Song of the Day: Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

photo by Audrey Melton

photo by Audrey Melton

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 “Nothing Feels Natural” by Priests, from the album of the same name out on Sister Polygon Records.

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural (MP3)
It is no overestimation to say that Priests is a force of nature. The four-piece Washington D.C.-based group formed in 2012, quickly earning a reputation for ridiculously tight, intense live performances. The past five years has seen just a handful of releases from Priests, culminating in their 2017 debut album, Nothing Feels Natural, which is out on the band’s own Sister Polygon Records. While previously there remained a slight rift between the visceral experience of a Priests live show and hearing the band on record, Nothing Feels Natural takes the band’s recorded output in a different direction, widening and expanding their sound and creative scope, and also translating the intensity of their live show to the album format.

So essential to the success of Priests’s debut LP is the versatility and charisma of lead singer Katie Alice Greer’s voice, which recalls the energy of punk touchstones like Le Tigre-era Kathleen Hanna or X’s Exene Cervenka. Today’s featured track, “Nothing Feels Natural” is a relative departure from the traditional Priests vibe, Greer given space to showcase her vocal range, sounding at once vulnerable, frustrated, searching, and ultimately triumphant. Greer’s vocals act in contrast to the constantly echoing drums provided by Daniele Daniele, the track reaching a startlingly beautiful peak amidst a wall of noise.

Priests were already in Seattle just two weeks ago, but they’re continuing to tour the US into March, followed by a set of European tour dates. For more information, check out the band’s website and Facebook page. For now, here’s the quite interesting video for album highlight “JJ”:

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Live Review: Little Big Show #17 with Angel Olsen, Chris Cohen and Sloucher

all photos by Jim Bennett (photo set)

Every Little Big Show can’t help themselves but get better and better each sold out night, which gives the MitskiKadhja Bonet, and Mal Devisa Little Big Show #18 coming up next on April 8 a great head start. What is equally great is the partnership between Starbucks, STG, and KEXP to make these philanthropic benefit shows happen specifically to support a youth not-for-profit, which for this past show was NFFTY whose mission is “to enable, nurture, promote and encourage the next generation of filmmakers to inspire, lead and entertain the world with their stories.” With the all the ongoing legislative bills and advocacy for keeping film in Washington State, this was a sound move to bolster the buoyancy of not only Washington’s film industry, but a medium of storytelling available to the future of Washington’s auteurs. Fortunately, we have Angel Olsen, Chris Cohen, and Sloucher to thank for this round of utilitarian non-profiteering.

Ashville, NC’s Angel Olsen launched her solo career, after touring as a backing singer for Bonnie Price Billy, around the same time Father John Misty launched his solo project, back in 2012, and she has had quite the comparable rise to fame. With good reason, Olsen is a sassy lipstick of dynamite that exploded in the last two years via her ability to concoct eruptive singles like ‘Shut Up Kiss Me” from her 2016 album My Woman, but also darkly stark, sit-with-your-thoughts compositions like ‘White Heat” from her 2014 Burn Your Fire For No Witness. But more on this cheeky chanteuse after some words on the bill’s stellar openers Sloucher and Chris Cohen.
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Music that Matters: Freepower

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.

Austra at KEXP in 2017 // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 553 – Freepower

Bursting through geographic and genre lines, Swedish synths, Seattle songwriters, and Memphis psychedelia highlight Cheryl Waters’ latest mix featuring new tunes from Austra, Childish Gambino, and Dyke Drama.

Tracklist:
1. Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked For Death
2. Shelby Earl – The Man Who Made Himself a Name
3. JFDR – Wires
4. Austra – Freepower
5. Childish Gambino – Have Some Love
6. Cory Hanson – Replica
7. Spaceface – Sun Kids
8. The Radio Dept. – Committed To The Cause
9. The Proper Ornaments – Back Pages
10. Ravenna Woods – Alleyways
11. The Gods Themselves – Love
12. Dyke Drama – Say When
13. Hembree – Holy Water
14. The Molochs – No More Cryin’
15. Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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Friday Music News

Old 97s

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • Frontman Rhett Miller is no stranger to the sitcom scene (you may remember his appearance in NBC’s 30 Rock), so he’s right at home among the guest stars in the new Old 97’s video. Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office) interviews the guys while Fred Armisen (of Portlandia, among other things) fills in as the drummer. (In real life, Philip Peeples was indeed unable to make the film shoot due to a back problem. And that’s really Armisen drumming!) Watch the Lee Kirk-directed video below. Miller said via a statement: “Lee Kirk and his team had written a great script and arranged for what would have been a very cool video when we discovered at the last minute that our drummer would not be able to take part in the filming. Thank god that Fred Armisen is a world-class drummer in addition to being literally the funniest man on the planet. What we wound up with was unexpected and amazing. This video could have been an hour long given all of the hilarious improv that Jenna and Fred did.” The new album Graveyard Whistling is out today via ATO. [ Pitchfork ]


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KEXP at Trans Musicales: Grand Parc

photo by Morgan Chosnyk

Today, we continue sharing our discoveries from the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France, where last December we captured twelve exclusive sessions. We’re sharing with you one unique session per week, and you can watch all the previously release ones here. This week’s feature is of Grand Parc.

DJ Morgan says of the experience:

The day wrapped up with a fantastic band out of Normandy, France, called Grand Parc. Founding members Nick and Annie, who both play guitar and sing, plus Jean-Baptiste on bass and Guillame on drums, played an extremely skillful set of shoegaze-math rock-French pop. They had elements of Stereolab, Pinback, Blonde Redhead, and Foals, all while sounding completely fresh and original. Fun fact: I counted 22 effects pedals between them all. I don’t know what they all do, but they must know how to use them all effectively because they sounded awesome. Definitely a new favorite!

Watch our live session Grand Parc, recorded at Hôtel Pasteur, an historic building converted to an art space, and be sure to find more about the band on their Facebook and Bandcamp pages.

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Song of the Day: Weirdo Machine – Something Inside

Weirdo Machine

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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “Something Inside” by Weirdo Machine from their 2016 self-released EP, Eagle.

Weirdo Machine – Something Inside (MP3) Read More »

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Midnight In A Perfect World: DJ ZAI

DJ-ZAI

DJ ZAI is the alias of Seattle native Isaiah Hinojosa, a self-taught vinyl DJ that strives to connect the dots between a variety of global club sounds every time he gets behind the decks. With a refined taste that covers a wide range of genres and tempos, he can frequently be found spinning at progressive club nights such as Research, Jet, Customs, FWD, and OMW. ZAI’s ability to handle numerous styles has also enabled him to lend support for a variety of world class talent, including Hodge, R3ll, Jacques Greene, Cooly G, and Rizzla. His exclusive guest DJ mix for Midnight in a Perfect World is a premier showcase of his eclectic and cutting-edge style, smoothly bouncing between the outer fringes of techno, house, UK funky, Gqom, and other fledgling experimental club rhythms from all over the world for an immersive and thrilling sonic journey.


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Thursday Music News

photo by Adam Cohen

photo by Adam Cohen

  • Last year, legendary singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of 82. Today, his son Adam shares a posthumous video for the track “Traveling Light” using previously unseen footage of his father. The video was co-directed with Sammy Slabbinck, who also worked on Cohen’s final album You Want It Darker. Watch the heartfelt video below, which starts with a seemingly-fragile Leonard saying, “I feel a lot stronger, but I’m actually a lot weaker. I wake up in my bed and I feel like, ‘That’s how I used to feel.’ Not exactly but, you know. And then I swing my legs off the bed and I try to stand up!” [ Under the Radar ]


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KEXP Suggests: Sound Off! Semi-Finals #3 at the MoPOP Museum 2/24

emp2017poster

Week by week, we get closer to MoPOP’s Sound Off! finals on Saturday, March 11th, which will be broadcast LIVE on KEXP’s Audioasis! Now in its 16th year, this all-ages “battle of the bands” has introduced us to acts like The Lonely Forest, Naked Giants, Manatee Commune, and more.

Last week’s winners were Federal Way punk-pop trio The Good Weird, with Torpoise named runner-up. (Runners-up will be entered into the Wildcard Pool, and one of the three Wildcard bands will be selected by the Mo’Pop Youth Advisory Board to compete in the finals.) Let’s take a look at who will be competing in the final round of semi-finals this Friday, February 24th:

[ Photos courtesy of MoPOP Museum ]
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Review Revue: Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart – Bomba 12″

Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart - Bomba

You know a musician is beloved at your local college radio station (circa 1990) when they release a 12″ single within months of a full-length LP, and both end up covered in laudatory comments. Such was the case with the “Bomba” record, coming hot on the heels of Without Judgement but no less celebrated for that fact. I would normally give a little more background here, but a) you can see the Without Judgement post if for some reason you want a few more words from me on Mr. Wobble, and 2) the KCMU gang provided pretty much all the background you might need below, and they didn’t even have Wikipedia to consult.

“A collaboration between Jah Wobble (Invaders is his band) and Andy Weatherall (part of the Boys Own team). This is a mix of the reggae & ethnic beats of the Invaders album, with the house beats of Boys Own as well as Pulse 8. I preferred the “Non-sonicus Mix,” the Miles Away mix does have part of Miles Davis’ 1960 recording of “Concierte de Aranjuez” cut into the piece for a nice effect.”

“This is very cool!”

“Strange, isn’t it, that of the old PiL members, it’s Wobble & Atkins that have come out the best musically, while Levene disappeared and Lydon, well…”

“Sucks?”

“Good good good!”

“I WANT TO HAVE JAH WOBBLE’S BABY, but unfortunately I can’t. But I can play this record. DJ, do yourself a favor + play this record. You won’t regret it. A side is sublime. B side samples not only Miles Davis, but Meat Beat Manifesto too. It’s the best parts of Without Judgement blended with the best parts of Pulse 8’s ‘Radio Morocco’ single. This will transport you to rarely reached levels of ecstasy. Play it up.”

“45 RPM” [always important information to have]

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