Review Revue: Hula – 1000 Hours

Hula - 1000 Hours

It’s been four and a half years since I’ve talked about Sheffield’s Hula, and there’s still not much about them out there on the old world wide internet – except, perhaps, this charming little amateur doc from not long before the release of their double LP 1000 Hours.

Speaking of 1000 Hours, you really do have to shake your head at the band’s habit of giving their albums names that would later be attached to much better-known releases. Actually, it appears REM had dibs on Murmur first, but something tells me it hadn’t penetrated the Sheffield zeitgeist a year later, when Hula released their own Murmur. But they absolutely had dibs on Shadowland before K.D. Lang and 1000 Hours before those snotty Bay Area punk Green Day. Ah well, to the victors go the spoils – and the Wikipedia listings. But, for the record, Hula were a band, and they were, in the immortal words of a certain KCMU DJ, very good.

“These LPs are both very good. In the melodic noise vein. Very good. 1. Live. 2. Studio.”

“Hey Faith, are these albums very good? Just kidding.”

“Geez… er… Jeez… Cris! I think Faith meant to say this album is very, very good. Or very good good. Or…”

“K – Kool!”

“GEEpers”

“But so what”

“What’s good on this makes up for all the cardboard. Take this in the prod room + listen!”

“Fairly lengthy cuts though.”

“Is it that great? It has moments, the live album is better.”

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Song of the Day: Laura Marling – Soothing

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, unrealeased 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 “Soothing” by Laura Marling from the upcoming 2017 album, Semper Femina, out March 10th on More Alarming Records/Kobalt Music Recordings.

Laura Marling – Soothing (MP3)
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Wednesday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • As we mentioned earlier this month, Seattle’s own Soundgarden are set to reissue their 1988 debut LP Ultramega OK. Like previous reissues, it’ll come bundled with cool previously unreleased bonus tracks, like this early demo of “Beyond the Wheel.” Sub Pop explains, “The [early versions] were recorded in 1987 on 8-track tape by Jack Endino and Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, and mixed by Jack Endino in 2016. These versions feature the band in raw, powerful form — sonically closer to the band’s Endino-recorded six-song debut, Screaming Life — and provide a fascinating window into the development of songs that eventually became staples of the band’s set.” Listen below. Ultramega OK expanded will be out March 10th. [ Spin]


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Live Review: A Prairie Home Companion with Regina Spektor and The Shins at Paramount Theatre 1/7/2017

A Prairie Home Companion

On Saturday January 7th, A Prairie Home Companion made its first stop of 2017 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. New host Chris Thile, well known for his brilliance on the mandolin with bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, brought his accompaniment The First Call Radio Players in support and a showcase from two prolific artists. Regina Spektor and The Shins were both in Seattle to debut new music and perform some of their previous tracks. Unfortunately, political comedian Hari Kondbolu was scheduled to perform, yet was delayed and could not attend.

A Prairie Home Companion
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Song of the Day: Strand of Oaks – Radio Kids

photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

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, unrealeased 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 “Radio Kids” by Strand of Oaks from their forthcoming album, Hard Love, due February 17th on Dead Oceans.

Strand of Oaks – Radio Kids (MP3)
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KEXP at OFF Festival 2016

Darek with OFF Festival founder Artur Rojek

By Darek Mazzone

Festivals are amazing. The gathering of tribes, the sense of discovery, the hard work that it takes to put a good one together – all of these things combine to create a memorable experience for everyone who attends. Beyond the audience, even the staff and the artists on stage all feel the impact of such an experience. This is why so many festivals have proliferated through the last 20 years and the good ones just get better. Today, the OFF Festival, in Katowice, Poland, is one of the best. Everything, from the programming to the design, and particularly its inclusion of Southern Polish culture, makes OFF stand out in a crowded field.


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Monday Music News

photo by Victoria Holt (view set)

  • Radiohead are coming to Seattle! Following the Coachella announcement earlier this year, the guys have revealed some additional U.S. tour dates, including a Saturday, April 8th stop at Key Arena. Sure would be easy for them to walk next door to KEXP and hang out. Anyway! Keep it tuned to KEXP all day as we give away tickets before they’ve even gone on sale. General public purchase starts this Friday, January 20th. [ Spin]
  • We’ve got a new track from Spoon for DJ Cheryl Waters to play twice on the Midday Show! Stream the title track from their forthcoming ninth LP, Hot Thoughts. We also have confirmation that album will be out on March 17th via Matador. For this year’s SXSW, the guys will recreate the legendary Austin, TX venue Emo’s. Via a press release, they report, “The band will curate a unique line up each night and will stubbornly be referring to the venue as ‘Eno’s.’” [ Pitchfork]


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In Stores Now 1/9

2017 is off and running with some long-awaited LPs out now, like the latest from The xx. KEXP Music Director Don Yates says, “This London trio’s excellent third album brings a brighter, more varied and pop-inflected sound to their spectral electro-pop courtesy of band member/producer Jamie xx, though the emotional focus remains on Madley Croft and Sim’s vulnerable vocals and intimate, often-dark lyrics.” Veteran Oklahoma band The Flaming Lips return with “an inventive set of atmospheric, psych-tinged space-pop featuring a mostly subdued, electronic-heavy sound combining haunting, dystopian soundscapes with Wayne Coyne’s fragile vocals and surreal, often-dark lyrics.” And we have the third album from Run The Jewels, the duo of rap vets Killer Mike and El-P, “another first-rate set of hard-hitting hip hop, with their most expansive production and adventurous beats to date accompanying the duo’s magnetic tag-team rapping, this time with a stronger political lyrical focus.”

LA-based British producer/multi-instrumentalist Bonobo (aka Simon Green) brings “another impressive set of warm, dreamy and often-melancholic ambient grooves seamlessly blending a variety of beats and acoustic and electronic instrumentation with various samples, ambient found sounds from around the world and occasional guest vocalists.” On their debut album, young LA band The Regrettes deliver “a promising set of hook-filled garage-pop occasionally inflected with ’60s girl-group pop and other vintage styles, combining buzzsaw guitars and urgent rhythms with Lydia Night’s expressive vocals and brash lyrics.” And LA-based British producer/vocalist Sohn (aka Toph Taylor) shares his sophomore LP, “a bit more diverse take on his minimalist, R&B-tinged electro-pop, incorporating a greater variety of textures to accompany his plaintive vocals and lyrics blending the personal and the political.”
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Song of the Day: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Julie’s Place

photo by McLean Stephenson

photo by McLean Stephenson

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 selection, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Julie’s Place” by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, a 2016 single via Sub Pop.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Julie’s Place (MP3)
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Songs of Freedom: KEXP Video Roundup for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Seattle residents march during a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated in 1968. (on display at the Northwest African American Museum)

Last night, a sold out crowd took over the Northwest African American Museum for the 17th Annual Expansions MLK Unity Party. As KEXP DJs Masa, Riz, Kid Hops, Alex, and Sharlese spun tracks, Seattleites of all races descended on the dance floor, a perfect way to celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., spinning to a “beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” On what would’ve been King’s 88th birthday, KEXP salutes this great civil rights leader with a Video Roundup.

Today would also be a great day to revisit KEXP’s Documentary series, Civil Rights Songs, a 10-episode on the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. Songs that remind us that the fight for equality under the law, for all, is not over yet.


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