Out This Week 3/31

This week in new releases, we hear from several artists who’ve been dormant for a while. Sufjan Stevens returns with his majestic new album, Carrie & Lowell, named after his mother and stepfather and partly inspired by his mother’s death. Several KEXP DJs have already hailed it as a contender for “Album of the Year,” and KEXP Music Director Don Yates says, “it’s a powerful, deeply poignant album with a spare sound combining finger-picked acoustic guitar, occasional piano, atmospheric synths, hushed vocals and unflinching, autobiographical lyrics of love, family and death.”

Local luminaries Death Cab for Cutie return with their first new album in four years, and their first without founding member Chris Walla. Yates states, “the album’s moody, atmospheric alt-rock sound is very much in the Death Cab tradition, though it’s a bit darker and more restrained than usual, with a variety of smartly crafted songs combining bittersweet melodies with lyrics of lost love, separation and renewal.” Another Northwest treasure, The Sonics, re-emerge with their first new album since 1967. “Remarkably, the legendary Tacoma band sounds as vital as ever on their first album in 48 years, a scorching set of high-octane garage-rock with loud guitars, honking sax, searing organ, pounding rhythms, urgent vocals and primal rock screams.”

Other highlights this week include the latest from Lower Dens, “a well-crafted set of hypnotic, ‘80s-steeped post-punk and dream-pop with ringing guitar lines, chilly synths and metronomic rhythms accompanying Jana Hunter’s haunting vocals and increasingly personal and direct lyrics.” Oakland artist Luis Vasquez (aka The Soft Moon) releases “a potent set of adventurous, goth-tinged coldwave and postpunk, featuring a bleak, dystopian sound with cold, alien synths, industrialized rhythms, ominous vocals and dark lyrics.” And Iowa-based singer/songwriter William Elliott Whitmore releases his seventh album, “a fuller, more electric sound on a variety of well-crafted, tradition-steeped songs ranging from gritty electric blues-punk to sparse folk ballads. ”

8:58 (Paul Hartnoll of Orbital) – “8:58 (Featuring Cillian Murphy)”
from 8:58 on ACP Recordings

Angélique Kidjo
from Sings on 429 Records

Blancmange – “The Fall”
from Semi Detached on Cherry Red

Boz Scaggs – “Last Tango on 16th Street”
from A Fool to Care on 429 Records

Death Cab for Cutie – “No Room In Frame”
from Kintsugi on Atlantic

Death Grips – “Up My Sleeves”
from The Powers That B on Electro Magnetic

Eliane Elias – “Incendiando”
from Made in Brasil on Concord Jazz

Faith Healer – “Again”
from Cosmic Troubles on Mint

Föllakzoid – “Electric”
from III on Sacred Bones

Fort Romeau – “Insides”
from Insides on Ghostly International

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Peasantry or Light! Inside of Light!”
from Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress on Constellation

Hannah Cohen – “Keepsake”
from Pleasure Boy on Bella Union

Hiiragi Fukuda – “Seacide”
from Seacide on Trouble in Mind

Houndstooth – “No News From Home”
from No News from Home on No Quarter

James Blackshaw – “Confetti”
from Summoning Suns on Important Records

Jesse Malin – “Addicted”
from New York Before the War on One Little Indian

José James
from Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday on Blue Note

Lost Boy ? – “Love You Only”
from Canned on Papercup Music

Lower Dens – “To Die In L.A.”
from Escape from Evil on Ribbon Music

Ludacris – “Call Ya Bluff”
from Ludaversal on Def Jam / Virgin EMI

Polar Bear – “Don’t Let The Feeling Go”
from Same as You on The Leaf Label

The Prodigy – “The Day Is My Enemy”
from The Day Is My Enemy on Warner Bros.

Prong – “Banned In DC”
from Songs from the Black Hole on SPV / Steamhammer

Reptar – “Ice Black Sand”
from Lurid Glow on Joyful Noise

Ringo Starr – “Postcards From Paradise”
from Postcards from Paradise on Universal

Robben Ford
from Into the Sun on Provogue

Ryley Walker – “Primrose Green”
from Primrose Green on Dead Oceans Records

Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts – “Modzilla”
from Blaster on Universal

Sneaky Feelings – “Someone Else’s Eyes”
from Send You on Flying Nun

The Soft Moon – “Black”
from Deeper on Captured Tracks

The Sonics – “Bad Betty”
from This Is the Sonics on Revox

Sufjan Stevens – “Should Have Known Better”
from Carrie & Lowell on Asthmatic Kitty

Tim Foljahn – “Fucking Love Songs”
from Fucking Love Songs on Kiam Records

from Sometimes People Forget on Omnivore

Wale – “The White Shoes”
from The Album About Nothing on Maybach

William Elliott Whitmore – “Civilizations”
from Radium Death on Anti

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Tuesday Music News

photo via Shelflife Records

  • Australian shoegaze outfit Flyying Colours‘ latest offering “Running Late” is a bright combination of hazy instrumentals and stunning vocal harmonies from Gemma O’Connor and Brodie Brümmer. The band’s brilliantly titled upcoming LP, ROYGBIV drops on May 12 via Shelflife Records. [Stereogum]

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Midnight in a Perfect World: President Bongo

President Bongo, The cheeky alias of Reykjavik-based DJ/producer Stephan Stephensen, is one of the founding members of veteran electronic group GusGus. With nine studio albums to date, GusGus’ iconic sound has shifted from the influential 4AD label and now finds a home on revered German label Kompakt Records, signaling the band’s shift towards a stronger club/dancefloor sound that still retains a sleek synth-pop touch.

For his entry into the Midnight In A Perfect World series, President Bongo coolly pieces together a spacious and sexy tech-house mix with a hypnotic touch that closes out with two remixes from Gluteus Maximus – a production duo comprised of President Bongo and his friend Dj Margeir – including a Gluteus Maximus remix of his other group, GusGus.

Be on the lookout for President Bongo’s first solo album titled, Serengeti, due Spring 2015 via his own label, Radio Bongo Records.

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Capitol Hill Block Party 2015: Initial Lineup Announced!


Summer just got hotter, as the Capitol Hill Block Party has announced the first wave of bands playing their annual festival, scheduled for July 24th through July 26th in Seattle. The sidewalks are gonna sizzle with headliners like TV on the Radio, The Kills, RATATAT, Toro Y Moi, Built to Spill, and more!

RATATAT • TV On The Radio • The Kills • Toro Y Moi • Built to Spill • The Julie Ruin • Broods • Wye Oak • Flatbush Zombies • Jamie XX * • Giraffage * Shabazz Palaces * DIIV • Com Truise • Deafheaven • Wet • Shannon And The Clams * Unknown Mortal Orchestra * The Flavr Blue * Sam Lachow * BADBADNOTGOOD * Lower Dens * Protomartyr • Daktyl * The Coathangers * Meatbodies • Chastity Belt * Ambassadeurs * Lost Lander * Kite String Tangle * The Wooden Sky * • Smokey Brights • Industrial Revelation • Kinski * Crater * One Above None Below * Slow Bird * Zoolab

Festival owner and producer Jason Lajeunesse shared, “This year I feel personally connected to the line up more than ever. I have history with many of the top tier acts dating back to their very first shows in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s exciting to see them circle back years later headlining our festival. We made a concerted effort to book bands we felt best exemplified the spirit and history of the festival, putting an emphasis on indie rock and punk bands alongside genres like hip-hop and EDM. We booked the acts we’d want to see and, as a result, the artists we chose reflect the energy and heart of this music festival and neighborhood.”

Three days. Five stages. One excellent festival. Discounted three-day passes are on sale now for $99 through April 2; for $125 between April 3 and July 4; and for $150 beginning July 5. VIP tickets will also be available for $250 and will include limited edition apparel, access to the outdoor VIP beer garden with hosted snacks and beverages, a CHBP poster, and gifts from the festival sponsors. The full musical lineup and single day pass prices and availability will be announced in early June, so stay tuned.

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Song of the Day: Sóley – Ævintýr

photo by Jim Bennett

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, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Ævintýr” by Sóley from the forthcoming album Ask the Deep, out May 12, on Morr Music.

Sóley – Ævintýr (MP3)

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Live Around Town This Week

BRONCHO // photo by Dagmar Sieglinde Patterson

Monday, March 30th:

Guster, Kishi Bashi at The Neptune // All Ages (more info)

Tuesday, March 31st:

The Helio Sequence acoustic show at The Triple Door // All Ages (more info)

Young Thug, Travis Scott at Showbox SoDo // All Ages (more info)

Ultimate Painting, Universe People, Deep Creep at Chop Suey // 21+ (more info)

At the Gates, Converge at The Showbox // All Ages (more info)

Tobias Jesso Jr. at Barboza // 21+ (more info)

Futurebirds, The Swearengens at the Tractor Tavern // 21+ (more info)

Maiah Manser (Mary Lambert), Whitney Lyman (Pollens), Hanna Benn at Fremont Abbey Arts Center // All Ages (more info)

Landon Wordswell, RA Scion ( of Common Market), Don Dishes, Mostafa, Araless at Nectar Lounge // 21+ (more info)
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TV Eye: Week of 3/30

Valerie June // 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, March 30th:
Last Call with Carson Daly: Hundred Waters
Conan: Mac DeMarco

Tuesday, March 31st:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Alt-J (R)
Last Call with Carson Daly: Mimicking Birds
Late Show with David Letterman: Houndmouth

Wednesday, April 1st:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Death Cab for Cutie (R)
Conan: Waters (R)

Thursday, April 2nd:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Smashing Pumpkins
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Brian Wilson
Late Night with Seth Meyers: Years & Years
Conan: Calexico

Friday, April 3rd:
Late Show with David Letterman: Banks
Last Call with Carson Daly: Natalie Prass (R)

Saturday, April 4th:
Austin City Limits: Valerie June

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Monday Music News

photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

  • Cameron Crowe’s 1992 film Singles introduced the world to fictional supergroup Citizen Dick, but sadly omitted the band’s classic single “Touch Me I’m Dick” from the double-platinum soundtrack. On Record Store Day, Saturday, April 18th, you can finally, well, “touch it” as the band will be releasing the track on a limited-edition 7″ single. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament back Cliff Poncier (aka actor Matt Dillon) on the Mudhoney parody. As Cliff says himself (and as is etched into the b-side): “I think a lot of people might think it’s actually about, you know, ‘My name is Dick, and, you know, you can touch me,’ but, I think, you know, it can be seen either way.” [Consequence of Sound]

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Live Video: Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield sing Elliott Smith

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Everyone seems to have a story about their love for Elliott Smith. For Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield, theirs might have started with a dog. The two friends bonded over Smith’s songs after Mayfield introduced Avett to her adopted pooch, Elliott. Ongoing conversations about their shared reverence led to a collaborative cover of “Twilight” while JLM toured with The Avett Brothers, and eventually the two recorded enough songs to fill an entire album. “It felt very right and very alive”, Seth Avett says of the experience, and truly the two infuse a warm vitality to Smith’s bittersweet melodies with their own lightly twanged renditions, illuminating the hope that resides beside the heartache. Watch the entire session here:

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Song of the Day: JEFF The Brotherhood – Black Cherry Pie

photo by Bebe Labree Besch

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, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Black Cherry Pie” by JEFF The Brotherhood from the 2015 album Wasted on the Dream on Infinity Cat.

JEFF The Brotherhood – Black Cherry Pie (MP3)

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