Throwaway Style: Lushloss and the Remarkable Empathy of Asking/Bearing

photo by Brit Hansen

photo by Brit Hansen

Throwaway Style is a weekly column dedicated to examining all aspects of the Northwest music scene. Whether it’s a new artist making waves, headlines affecting local talent, or reflecting on some of the music that’s been a foundation in our region; this space celebrates everything happening in the Northwest region, every Thursday on the KEXP Blog.


“There’s a childish part of me that wants to be tended to and understood,” Lushloss, aka Seattle producer/songwriter Olive Jun told me in an email interview last month. “I think Asking provides a lens for people to see me through to fulfill that feeling.”

The pursuit for being understood isn’t an uncommon theme in art. Often times it’s that feeling of being apart and alone that incites artists to create in the first place. So, somewhat ironically, Jun is in a long lineage of artists who share a common feeling of feeling out of place. Her latest album, Asking/Bearing, gets its official release tomorrow via Hush Hush Records (tapes came out last month). I say this without hesitation that it may be one of the most open, naked, and moving records I’ve heard in years. Jun sought out to be understood and she’s given more than I can truly recall hearing from another artist. The closest recent parallels I can think of are Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me and Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree, both immensely powerful reflections on death. However Asking/Bearing isn’t about death – it’s about living and just how hard it can be.

The record is split into two distinct parts: Asking and Bearing. Bearing most closely resembles a beat tape, showcasing Jun’s incredible knack for blending swells of synthesizers with minimalist, nearly hip-hop beats. I really don’t want to downplay just how great this side of the record is and minimize Jun’s exceptional skills at creating emotive, fluttering beats that feel like they exist in that nebulous area between falling in love and having your heart broken. However, Asking leaves us with a lot to digest and take in and it also truly deserves your time.

 

In the last minute of dreamy album opener “St Marco,” the music starts to fall apart and suddenly we’re thrust into a Skype conversation between Jun and her mother. Jun laughs a little nervously, mentioning that it’s been so long since she heard her old name spoken. Jun is a trans woman and delves into what that looks like on an intimate, heavy-hearted way intermittently with her mother and throughout the songs on Asking. Within a song, Jun will pitch her voice up and down, fuzz it out, turn it down, sample it; utilizing her vocals as another instrument to fill out the sound of the record, but also, as she mentioned in her interview, as an effort to remove gender from her performance.

Having the Skype clips juxtaposed to to her tender compositions create a beautiful and harrowing tapestry of Jun’s life. Hearing an distorted, acoustic confessional like “Clark, WA” against a clip of her mother talking about how she doesn’t want to talk about her own father’s death gives even more gravity to situation. Jun is hurting, but so is her mom. Pain isn’t exclusive to one human experience. She keeps the awkwardness of Skype intact as well, with confused calls of “hello? Are you still there?” kept in. It’s the organic moments like when her mother says “You have to be okay until we get together” that feel especially human and real.

In a week where the trans rights are once again being attacked on the federal level by the current White House administration, there’s more need for empathy than ever. Asking/Bearing isn’t a political record, but increasingly forces are trying to politicize what it means to be trans. This is a record the world needs right now. It’s a record about understanding, pleading, and –above all else – empathy. To say that Asking/Bearing is just about the trans experience would be inaccurate when really it’s a snapshot of what it’s like to be a human. This is the type of art that doesn’t just help the artist be understood, but can help others to understand what an experience unlike their own can look like. Share this record with the people you love and the people you don’t see eye to eye with. Asking/Bearing shows us the weight of one human experience and how it can open our eyes to troubles we normally might not see. This is empathy we all need to hear right now.

Stream the entire record over at Gold Flake Paint. You can pre-order the record via Hush Hush’s Bandcamp now.

New and News

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio Sign with Colemine Records

If you’ve ever seen Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio perform live, you know just how joyous and energetic of a show they put on. Whenever the soul group gets on stage, you can tell just how hard they’re working on putting on the best show with the best music they can. It looks like all of that is paying off as the band has now announced that they’re singing to Ohio-based Colemine Records. After seeing their set at Upstream (video below), I can’t wait to see what they do with Colemine. The label owners Terry and Bob Cole seem to agree.

“Super funky, in the pocket soul jazz, this record is right in our wheelhouse and we are proud to help spread the word about this great record and band!” says Terry Cole.

“Both Terry and I think this is the first step in applying the dirty soul production style to some more jazz leaning groups,” adds Bob Cole.

 

Darto Releases New Single “I Am”

Last week I mentioned that Darto were releasing a new record, Human Giving, on Sept. 8. Now we’ve gotten our first taste with the single “I Am.” It’s… not at all what I expected, which is exactly what I hope for with a band like Darto. Gone is the tumultuous noise of their debut LP hex and instead we’re treated to layers of acoustic guitar, cellos, synthesizer warbles, and hypnotically harmonized monotone voices. “I Am” feels like a mantra, exploring self-identity with layers of expansive instrumentation. Who knows if this is an indication of what the rest of the record will sound like. I just can’t wait to hear it all.

 

YourYoungBody Drops Devotion Singles

It’s been a couple years since we’ve heard new tracks from electronic duo YourYoungBody, the last thing being their excellent 2015 Betrayer EP. They haven’t really been gone though — the band has become a fierce live act, playing frequently around town. Now the darkening act is back with some bold, exciting new tracks with their Devotion singles. The two propulsive tracks highlight both ends of the band’s spectrum with the pensive and wondrous “Intentions” against the dance-like enthusiasm of “4ever.” YYB just keeps getting better.

 

BlkSknn’s Drops New Summer17 EP 

Don’t know who BlkSknn is? You will. The Seattle rapper hasn’t been on the scene long, but he may be already one of the hardest working artists in the city. Earlier this year he dropped a killer tape called Small World, you might have seen him selling copies over by Westlake or at the Fremont Solstice Parade. Last week he came back again with the Summer17 EP, offering up even more summer jams to ride out into the sunset to. I’m continually impressed  by BlkSknn’s dexterity on the mic. You can just feel his enthusiasm bursting through your headphones. Keep an eye on this guy.

 

Live and Loud: This Week’s Recommended Local Shows

July 27: Spirit Award, Chris Cheveyo, Vomitface, Jake Laundry at Fred Wildlife Refuge

 

 

July 28: Merso, Heavy Petting, Breach at Cafe Solstice 

 

 

July 29: Hoodstock 10 featuring Erik Blood, Peace & Red Velvet, The Black Tones, and more at MLKy Way House

 

 

July 29: Puzzlehead, Versing, and Hoop at Cafe Racer

 

 

July 31: Haunted Horses, Ka, and Miscomings at Cafe Pettirosso

 

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Live at FYF Fest, Day 1: Angel Olsen, Björk, Anderson .Paak, Missy Elliott, Thee Oh Sees and more

FYF Fest Day 1

John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees // all photos by Victoria Holt (view set)

review by Charlie Zaillian

For three nights this past weekend, a remarkable, almost hard-to-believe array of talent — and 40,000 fans ready to take it all in — converged on the grounds surrounding the Los Angeles Coliseum. They call it FYF Fest, but more out of habit than defiance, locals of a certain age still reflexively refer to the event by its full, former moniker — Fuck Yeah Fest. Yet FYF has come so far from its scrappier origins as a showcase of mostly homegrown, mostly punk acts — and the musical landscape changed so much around it — it almost feels slightly misleading for the fest to have kept even part of the name.

After all, a decade ago, it was in Echo Park, cost $25 for the whole weekend and was headlined by the likes of No Age (remember them?). Today, SoCal concert behemoth Goldenvoice puts it on, it’s moved six miles south (with a couple-year stopover in between somewhere called the L.A. State Historic Park, to which the consensus among seasoned FYF-ers seems to be “good riddance”), passes go for over a hundred bucks a day — but with world-class bookings all up and down the bill, spanning every which genre, no one’s complaining. Read More »

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KEXP Premiere: Midnight Faces – Devil’s Money

Midnight Faces

photo by Kelsey Heng

The career of Midnight Faces frontman Matthew Doty feels like scrolling through the KEXP Blog. He began making music as a teenager with childhood friend Jonny Pierce of The Drums (who was recently in town and who we interviewed). And as a young adult, he co-founded the band Saxon Shore with Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty, whose in-studio videos we just launched). On his own as Midnight Faces, he’s made a presence here before, too, with Song of the Day “Blue Haze” followed by a stop on the Midday Show late last year in support of their self-released LP, Heavenly Bodies.

Today, the history continues as KEXP presents the premiere of the new track “Devils Money” on The Morning Show with John Richards. The song will be released this Friday, July 28th via Dangerbird Records’ monthly singles club MICRODOSE. They’re celebrating the launch of the single that night with a performance from Midnight Faces at Dangerbird’s HQ in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. Drop by for what the label is calling “a good old fashioned keg party for the artist, their community, and the neighborhood as a whole. Keep it simple. Make it fun. Do it again!”

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Song of the Day: Daddy Issues – Locked Out

Photo by Jake Giles Netter

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 “Locked Out” by Daddy Issues from their 2017 album, Deep Dream, on Infinity Cat.

Daddy Issues – Locked Out (MP3) Read More »

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Capitol Hill Block Party, Day 2: The Last Artful Dodgr, Bad Luck, YourYoungBody, Naked Giants

The Last Artful, Dodgr // all photos by Dusty Henry

If day one of Capitol Hill Block Party had that much energy with everyone arriving after work, day two never stood a chance. Fully rested, hangovers nursed, and a fresh set of bands to gawk over; fans at CHBP were ready to up the ante. Thankfully there was a wealth of local artists to help quench their need for more energy and anthems to spill their beer, too. A combination of hometown favorites as well as some left-turn surprises kept the momentum going on the second day of the fest.

“I don’t normally apologize for  performances because I’m the shit,” The Last Artful, Dodgr said at the end of her set on the Vera stage. Dodgr and her DJ/producer Neill Von Tally were late to their performance due to traffic driving up from their hometown of Portland, but despite the apologies there wasn’t really much animosity from the crowd. Maybe if they’d come up and phoned it in, but they definitely did not. The duo and their dancers made the most of their truncated set time, hyping up the crowd with the bombastic beats of their joint debut LP Bone Music. Dodgr is one of the most charismatic rappers in the Northwest and that’s all before you even get to her technical prowess. Her Block Party set, though short, was the perfect sampling to leave people wanting more. Seattle’s been put on notice — Dodgr is not to be slept on.

 

One of my favorite parts of any festival is finding new acts that surprise me. This year, jazz duo Bad Luck took the top spot on my “holy shit, how did I not know about this band?” list. Walked into Neumos purely on a whim and was greeted with some of the most wild music I’d heard all weekend. Saxophonist Neil Welch not only ripped with his improvisational, avant garde riffs, but he also played double duty by running loops on a pedal board at his feet. Paired with drummer Chris Icasiano’s hyper-aggressive style, the two formed a frenzied onslaught of sound comparable to any punk band I saw at the fest. Without any pop hooks to speak of, just impulsive talent being let loose, the audience was enraptured in every note and screamed at the end of every song. Guess they had some good luck after all (I’ll see myself out now).

“Now we’re gonna make our set satanic,” YourYoungBody lead vocalist Emily Cripe said halfway through her band’s Block Party set. The contrast between the hyped up tank-top party happening in the streets and the spacious, looming electronic beats happening down in Barboza were striking enough. Throwing Beelzebub in the mix only made it more apparent (admittedly, I missed Diplo’s set so feel free to correct me if he shouted out the Dark Lord before playing “Express Yourself”). Cripe and producer Killian Brom may have embraced the darkness, but they haven’t forsaken dance-worthy music. Fresh off of releasing their Devotion singles last week, YYB came through with an invigorating set. Cripe’s commanding presence was palpable as she prowled across the stage. Her vocals are sounding better than ever, as are Crom’s sinister rhythms.

Do the members of Naked Giants ever sleep? I can’t imagine they do with the amount of energy the exuded during their performance on the Vera stage. It didn’t take long for the band to ramp up either. Almost immediately, the trio began convulsing with their instruments on stage. Guitars erupted in a flurry, the bass pounded through the speakers, and the drummer could barely keep himself in his seat for an entire song. They’d all roll their eyes into the back of their heads anytime a fiery riff happened (which was, well, basically the entire time). It was hard not to get wrapped up in their enthusiasm as their garage/punk tunes filled the area just outside Chophouse Row. Fans danced almost as wildly as the band, throwing their hair every which way and letting loose. It was maybe the most raucous, distorted dance party of the weekend with the band feeding their excess energy to anyone who would take it.

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • On the one month anniversary of the death of guitarist Dave Rosser of The Afghan Whigs, the band is paying tribute by releasing a cover of Pleasure Club’s “You Want Love,” one of Rosser’s favorite songs. “Pleasure Club was a legendary New Orleans band and Dave Rosser and I had spoken for years about performing this song. In light of his passing we decided to record it in his honor,” said Whigs frontman Greg Dulli. Pleasure Club’s original singer and songwriter, James Hall, returned to lend his voice to the tribute cover. The Afghan Whigs will play the Showbox on Wednesday, October 18 with Har Mar Superstar. [ Consequence of Sound ]
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Midnight In A Perfect World: davOmakesbeats

davOmakesbeats

davOmakesbeats is a San Francisco-based DJ/producer, co-owner of Molly House Records, resident DJ and co-owner of Swagger Like Us, and former member of the electro-hop duo Double Duchess. Heavily involved in the Bay Area queer music community since moving to SF in 2007 from the Baltimore/Washington, DC area, he’s fused his love of Baltimore club, tribal breaks, house, and hip-hop to create art and performance spaces for the queer community, both in the Bay Area and beyond. His latest works are found on Molly House’s inaugural compilation Molly House: Volume One, featuring five tracks centered around davOmakesbeats’ production work alongside a stacked roster of unique vocalists and rappers. His exclusive guest mix for Midnight in a Perfect World is a confident and vibrant showcase of his cutting-edge sound, serving up a kinetic and hard-hitting blend of global dancefloor tracks, ballroom/vogue cuts, underground remixes, as well as a few of his own productions along the way.


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Capitol Hill Block Party, Day 1: Haunted Horses, Gifted Gab, Constant Lovers, My Goodness

Gifted Gab // all photos by Dusty Henry

In its 21st year, Capitol Hill Block Party feels more like a party than ever. The first day alone proved that people were willing to forgo their post-work tiredness and rage in the streets to Run The Jewels, Wolf Parade, and Mura Masa. CHBP may have the budget to keep bringing in larger and larger national acts to the Pike Street intersection, but the fest still hasn’t lost its commitment to local music. From the sweaty pits of Cha Cha to the sleek, redesigned Neumos; you could get your fill of Seattle’s genre-diverse acts.

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Song of the Day: Cloud Control – Rainbow City

Cloud Control

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 “Rainbow City” by Cloud Control from a 2017 single out now on Votiv Music.

Cloud Control – Rainbow City (MP3) Read More »

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Tuesday Music News

photo by Alex Crick (view set)

  • With his new album Flower Boy in stores now, Tyler, the Creator stopped by the Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night. Watch as the west coast rapper grabs Colbert’s butt, does his interview wearing boxers, and then performs the album track “911” with Steve Lacy of The Internet. (You can keep up with all these late night television highlights with KEXP’s TV Eye.) [ Pitchfork ]

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