Music that Matters: Nomadic Freedom Sounds

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.

Júníus Meyvant and his band at Iceland Airwaves 2015 // photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Currently you’ll hear:

Music that Matters, Vol. 523 – Nomadic Freedom Sounds
Like a nomadic hunter-gatherer, DJ Kevin Cole travels the sonic sphere in search of the greatest new music. In this podcast he shares his latest favorites, including new tracks from Júníus Meyvant, The Jayhawks, Kutiman, The Coral, and more.

1. Júníus Meyvant – Beat Silent Need
2. Stephen Steinbrink – Impossible Hand
3. The Jayhawks – Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces
4. Kutiman – She’s a Revolution (feat. Adam Scheflan and Karolina)
5. Hanssen – We Went Too Far Forward
6. Kweku Collins – The Outsiders
7. Let’s Eat Grandma – Deep Six Textbook
8. Maria Usbeck – Llámame
9. Twin River – Settle Down
10. Martha – Goldman’s Detective Agency
11. Sam Vicari – Contact High
12. The Coral – Chasing The Tail of a Dream
13. Black Mountain – Mothers of the Sun

Listen here: (MP3)

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Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

  • Last night, during a performance at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, The National debuted a new song called “Prom Song 13th Century (Frankie and Johnny)”. Joining them onstage was Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, who added a unique element to the moody track. They ended the performance with an impromptu slow dance between Clark and Matt Berninger and it was adorable. [Pitchfork]

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KEXP Recommends: Pickathon 2016


Every year, it seems like the number of music festival in the great Pacific Northwest grows. While it’s easy to get cynical about the overlap and general spectator approach to the music, there are diamonds in the rough. Of these, Pickathon, located on the beautiful Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon, may be the most outstanding example. Flying proudly in the face of further expansion and commercialization of music festivals nearby, Pickathon continues forward, small, independent, and beautiful. Attendees camp out under the stars, in between the trees from which they will saunter to loose seating around stages named for the natural beauties of the area nearby. Bands choose to play multiple sets throughout the weekend, spending the rest of their time attending shows themselves and mingling thanks to the low key setting. Some people party all night – others bring their three year-olds and happily go to bed at nine. With an old school approach to music festivals in a world obsessed with making them a cultural staple, Pickathon is where the culture comes to relax. And while it’s more about the experience than anything else, this year’s festival hosts one of the best musical lineups in the festival’s history. Drops your plans for this weekend and grab a tent – this year’s Pickathon is a must-see.
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Live Review: Yoni & Geti with Go Dark and Special Explosion at Crocodile 7/26/16

all photos by Brittany Feenstra

Yoni & Geti‘s Testarossa project is one of the most refreshing albums of the year, full stop. It brings two repeat collaborators together for a project that plays into each of their strengths with twice the strength and precision of any previous joint efforts by a mile. Furthermore, it’s a largely story-driven endeavor. Testarossa finds its two sages narrating a rock and roll love story, where Dave goes on tour with his low profile band and attempts to live the dream while his relationship with his wife and his presence in his daughter’s life both suffer. By the end of the story, everybody learns something. But in the middle, we get a lot of great thoughts and commentary on aspiration versus reality from two of the indie scene’s best storytellers. For the sake of the resulting tour, it helps that Testarossa is a meta-narrative of a band on tour played by a band on tour. To no one’s surprise, Yoni & Geti navigate the complicated context sensitivity of the project with ease on stage. With subtle nods, Serengeti embodies Dave (of the story) on stage, adding a theatrical flair to each tune. With the help of electronic act Go Dark and opening support from Special Explosion, tonight’s Testarossa was no model – nope, this was the real deal.
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Agitated Atmosphere: Mogador, ONWE, H. Takahashi, Lazy Legs, Boy Harsher

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound locally, regionally and globally.

No time to waste on my own ruminations. Turns out this time there are five strong musical opinions from Will Long (Mogador), David Welles (ONWE), H. Takahashi, Lazy Legs, and Boy Harsher
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Live Video: John Doe & His Rock n’ Roll Band

Photo by Alan Lawrence (view set)

For the past 40 years, John Doe has done it all, from fronting legendary punk band X to acting in TV and film. On his twelfth solo album, The Westerner, he found inspiration in the desert around him in Tucson, Arizona, where he was recording with Howe Gelb of Giant Sand. Take a musical journey through the dunes with Doe and his Rock n’ Roll Band in this Midday Show in-studio session.

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Song of the Day: Hot Hot Heat – Kid Who Stays in the Picture

photo by @justjash.jpg

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 “Kid Who Stays in the Picture” by Hot Hot Heat from their 2016 self-titled, and final, album on Kaw-Liga Records.

Hot Hot Heat – Kid Who Stays in the Picture (MP3)

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Thursday Music News

photo by Shawn Brackbill

  • Dream-pop duo Beach House are still stomping the pavement in support of last year’s two-fer releases, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, but they took the time to create a video for the track “The Traveller” off the latter. It’s an eerie clip from the Baltimore band, featuring a woman dressed in red carrying a briefcase through the frames. What could be inside? Watch below. Beach House return to the Northwest for the 2016 Pickathon Music Festival on August 5-7 in Happy Valley, OR. [Consequence of Sound]

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Review Revue: Thee Hypnotics – Come Down Heavy


There was a while there where it seemed like all the cool bands had names starting with “Thee” instead of the usual single-voweled definite article. I didn’t really know what to make of this at the time; I just assumed all the bands in question were probably way too hip for me and left them alone. What didn’t occur to me then was what a nightmare this new convention must have provided for people trying to keep order in record stores and radio station libraries. For a band whose name starts with “the,” you just ignore it and file them under the first letter of the next word (The Beatles under B, etc.). But “thee” is a word all its own, isn’t it? Even if it’s being used in the place of a definite article? I don’t know if there was a global consensus around this issue – perhaps hashed out at a CMJ breakout session in the mid ’80s – but at KCMU they just pretended that second ‘e’ wasn’t there and filed these guys under H. Which probably makes sense in terms of finding a band you’re looking for, but part of me feels like it would have been helpful to have all those extra-cool “thee” bands filed together; it’d be like a super-secret sub-genre within the general rock category for DJs to peruse carefully and confused people like 1990 me to avoid altogether.

Whoever was the librarian at KCMU when the Thee Hypnotics’ Come Down Heavy was added, they didn’t bother to chime in on the comments – which, bizarrely, manage to focus mostly on the actual music contained on the album. Read More »

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Live Video: Holy Fuck

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

Holy Fuck! Noise upon noise, wires upon wires, dance beats upon dance beats – and a dinner knife traversing a slide guitar? Yep, that’s how the unconventional Canadian electronica gang Holy Fuck rolls when performing songs off their new album, Congrats, which magnifies their noise-enthusiast, gear-gushing synth rock manipulations. Even after hibernating since their 2010 release, Latin, the twelve-year-old project hasn’t lost a step as they bring to the KEXP studio their untraditional wedding of digital artsy angularity, like that of The Faint and Animal Collective, to a catchy cadence of traditional electronica.

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