Capitol Hill Block Party 2015, Day 3: Father John Misty, Chastity Belt, Lower Dens, & Porter Ray

Father John Misty

photo by Dave Lichterman

Capitol Hill Block Party 2015 Sunday brought two things: rain and totally incredible music, and both in plentiful volume. But hey, this is Seattle right? Naturally, everyone has a jacket in their back seat/pocket and nothing about the festival seems to be missed under grey skies. The drop in temperature and the insane amount of great performances were both something to write home about, especially those with home town roots. Father John Misty played the main stage later in the evening to a massive crowd, showing off his incredible character study in excess and leaving no one unconvinced. Over on the Vera Stage, Chastity Belt helped break the sun through the clouds with an incredible set that only sees them growing more comfortable with ever increasing crowds. Rising local rapper Porter Ray played a packed house at Neumos in the early evening that blasted down the street with the doors closed. And while they aren’t from Seattle, Baltimore act Lower Dens sure made us feel at home with a rainy set of impeccably good new wave in the grey afternoon. All in all, Capitol Hill Block Party weekend finished up with every facet of the beloved festival showing its stripes – another year of magic down for the books.

As the heaviest of the day’s rain fell, a Northface-heavy crowd packed out the Vera stage for an appearance by Baltimore post-punk act Lower Dens. This year, the band released their second LP for Domino Recordings (and third overall) Escape From Evil, and it’s a doozy. Building on the post-punk and krautrock foundation of Nootropics, Escape dives headlong into new wave and does incredible stuff with it. As the crowd witnessed today, Lower Dens like to keep as much of their textured sound live as possible. As the band blast through insane bass lines and jangling guitar, Jana Hunter holds an almost Ian Curtis-like command over her crowd and her performance, never needing to shuffle feet from her planted position, but communicating 100% of the emotion of every track with simple hand motions and a commanding power over her own range. Lower Dens broke through the heavy rain and warmed the crowd up wonderfully – a set absolutely worth getting soaked for.

Lower Dens:

Lower Dens

set by Dave Lichterman

Lower Dens

Lower Dens

Lower Dens

Lower Dens

As per the usual, at CHBP on Sunday, Red Bull Sound Select takes over Neumos to promote a series of carefully selected local acts that we all already know and love to death. Packing a huge crowd into Neumos on Sunday evening was Sub Pop signee Porter Ray, who brought JusMoni and his full crew out for a lively performance. Porter Ray is still yet to drop an official release of Sub Pop, but judging by his ever improving live presence and command over his mixtape back catalogue (including the great Fundamentals), I doubt it will be long before we see him just headlong into the fold. As per the usual, JusMoni adds the perfect sung counterbalance to Ray’s cool raps. Meanwhile, his DJ and two onstage hype men keep the party going as he focuses on delivery perfection. Porter Ray is still settling into his sound and his stage persona, but it won’t be long before he’s ready to take on the big leagues. Until then, he’ll have a packed out house in Seattle whenever he wants it.

Porter Ray:

Porter Ray

set by Brady Harvey

Porter Ray

Porter Ray

Porter Ray

Porter Ray

As the rain cleared up at the Vera stage, a huge crowd turned out for Seattle’s rising indie darlings Chastity Belt. The band’s March LP Time To Go Home has put the band on a much larger playing field, gaining global acclaim and taking the band from tongue in cheek jokes to heavy-handed social commentary on their own neighborhood. Today’s show played fairly well into the band’s rapidly evolving onstage dynamic. As time goes on, it seems like lead singer Julia Shapiro is sharing more and more duties evenly with lead guitarist Lydia Lund, whose live aura only grows more electric by the day. With the two trading the frontwoman spot back and forth, not a single song goes by without a newfound spark. The stark irony tracks like “Cool Slut” and “IDC” are given a fair counterpoint with “Time To Go Home” and “Joke”. All around, it’s evident that Chastity Belt aren’t having too many growing pains in their rapid rise to acclaim. Plus, check out that Sleepless in Seattle shirt – pretty much boosts them to hero status without question.

Chastity Belt:

Chastity Belt

set by Victoria Holt

Chastity Belt

Chastity Belt

Chastity Belt

Chastity Belt

Before RATATAT closed the book on Capitol Hill Block Party 2015 with bang, Father John Misty did his damnedest to deface as many pages as possible within the confines of an hour long set. Yes, his new album I Love You, Honeybear does tend to take the character he introduced on Fear Fun and give him some development, space work, and attainable context, but that doesn’t mean that the FJM we see on stage needs to do any of that shit. No, Josh Tillman’s alter-ego is still one of the funnest, most polarizing live acts you’ll see in recent years. It’s been several years since Father John Misty has taken the live stage at CHBP, and even in the few years he’s been away, Tillman recounts his experiences on Capitol Hill with incredible and unnerving sarcasm. He peers over the crowd and points. “I used to puke over there… and there”, he mumbles to himself, “This is one fucked up neighborhood”. For “Bored In The USA”, he decries RATATAT then forgets half his lyrics. For “True Affection”, he seems more distant and pop-ridden than ever. Father John Misty is a lovely mess of intentional paradox. He’s a blast to watch because Tillman just doesn’t let up, ever. I can’t think of a more fun way to wrap up the day before RATATAT came along to destroy what was left of the stage.

Father John Misty:

Father John Misty

set by Dave Lichterman

Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Check back to the KEXP blog for coverage of other bands from this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party experience!

Posted in Capitol Hill Block Party, KEXP, Live Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday Music News

photo by Bebe Labree Besch (view set)

  • Following their soulful set at last weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party, the Northwest’s own Unknown Mortal Orchestra share a very theatrical video for “Ur Life One Night,” off their latest release, Multi-Love. The clip was directed by Manoj Leonel Jahson, who told Rolling Stone, “I am deeply inspired by the quirky Indian magical-realism from our mythology and wanted to create something rooted, but still visually appealing. The music lent a dream-like quality and the lyric pushed us to the motif of the Goddess being pursued, yet always being out of reach… The visual language naturally led to borrowing heavily from traditional Asian art including miniature paintings from the Mughal period to create multiple dreams-capes and ended up being a sexually charged riot with a fair dose of humor and symbolism.” Multi-Love is out now via Jagjaguwar. [Under the Radar]


Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Music News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live Review: Morrissey at Benaroya Hall 7/21/15

photos by Dave Lichterman (view set)

Oh, Morrissey. So much to answer for.

When your career spans as many decades as his, there’s bound to be different stages: from the roguish lad who fronted legendary ’80s Manchester band The Smiths, to the silver fox solo artist who is strangely beloved in Mexico. Last week, Morrissey brought all of that and more to the gigantic, three-balconied room of Benaroya Hall.

There was no opening act, which wasn’t too surprising considering what happened recently with Kristeen Young. Instead, we were treated to a montage of music videos, similar to the ones that ran last year at The Moore Theatre (New York Dolls, ’70s disco, etc.), but it was TOO LOUD. A sound-geek KEXP co-worker mentioned that Benaroya Hall, though beautiful, doesn’t know what to do with rock music, since it’s traditionally an orchestral hall. This rang painfully true, pun intended.

Morrissey and his barrel-chested fleet of musicians came out on stage. “We are the international, white trash jet set,” he intoned in that infamous Mancunian accent. With that, they kicked off into his 1988 debut solo single “Suedehead” (i.e. vintage Morrissey). At the end of the song, he shouted “Gracias” to the audience (i.e. modern-day Morrissey).


Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Live Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Project Pabst, Day 1: Against Me!, TV On The Radio, Blondie

photos by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

For years, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace stood in center stage at raged away, sometimes at others, sometimes at herself. When she came out as transgender in 2012, that fury subsequently turned to a newfound onstage fire, transforming the flagging band from an increasingly cult concern to one of the most important bands of the moment with the brilliant Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Grace and her bandmates have been on the road more or less nonstop since the album’s January 2014 release, but they hardly seem tired. Arriving onstage with little more than a greeting, the band – Grace, longtime guitarist James Bowman, veteran punk drummer Atom Willard, and human ball of energy/bassist Inge Johansson – ripped through “True Trans Soul Rebel”, and then proceeded to transition seamlessly into “Unconditional Love” without breaking a sweat. And after that song was finished, they seamlessly transitioned into another song. And another after that. This happened for a full sixty minutes, as the Gainesville, Florida band ran through a succinct overview of their increasingly revered discography. Touching on all the staples (“Don’t Lose Touch”, “Cliche Guevara”, “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “Thrash Unreal”) and future classics (anything off of Transgender, but especially set- and album-closer “Black Me Out”), Against Me’s afternoon set was just one more victorious battle in Laura Jane Grace’s not-so-quiet revolution.

Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Live Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day: The Space Merchants – Mainline the Sun

photo by Andrew Strasser

photo by Andrew Strasser

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 “Mainline the Sun” by The Space Merchants from the 2015 album The Space Merchants on Auqualamb.

The Space Merchants – Mainline the Sun (MP3)

Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Song of the Day Podcast | Tagged | Leave a comment

Capitol Block Party 2015, Day 3: The Julie Ruin, Ratatat

all photos by Victoria Holt

Playing while it’s raining at a festival is always a gamble. Lots of people who would have otherwise wandered over out of curiosity are hiding out in every covered nook and cranny imaginable, so it was only the diehards waiting in the drizzle for The Julie Ruin‘s mid-afternoon set. But, to be honest, it was all the better for it. Not only is Kathleen Hanna is a Pacific Northwestern legend, she’s also an all-time great frontwoman, so playing to a crowd of people who knew her work and ethos inside and out only underscored the sorta homecoming gig for her. (The set had an additional significance because Julie Ruin were supposed to play Block Party in 2014. After a flare up in Hanna’s lyme disease, the dates had to be pushed back a year.) Hanna’s ebullient presence was the perfect counterpart to the rain, and as she danced her way through the set, she was met with fervent applause from those in attendance. (Save for maybe Father John Misty, no other artist had nearly as many “I love you!”s shouted at them.) Run Fast, the group’s debut album, is more in line with Le Tigre’s fun anthems than Bikini Kill’s austere politics, and it was easy to see the sincerity on Hanna’s face when she admitted her favor for singing over yelling these days. At a time when pretty much no one at Block Party was having fun, The Julie Ruin seemed to be having the time of their lives, and while that didn’t bring out the sunshine, it was certainly the next best thing.
Read More »

Posted in Capitol Hill Block Party, KEXP, Live Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Live Around Town This Week

Pickathon

Tuesday, July 28th:

Danzig, Pennywise, Cancer Bats at Showbox SoDo // All Ages (more info)

Breathe Owl Breathe, Shenandoah Davis, Sean Nelson at the Tractor Tavern // 21+ (more info)

Barton Carroll, Wolf People, Joseph Giant at The Sunset // 21+ (more info)

Helms Alee, Coliseum at El Corazon // 21+ (more info)

• Out to Lunch Summer Concert Series presents Andrea Peterman at IBM Building // All Ages, FREE (more info)


Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Live Around Town | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live Video: Calexico at Robert Lang Studio

Photo by Alan Lawrence (view set)

Recently, KEXP returned to the grotto-esque space of Robert Lang Studios for another intimate session with one of our favorite bands. This time, veteran Tucson band Calexico performed an exclusive set for KEXP donors, featuring songs from their terrific new release, Edge of the Sun, plus an older favorite, and talked in length about the recording process, their inspirations and even their favorite foods. Now, you too can join Joey Burns, Sergio Mendoza and Ryan Alfred for this very special event:

Posted in KEXP, Live Video | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman

  • New Order have shared the first taste of their upcoming album, Music Complete, their first without former bassist Peter Hook. “Restless” follows the tried-and-true formula of an instant classic. It’s a bright song with an addictive hook that will stay with you all day. [Pitchfork]


Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Music News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Midnight in a Perfect World: LoneLady

LoneLady

LoneLady is the music project of British vocalist/guitarist Julie Campbell, an artist heavily inspired by the post-punk and leftfield-disco movements of the early 1980s. She’s tweaked these influential, groovy sounds to her own liking over two albums released on the esteemed UK label Warp Records and she showcases her influences as well as her more contemporary inclinations throughout an insightful and exclusive DJ mix for Midnight In A Perfect World.


Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Midnight In A Perfect World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
Donate Now!

Donate to KEXP Today!
  • Listen Live:

    High Quality AAC+
    Excellent for PC, Mac, iPhones/iPads, Android Devices, tablets, iTunes, Winamp, and VLC. High quality audio, low bandwidth

    MP3 Stream
    Best for computers running OSX or Windows with iTunes or the open source VideoLAN Player installed

  • KEXP AND THE UW

    The University of Washington Logo KEXP is an
    affiliate of the
    University of Washington
  • iTunes and KEXP

    iTunes Logo
    You can now find KEXP under "Eclectic" in iTunes after the demise of the "Public" category, to better represent the diversity of our daytime variety shows and numerous specialty programs.
Sponsored By
Become a KEXP Sponsor!
  • KEXP Post Categories