Song of the Day: Toro Y Moi – Empty Nesters

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

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 DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Empty Nesters” by Toro Y Moi from the 2015 album What For? on Carpark Records.

Toro Y Moi – Empty Nesters (MP3)

Although his early work placed him at the forefront of the then-burgeoning chillwave sound of the early 2010s, Chaz Bundick evolved to make Toro Y Moi one of the most funkiest and fun outfits of the decade. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Bundick was introduced through his earliest bedroom experiments to electronic music, and when he emerged in 2009 with a debut 7″ on Carpark, his music was going through a dreamy, gauzy phase, which led him to be grouped under the chillwave banner. However, with the release of his second album, 2011’s Underneath the Pine, Bundick moved into a spacey, disco-based direction and embraced funk elements into his increasingly strong songwriting, a direction that 2013’s Anything in Return continued in. After taking time off to return to his love of dance music as Les Sins, Bundick returned to Toro Y Moi for 2015’s full-band grooving What For?

A longtime festival staple, Toro Y Moi have increasingly learned how to write tunes that are immediate and danceable, and “Empty Nesters” boldly connects on both of those points. Building swirling keyboards and guitars around a rubbery low-end, Bundick tumbles through the song’s jangly bounce with an equally as agile vocal melody. After spending time away as a dance music producer, it’s enthralling to hear that Bundick has brought that project’s sense of rhythm into his full-band work, making “Empty Nesters” the latest in his string of sun-kissed dancefloor fillers.

Toro Y Moi will be in Seattle later this month when they play the 2015 Capitol Hill Block Party. Stay tuned for coverage of that show after it happens, and keep up with the band at their Facebook and website. Below, watch the band play “High Living” live on KEXP in 2013.

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Wednesday Music News

Modest Mouse

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • Northwest indie icons Modest Mouse go medieval in the clip for “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box,” a highlight from their latest full-length Strangers to Ourselves. In the video, frontman Isaac Brock portrays a maniacal ruler in a post-apocalyptic world, with a dagger for a microphone and a broken lightbulb for a scepter. We’re sure The Paramount will provide him with a real mic when the band plays there two nights, Monday, August 24th, and Tuesday, August 25th. [Spin]


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Video Roundup: O Canada!

There’s over 20 live videos from Canadian bands listed below, and that’s just scratching the surface of how many of our neighbors to the North have stopped by KEXP. And, whaddya know, our very own DJ Cheryl Waters just happens to also book these in-studios… coincidence? Cheryl has long championed Canadian bands, and today on The Midday Show on KEXP, she’ll play nothing but their music from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM PT to help celebrate Canada Day. You can listen along, no matter where you live: KEXP streams worldwide at KEXP.ORG


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Immigrant Songs: Blitz the Ambassador

photos by Chrispy Harrison (view set)

On this installment of Immigrant Songs, I had the great pleasure of interviewing the Ghanaian-American Hip Hop artist Blitz the Ambassador. Blitz (a.k.a. Samuel Bazawule) represents a modern perspective on the immigrant experience: deeply colored by the internet and mobile technology, and a with a nuanced awareness of the current African scene.

In past generations, the immigrant artists typically made a one-way journey to their new home with possible trips back only after a decent period of time as an expatriate. Blitz travels to Africa regularly and incorporates the continental scene into his music and visual art. He expresses the immigrant experience as an artist not tied to nostalgia, but one free to explore all that is available in both the North American and African Continent today.
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Song of the Day: Vaadat Charigim – Ein Li Makom

photo by Charina Pitzel

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 DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Ein Li Makom” by Vaadat Charigim from the 2015 album Sinking As a Stone on Burger Records.

Vaadat Charigim – Ein Li Makom (MP3)

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Out This Week 6/30

With Independence Day right around the corner, it’s great to see so many new releases out this week on independent labels! Highlights include the debut album from former Late Of The Pier frontman Sam Dust (aka LA Priest). KEXP Music Director Don Yates describes it as “a fine set of eccentric, psych-tinged electro-pop ranging from warped, ‘80s-steeped dance-pop and trippy psych-funk grooves to space-rock ballads and more experimental fare.”

The legendary Neil Young shares his thirty-sixth studio album, a collaboration with Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah, backed by the Lukas’s band Promise of the Real. The release, titled The Monsanto Years, is a concept album criticizing the infamous agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation. Fittingly, it was during the 2014 Farm Aid benefit concert that Young and the young Nelson siblings began the project.

Milwaukee band Jaill return with “a revamped lineup and a bit more polished sound for their jangly garage-pop.” L.A. band Failure return with their first new album in 19 years, “a solid set of moody, psych-tinged hard rock with grungy guitars, muscular rhythms and potent song hooks.” Swedish hardcore punk band Refused also return with their first new album since 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come. Matt Pond PA share their 10th full length, The State of Gold, another excellent set of orchestral indie-pop songs.

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Tuesday Music News

photo by Brittney Bollay

  • Electronic singer-songwriter and producer, Santigold has shared her contribution for the upcoming film Paper Towns soundtrack. It’s a bright and catchy pop track that’s perfect for summer. The soundtrack drops on July 10 and features music from Son Luxxe, HAIM, The War on Drugs, Twin Shadow, and more. [SPIN]


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KEXP announces partnership with OFF Festival

“Discover new music at KEXP”. You’ve probably heard those words countless times while listening to KEXP and watching our videos. In our relentless pursuit to achieve this goal, we search deeply within the Northwest community and more broadly around the world. Sometimes along the way we find not just great new bands but also fellow travelers whose first love, like ours, is sharing music. The OFF Festival in Katowice, Poland, is just such an organization. For the past ten years, they’ve followed a similar mission: to discover and showcase interesting music, with no regard for its home country or genre. It just makes sense then that KEXP and the OFF Festival would partner up. This August, on their 10th anniversary, the OFF festival will host our crew and bring us to Katowice to cover the event and capture exclusive live sessions in and around the historic city.

As our program director, Kevin Cole, states:

KEXP is thrilled to partner with the OFF festival in 2015, a beautifully curated festival featuring some of the best Polish bands alongside legends like Patti Smith and Ride, and newer projects like Run the Jewels and Young Fathers. KEXP exists to help people discover the greatest music being made. We look forward to sharing some of the amazing artists from Poland and beyond with the KEXP audience worldwide.

OFF Festival program director Artur Rojek echoes his enthusiasm:

It’s a great privilege to be the second European music festival, after Iceland Airways, to partner with KEXP, and it confirms my belief that we’ve been heading in the right direction for the past ten years. It’s great to continue down that road in such excellent company. But KEXP’s presence at the OFF Festival is also an enormous opportunity for Polish artists, who will have a chance to reach out from Katowice to audiences all over the world.

KEXP thanks Artur Rojek and everyone at the OFF Festival for bringing us out, and we can’t wait to share this adventure with all of you! Stay tuned to the KEXP Blog and to our YouTube channel for new music discoveries from Poland and find out more about the OFF Festival here.

To get a little more background, check out this cool documentary filmed at the festival a few years ago:

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Midnight in a Perfect World: Cuushe

photo by Repeat Pattern

photo by Repeat Pattern

Cuushe is a Kyoto-raised, Tokyo-based vocalist and electronic producer that has emerged as one of the finest artists in the world of intimate dream-pop, unleashing four releases that have found homes on Japan’s tastemaker label flau and most recently offering an EP via flau and America’s premiere dream-pop label, Cascine Records. Her exclusive mix for Midnight in a Perfect World spotlights hard-to-find gems and remixes from the Japanese music scene.


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Song of the Day: Waxahatchee – Under A Rock

photo by Bebe Labree Besch

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 DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Under A Rock” by Waxahatchee from the 2015 album Ivy Tripp on Merge Records.

Waxahatchee – Under A Rock (MP3)

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