Song of the Day: King Tuff – Eyes of the Muse

photo by Amber Zbitnoff

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. Today’s song, selected by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Eyes of the Muse” by King Tuff from the 2014 album Black Moon Spell on Sub Pop.

King Tuff – Eyes of the Muse (MP3)

Kyle Thomas is his real name, but while wielding an ax, he’s King Tuff. Or Tuffy if he’s feeling fluffy.

If you like what’s going on in the current California garage rock scene — Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Meatbodies, Thee Oh Sees, etc. — you’ll love Tuff’s stuff. But you should know, he’s really from Vermont.

Now on his third album, and second for Sub Pop, King Tuff has turned his hook-laden garagey psychedelic beach pop to the dark side, embracing the black arts on Black Moon Spell, the recording of which may or may not have involved “Dracula landlords, flashes of mysterious light, haunted microphones, songs that mixed themselves, demonic vortexes swirling in coffee cups”.

Glam doesn’t begin to describe today’s featured song, “Eyes of the Muse”, a bright spot on Black Moon Spell that might have remained a lost nugget if it didn’t wind so adeptly between jangly elation and a blistering six-string virtuosity you can’t help mimic on your own air guitar.

This format was stolen from Sub Pop’s artist page.

Unfortunately, you just missed King Tuff performing in Seattle, and in the U.S. in general. He’s now in U.K., performing tonight in Birmingham, England, and soon heading to the rest of Europe, but if he doesn’t get abducted by his fellow goblins on the moors, he’ll surely be back to perform in the Northwest once again. Stay tuned here for videos from his recent in-studio session at KEXP.

Follow him on Facebook if you need to know more.

For now, watch the dizzying video for the title track to Black Moon Spell, featuring Ty Segall on the skins:

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Wednesday Music News

photo courtesy of the band

  • With the success of the recent Slowdive reunion and news that guitarist Andy Bell had been freed from his Beady Eye obligations, it’s no wonder shoegaze band Ride have announced they’ll be reuniting. Starting in May 2015, the band have scheduled some shows in Europe, including the Primavera Sound Festival and a headlining spot for London’s Field Day festival. One U.S. show has been announced, for June 4th at New York’s Terminal 5. [Spin]

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Live Video: Owen Pallett

photo by Lauren Stelling (view set)

It’s been four years since Owen Pallett stopped by KEXP for a live in-studio, four long years. Although he’s grown a beard, Pallett’s new music could be described as clean-shaven, bare in its autobiographical revelations. His latest material even includes his phone number! In between performances of songs both new and old, Pallett and DJ El Toro engage in a refreshingly candid discussion that touches on mental illness and creativity, isolation and exclusion. Watch and listen as the music slides into discord, as it loops and lingers long after the song ends. Don’t stay away so long, Owen Pallett – we’ve got your number and we’re going to start calling you if you don’t come back soon.


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Live Review: Short Run Beach Party at Washington Hall 11/15/2014

La Luz Soul Train

Volunteers Bryan Littlefield and Jessica Lopez start La Luz's soul train (All photos by Victoria Holt)

Washington Hall overflowed with creative energy on Saturday, November 15th at the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival, an annual event showcasing “almost 200 cartoonists, publishers, zinesters, authors, animators, and more.” The venue was packed to the brim with tables lined with artists and their wares, along with a bake sale, food trucks, a silkscreen lab, comic portraits, a treasure hunt, and poet Elissa Ball, roaming the venue creating improvised haikus. The festival is the focal point of a week dedicated to indie “comix” – a term for indie comics to distinguish themselves from the large scale companies like Marvel and DC – and self-published, small press.


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Song of the Day: Greylag – Yours To Shake

photo by Chloe Aftel

photo by Chloe Aftel

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. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Yours To Shake” by Greylag from the 2014 album Greylag on Dead Oceans.

Greylag – Yours To Shake (MP3)

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Out This Week 11/18

Seattle’s own The Young Evils return with a new EP this week. KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates describes it as “a strong set of dark, ‘80s-influenced pop-rock with buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms and noirish male/female harmonies.”

Another highlight is the compilation While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records. The “venerable Chicago label celebrates its 20th anniversary with this 2-CD compilation featuring a stellar lineup of non-Bloodshot artists ranging from Superchunk, Ted Leo and Diarrhea Planet to Blitzen Trapper, Chuck Prophet and Two Gallants covering songs from the label’s deep catalog.”

Longtime KEXP faves TV on the Radio return with their fifth album Seeds; sadly, their first since the 2011 death of their bassist, Gerard Smith. Los Angeles artist Ariel Pink releases his first album without his band “The Haunted Graffiti.” Prolific garage rocker Ty Segall shares a new collection of random songs he recorded between 2011 and 2013 (including covers of the Velvet Underground, GG Allin, and the Groundhogs). And Diarrhea Planet share another new EP of quadruple-guitar goodness, Aliens in the Outfield.

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Live Review: Little Big Show #10 feat. Ben Gibbard & Eric Anderson of Cataldo @ Neptune Theatre 11/15/14

all photos by Jim Bennett

Little Big Shows tend to sell out – that much is true. But with Little Big Show #10, Seattle broke a ground speed record, as tickets were gone almost before they even appeared. Every few months, KEXP joins Starbucks Seattle Theater Group to spotlight a Seattle charity with a show at the Neptune Theatre so that 100% of the ticket proceeds go to fund a cause that deserves it. And when the bookings are as good as they are, that means that the charities of Seattle that get help from LBS are going to get a packed house’s worth of support. For LBS #10, proceeds are going to ArtsFunds Power2Give project, which gives regional art projects the funding they need to benefit the community.

And the star of the most recent spectacle, you may ask? Last Saturday night, Bremerton native Benjamin Gibbard took the stage, with support from Eric Anderson of Cataldo. Gibbard has been busy at work finishing up an eighth LP with his band Death Cab for Cutie, which is currently slated to drop in Spring of 2015. Saturday was Gibbard’s first stage appearance since Death Cab bid farewell to Chris Walla at Rifflandia in September, and his first solo show since appearing at Tractor Tavern as part of Barsuk 15 almost exactly a year ago. That night, we got an incredible night of local favorites, all benefiting the art of the Pacific Northwest Community, and that’s really what Little Big Show is all about. As Starbucks’ quarterly concert series hits double digits, things are only getting better.
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Tuesday Music News

photo by Alex Crick

  • Sleigh Bells have shared “That Did It,” a fearless collaboration with Chicago rapper Tink. The Brooklyn duo weren’t thrilled with the original demo last year but according to Derek Miller, Tink’s fierce style was exactly what it needed. In an interview with Rolling Stone Miller said, “Once Alexis and Tink started playing off of each other, their chemistry redeemed the whole thing for me. Suddenly I fell back in love with the track.” [Stereogum]


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Live Video: Pond

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

Don’t think Pond a lesser Tame Impala. Though they drink from the same cosmic pool as their fellow Perthians (and share members, past and current), the Australian five-piece ride a heavier wavelength. Friends Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson and Joseph Ryan formed the band originally to play whatever the hell they wanted, but since they’ve realized that “people are actually listening” to their records, they’ve upped their game, playing tighter riffs and more expansive jams. Watch as Pond, anticipating their next album, Man It Feels Like Space Again, blast into the stratosphere at KEXP with this mind-bending performance:


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Live Review: Julian Casablancas + the Voidz with Mac DeMarco at Showbox 11/13/14

all photos by Dave Lichterman

Julian Casablancas kicked off his Showbox set Thursday night with an eleven minute experimental track about the corruption of the music industry and the doom of creativity called “Human Sadness”. It is truly a new era for one of our generation’s best songwriters, personally coming full circle with the highs and lows of indie rock fame and choosing to cast off the shackles of expectation and brave the progressive edge even if it means critical disdain. Julian Casablancas + the Voidz are brutal, biting, even standoffish at times. They blaze through one six minute track and head into the next without acknowledging the applause. They dominate incredible instrumentation without any expectation of thanks. And yet, somehow, it all works swimmingly. The gig is sold out and the massive mosh pit for “Where No Eagles Fly” screams along with every word. But good gig or bad gig the message is the same – this is Julian Casablancas 2014, and if you don’t like it, leave. But really, why would you leave when the show is this good? Together with Mac DeMarco, the Voidz made a stellar first impression on Seattle and we can’t wait to have them back.
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