Graphic Nature: NAVVI – //

Navvi

Since introducing NAVVI to the world in October of 2013, Seattle’s Kristin Henry and Brad Boettger have released a steady stream of seductive sonics, culminating in the tempting textures captured in their latest 2014 EP, //.  KEXP caught up with the duo to discuss the visual qualities concealed within a hazy Kodak cover art.

“We went out to South Lake Union for the shot, there is a strip out there with great lighting and a view of downtown,” explains NAVVI. “Dusty [Henry] was behind the camera. If we can do things on our own we always try to, but every now and then we need an extra set of hands to get something accomplished. He’s been a huge help for us that way since we started. We had Dusty take a short video of us out there in hopes that we could grab a still from it. We didn’t have much of a plan and were just hoping something would work out. There were maybe 10 stills that came from a 30 to 45 second video. Some were in focus but didn’t quite look right, while a few were out of focus and maybe weren’t technically sound but had a strong composition. We ended up using one that was out of focus a bit but was right in every other way.”

They add, “While filtering through footage and editing the trailer for the EP, we came across the footage from that night. A funny outtake from the photo session for the album cover makes a brief appearance at the end. You have this kind of serious shot for the album cover, but behind the scenes we are all just a bit grabbing for straws for what to do or where to stand and how to look. It ended up being a great way to tie the album art and the trailer together.”

There is an wondrous, extraterrestrial quality in regard to the bright lights and character outlines situated within the cover art. Explaining the thought process behind the photo shoot, NAVVI tells KEXP, “We like to leave a bit to the imagination with most all of our art and images. We’re both drawn to album covers and art that play with the viewer’s inclination to fill in the blanks. It’s a place to work from that has been a natural fit for us from the beginning. Looking straight on carries a boldness we admire but can’t seem to pull off. As soon as things are cropped just so, or a piece is taken away, everything feels right. We are more inclined to engage with it.”

Staying in tune with the rich, floating, nocturnal echoes of the music, the deliberate defocusing of Kristin and Brad creates soft but strong silhouettes which stand out enigmatically due to the dreamy blurred backdrop of the city. “We had a couple of different photo sessions that we did, but nighttime in the middle of the city seemed to be the right fit for what the EP had become at that point,” claims NAVVI. “I think we lucked out that we found an image that underscores our equal relationship as music partners as well as the kind of setting that directly inspired the majority of the EP. A considerable portion of the lyrical and musical content of the EP was made with the things you think, feel and experience in the evening.”

NAVVI’s // is a multilayered sonic attraction, cut with punchy white powder rhythms, provocative reverbs and flirtatiously foreboding vocals. With its strong artistic affiliation to the dazed out imagery appearing on the cover art, // is  another rare jewel to come out of the Emerald City. Make sure you do yourself a favor and dig around for it.

You can find a digital copy or the limited edition cassette of // from the duo’s Bandcamp page. Keep up to date with NAVVI on their facebook and twitter page and check out the promotional video for the // EP below:

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Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland 2015, Day 2: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mudhoney, Iceage, and more


Mudhoney

All photos by Victoria Holt

Day two of All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland was off to a flying start with sets by locals Oyama, NYC’s White Hills, and Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond. Festival attendees crawled out of bed, rubbed sleepy eyes, and stumbled towards Keflavík’s Atlantic Studios in the morning dew. The sky still drizzled, but the rain was slowly clearing, and by the afternoon a bright northern sun had flooded the grounds. Unfortunately, Clipping. had to move their set to the third day due to travel complications, but Younghusband gladly stepped in to play a set. By 9PM, the light was still radiating brilliantly in the doorway from the outer food truck area to the dark show space within. If there ever was a night that epitomized the “land of the midnight sun,” it was last night. Here are our favorites from Friday, July 3rd.

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Video Roundup: 50 States/50 Bands

Take a musical road trip with DJ Kevin Cole: today, on The Afternoon Show on KEXP, he presents 50 States/50 Bands. From 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, he’ll be playing a band from every state in the U.S.A. in celebration of Independence Day. Tune in and see who he chooses for your home state. You don’t have to live in Washington; KEXP streams around the world at KEXP.ORG

If that’s not enough for your patriotic pleasure, scroll down and enjoy this Video Round-up, inspired by our great country! Happy Fourth of July!


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Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

  • Tame Impala will release their highly anticipated album Currents on July 17. They’ve shared a cool behind-the-scenes look at the the making of the album and a glimpse frontman Kevin Parker’s creative process. It’s amazing how less than two minutes of video can build so much excitement. [Pitchfork]

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Music That Matters: Forget It’s a Dream

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.

photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Mates of State // photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Currently, you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 467 – Forget It’s a Dream
Morning Show host John Richards presents a new mix that weaves its way from loud, shoegazerish psych-rock through brooding, bluesy rock, to grimy hip hop with some ‘90s-steeped stops along the way. Featuring new songs from Flyying Colours, Du Blonde, Kate Tempest and more.

Tracklist:
1. Magic Potion – Booored
2. T. Hardy Morris – My Me
3. Flyying Colours – Like You Said
4. Communions – Forget It’s a Dream
5. Pinkshinyultrablast – Holy Forest
6. Pfarmers – Work for Me
7. Mates of State – Staring Contest
8. Speedy Ortiz – The Graduates
9. Joanna Gruesome – There is No Function Stacy
10. angelic milk – IDK How
11. Du Blonde – Black Flag
12. Kate Tempest – Lonely Daze

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland 2015, Day 1: Iggy Pop, Belle and Sebastian, Public Enemy, and more


Iggy Pop

All photos by Victoria Holt

Now in its third year in Iceland, All Tomorrow’s Parties returned Thursday to the former NATO U.S. Air Base Ásbrú in Keflavík. Music lovers from around the world came for the weekend’s killer lineup, including Iggy Pop, Public Enemy, Belle & Sebastian, Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and local favorites like Kippi Kaninus and Grísalappalísa. Tons of well dressed Europeans (and a few Americans in the know) flock to this quiet region, just 45 minutes from the capitol city of Reykjavík. This magical festival fosters a spirit of intimacy between attendees and musicians: what backstage there is seems small, and artists are prone to hang out in the main crowd, showing their support for other acts. The crowds are fluid and friendly, and it’s fairly easy to get up close, even for huge acts, because nearly everyone steps outside between acts for a smoke or some fresh air, and there’s less of an attitude of entitlement over your “spot.” Read on for some of the best moments from Day One, and check back throughout the weekend for our coverage of the rest of the festival.

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 1
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Song of the Day: Hibou – Dissolve

photo by Jenny Jimenez

photo by Jenny Jimenez

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 “Dissolve” by Hibou from the upcoming self-titled album on Barsuk Records.

Hibou – Dissolve (MP3)

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Album Review: Class Actress – Movies

Class Actress - Movies

When we were spinning Rapprocher back in 2011, we knew it was only a matter of time before Class Actress became a full-fledged pop star. There’s just something magical about the high tension melancholy Elizabeth Harper has on her records. It’s a very “this is where I find myself for better or worse” type of approach to love songs that we don’t see bared as openly by her competition. Then, accompanied by a brilliant synth pop soundtrack, every one of Class Actress’s songs dance and dive into your soul at equal speeds. Well, four years down the road, it has happened! Movies sees Harper jumping to Casablanca for a shimmering, bigger budget entry into a larger pop world. The product of this entry is Movies, a short and sweet concept record with not a minute going to waste. Harper takes her signature sound to Hollywood for a study of the real versus the perceived. She plays around with plenty of cinematic metaphors and motifs, and it all sounds like it came as natural as can be. Night time is Harper’s time, and the fleeting hours bring all kinds of adventures in the throes of love.

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Thursday Music News

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

photo by Brittany Brassell (view set)

  • If you’ve ever wanted to put Nick Cave in your pocket, now’s your chance! LA-based toy company Plasticgod will release six different variations of a mini-figurine based on the iconic frontman, each named after a different song of his. Just check out the detail in the “Red Right Hand” model! Each lil’ guy will set you back $40, and only 200 of each design will be produced. The little Nicks debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, July 9-12. [Pitchfork]

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Review Revue: The The – Mind Bomb

Mind Bomb

Matt Johnson’s The The is yet another band (or musical project, if you prefer, since it seems to have been Johnson and whatever troupe of brilliant musicians he could round up when it came time to make a record) that I never listened to in their heyday/my youth, and I can’t quite figure out why. Maybe Mind Bomb was just a bit too grown-up for a pre-teen such as myself when it came out, and then I never got around to it? That’s what I’ll go with. It’s too bad, because there’s a lot to like here: plenty of brilliant musicianship and songcraft, and scads of cutting, brutally dark lyrics for a teenager in the early ’90s to memorize and write on his wall. In fact, listening to this album today, it sounds almost like a slightly more reserved version of Jim Thirlwell’s Foetus, which I adored: brainy and bitter, yet still catchy as hell.

The KCMU gang seem to have been just the right age to dig Mind Bomb, although apparently some folks were digging it just a bit too much, as it started to wear out its welcome in heavy rotation. Perhaps the rumored first new album of The The songs since 2000 will do the same when it comes out in (fingers crossed) 2016! Read More »

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