always been sunny for Radiation City. The Portland band may not have been able to illuminate our days with another album had founding couple Cameron Spies and Lizzy Ellison not set aside their differences to reignite their songwriting process. Their third LP, Synesthetica (out this Friday on Polyvinyl Records), is a fresh take on their lush lovestruck (and lovelorn) sound, filtering their signature dreamy 60’s tinged lounge pop through more synths than ever before. Ellison’s girl group influenced vocals still dazzle and Spies adds even more variegated sonic sheen, all shaped by producer John Vanderslice and shined by producer/mixer Jeremy Sherrer, making Synesthetica a delight for all the senses.
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Song of the Day: Charlie Hilton – Pony

photo by Brianne Wills

photo by Brianne Wills

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 “Pony” by Portland songwriter and Blouse frontwoman Charlie Hilton from her 2016 debut solo album, Palana, on Captured Tracks.

Charlie Hilton – Pony (MP3)

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Live Around Town This Week


Monday, February 8th:

Pussy Riot: A Conversation and Documentary Screening at the Neptune Theatre // All Ages (more info)

This Blinding Light, Brett Netson & Snakes, Shitty Person, Bill Horist, Greg Kelley at High Dive // 21+ (more info)

Tuesday, February 9th:

Meat Wave, Wolfgang Fuck, Mutiny Mutiny at The Sunset // 21+ (more info)

Marmalade, The Cumbieros at Nectar Lounge // 21+ (more info)

Jordan O Jordan, Mal De Fleur, Night Cadet at Chop Suey // 21+ (more info)

Visible Cloaks, DJ Explorateur at Q Nightclub // 21+ (more info)

Wet, Kelsey Lu at Barboza // 21+ (more info)

Wednesday, February 10th:

A Tribute to Woody Guthrie w/ Baby Gramps, Massy Ferguson, Ian Moore at The Tractor Tavern // 21+ (more info)

The Bird and the Bee, Alex Lilly, Whitney Lyman at Neumos // 21+ (more info)

G. Love & Special Sauce, Ripe at The Crocodile // 21+ (more info)

Thursday, February 11th:

• KEXP Presents Pillar Point, Sound of Ceres, Benoît Pioulard at Chop Suey // 21+ (more info)

• Audioasis on KEXP Presents Casual Hex, Display, Mombutt at Kremwerk // 21+ (more info)
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In Stores Now 2/8

Get ready to wrap yourself in Big Black Coat, the fifth album (and first in five years) from Canadian duo Junior Boys. KEXP Music Director Don Yates calls the release, “a more forceful, rhythm-driven take on their spacious electro-pop, masterfully blending house, techno and disco grooves with R&B, funk, motorikprog and more on moody, aching songs combining bubbly synths and propulsive rhythms with hushed vocals and passion-fueled lyrics.”

Other highlights this week include the latest from Brooklyn band DIIV, led by Zachary Cole Smith, “an impressive set of shimmering, surf-tinged post-punk. Recorded and produced by Smith himself, this lengthy album features 17 songs that rarely flag with a dreamy blend of jangly guitars, driving rhythms, murky vocals and wistful melodies.” Porches, a New York-based band led by Aaron Maine, release their sophomore album, “an excellent set of brooding, ’80s-tinged electro-pop combining dark electronic soundscapes with Maine’s plaintive vocals, wistful lyrics and melancholy melodies.”

UK sibling group Field Music share “a more immediate and emotionally direct take on the band’s quirky, jazz and funk-tinged prog-pop.” Brooklyn duo Beacon present “a solid set of dark, R&B-tinged electro-pop with icy synths, pulsing rhythms and silky vocals.” And, Philadelphia-based band Dr. Dog unleash their ninth full-length, “a concept album about a lysergic underworld that were first written by Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken and Tony Leaman before the band was even named. Those early songs have now been revisited on this sprawling set of eccentric, sometimes carnivalesque psych-pop.”
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