Tuesday Music News

photo by Benjamin Mobley (view set)

  • This fall, Cults will release their first new record in four years, Offering. “I Took Your Picture” is the second single shared from the forthcoming LP, after the title track. The band says they were inspired by the Motels and the Cars for the track. “It’s a song about fleeting moments and how we let past feelings interrupt the possibility for good things to happen,” they write. “‘Tinge of blue, to the end, left our hearts, with regrets, I’m learning.’ It’s a daily struggle to try and stay open and available but it’s probs worth it. And you can dance to it!” Offering will be out October 6 via Sinderlyn. [ Stereogum ]
  • British shoegaze legends Ride reunited and released Weather Diaries earlier this year and they’ve now shared the official video for “Cali.” Directed by Niall Trask, the video is filled with the typical visuals associated with California: waves, surfboards, attractive blondes in love. Ride’s Andy Bell said this about the video: “What I love about the video is that it avoids some of the retro surf film clichés and stays with a contemporary kind of look. The psychedelic nature of the editing is more in line with the Vaporwave aesthetic than ’60s psychedelia. What Niall Trask has come up with got an immediate thumbs up from the entire band and is my favorite Ride video to date.” Ride will be performing at the Neptune on Sunday, September 24. [ Under the Radar ]
  • Denver indie-pop duo Tennis released Yours Conditionally back in March but they’re already putting out new music. Today they gave us “No Exit,” a song that takes its name from 1944 existentialist play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The band has described it as “a dance song for my inner nihilist” and explained the motivation behind the song: “I have never related to songs that invoke a carefree, forever young, dance until dawn state of mind. The young-beautiful-fun mantra mostly just reminds me of the opposite. Escapism is shot through with sadness, even on the dance floor. Patrick and I are devoutly mid-tempo songwriters, a fact I wanted to remedy by creating a dancey 120 bpm sort of thing that appeals to my persistent sense of malaise. No Exit is a song I hope you can enjoy regardless of your appetite for fun.” [ SPIN ]
  • Cleveland post-punk band Cloud Nothings released Life Without Sound at the beginning of the year. Today they’ve shared the official video for the brooding track “Up To The Surface.” Created by animation company AUJIK, the video takes place in a grey, bleak world where block figures live and roam. It’s a fitting setting for the moody song. They’re about to embark on a tour opening for Japandroids but, unfortunately, the closest they’re getting to Seattle is Houston (so, not close at all). [ Pitchfork ]
  • Canadian synth-pop duo Blue Hawaii (not to be confused with 1961 Elvis Presley film of the same name) announced last month that they would be returning with a new album called Tenderness. Today they’ve shared the self-directed visuals for lead single “No One Like You.” The video celebrates the love between singer Raphaelle ‘Ra’ Standell (of Braids) and her dog, who she attempts to replace with a robot dog. The duo describes the video as “a portrait into the ‘love of the real, love of the simple'” and “shows a day in the life of ‘the broken heart, the broken phone, the broken moment.” Tenderness will be out October 6 via Arbutus Records. [ Exclaim ]
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KEXP Exclusive Interview: Jimmy James of The True Loves

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

Imagine a pair of bell-bottoms. A suede vest. A wide collar, strutting leather boots. Similarly, imagine sequins and elongated lashes. Pearls and sly eyes. If you can imagine this, you can begin to sense the spirits that inspired the newest record from Seattle soul and funk group, The True Loves. Their album, Famous Last Words, which has quickly found a regular home on our airwaves, is a dreamscape of quick hits and neon lights meandering into a fresh morning with a good dose of eggs and buttered pancakes. And the band, led by Seattle native and expert guitarist, Jabrille Williams (aka Jimmy James), recently showcased their live chops at Timber! Summer Music Festival, featuring a number of special guests, including Emerald City stalwarts Adra Boo, Josh Rawlings and Evan Flory-Barnes, along with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ vocalists, Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan-Low.

But about this time last year, the group experienced a shock. The True Loves parted ways with lead singer, Grace Love. In the months that followed, James and the group put the pieces back together and are playing more and more as an instrumental group in the vein of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section or the famous Motown backing players. In fact, James says The True Loves have no plans in particular to find a new, regular vocalist. “At this time, we’re just going to let it happen as it comes,” he explains. “We’re happy doing what we do.” And what they do is a wonder to witness. Their new record, rich and bold, is catchy and timeless. To learn a bit more about it, we asked James a few questions, beginning with his history in music.

How long have you been playing guitar?

I’ve been playing, gosh, since I was 12-years-old.

When, or how, did you discover soul and funk music?

I’ve been listening to music ever since I was a little kid. The first time I knew I liked guitar was when I heard “My Girl” by the Temptations – that opening guitar line by Robert White – and hearing the guitar lick on “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. My musical tastes were very adult for a little kid. I listened to The Mamas & the Papas, Johnny Taylor, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin. My mom said she’d hear me singing songs like “Respect” in the back seat of the car when I was four, like, “Just a little bit! Just a little bit!” That’s how big I was into it. Read More »

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Video Premiere: Naked Giants – Born To Be Wild

Naked Giants

Photo by Melissa Wax

If you’ve ever seen Seattle’s Naked Giants live, you know just how passionate and rabid they can be. Even the drummer can barely contain himself to his throne while the trio is churning out furious, excitable riffs. They feel like they were born to be wild, which is why they’re the perfect fit cover Steppenwolf’s mega-hit, well, “Born To Be Wild.”

The cover is a part of Amazon’s Open Road playlist which features covers of classic road-trip tracks. The original “Born To Be Wild” certainly fits the bill in the classic sense, but Naked Giants’ take on the feels less like a top-down cruiser and more like a Mad Max: Fury Road rallying cry. The boosted energy Naked Giants reinvigorates a song that’s nearly ubiquitous, unearthing the fiery passion that’s always been at the core of the track. Read More »

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Song of the Day: Jen Cloher – Forgot Myself

photo by Tajette O’Halloran

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Forgot Myself” by Jen Cloher from her 2017 self-titled album on Milk! Records.

Jen Cloher – Forgot Myself (MP3) Read More »

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TV Eye: Week of 8/21

The War on Drugs // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

KEXP has our TV eye set for this week in late night television. Set your DVR, TiVo, or just drink some coffee to stay awake for these musical guest performances on your favorite talk shows. Here are the highlights:

Monday, August 21st:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Haim (R)

Tuesday, August 22nd:
Jimmy Kimmel Live!: The War on Drugs (R)
The Late Late Show with James Corden: Kings of Leon (R)

Wednesday, August 23rd:
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Spoon
Last Call with Carson Daly: Froth (R)

Thursday, August 24th:
Last Call with Carson Daly: Split Single (R)
Conan: Rancid

Friday, August 25th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live!: The Killers (R)
Last Call with Carson Daly: Bonobo (R)

Saturday, August 26th:
Austin City Limits: Foals / Alejandro Escovedo

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Monday Music News

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

  • Legendary ’90s dream pop band Luna have reunited and are releasing two new albums on September 22 via Double Feature. One is a covers album called A Sentimental Education and the other is an instrumental EP entitled A Place of Greater Safety. They’ve previously shared a few songs off A Sentimental Education, including covers of Fleetwood Mac’s “One Together” and Mink DeVille’s “Let Me Dream If I Want To.” Today they’ve shared their version of The Cure’s “Fire in Cairo,” as well as a video directed by Keven McAlester that stars actress Rose McGowan. Luna frontman Dean Wareham said this of the song and video, “Those first three albums by The Cure made a big impression on me as a teenager and ‘Fire in Cairo’ is one of the first songs I learned when I started playing guitar….We are so happy Rose McGowan decided to do this video.” [ Under the Radar ]
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Live Review: A-Wa at The Crocodile 8/9

all photos by Mike Emigh (view set)

Review by Clare McGrane, DJ assistant for Wo’Pop on KEXP

At an A-Wa show, audience participation is not optional. From the moment the trio of Israeli sisters took to the stage at their recent show at the Crocodile, it was clear they weren’t performing for an audience — they were throwing a jubilant party, one that goes long and becomes surprisingly intimate, and we were all invited. You can tell the group cut their teeth as a regular wedding act. There was hardly a moment when the crowd stopped moving. It jumped in as a backing chorus and percussion section, prompted or unprompted, and even sprouted clusters of Yemeni dancing. The sisters called back and forth with fans in Hebrew and English alike, even stopping the show to have a conversation with Noshin, a woman who was attending her second A-Wa show in two days. She let the sisters borrow her fan for some dramatic dance numbers.

Read More »

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In Stores Now 8/21


Brooklyn-bred band Grizzly Bear return with their fifth LP, a release KEXP Music Director Don Yates calls “an adventurous set of densely layered and intricately arranged prog-pop, featuring a punchier, more beat-driven sound to more forcefully drive home the band’s dark, imagistic lyrics of decay and alienation.” Long-running Madison, WI-based group Rainer Maria return with their first new album in eleven years, “a strong set of moody, cathartic rock with churning guitars and muscular rhythms accompanying Caithlin De Marrais’s dynamic vocals and emotive lyrics.” And UK electronic act UNKLE (aka James Lavelle) return after seven years with a follow-up to 2010’s Where Did the Night Fall. The new album features a plethora of guests including Primal Scream’s Andrew Innes, Queen of the Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwan, Dhani Harrison, Mark Lanegan, ESKA, Keaton Henson, and the Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss.

Caspar Babypants, who was last Friday’s in-studio guest on The Morning Show on KEXP, shares his 13th full-length of updated traditional kids songs and originals. DJ Shadow shares the EP The Mountain Has Fallen, an accompaniment to his most recent LP, The Mountain Will Fall. (See? He told you so.) And Interpol release the 10th anniversary edition of their major label debut, Our Love to Admire, available as a two-LP vinyl set, a double LP with bonus DVD, or a CD/DVD set. The DVD features a 2007 12-song performance at the London Astoria. The band is currently working on a new album for Matador Records, sure to appear in this column upon its release in 2018.

Read More »

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Song of the Day: Wolf Parade – Valley Boy

photo by Charina Pitzel (view set)

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Valley Boy” by Wolf Parade from the upcoming 2017 album Cry Cry Cry out October 6th on Sub Pop.

Wolf Parade – Valley Boy (MP3) Read More »

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The Music of Twin Peaks: The Return: The Veils (and ZZ Top)



David Lynch’s love for music is as powerful as a green-gloved fist, and it’s reflected in the soundtrack for Showtime’s Twin Peaks: The Return. Most of the episodes end with a band performing at the Bang Bang Bar aka The Roadhouse, the local bar in the city of Twin Peaks.

In an ongoing weekly series of exclusive interviews, KEXP’s resident Twin Peaks expert DJ Morgan will chat with the show’s music director Dean Hurley. Hurley has collaborated extensively with David Lynch on sound design and music, and since 2005, has operated Asymmetrical Studio, Lynch’s recording studio and film dubbing facility located in the Hollywood Hills. Tune in every Monday at 8:00 AM PT to The Morning Show on KEXP, as Morgan and John Richards air excerpts from her chats with Hurley. View previous chats in the series here on the KEXP Blog. Read More »

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