KEXP Q&A: Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens of Distinction on Record Store Day, KEXP In-Studios, and Why Radio Still Matters

Patrick from Kitchens of Distinction has his own ideas about “Extravagance”

In the wake of their 2013 full-length Folly, the first new album from Kitchens of Distinction in 19 years, the UK trio celebrates Record Store Day with the limited-edition 10-inch single “Extravagance,” featuring two B-sides culled from the band’s KEXP in-studio session last year. I asked Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens of Distinction to tell me a little more about “Extravagance” and got an earful about how the band’s KEXP in-studio inspired him, why human curation still matters, and “perving out” on LP sleeves.

KEXP: Two of the tracks on your RSD single, “I Wish It Would Snow” and “Drive That Fast,” are originally from your 2013 KEXP session and feature very different, stripped-down arrangements from the originals. Was arranging them a big challenge?

Patrick Fitzgerald: It was a massive challenge to take the gory excesses of the studio versions of Folly songs and to reduce them to bare essentials. The key was to find a way of playing [the song] on the piano that I was happy with, and then to slather on the Julian Swales Guitar Sounds of the Unknown Universe. Without that it would have been drab.

After we’d done the KEXP session, I wanted to give the rest of Folly the same treatment as I thought it worked so well. But no time! I guess it’s an approximation of what the songs would have sounded like live. I wish that opportunity had arisen, but alas no.

The single also features two versions of the Folly track “Extravagance,” which you didn’t perform on KEXP. So what’s this alternate version all about? Does it date back to the mid-‘90s, when you first composed the song?

It’s a demo version from August 2012. It has a different lyric and singing tune, and also a different bass. It’s much rougher. We did these monitor mixes to see where we were up to and what needed to be done next, and it was at this point that we decided to change the singing and therefore the lyrics, too. Julian felt the singing was too fast, and the lyrics rushed. I’m still not convinced, but I’m happy with both versions. It was only a riff I had on the bass back in 1995. We messed about with it in rehearsals but nothing came of it. Originally it was much, much faster. And that’s probably why it didn’t work at that time.

Since we’re talking about Record Store Day, do you think the decline of the record business has impacted how music lovers experience community?

The decline of the record business: discuss. Well, has it? Pop seems to thrive. Fragmentation means that we listen to such a variety of music that there is no longer a sense of community. You can’t imagine something like punk or glam rock happening now - the world is too disparate. Spotify, etc., has put the final nail in the coffin. You can listen to whatever you want, whenever you want, but we just aren’t quite sure what it is we want to hear, hence why we still need radio stations to help us sift through the mass of releases.

KEXP’s New Home is going to have a record shop in its Gathering Space. What role did record stores play in your youth and what do you miss about that as the landscape changes?

As a kid I loved perusing in record shops. Examining the sleeves of 12-inch vinyl … who had produced it, who was on it, what did the cover and titles MEAN?? CDs put paid to that by miniaturizing the art and hiding it inside. Then the Internet came along and reduced music to a solitary experience, usually soundtracking another activity so it’s actually not listened to in the same way. All change, it’s inevitable. But I’m so glad I got to perv my way through record shops for a good few decades.

Why a 10-inch instead of a 7-inch?

More music. We wanted to put out four tracks, and for them to have the space to sound good. Bigger sleeve too. See above about perving out on sleeves.

Do you still purchase actual records?

No, I don’t buy records. I prefer the way CDs sound. Show me the way to the vinyl crucifix, I have nails and hammer at the ready.

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Live Video: The Afghan Whigs

photo by Matthew Thompson (view set)

The boozy blues of obsession and regret never sounded so good... at least not in the last 16 years. It’s been that long since The Afghan Whigs released an album and its members turned their attention elsewhere. Yet, while other 90′s bands are now cashing in on their notoriety with 20- and 25-year anniversary reunions and reissues of their past classics, Greg Dulli and co. have returned to form with a brand new album of tantalizingly dark, soul-inflected rock. And The Afghan Whigs proved they’ve lost none of their swagger as they took control of the KEXP studio to perform four songs from the Do to the Beast. This session was broadcast yesterday as part of our ongoing Live Streaming Video series, but you can watch it now in its pure unadulterated glory:


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Wednesday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman

  • In quite possibly the best music news of the day (IMHO), Parquet Courts have unveiled the music video to the track “Sunbathing Animal,” starring the inspiration for that song, Frida, beloved cat companion to frontman Andrew Savage. The song is also the title track of the band’s forthcoming album, out June 3rd in the U.S. on What’s Your Rupture/Mom+Pop Records. Watch below: [Pitchfork]


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The Song That’s Shaking Me with Samuel Herring of Future Islands

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

KEXP asks musicians, “Old or new — what is your favorite song RIGHT NOW?”

    Samuel T. Herring: “There’s this guy, he used to go by the name of Sach. He was a member of The Nonce, which was an early ’90s hip-hop group. They were only able to put out one album. Then he was a member of the crew Global Phlowtations Artist Committee — that was in the mid ’90s, probably ’96 to ’99. Chali 2NA was a brief member, and Myka 9 from Freestyle Fellowship, but also Adlib — who is Thavius Beck, an electronic musician.

    Anyway, Sach just put out five albums at the beginning of this year. He’s going by the name Sachillpages now, and he’s got his stuff on Bandcamp. And it’s a song called “Impress” off his album Happy Verse Day. The first line is, ‘I hold the pen of blossoming,’ and I just love that. It’s also introduced by his son, Junior Sach. He’s like, ‘What’s up, Junior Sach?’ and he’s like, ‘Hey Dad, why don’t you bust some of those impressionistic raps.’ And then he just goes into this beautiful verse.

    That’s the song that I keep playing for people and bringing up. He’s a guy that I’ve loved for many years — it’s been about five or six years since he put anything out. And he’s an early ’90s vet. He’s been around forever. So, it was like, ‘I hope he’s not done,’ and then he comes out with five albums in January. I don’t think a lot of people know about it, but he’s a living legend.”

Future Islands‘ fourth album, Singles, is out now on 4AD Records. Watch their KEXP in-studio session here.

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Live Review: Odesza with D33J and Kodak to Graph at Neumos 4/12/2014

all photos by Dave Lichterman

Last September, ODESZA were slotted for Saturday night of Decibel Festival at Neumos, along with Slow Magic and a headlining set from Gold Panda. Set to open the night’s festivities up, the boys were a bit nervous. As our photographer Dave Lichterman recalls from a conversation with Harrison, they were concerned about stage presence, considering Slow Magic had live drums. It’s funny to think of ODESZA like that now, even thought that was just barely over six months ago. Now, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight have remixes on teen movie soundtracks and sold out more than half their tour dates a month in advance, all while still giving away 100% of their music for free. No surprise at all that their homecoming after months on the road resulted in two back to back sold out nights at Neumos. I talked to a couple people in the crowd who could name every track from Summer’s Gone and My Friends Never Die in a heartbeat. ODESZA have hit the big time, and Saturday night, it was a blast to welcome them home with open arms and packed out room of nonstop dancing. Together with opening sets from D33J and Kodak to Graph, ODESZA night #1 set the bar pretty high for round 2.
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Song of the Day: Cloud Nothings - I’m Not Part Of Me

photo by Pooneh Ghana

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 “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings from the 2014 album Here and Nowhere Else on Carpark Records / Mom+Pop Music.

Cloud Nothings - I’m Not Part of Me (MP3)

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Out This Week 4/15

Highlights this week include the first new album in 16 years from veteran rockers, The Afghan Whigs. KEXP Music Director Don Yates describes their latest, titled Do To the Best, as “a strong return-to-form of brooding, soul-inflected rock with atmospheric guitars and keyboards and occasional strings accompanying Greg Dulli’s husky vocals and dark, often-ominous lyrics of degeneration and mortality.”

Another highlight of the week comes from New York band Woods. Their eighth album, With Light and With Love, “finds them continuing to sharpen their song craft while polishing their sound on a consistently strong set of songs ranging from brightly colored pastoral pop to torrid psych-rock jams.”

The latest album from Nashville artist Bobby Bare, Jr.’s Young Criminals’ Starvation League is “a diverse, expertly crafted set of break-up songs ranging from distortion-drenched rockers and jangly power-pop to moody, tension-filled rock and melancholy roots-tinged ballads.” (They’ll be LIVE on KEXP on Sunday, June 8th.)

Jessica Lea Mayfield is back with a darker sound on her third album, Make My Head Sing..., “featuring a stripped-down, primal rock-band sound, the album combines thick, grungy guitars and muscular rhythms with Mayfield’s sultry deadpan vocals and dark, often-seedy lyrics.”

And, as always, there’s tons more new releases to check out below! What new albums are you most looking forward to this week?
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Tuesday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

  • Twin Shadow has shared his new song “To The Top,” an intense, pounding percussion anthem about starting over. His statement about the song offers a glimpse into the song’s inspiration. He said, “What is it when you realize that someone isn’t right for you? Or when you find that you do not and can not posses someone entirely? You want someone so bad and it feels like hell.” Hey, we’ve all been there. [Pitchfork]


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Capitol Hill Block Party 2014: Initial Lineup Announced!

Every summer, the streets of Capitol Hill fill with thousands of fans screaming for their favorite bands. The Seattle neighborhood is wild enough, but when the Capitol Hill Block Party takes over in late July (25th-27th), it’s a heck of a good time. Today, the celebrated local festival offers the first glimpse of the 2014 lineup with this list of terrific headliners:

A$AP Rocky // Spoon // Chromeo // Matt and Kim // The War on Drugs // Odesza // Sol // A$AP Ferg // Beat Connection // Star Slinger // Budos Band // Tanlines // XXYYXX // Angel Olsen // Poolside // CYMBALS // Shy Girls

Tickets are available now. If you pick yours up starting today, April 15, through April 17 (that’s just two days from now!), you can get a discounted 3-day pass for $99. After that prices go up incrementally. Find out more here

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Song of the Day: Craft Spells - Breaking the Angle Against the Tide

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 “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide” by Craft Spells from the 2014 album Nausea on Captured Tracks.

Craft Spells - Breaking the Angle Against the Tide (MP3)

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