Thursday Music News

photo by Alex Crick

  • This morning, Flying Lotus continued the rollout of preview tracks from his forthcoming fifth album, You’re Dead!, with the release of “Coronus, The Terminator”, a jazzy, smooth three minute track from the album’s middle section. The track follows the release of the FlyLo/Thundercat/Herbie Hancock collab “Moment of Hesitation” and the Kendrick Lamar-featuring “Never Catch Me“. Listen to “Coronus, the Terminator” below; You’re Dead! arrives in full on October 7th.

  • Onetime LCD Soundsystem and current The Juan Maclean member Nancy Whang has payed tribute to her ’70s influences with the release of a new EP, the aptly-titled The Nancy Whang Casablanca Reworks EP. Featuring covers of Casablanca Records artists Donna Summer, Parliament, Kiss, and Dennis Parker, the EP finds Whang singing over some of the disco classics that influenced her own work, including the recent and great new The Juan MacLean album, In A Dream. Listen to the EP over at Gomma Records’ Soundcloud.
  • Kanye West‘s forthcoming seventh studio album is one of the year’s most anticipated releases, and keeping with Yeezy tradition, details about it are scarce. However, this morning, Page Six is reporting that West and Lorde, both mutual admirers, are in the studio together. The teenage Kiwi sensation now joins Sir Paul McCartney on the list of West’s recent collaborators. No release date is set for the follow up to last year’s Yeezus, but Kanye was reportedly thrilled by Beyonce’s surprise release last December and looks to do something similar himself.
  • When U2 released a new surprise album in partnership with Apple, some (38 million, according to Apple) people were very excited. Others were not. Either way, iPhone users (and the world in general) should buckle up for hearing more about the two in the near future, as the Irish titans and the California tech giants have detailed more of their long-term partnership in a Time Magazine feature. The pair are working on a new digital music format that “will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music — whole albums as well as individual tracks”, and is aimed at making money for non-touring musicians. (It’s worth noting that this is a different approach to the high quality sound-angle that Neil Young’s Pono format is taking.) Additionally, Time reports that another new album, an acoustic version of Songs of Innocence, and a world tour are all in the works for Bono and co.
  • Only a few months removed from his less-than-positive (and later rescinded) comments about the Black Keys, Jack White took aim at another rock band last night during a show at Boston’s Fenway Park. After decrying cordless microphones (“most performers don’t use microphones anymore... singers don’t use microphones that have cords”), White criticized Foo Fighters for having a second (and, presumably, their third) guitarist “playing the same parts” to cover up mistakes played by their primary guitarist, Dave Grohl. The recent Rolling Stone cover star also extensively criticized Rolling Stone’s content and founder Jann Wenner, before wrapping up his spiel by semi-sarcastically noting how the media would portray his comments as a “Kanye West-esque rant”. Considering White’s complicated history with the media, it’s unclear as to how sincere last night’s comments were, but they’re entertaining nonetheless. Listen to them below, and read/listen to a much calmer interview White did with KEXP’s Greg Vandy here.

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Review Revue: The Zoo: Uncaged 1978-1982

I know I’ve tried to think of a name for this phenomenon before – maybe even on this very blog – but what do you call a super group in reverse; i.e., a relatively obscure and unsuccessful band whose members go on to achieve great things? How about a pour grepus? (Think about it.)

One fantastic example of a pour grepus is the ironically named Big in Japan, who don’t seem to have been big much of anywhere, despite member Bill Drummond’s starting Zoo Records to release their work and that of other struggling Liverpool bands. While they didn’t make it very far as a band, their members reached far and wide, ending up in bands such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the KLF, and being involved with many other important artists as producers and label owners.
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Live Video: Sylvan Esso

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

It’s the classic peanut butter meets chocolate kind of story. A chance meeting, or really, a shared bill, brought Amelia Meath (of the harmonizing folk trio Mountain Man) and Nick Sanborn (of psychsters Megafaun and his own electronic project, Made of Oak) together. A conversation led to the two sharing their separate talents on a song Meath had already written, and the results? Greater than either had anticipated. Combining her silky harmonies and his animated sampling and production, Sylvan Esso creates a sound that’s neither folk nor electronica but takes the best of both. It’s easy to see how the two met up, from their recent session live in the KEXP studio, as the gregarious duo chatted with the Morning Show’s John Richards on some of the most random subjects. Watch now and enjoy two great sounds that sound great together:

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KEXP Top 12 Spotlight: John Richards

KEXP Top 12

KEXP wants to know: “Who are your Favorite Artists of All Time?” Pick out a dozen musicians, bands, projects, and share them with us before Friday, September 19th at 6:00 PM PST. And then tune in during KEXP’s Fall Fundraising Drive, September 26th through October 3rd, to hear which artists your fellow members of the KEXP Community voted for! KEXP’s DJs piped in with their own Top 12 lists, which we’ll be unveiling all month long in anticipation of the countdown.


Pixies // photo by Dave Lichterman

John Richards’ Top 12 Favorite Bands/Artists

12 Elbow
11 The National
10 Johnny Cash
9 Nirvana
8 Sigur Ros
7 Joy Division
6 U2
5 Radiohead
4 The Clash
3 New Order
2 The Cure
1 Pixies

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

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Song of the Day: SW/MM/NG - Some Dreams Come True

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Some Dreams Come True” by SW/MM/NG from the 2014 album Feel Not Bad on Old Flame Records.

SW/MM/NG - Some Dreams Come True (MP3)

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Exclusive KEXP Interview: Jack White

photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

Just before a pair of sold-out shows at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Greg Vandy, host of The Roadhouse on KEXP, sat down with Jack White to discuss his new album, Lazaretto, his label, Third Man Records, vintage recordings, the Paramount reissues and even his sprained ankle.

Listen to the interview, as featured on The Roadhouse this week as part of an all Jack White-related music special, and read the transcript in its entirety below:

Greg Vandy: Jack White’s in the Roadhouse. Welcome to KEXP.

Jack White: Thank you for having me.

Do you listen to KEXP? Is it on your radar?

I have in the past when I’ve been around. It’s very nice. Thank you for supporting for all of the Third Man records.
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Live Video: Ages and Ages & Quilt at Pickathon

Ages and Ages // photo by Shelly Corbett

We’ve recorded a lot of unique performances during Pickathon over the past few years, but there’s nothing quite like lush orchestration and natural harmonies to complement the gorgeous wooded oasis that is the Bunny Glade. Two of the bigger ensembles this year were also two of the most enjoyable, including the lively sing-along-friendly Portland band Ages and Ages and Boston folk quartet Quilt, both of which we’ve hosted in the KEXP studio recently but also both that seem even more at home in the woods.

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KEXP Top 12 Spotlight: DJ El Toro

KEXP Top 12

KEXP wants to know: “Who are your Favorite Artists of All Time?” Pick out a dozen musicians, bands, projects, and share them with us before Friday, September 19th at 6:00 PM PST. And then tune in during KEXP’s Fall Fundraising Drive, September 26th through October 3rd, to hear which artists your fellow members of the KEXP Community voted for! KEXP’s DJs piped in with their own Top 12 lists, which we’ll be unveiling all month long in anticipation of the countdown.

Stephin Merritt

Stephin Merritt // photo by Renata Steiner

DJ El Toro’s Top 12 Artists Who Changed His Life (In Order of Discovery)

I opted to call out the Top 12 Artists who changed my life rather than my honest-to-God favorites because … well, because if I went with the latter, I’d have to include Bananarama and that’s like throwing my vote away. So instead, here are a dozen musicians that turned my world sideways, bands and singers that I’ve stuck with through thick and thin, and in several cases (Kate Bush, Scott Walker), long intervals between releases. Oh, and my picks are listed in chronological order of discovery, hence the bias towards artists who cut their teeth in the 20th century.

12 Antony & the Johnsons
11 The Magnetic Fields/Stephin Merritt
10 Arthur Russell
9 Scott Walker
8 Patsy Cline
7 Kurt Weill
6 Dusty Springfield
5 The Smiths
4 Soft Cell/Marc Almond
3 Kate Bush
2 Patti Smith
1 David Bowie

DJ El Toro hosts the variety mix show on Wednesday nights from 9 PM to 1 AM on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle and His occasional rant, “Weird At My School,” appears infrequently on the KEXP Blog.

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

  • Alt-J‘s sophomore effort, This Is All Yours, doesn’t arrive in stores until September 23rd, but the highly anticipated album is now available for streaming at iTunes Radio. Following the departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury earlier this year, This Is All Yours is the group’s first album as a trio, and includes the singles “Left Hand Free”, “Every Other Freckle”, and the Miley Cyrus-sampling “Hunger of the Pine”.
  • Fresh off the release of their excellent fifth album, El Pintor, last week, Interpol have released a video for LP closer “Twice As Hard”. Singer Paul Banks directed the clip, which features a group of boxers training in the gym. (They’ve come a long way since the days of weird puppets.) Watch the clip below.

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Live Video: The Murder City Devils

photo by Brittney Bollay (view set)

Seattle. 1998. The Murder City Devils, a band of Seattle’s top garage punks, is playing shows with Pacific Northwestern 90s greats Pearl Jam, Built to Spill, and The Black Halos. Flash forward to 2014, and the band has gone through three albums, a deficit of one member, and most importantly, one break-up in 2001. Yet here they are, resurrected and ripping up KEXP’s studio with a new self-released album, The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again. Posthumously, the band’s members worked on well-known projects like Modest Mouse, Cold War Kids, The Cave Singers, and more. Today, reincarnated in “a prison of cotton and polyester,” The Murder City Devils bantered with DJ Sharlese between thunderous renditions of tracks from their latest release. Transport yourself to the golden age of garage rock with video from The Murder City Devils’ in-studio performance now:

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