KEXP Exclusive Interview: Susan Rogers Remembers Prince

photo courtesy of NPG Records

Besides being the director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory, and an associate professor at Berklee, Susan Rogers is also the person who worked most closely with the late Prince during quite possibly his most important period artistically. From 1983 to 1988, it was Susan who was on the other side of the glass for Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sign o’ the Times, and The Black Album. Susan was kind enough to talk to KEXP producer, and Minneapolis native, Owen Murphy about her time working with Prince one year after his tragic passing.

Edited by: Lisa Leclair

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Music That Matters: Smile Yourself Happy

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.

Sera Cahoone at KEXP in 2017 // photo by Melissa Wax

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 561 – Smile Yourself Happy

There’s lots to smile about in DJ Kevin Cole’s latest edition of Music that Matters! Stag strut their stuff, Mark Arm infuses The Black Clouds with an ominous howl, Killer Mike and El-P from Run the Jewels Talk To Us, plus loads more!

Tracklist:
1. The Holy – Ramses, The Evil Brother
2. Ride – Charm Assault
3. Dutch Uncles – Big Balloon
4. Meilyr Jones – How To Recognize A Work of Art
5. Real Estate – Darling
6. Journalism – It Just Hits You
7. Beach Fossils – St. Ivy
8. Tuomo & Markus – Over the Rooftops
9. Sera Cahoone – Only One
10. White Reaper – The Stack
11. Stag – The Bedazzler
12. The Black Clouds – Vice (feat. Mark Arm and Jack Endino)
13. Run The Jewels – Talk To Me
14. Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 – Disco Kid

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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Record Store Day 2017: Limited Edition Release Spotlight

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What began as a humble way of getting people to shop mom-and-pop record stores is now an international celebration: it’s Record Store Day, and this Saturday, April 22nd marks its 10th Anniversary. April also happens to be KEXP’s 45th anniversary as a station, and to celebrate both, KEXP DJs will be spinning 45 RPM records throughout the day. In fact, Audioasis will be an ALL-45 RPM show this week.

We’re not just celebrating vinyl on the air, but in our Gathering Space: we’ll have two shows in our Uptown Concerts series with the dreamy Americana of Evening Bell at 9:00 AM and the punk-pop fun of Mommy Long Legs at Noon. Light in the Attic Records will be open for extended hours from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM with a mega-sale, and La Marzocco celebrate their 90th anniversary with espresso-filled fun.

As always, there will be exclusive, limited-edition releases, and the rules are the same: quantities are limited, and not every store will have the same things in stock. KEXP shares a few highlights below of things we’ll be hunting, but you can check out the complete list of new releases here.
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Record Store Day 2017: Live Around Town

rsd17

Record Store Day turns 10 this year, which is a great time to think about all that money you’ve thrown into wax over the last decade. But don’t dwell too long — as always, this year’s Record Store Day lineup features some alluring rarities that’ll be hard to pass up.

This year, Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, is picking up the mantle as Record Store Day ambassador. Clark made announced her role in the music lover’s holiday via a video on Funny Or Die in which she tries to absorb as much culture of “Recorstorda” as possible.

Along with all the rare vinyl, RSD is a great chance to catch some great deals and in-stores around town. Take a look below at what’s planned at some of Seattle’s best record stores.
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KEXP at Trans Musicales: BLOW

photo by Morgan Chosnyk

This week, we continue sharing our discoveries from the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France, where last December we captured twelve exclusive sessions. We’re sharing with you one unique session each Friday, and you can watch all the previously released ones here. This week, we present Parisian dance rock combo BLOW:

DJ Morgan says of watching the band during our third day of recording:

The second band of the day were happily added last minute to our lineup of sessions. BLOW are from Paris, a four piece consisting of Quentin Guglielmi (singer), Thomas Clairice (moog/bass), Jean-Etienne Maillard (guitar), and Pierre-Elie Abergel (drums). They played a fun set of dance rock reminiscent of Yeasayer, Jungle, and Passion Pit. Unfortunately, they had to take off after their set so I wasn’t able to chat with them, but the music speaks for itself. They were a great addition.

Watch our live session below with BLOW, recorded in the rotunda of the Rennes Opera House, and be sure to find more about the band on their Facebook page.

Watch more sessions recorded by KEXP at Trans Musicales here.

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Song of the Day: Posse – Kismet

posse

photo by Allyce Andrew

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Kismet” by Seattle indie rock outfit Posse, from their recent 7-inch single for Saddle Creek Records.

Posse – Kismet (MP3) Read More »

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KEXP Suggests: Pop Conference 2017 at MoPOP

MoPop-PopCon

If we music lovers crave new ways to listen, then music writers lend us new ears.

Lucky for us, many of the country’s greatest music writers will descend on Seattle Center to share fresh perspectives on familiar tunes during MoPOP’s annual Pop Conference, which runs today, April 20, through Sunday, April 23.

Like its own festival for music geeks, this year’s con boasts some big names. Talking Heads frontman and living legend David Byrne opens MoPOP this afternoon. Representing the old guard of rock criticism, both Robert Christgau, the self-appointed Dean of Rock Critics, and Greil Marcus, author of Mystery Train, one of the best books on rock music ever written (fact), will chat at Pop Con.

This year’s theme, politics, is more relevant than ever (A big, KEXP round of applause to whoever coined this year’s conference title, “Sign O’ The Times: Music and Politics,” a reference to Prince‘s socially conscious 1982 album). Plus, a handful of your favorite musicians, including Damon Krukowski from Galaxie 500 (who also appears tonight at this event in the Gathering Space) and Mike Hadreas from Seattle’s beloved Perfume Genius, will speak at Pop Con.

Put it all together and the organizers of Pop Con may make good on their goal: “to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation.”

Here are five reasons to join in.

David Byrne – Thursday, April 19 – 4:00 p.m. – Sky Church at MoPOP

“Kick off Pop Conference 2017 with Artist Interview: A Conversation with David Byrne… Byrne will discuss his critically acclaimed musical Here Lies Love, which traces the non-violent restoration of democracy in the Philippines in 1986 and follows the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of the controversial First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos.”

The All-Star Charity Single, Reconsidered – Friday, April 21 – 2:00 p.m. – JBL Theater at MoPOP

“This roundtable will consider the politics – and, yes, the art – of this often-derided and under-theorized musical staple. Possible issues of discussion include the place of charity singles in the wider history of protest song and pop music activism; the relationship of the charity singles to gospel, Adult Contemporary, and other traditions; questions of nationalism, colonialism, and a pop musical ‘white man’s burden'; and the shifting role of benefit records in the era of Internet and social media activism. Panel participants promise to check their egos at the door—but not their ids.”

Black Politics in the Reagan Era – Friday, April 21 – 3:45 p.m. – Learning Labs at MoPOP

“In our current political condition, many of us are looking back to the Reagan era, remembering the climate of dissent and rage that made our pleasures political. Presenters on this panel look back at a range of black musical genres and artists, from Prince to punk rock to house, asking just how their work articulated the ‘sign o’ the times,’ and what it meant to ‘party like it’s 1999′ as people died and wars were waged. The papers explore the structures of collectivity in the ways these musics were formed, as well as the kinds of communality these musics and artists galvanized.”

Punk & Disorderly – Friday, April 21 – 5:30 p.m. – JBL Theater at MoPOP

Punk is inexplicably intertwined with politics and this panel knows it. Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 moderates a discussion between Jenn Pelly, Associate Editor of Pitchfork, Greil Marcus, aforementioned legendary rock critic, Jon Lengford of The Mekons, one of the longest-running punk bands, and Franz Nicolay, who has worked with Against Me! and the Hold Steady. Expect a wide-ranging discussion, covering everything from Brexit protest songs to DIY counterculture.

Voicing Change: The Artist and the Political Life – Saturday, April 22 – 6:15 p.m. – Sky Church at MoPOP

This year’s Pop Con features a few performances amidst a sea of roundtable discussions, providing enough talk for writers and enough music for fans (not that the two are mutually exclusive, of course). The event starts with a performance from Arctic-born, Polaris Prize-winning performer Tanya Tagaq, which will be closely followed by a conversation between Tagaq, Meredith Graves of MTV News, Ann Powers of NPR Music, and Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius. With Saturday’s last event, Pop Con offers a rare opportunity to witness diverse musical minds collide.

* All quoted material appears courtesy of MoPOP.

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Thursday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

  • Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi has shared a new solo track — stream the single “Simple Gifts” below, a take on a traditional Shaker song originally written in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett. This modern version will appear on the upcoming soundtrack for the movie The Circle, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, and adapted from a Dave Eggers’ novel of the same name. The film will be scored by Danny Elfman, which is always a good thing. The Circle will be in theaters on April 28th. [ Pitchfork ]


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KEXP Presents: Break Up 4 Good at the Tractor Tavern 4/20

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Tonight, Thursday, April 20th, KEXP and Goodwill team up to present Break Up 4 Good, part of Goodwill’s Sustainable Sounds series. Local faves Acapulco Lips, Cataldo, Prom Queen, Star Anna, and Goodbye Heart will take the stage of the Tractor Tavern, covering some of the best break-up songs. (Prom Queen, in particular, have a hilarious surprise choice in store!) (Also, SISTERS are listed in the graphic above, but sadly, they had to drop out. Happily, Star Anna is stepping in!)

Why break-up songs? Because Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22nd, and Goodwill is asking you to “break-up” with an item and donate it, instead of adding it to a landfill. Last year, Seattle Goodwill kept over 53 million pounds of useful goods out of landfills. And, even better, these donations help fund Goodwill’s free job training and education programs. Last year, Goodwill was able to help over 9,700 people.

Need some inspiration to “break-up for good”? We asked KEXP DJs to share some of their favorite break-up songs. Check ‘em out below, and think about doing some breaking up of your own:

John Richards, host of The Morning Show on KEXP, Mondays-Fridays 6AM-10AM:


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Local Artist Spotlight: Ole Tinder

Ole Tinder

Leading up until the Upstream Music Fest + Summit, KEXP will be featuring a new local artist from the lineup with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. Today’s post features Seattle country outfit Ole Tinder, performing Friday, May 12 on the Macefield stage.

On a dreary, bustling Seattle evening, walking into an Ole Tinder show can be like stepping into another world. The nostalgic tones of a steel guitar waving in the air over acoustic strums and a baritone drawl aren’t exactly synonymous with the metropolitan setting, but it’s a welcome change. Their honky-tonk meets Americana sound has simmered throughout the local scene for the better part of the decade, documented in their 2012 Low Ways EP. We caught up with songwriter Mike Giacolino to dig deeper into the band’s roots and the harrowing choices that led him to the city.

Much of the story of Ole Tinder begins with your choice to leave behind a life in the suburbs, married and working on sewer mains. What made you want to leave the comfort of that life and pursue music?

I worked as a union laborer on a commercial pipe crew. Installing water, sewer and storm main line pipe. When I finally had enough, it was the summertime — dirt work is seasonal — so we were working six days a week for 10 hours a day and the job site was an hour and half away from my house. I had always played music but by the time I got home I had no time or energy left to do anything else. I looked around one day and realized there were no old guys doing my job. If they were around, they were often hunched over and beat up. I decided to find a better way to live life outside of traditional, financial compensation. I sold my house, my brand new pick-up truck, and my Harley Davidson. You’d be surprised how much happier you can be if you just go for it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and a bit scary to walk away from a high paying job to do some thing you know will most likely end up bankrupting you. I guess I’d rather be broke then broken.

Before going solo and forming Ole Tinder, you were playing mostly punk and rock music. What led you to making that sonic jump?

My last project was an angular, melodic, punk rock band, like Fugazi, Red Sparrows, Refused type stuff. Like most bands, it was hard to get the off the ground with people being flakey, quitting, or moving away. I decided I wanted to make music that could exist on its own. Just me and my guitar. I have always loved folk and country music in the vein of John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Elliot Smith, Gene Clark, CSN. So I decided to concentrate on writing songs. After a few years of playing solo, I asked my friend Nils Petersen if he’d be down to come play and sing with me. Ole Tinder naturally progressed from there.

You’ve described Ole Tinder shows as being like “watching old friends play around a warm file.”  How do you create that sort of atmosphere on stage, especially playing shows in such a metropolitan city like Seattle?

We are a band of good buddies, we interact with our fans as if they are our friends, we crack jokes and have fun with each other on stage as well as with the crowd. Since most of my songs are fairly heavy and sad in content, it still makes me laugh to see a room full of people dancing and partying to my heart ache.

The arrangements with the vocal harmonies and steel guitar on your records are beautifully intricate. What’s the process for you guys and how do you build such lush arrangements?

I bring fairly finished songs to the dudes, usually as demo recordings that I have flushed out all by my self. They will listen a bunch and come up with their own intricate parts and ideas. Jay Kardong (pedal steel/electric guitar) and I are really big fans of solid, lead parts and instrumental hooks. He will have a bunch of great, original ideas and we will geek out and find our favorites. Nils is a vocal harmony genius, a great bass player and an amazing all around musician. I’ll sing some thing to him and he will come up with a beautiful harmony or often two or three-part harmony. Pat Schowe is the most thoughtful and interesting drummer I have ever known and had the pleasure of playing with. He has a great feel, and takes his parts seriously. To be honest, the reason the songs sound well thought out is because we all love making music together and take the time to work on them.

Your last EP came out in 2012 and your last single, “New Boots”, came out in 2014. Are there any plans to head back into the studio? What are you working on now?

Ole Tinder has always been a live band, first and foremost. This fact coupled with a few year hiatus (Pat and Nils were out with Rose Windows) has left us with little recorded music at this point. That being said we are very excited to announce our recent endeavor with our favorite producer and long time collaborator Randall Dunn, for our first full length studio album. Our album, as well as a name change (fucking Tinder) is in the final stages and will be available later this year.

 

 

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