Trans Musicales Music Festival: Day Four

Rennes City Hall // photos by Morgan Chosnyk

Bon Dimanche! It’s written in graffiti on several buildings all over Rennes. Happy Sunday! Sunday is the day of rest for the French people and even our crew got to take a small break on the final day of filming during the Trans Musicales festival. Normally, we’re up by 6am, breakfast at 7, out the door by 8:30 and filming all day long. Sunday was a nice chance to take a walk around the ancient city of Rennes. The oldest building still standing reads 1505. The ancient corridor has the iconic crossbar dark wood with white plaster, each building precariously slanting one way or the other. The crooked buildings have so much charm, but it’s also amazing that people still live in these buildings. Our own modern American architecture makes me paranoid of the structural integrity of the old buildings until you notice that half of the buildings in the town are being renovated.  It’s refreshing to see care for the preservation of history rather than tearing down at the sign of wear and tear and building anew. We got the check out the beautiful Christmas market and grab some fresh pastries from a local patisserie before heading to film the final two bands.

Old Rennes, France

Our final filming site was Le Mairorie de Rennes, the City Hall. It is in the city center, directly across from the Opera where we filmed yesterday. The massive structure was designed in the mid 18th century by one of the architects that also designed Versailles. The room we occupied was absolutely gorgeous. The ceiling was gilt with gold, encircled by murals and bedazzled with the most resplendent chandeliers which lined the ceiling and went on to infinity when reflected on the mirrors on either side of the room.

Finnish band Talmud Beach was the second to last band of the festival that we recorded. Having elements of jangly indie blues reminiscent off The Cave Singers at times and then breaking into classic blues riffs on other songs that had us moving in our seats. The trio out of Helsinki was booked for Trans Musicales a little differently than most other groups – just being asked by a booker rather than how most bands had told us, through playing live shows directly for the festival programmer, Jean-Louis Brossard. They admitted to knowing very little about the festival except that it it often considered “the most important festival in France”. Good enough reason to say yes and check it out! Good thing they did, because they were super awesome.

Talmud Beach

Talmud Beach

The last band of the weekend was local four-piece, The Madcaps. Thomas Dahyot (guitar/vocals), Vincent Henri (guitar), Remi Peltier (drums) and Bastien Bruneau (bass) played an impressive set of 60s soul influenced rock a la The Kinks. The thing that really made them shine was their energy, especially from singer/guitarist Thomas Dahyot giving our camera crew quite the run around to keep up with his great energy and dance moves. It was a raucous, ripping set that was the perfect way to end our video series. Check out their latest record, Hot Sauce, available now.

Thomas of The Madcaps

The Madcaps

The day ended with a champagne cheers, packed our gear and celebrated the KEXP and Trans Musicales crew that worked so hard over the last four days. We are so grateful for the wonderful support staff that we were provided that allowed the performances to shine and the bands to sound their best. We heard from people walking by our sessions just looking though the windows, to the people who happened to be working at the venues, to friends of our crew members how excited the residents of Rennes were that KEXP was working to champion the music from their region. This trip was so inspiring, invigorating, and an amazing way to connect with and celebrate bands we didn’t know previously. The Trans Musicales is truly a unique and special event that means so much to so many people and it was great to see an organization that shares the same values KEXP holds. It was the perfect partnership.

Thank you a million times over to our host and coordinator, Jeremy Méléard, and our local production crew of Gwen, Julian, Sebastian, and JM. They made it so easy for us to capture all of this amazing content and ended up becoming part of the KEXP family. Trans Musicales, Rennes, and France are a creative force that do a great service to the music community and I am so glad that we were a part of it.

Our fearless leaders Chris (KEXP) and Jeremy (Trans Musicales).

The 2016 KEXP and Trans Musicales Crew

We’ll let you know when you can see these amazing sessions, and in the meantime, tune in to hear songs from the over 20 new records I’m flying home with tomorrow when I get back on the air. Now for the long journey home to edit all of the great content we will be releasing to you in the new year. Stayed tuned!

À bientôt!

PS – Here’s the final outtake video:

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In Stores Now 12/5

We’ve got new releases from a few music veterans this week. British rock legends The Rolling Stones return with their first album in 11 years. KEXP Music Director Don Yates calls it, “a shockingly potent set of Chicago blues. The band sounds raw and vital, and Mick Jagger tears into the set list of mostly lesser-known Chicago blues songs with gusto. Easily their strongest album in decades.” Nobel Prize-winning artist Bob Dylan shares a new old release, a 2-CD live album from the first of four shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall, recorded in 1966. Venerable British artist Kate Bush also shares a concert LP, “a 3-CD, 155-minute live set recorded during a 22-night residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in 2014. Overall, it’s a beautifully crafted, lushly arranged set of theatrical prog-pop, though occasionally some of the theatrical elements detract from the songs.”

Italian group Soviet Soviet release their sophomore full-length, “a consistently strong set of dark, ’80s-steeped post-punk with stormy angular guitar riffs, driving rhythms, dramatic vocals and anthemic song hooks.” Singer/songwriters Damien Jurado and Richard Swift reunite for a informal set of covers. (The two collaborated on producing Jurado’s 2010 album Saint Bartlett.) “Not only is the source material remarkably diverse, but the album’s lo-fi, psych-tinged sound contains distinct echoes of the adventurous production work to come on Jurado’s following albums.” And The Last Shadow Puppets — a side project of Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane (The Rascals) — release an EP of covers and re-recordings of two songs from their last full-length, Everything You’ve Come to Expect.

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Slush Music: Sounds From Finland

Nobody In Their Right Mind // photo by Petri Anttila

Late November might seem like a crazy time to visit Helsinki, Finland, but not if you’re going for Slush 2016, a high-energy gathering of global tech heads focused on entrepreneurship and new developments and ideas in technology. This was the first year they had a full day of music programming, bringing the tech and music communities together to problem solve and share thoughts on how technology can help have more impact on the music world, from the artist, label, industry, and music lover perspective.

It was all really fascinating and inspiring — I felt honored to attend and participate. There was music, of course, too, and I was invited by our friends at Nordic Playlist to present a show featuring my favorites from the Nordic counties. As part of the show, I was privileged to host a live set from View, a young Finnish rapper I’ve been diggin’ lately. View’s debut EP, Avalon, is a beautiful set of deeply blunted, nourish beats and grooves, with honest and introspective narratives about depression, survival, and self identity, definitely capturing the city night, and the vibe of cutting through the haze of the dark daze.


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TV Eye: Week of 12/5

The Lemon Twigs

The Lemon Twigs // photo by Melissa Wax (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, December 5th:
Late Night with Seth Meyers: The Hold Steady
Last Call with Carson Daly: Wolf Parade
@midnight with Chris Hardwick: J Mascis

Tuesday, December 6th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: James Vincent McMorrow
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: DJ Khaled
The Late Late Show with James Corden: CRX
Conan: Dinosaur Jr.
Last Call with Carson Daly: Banks & Steelz

Wednesday, December 7th:
Late Night with Seth Meyers: Kacey Musgraves
The Late Late Show with James Corden: Reggie Watts
Last Call with Carson Daly: Bob Mould
Conan: Robert Glasper Experiment

Thursday, December 8th:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Pharrell Williams
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Travis Scott
Last Call with Carson Daly: The Black Lips
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: DJ Khaled
Conan: The Lemon Twigs

Friday, December 9th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: A Tribe Called Quest
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Gary Clark Jr.
Late Night with Seth Meyers: K. Flay
Last Call with Carson Daly: Bear Hands

Saturday, December 10th:
Austin City Limits: Ryan Adams and Shakey Graves

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Monday Music News

photo by Alan Lawrence (view set)

  • Thank you to everyone who came out Saturday night for a sold out sixth annual SMooCH: Seattle Musicians for Children’s Hospital. Those in attendance were treated to new music from headliner Father John Misty, who told the audience, the follow-up to last year’s I Love You, Honeybear is done. Songs premiered for the first time live included “Pure Comedy,” “When the God of Love,” and “Two Wildly Different,” as well as the previously shared tracks “Holy Hell” and “Leaving LA.” He also performed “Trump’s Private Pilot,” a cover of the Tim Heidecker song written for the 30 Days, 30 Songs campaign. Check out the playlist, posted by a Reddit user, below, as well as a couple of fan-shot videos from the evening. [Under the Radar]

fjm-set


Sassy #sotall

A video posted by e (@pizzaposse4lyfe) on



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Song of the Day: Acid Arab – Gul l’Abi (feat. A-WA)

Acid Arab

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Acid Arab” by Gul l’Abi (and featuring A-WA), from the 2016 album Musique de France on Crammed Discs.

Acid Arab – Gul l’Abi (mp3)
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2016 Top Ten List Spotlight: John Richards

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2016, leading up to our 2016 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 9th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 16th to hear if your picks made the list! Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win the Top 10 Albums of 2016 as voted on by you, the listener, provided by Sonic Boom Records. Winners will be notified by email on Friday December 16th.

Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest // photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

John Richards’ 2016 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
1 Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate Interscope Records
2 Kate Tempest Let Them Eat Chaos Lex
3 Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid Rhymesayers Entertainment
4 Angel Olsen My Woman Jagjaguwar
5 Underworld Barbara, Barbara, We Face a Shining Future Astralwerks
6 Case/Lang/Viers Case/Lang/Viers Anti-
7 The Avalanches Wildflower Astralwerks
8 Wussy Forever Sounds Damnably
9 Damien Jurado Visions of Us On the Land Secretly Canadian
10 A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service Epic

John Richards is the host of The Morning Show, airing Monday through Friday, 6-10AM.

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Trans Musicales Music Festival: Day Three

Rennes Opera House // photos by Morgan Chosnyk

When we last left off, the crew and I were on our way to the Parc Expo where a majority of the Trans Musicales shows are held. It’s a 15 minute shuttle ride from the neighborhood where we are staying. The Parc Expo is a large compound of warehouses the size of airline hangers to accommodate the approximately 16,000 festival goers who attend each day. The stage setups and light shows create an amazing atmosphere for each artist playing that makes it feel like you’re seeing a veteran touring band when many have only played less than a dozen shows. I wish we could have stayed longer, but our days are jam packed with sessions, which is fine by me!

Day three had us filming in the historic city center at the Rennes Opera House. The Opera House was built in 1836 and was the first Opera House built in Brittany, the region in which Rennes is located. It was designed in response to the Capitol building directly across the square from the Opera built 100 years prior. Where the Capitol building is concave, the Opera House is convex so that they could fit together like puzzle pieces. When the Opera was built, the pubic hated it because of its modern design but when the building burned down 20 years later, asked if it should be redesigned the residents had warmed up to their Opera so it was rebuilt to look the same. We we given the privilege to film in the gorgeous ground floor rotunda.
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2016 Top Ten List Spotlight: Hans

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2016, leading up to our 2016 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 9th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 16th to hear if your picks made the list! Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win the Top 10 Albums of 2016 as voted on by you, the listener, provided by Sonic Boom Records. Winners will be notified by email on Friday December 16th.

Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Hans’ 2016 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
1 David Bowie Blackstar Columbia
2 Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate Polydor
3 Erik Blood Lost in Slow Motion HomeSkillet
4 Case / Lang / Veirs Case / Lang / Veirs Anti-
5 Júníus Meyvant Floating Harmonies Record
6 Charles Bradley Changes Daptone
7 Various Artists Day of the Dead 4AD
8 Damien Jurado Visions Of Us On The Land Secretly Canadian
9 Woods City Sun Eater In The River Of Light Woodsist
10 Angel Olsen My Woman Jagjaguwar

Hans is on the air every Wednesday night from 9PM -1AM.

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2016 Top Ten List Spotlight: DJ Alex

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2016, leading up to our 2016 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 9th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 16th to hear if your picks made the list! Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win the Top 10 Albums of 2016 as voted on by you, the listener, provided by Sonic Boom Records. Winners will be notified by email on Friday December 16th.

Anderson Paak

Anderson .Paak // photo by Brittany Feenstra (view set)

DJ Alex’s 2016 Top Ten Albums

artist album label
Kamaiyah A Good Night in the Ghetto Big Money Gang
A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service Epic
Anderson .Paak Malibu EMPIRE/OBE/Steel Wool/Art Club
Solange A Seat At The Table Columbia
Blood Orange Freetown Sound Domino
Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool XL
The Range Potential Domino
Shura Nothing’s Real Polydor/Interscope
Josef Leimberg Astral Progressions World Galaxy/Alpha Pup
Childish Gambino “Awaken, My Love!” Glassnote

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