Review Revue: This Mortal Coil – Filigree and Shadow

This Mortal Coil - Filigree and Shadow

Filigree & Shadow was the second album released by the loose 4AD collective This Mortal Coil. As with the third album, which I covered here eight years ago, label head Ivo Watts-Russel teamed up with some current 4AD artists (including members of Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and The Wolfgang Press) to cover songs by a diverse array of artists including Judy Collins, Tim Buckley, and Talking Heads. For the record (so to speak), I still love this idea and think more people should do it.

Note: A couple of the labels on this one were quite faded and difficult to read. Please bear with me, as the feisty discussion here is worth following all the way through.

“The second 4AD collaborative album, this time representing more of their new signees. Music [illegible] covers (Tim Buckley, Van Morrison, Talking Heads, etc.), plus lots of ambient interludes. It’s all good stuff, 4AD style and pretty quiet. But hey, watch out, songs segue together w/o exception.”

“Greatness and Perfection!”

“This is one of the most unmitigated balls of A.O.R. fluff I’ve heard in a long time. 1/2 of this would plug right into KJR. God. Maudlin, self indulgent, fey, pasty and flaccid. There are 3 decent cuts on here, which suprises [sic] me. ‘Kill Bowie,’ you say, Jonathan, well, this pretentiously cover bearing ‘hip’ label could use some heavy duty abuse.”

“Thank you sir. That what I thought. Whew.”

“Inch Blue skips!”

“Intro to ‘I Want to Live.'”

“Sounds better on CD.”

“Title is appropos [sic]”

“OK, so this is an ego gratification project. But, I still appreciate the [unintelligible] These artists are giving renewed exposure to such minor [illegible] as Chilton & Buckley [illegible]”

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad, Art. Pretentious, but taken at face value, ‘s OK. I really like the cover of Buckley’s ‘Morning Glory.’ Let’s face it guys, this is good.”

“Let’s not + say we did.”

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To Those We Lost in 2017, Part One

thosewelost_1

By Annie Zaleski

Where musician deaths are concerned, 2017 was another tough year: We lost Tom Petty, Walter Becker, Grant Hart, Charles Bradley and Gregg Allman, and that’s just to name a few. (Part two of the list will be posted later today.) KEXP is celebrating the lives of all these artists on the air, today, Thursday, December 14th. Join DJs John Richards, Troy Nelson, and Kevin Cole as they share stories and songs from those we lost in 2017 as well as those in late 2016 who passed after last year’s tribute show. Below, we’ve gathered videos from just a few of these memorable musicians. They may be gone, but their music lives on forever.

Chris Vandebrooke of Engine Kid (July 30, 1968 – December 16, 2016)

Original drummer of ’90s Seattle noisy post-rock band Engine Kid, later went on to form the San Francisco-based Fairgrove.

George Michael (June 25, 1963 – December 25, 2016)

First with Wham! and later as a solo artist, U.K. soul shapeshifter Michael was a peerless pop icon.

Alphonse Mouzon (November 21, 1948 – December 25, 2016)

Mouzon was a jazz-fusion drummer best known for his work with The Eleventh House, Herbie Hancock, and Weather Report.

Read More »

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2017 Top Ten List Spotlight: DJ Shannon

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2017, leading up to our 2017 Top 90.3 Album Countdown! Tune in on Friday, December 15th from 6 AM to 6 PM PT as we countdown the Top 90.3 Albums of 2017, as voted on by our listeners. And check out the top albums from more KEXP DJs here.

Blaenavon

DJ Shannon with Blaenavon // photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

DJ Shannon’s 2017 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
1 Blaenavon That’s Your Lot Canvasback/Atlantic
2 Lea Porcelain Hymns to the Night self-released
3 Ride Weather Diaries Wichita
4 Slowdive Slowdive Dead Oceans
5 Mew Visuals Play It Again Sam
6 Cut Copy Haiku From Zero Astralwerks
7 Flyte The Loved Ones Island
8 The Horrors V Wolftone/Caroline
9 Temples Volcano Fat Possum
10 Cameron Avery Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams Anti-

DJ Shannon is on the air every Thursday from 9PM-1AM.

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Song of the Day: Gunn-Truscinski Duo – Flood And Fire

photo by Heidi Diehl

By Michael Tedder

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Flood and Fire” by Gunn-Truscinski Duo from the album Bay Head on Three Lobed Recordings.

Gunn-Truscinski Duo – Flood And Fire (MP3) Read More »

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Lance Mercer Photography Retrospective Coming to KEXP

KEXP is thrilled to announce a retrospective exhibit by Seattle photographer Lance Mercer in the Gathering Space. Several of the pieces shown have never been seen publicly before. Join Lance at a meet-and-greet reception on Tuesday, Dec. 19th from 4:00-6:00. And, tune in to KEXP that day to hear Lance share stories and music with Kevin Cole on the Afternoon Show from 2:30-4:00.

Sound & Vision III: AIM + INTENT by Lance Mercer | A Retrospective
Where: KEXP Gathering Space, 472 1st Ave N, Seattle
Meet-and-Greet: Tuesday, December 19, 4-6 PM

“I was involved in the punk scene in Seattle and realized early on that if I had a camera, I could probably get into shows and up closer easier than without a camera. And I realized that I didn’t have to be Ansel Adams to take photographs. I didn’t have to be a technical wizard. The same kind of ethic that the Ramones had musically, I could apply photographically.” ~ Lance Mercer

Lance Mercer in his studio

Photo by Charina Pitzel


Within the past two decades, it has become increasingly difficult to flip through major musical publications or albums at a store and not come across a jaw-dropping, iconic image by the inspiring Lance Mercer.

Born and raised in Seattle, Mercer began documenting in his early teens the punk scene, as well as life with his friends and their bands: unique individuals who would eventually became the voices behind one of the PNW’s most important musical movements. Captivated by the musician’s life, as well as the symbiotic relationship between artist and fans, Mercer captured the energy of individuals who changed music history forever. His dynamic subjects ranged from passionate basement punks to charismatic characters who eventually formed bands like Malfunkshun, Mother Love Bone, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. Mercer was invited to tour with Pearl Jam from 1992 to 1995 as their official photographer, and with this unparalleled access, caught some of the most intimate and intoxicating moments of one of the world’s most private bands.

Lance Mercer in his studio

Photo by Charina Pitzel


He has since released two books related to this period: a retrospective with fellow Seattle photographer, Charles Peterson, called Place/Date (1997), and 5X1: Pearl Jam Through the Eye of Lance Mercer (2007). Today, Mercer continues to forge a path as a visual storyteller, applying his talents in the music, editorial, and commercial worlds as well as production, direction, and filming of documentary projects. His work continues to be published and exhibited locally and internationally.

KEXP is truly honored to host Sound & Vision III: AIM + INTENT, a historic retrospective of the utterly compelling photography of Lance Mercer.

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Throwaway Style: Pedro The Lion’s Return and the Secret of the Easy Yoke

Pedro The Lion

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.


My buddy and I are riding in the backseat of a white church van. The whirr of the highway fills in the space of awkward tension. We’re about 17 years old, coming back from watching Ben Gibbard and David Bazan at the Showbox. If I hadn’t run into my youth pastor at the show, we wouldn’t have had a ride home and would’ve had to leave the show early to catch a ferry back to Bremerton. Alongside a couple other youth group kids, we all reminisced about the show for awhile and how cool it was to hear stripped-down versions of Postal Service and Death Cab favorites. Then my friend and I mention how moving we found Bazan’s set. Pastor’s not so much a fan.

It was 2007 and Bazan’s “de-conversion” opus Curse Your Branches hadn’t come out yet. Prior to going solo, Bazan fronted the band Pedro The Lion — a moniker which he’ll adopt again for three nights at Mississippi Studios in Portland this Saturday through Monday, then again in Seattle at the Tractor Tavern December 20-22. Pedro was often inaccurately looped in with the Christian music scene, largely due to Bazan’s openly talking about his faith on records like his Tooth & Nail debut Whole EP and the band’s debut LP It’s Hard To Find A Friend. Pedro’s songs largely weren’t picked up for praise and worship at Sunday service. Michael W. Smith, he was not. Even in Bazan’s earliest days he grappled with his faith, opened up about his doubts, and put his existential crises on display with impeccable indie rock craftsmanship. But by the end of Pedro’s 2004 final album, Achilles’ Heel, doubt looked like it was taking over. Then on his debut solo EP, Fewer Moving Parts, Bazan minced no words. Read More »

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Niffer Calderwood

  • Will Toledo’s Car Seat Headrest have unveiled a (sort of) new song today, “Beach Life-In-Death.” The 13-minute single is actually an updated version of a song of the same name off of Car Seat Headrest’s 2011 Bandcamp album Twin Fantasy. The previous version was a fan-favorite and the new one is a sprawling epic that should leave fans happy. No word on whether the single is indicative of a forthcoming album. Car Seat Headrest’s last album was 2016’s Teens of Denial. [ Under the Radar ]

Read More »

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Network Neutrality and Nonprofit Media

By Tom Mara, Executive Director

It’s hard to imagine what independent music would look like without a free and open internet. Instant and unfettered access to a global audience has become a defining feature of our music economy. The internet has allowed independent artists and record labels to bypass traditional gatekeepers and connect directly with fans like never before.

Equally, it’s hard to imagine what nonprofit media would look like. The free and open internet has allowed public media organizations like KEXP to grow to reach a global audience with quality programming that is aligned with mission rather than profit.

Streaming services, peer-to-peer sharing, and algorithmic playlisting have reshaped and upended the musical landscape, and haven’t always yielded the best results for artists. However, independent artists, media producers, and record labels need and deserve the same access to online audiences that the large corporations enjoy. If net neutrality is dismantled, independent art and independent media will suffer as a result.

For over a decade, musicians and artists have been at the forefront of the fight for net neutrality. From early campaigns for net neutrality like Rock the Net in 2007, to today’s Music for a Healthy Internet, led by CASH Music and Future of Music Coalition, musicians have been effective leaders and organizers on this issue.

The FCC board will be voting on Thursday, December 14th on whether or not to dismantle the open internet principles that have allowed online music communities to grow and thrive. The relevance and impact of independent and nonprofit music media organizations like KEXP could be threatened by this decision. If the FCC board votes to end net neutrality, internet service providers like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon will be allowed to slow down content from independent media organizations who have no affiliation with these large corporations. Consumers could see their online music choices narrow drastically, with mass-media, corporate-owned music becoming much easier and cheaper to consume than independent music.

This doesn’t have to happen.

Unfortunately, the FCC is no longer listening to public comments on this issue, so your representatives in congress need to take action if net neutrality is going to be preserved at this point. If you want to preserve an open internet and a level playing field for independent artists and nonprofit media, contact your member of congress now at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to ask the FCC to delay this vote.

For more information, and to stay informed on how net neutrality impacts musicians, please visit http://musicforahealthyinternet.org.

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Song of the Day: Nilüfer Yanya – Baby Luv

photo by Hollie Fernando

By Justin Farrar

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Baby Luv” by Nilüfer Yanya, a single that is currently available via ATO Records.

Nilüfer Yanya – Baby Luv (MP3) Read More »

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Tuesday Music News

photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

  • Jack White has previously revealed that he’s working on a new solo album and today he’s shared an interesting piece of music titled “Servings and Portions From My Boarding House Reach.” The recording isn’t exactly a proper single, but more of a collection sound bites and snippets from multiple different tracks on the album. It comes along with a bizarre video that follows the frenetic patterns of the track. It seems like perhaps the title of the new album may be “Boarding House Reach” but no official announcement has been made. The album will follow up 2014’s Lazaretto. [ Paste ]

Read More »

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