Howdy, Michele Myers here. I spin a show every Friday night at 9pm on KEXP. It starts off with 3 hours of danceable sets. Then at 12, I do the Midnight Album Spotlight. This week, it’s the best new band to come along in YEARS (in my humble opinion): UK band The Heavy and their debut full-length that’s the perfect mix of funk, soul and rock, Great Vengeance and Furious Fire.
I first heard this album, when it appeared in the “new” bin at KEXP. The “new” bin is also called “rotation.” It’s a group of about 150 new CDs (and sometimes vinyl) that are just out or re-issued. The programming team here at KEXP chooses these releases from all the new submissions, and the DJs are required to play 6-10 songs out of this bin every hour. Some hosts just pull the new CDs and play the recommended tracks (recommended by our programming team, who are amazing), but each week I spend hours finding my own favorite new songs. My two programming assistants Eve Cooke and Brian Vogt also search through rotation. (There are way too many for any one person to look through.) Eve and Brian make lists of their favorites and send them to me. Between the three of us, we get a good batch of new songs every week.
I never play any song I haven’t listened to. There have been too many times when a song sounded cool during a quick scan but then had some kind of horrible lyric that appears like a bad actor in a good film. So I am careful to choose only songs that will sound good all the way through.
Eve was the first to find this song by UK band The Heavy. It’s “That Kind of Man.” Check it out!
Not only can the lead singer Swabi actually SING, but he does it in a Curtis Mayfield style. Plus, the funky guitar and rhythm section have a majestic rock quality. Best of all, the lyrics are emotional, intense, and punched with funk rhythm. Heavy on the one, baby.
I soon searched the record myself and found my favorite song on the record, “Colleen”:
Then I went to the Sasquatch Music Festival. It was road trip time with the girls: Mari, The President (a 21-year old world-class girl named Lisa) and me. Mari was the DJ for the car ride. She had this amazing I-Pod collection of music — and this record was all over it. Every song from The Heavy stood out as funky and real, raw and sophisticated.
The 3-hour drive there seemed short. After we volunteered at the KEXP booth, we found a spot on the grass at the Mainstage where we saw Michael Franti, then Death Cab, then The Cure (my favorite of the festival). I don’t really drink so I ended up spending 16 dollars on 4 sodas (each one was four bucks, crazy!). We later met up with the fabulous Julia and worked out a plan. We paid 40 bucks to set up our tents in the Gorge parking lot and laughed and talked into the night. At one point, some nearby campers asked us to stop the party (um, it’s a music festival… aren’t we supposed to be having a good time?). The same people got up at like 8am and complained loudly about the noise the night before, waking us up — oh well. Guiltily, we packed up and slunk out of there. We were tired, happy and we listened to The Heavy all the way home. Best release out this year. No contest.