Review Revue: Beat Happening - Jamboree

I’ve covered Beat Happening records in this space before, but it’s been just over six years, so I figure the time is ripe to go back to that well. For my previous post, I compared the reactions to the Oly DIY heroes’ first and fourth albums. Today we’ll split the difference (sort of) and go back to their second full-length, the widely adored Jamboree (which, of course, contains the indie rock classic “Indian Summer” - described by Dean Wareham as “indie’s ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’). According to this page from Kurt Cobain’s diary (which I had never seen before), Jamboree was one of Nirvana’s top 50 albums, included on an impressive list that would be a pretty great musical education for almost anyone. So, yeah, people like this album. Including most of the KCMU DJs, it seems.

“‘Hangman’ a rewrite of their previous ‘hit,’ ‘Bad Seeds,’ but what the hell, if it rocks play it. Songs about love, life ‘n’ stuff. Sometimes the guitars distort and sometimes there aren’t even guitars. That means this record runs the gamut from short a cappella ditties to rockin’ tunes rooted firmly in the tradition of NW rock. A sly sense of bittersweet humour underlies the whole affair. And to top it off, the best feedback since any live version of ‘Cables’ by Big Black.”

“Had to throw in a BB reference, huh Creed?”

“Seems like they used the same guitar track for 3 songs: 2-3, 2-4, 2-5.” [Not really, there's just a similar one and-a-two and-a-one strumming pattern that carries through - sounds like rock and roll to me.]

[comment completely scribbled out.]

“An earlier EP now in Library section called ‘Crashing Thru.’”

“I’m from Olympia (please feel sorry for me here & now) but that is not why I like this.”

“Who are you? I’m also from Oly.”

“Hmmm... I’m not too sure about this one.”

Undertones-ish (a compliment).”

“Trouble Records. More useless info to Brighten your day.

“I enjoy listening to this record.”

“Sorry scotty. He can buy some EGGPLANT!”[???]

“K is Calvin’s own label, with many imported compilations as well as B.H. + local bands.”

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Live Video: Shabazz Palaces

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

Shabazz Palaces sound like no one else. Whether you call it “sci-fi”, “way-out”, “weirdo” or even “planetarium” rap, the Seattle duo’s music might as well be in outer space considering how far off they sound from their contemporaries. But it’s not like they don’t want anyone else to follow. In its eighteen songs divided into seven “astral suites”, their latest LP, Lese Majesty, calls out the pretenders on the throne, boldly declaring that the king doesn’t just have no clothes but he’s a liar and a thief (“leaning on suckers”, Ishmael Butler says in his interview with Kevin Cole, “like Duckworth in the paint”). More than that, for Bulter and Tendai Maraire (a.k.a. Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy ‘Dai), it’s about “working, creating something... being about what you’re doing”. And clearly what they’re doing is forging another mind-blowing set of experimental hip hop, and what you’re doing right now is journeying with them to the far reaches as they perform four songs from Lese Majesty live in the KEXP studio:

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Video Roundup: National Senior Citizens Day

Kim Gordon, age 61 // photo by Hilary Harris

Frankly, every damn day should be National Senior Citizens Day (sorry for the language, gramma), but August 21st is officially the day we honor the elders in our community. The day was designated in 1988 by then-president Ronald Reagan, who added, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older.”

KEXP agrees, and today we offer a Video Roundup salute to some of our favorite senior musicians (reports differ, but the age 60 seems to be the median age to be declared “senior”). These artists prove that age ain’t nothin’ but a number as they continue to compose and perform music with every passing year. Watch below and be inspired.

Kim Gordon, age 61

David Bowie, age 67

Bob Dylan, age 73

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Song of the Day: Benjamin Booker - Violent Shiver

photo by Matthew Thompson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 “Violent Shiver” by Benjamin Booker from his 2014 self-titled album on ATO Records.

Benjamin Booker - Violent Shiver (MP3)

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Live Video: Peter Matthew Bauer

photo by Amber Zbitnoff (view set)

For those lamenting beloved NYC band The Walkmen’s indefinite hiatus, rejoice in the band’s bassist Peter Matthew Bauer‘s solo album, Liberation!. Don’t be offended by the title, it’s not an enthusiastic goodbye to the band Bauer has dedicated 13 years of his life to. The album marks an opportune moment for Bauer, an experienced multi-instrumentalist, to explore what he can do solo. Although Bauer has spent years playing music, recording his solo work was not without obstacles, obstacles which Bauer credits with ensuring his album steers clear of being boring. On the surface, Liberation! is an album steeped in traditional folk and rock influences, but as the song titles and lyrics reveal, the work is deeply personal and exclusive. Beyond the biographical subject matter (Bauer spent much of his childhood in an Ashram in New York) Bauer infuses his songs with religious speculations, finding a balance somewhere between Western and Eastern philosophy. The album, recorded in a space converted by Bauer in Philadelphia, was conceptualized by “a guy sitting alone in the dark,” but what we saw during his live set at KEXP was a large group of friends backing Bauer on his promising plunge into a solo career. Watch his entire set on the Midday Show below:

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KEXP Presents: Tag 2.0 (A Marco Collins Experiment) 8/21

Tag! This Thursday is IT, as former KEXP DJ Marco Collins will host Tag 2.0, an experimental music project, at Chop Suey.

Tomorrow night, August 21st, five artists will perform, and for each of them, their last song must segue into the following artist’s first song, and so on, throughout the night. Bands are only given one rehearsal during sound check. Collins explains, “The concept presents a challenge for the artists because I try to place artists next to each other that may never play together and might sound very different. The artists must collaborate, and that’s where things get interesting!”
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Wednesday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman

  • For Thurston Moore fans, it truly is the “best day” as the former Sonic Youth frontman shares the title track from his forthcoming solo album, The Best Day, out October 21st via Matador Records. As we mentioned earlier this month, Moore’s supporting band consists of longtime collaborator Steve Shelley, My Bloody Valentine’s Debbie Googe, and English guitarist James Sedwards. Catch the crew on Saturday, October 4th at Neumos, playing with Sebadoh. [Consequence of Sound]

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Photo Gallery: Concerts at the Mural 8/15

A Place to Bury Strangers // photo by Victoria Holt

Seattle Center was the place to be last Friday night as Brooklyn band A Place to Bury Strangers brought a sonic thunder to the Mural Amphitheatre stage. As you can see from the photos below, it was an explosive performance! Local trio Wimps kicked off the evening, and Portland’s Matt Drenik brought his project Battleme to the stage.

Join us this Friday at Seattle Center for the final Concerts at the Mural show of the 2014 season. Our Wednesday night show The Roadhouse combines forces with our Thursday night show Swingin’ Doors for Swingin’ Roadhouse, a night of alternative country and roots rock n’ roll with DJs Greg Vandy and Don Slack spinning between sets. Local artists Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands and Star Anna will get the night started, and Alabama-based band Lee Bains lll & the Glory Fires will finish off the summer with some down-home Southern rock! Plus, at 5:00 PM, Mindie Lind, the winner of Seattle’s Pianos in the Parks contest, will perform for you all. See you there!

KEXP DJ Larry Mizell Jr. // photo by Victoria Holt

Wimps // photo by Elizabeth Crook

Wimps // photo by Victoria Holt

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Live Video: Valerie June at Pickathon

photo by Shelly Corbett (view set)

Earlier this month, KEXP returned to the magical space of the Bunny Glade during Pickathon 2014 to capture intimate acoustic sessions in this wooded oasis. Each of the 17 exclusive performances were special, but one of the most endearing moments for sure took place during Valerie June‘s set when a very young and enthusiastic listener couldn’t help but hear the call of “Raindance” and broke away from her mother to listen more closely. A sweet moment for sure, and each of the stunning Tennessee native’s songs touch all of our hearts in their own way. Watch this short session recorded live at Pickathon and then hear Valerie June again on Monday, September 1, at 12PM, live from the Bumbershoot Music Lounge. You’ll be tempted to do a rain dance of your own!

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Live Review: Pizza Fest @ The Highline 8/16/2014

Pizza Eating Competition

Punk shows are always more visceral when you’re hurting. You’re feeling a mix of emotions, and despite how cheesy it sounds (no pun intended), sometimes the best way to let them out is to thrash around in a mosh pit and sing your heart out. Saturday night, during The Coathangers’ headlining set at the Highline, Crook Kid Coathanger (Julia Kugel) told the crowd they’d been robbed the night before in Portland, and how they’d lost a friend this week too. Her and her bandmates, Minnie (Meredith Franco) and Rusty (Stephanie Luke), wailed on their instruments as the crowd crashed forward over and over, flattening the front row against the monitors. “This has been great,” Crook Kid said. “I really needed this.”

The Coathangers

The Coathangers

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