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. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum” by Shabazz Palaces from their album Black Up on Sub Pop Records.
Carefully cultivated Seattle avant rappers Shabazz Palaces released their Sub Pop debut, Black Up, last month to sizzling acclaim. Already a fan from their previous self releases, Pitchfork tagged a “Best New Music” on their highly positive review and gave them a slot in their highly-coveted music festival later this month. It’s interesting to see this type of reaction when an artist steps out of musical genre comfort zones which isn’t usually a formula for widespread success. Especially when the band is continuously enshrouded in mystery (they rarely grant interviews and they started performing under fake names and in disguise) and their music is, what you might call, rigidly controlled sonic anarchy. But there is something whole-body-compelling about what Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler and crew are doing that leaves listeners wondering what’s coming next. And like Butler’s previous incarnation (the hip hop jazz fusion group Digable Planets), there’s cross-over appeal (in the best possible way) that attracts folks from all corners of the musical spectrum (their KEXP hood-to-hood Ballard show had Mayor McGuinn, our own Leon Berman, and KEXP listeners of all ages packed to the gills at the Sunset in May).
Today’s eloquently and verbosely-titled offering, is darkly intense and meanders its way through discordant beats, chill-inducing repetitive samples, and ends up being a song that could be two heads of the same beast.
Shabazz Palaces are hitting the road and can be seen at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago next weekend, but they’ll be back in time for an appearance at Bumbershoot on September 3rd. Until then keep an eye on their website for more dates and info.