Wednesday Music News

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

  • Chelsea Wolfe is releasing a new album called Hiss Spun on September 22 via Sargent House. In collaboration with Converge’s Kurt Ballou and Queens Of The Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwen, she’s delving deeper into metal influences on the new album. She’s previously shared “16 Psyche” and “Vex” and today she’s premiered “Offering.” In a surprising interview with women’s magazine Cosmopolitan she said the new song, “is written from the perspective of the Salton Sea in southern California. I’ve always been intrigued by this place…It really leaves this kind of physical impression on you, but it’s still really beautiful. It’s this strange resort anomaly to see in the middle of the desert. I wrote this song imagining the Salton Sea as this female character, and writing from her perspective.” Wolfe will play the Showbox on Monday, October 30. [ Noisey ]

  • British musician Archy Marshall is consistently busy releasing projects under a variety of names but the one he’s best known and loved for is King Krule and today Marshall has returned to the project to release “Czech One.” The mellow, jazzy number will be the A-side of a limited edition 7-inch due to be released September 13 via True Panther/XL. No word on whether a full-length follow-up to 2013’s 6 Feet Beneath The Moon will be forthcoming. Along with the new single, Marshall has announced upcoming tour dates which include a November 3rd date at the Showbox. [ Under the Radar ]

  • Tyler, The Creator released the very personal and spectacular Flower Boy just last month and today a new track has emerged called “ZIPLOC” which features Tyler rapping over the beat from Jay-Z’s “4:44.” The song is part braggadocio and part somber reflection on fame (more the former than the latter). Tyler also announced a run of North American tour dates and it looks like November 3rd in Seattle is going to be a busy night because Tyler will be at Showbox Sodo, making us all have to choose between him and King Krule. [ Pitchfork ]

  • Los Angeles psych-pop musician Dent May released his fourth full-length Across The Multiverse last Friday via Carpark Records. Today he shared the official video for the album’s title track which features singer-songwriter Frankie Cosmos. Directed by Robbie Barnett, the video features May as a scientist trying to find a way back to reach his love (Cosmos) across the multiverse. This Saturday, August 26, Dent May will play the Central Saloon with “special guests.” [ Stereogum ]

  • Weirdo-pop musician Ariel Pink has a new album on the way called Dedicated To Bobby Jameson and the video for third single “Feels Like Heaven” premiered today. The video has a retro, VHS-quality to it with a kaleidoscope of psychedelic imagery. “Feels Like Heaven” follows “Another Weekend” and “Time To Live.” Dedicated To Bobby Jameson will be out September 15 on Mexican Summer and Pink will play Neumos on Saturday, October 21. [ SPIN ]

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OFF Festival 2017: Interviews w/ Beak>, Artur Rojek, Ulrika Spacek, Trupa Trupa, MORE

Beak

DJ Morgan and Beak>

For our third year, KEXP returned to Katowice, Poland for OFF Music Festival, a weekend of music after our own hearts. “The OFF line-up neither favors nor discriminates against any specific genres,” explained founder (and musician himself), Artur Rojek. “What matters is the music and the quality of that music. We want the OFF Festival to be a place where budding music lovers get to witness performances by alternative legends, and festival veterans get a chance to catch up on the latest phenomena in music.”

On the first day of the festival, KEXP’s DJ Morgan had a chance to chat with Rojek about the festival, and spent some time with Warsaw pop-punk trio Guiding Lights, UK band Shame, Polish psych-rockers Trupa Trupa, Mercury Prize-nominated Scottish singer/songwriter C Duncan, and UK quintet Ulrika Spacek. She also spent some time with Bristol-based band Beak>, a project of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, Robert Plant collaborator Billy Fuller, and Will Young. Check out all the videos below, and tune into The Afternoon Show on KEXP at 3:00 PM PT to hear DJ Morgan talk about the festival. Stay tuned as we launch more videos from OFF on the KEXP Blog in the weeks to come.

Read More »

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KEXP Suggests: Zen Mother Live Scores The Holy Mountain at Northwest Film Forum 8/25

Photo by Jonathan M Steinberg

Earlier this summer, Zen Mother released their experimental psych opus I Was Made To Be Like Her. Across 48-minutes, the record traverses vast sonic territory. It’s a challenging work built upon intention, distorting the listener’s perception with each track and creating a vivid and immersive world that’s easy to get lost in. When it was announced that the duo would be live scoring Alejandro Jodorowsky’s seminal film The Holy Mountain for Northwest Film Forum’s Puget Soundtrack series on Friday, August 25th, it just made sense. Jodorowsky’s 1973 film is a celebrated classic, pushing the boundaries of film and embracing disorienting, haunting, and beautiful imagery in every frame. In many ways, Zen Mother and Jodorowsky feel like kindred spirits in that regard.

“When the 4th wall is broken, we will help it fall,” the band said in a statement about their score. “When the imagery begs confusion, we will provide chaos. When comfort and solace are provoked, we will soothe you.” Read More »

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Live Review: Sylvan Esso with Dana Buoy at The Neptune Theatre 8/19

photos by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

The last time I saw Sylvan Esso was over two years ago, in a much smaller room about 2,500 miles away. It was a cold January night in Charlotte, North Carolina (my hometown), about three hours outside of Sylvan Esso’s hometown of Durham. It was just a few months after the release of their debut self-titled album, and yet the venue was completely sold out, with tickets nearly doubling face value. That show served as a prelude to their wild 2015 tour schedule, including numerous sold out shows and almost every U.S. festival you can think of.

We met again under similar circumstances — just a few months after their sophomore record, What Now, came out, surrounded by another sold out crowd. However, it was a hot summer night on the opposite end of the country countless hours away from our hometowns, and it was the first of two back to back sold out shows. Tickets for Saturday night were nearing $200 each on resale sites, nearly ten times the original asking price.

With that being said, it’s usually pretty hard to maintain such a level of hype for nearly two and a half years, but Sylvan Esso effortlessly keeps people fascinated and wanting more. Arriving just before opener Dana Buoy took the stage, The Neptune was already packed full of people. Portland’s Dana Buoy makes danceable synth pop, but towards the end of their set, most people seemed to be tuning out and taking a drink/bathroom break, aptly summing up Dana Buoy’s allure past the ten-minute mark.

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Local Artist Spotlight: The Maldives

photo by Renata Steiner

Every week, KEXP features a new local artist with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. This week, we’re featuring Seattle folk rock outfit The Maldives, who play Concerts at the Mural this Friday, August 25, with Industrial Revelation and Emma Lee Toyoda.

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If you’ve been around the Seattle scene at any point in the last decade or so, you’ve likely run into The Maldvies at some point. The band has been a fixture in the city since they emerged with their sorrowful country tunes back in 2005, growing and changing the lineup over the years but consistently delivering some of the most heartfelt, folk-leaning songwriting in town. Earlier this year they released Mad Lives, a sprawling epic in the truest sense. It follows the story of a man falling in love with the sun and the subsequent perils and pitfalls that come with that, including blindness (their track “Staring at the Sun” takes on an extra special this week with the recent solar eclipse). The mythic ethos of the record is matched by some of the band’s finest musicianship yet, heightening the drama with elements of psych rock and cinematic swells of strings. We caught with the band to talk about their sonic evolution, the mythos of their new LP, and the changes they’ve seen in the city over the years.

You’ve been performing as The Maldives since about 2005 and have crossed a lot of musical territory in that time. How would you describe the band from when you’ve first started contrasted with who you are today?

Man, I was on the 6 AM ferry to Doe Bay Fest a couple weeks back, and I put on our eponymous debut album The Maldives, and I was immediately taken back to 2005 when we recorded it. So many ideas! And so naive to the studio and the recording process! The songs were so simple, and my vocals weren’t very confident. It is charming to hear! But at the same time, we went from being a bare-bones, garage pseudo-folk country thing, to where we are now. What I consider a more fully realized “cinematic” version of what we once were. And we all got haircuts and learned how to trim our beards. We are definitely in the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot phase of our evolution. Read More »

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Song of the Day: Gibraltar – Cold

photo by Niffer Calderwood

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 “Cold” by Gibraltar from their 2017 self-released album, Let’s Get Beautiful. 

Gibraltar – Cold (MP3) Read More »

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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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