KEXP Suggests: Northwest Folklife Festival 5/27-5/30

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From outside the windows of KEXP’s New Home, we can see them setting up: it’s almost time for the 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival! This Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th through 30th, Seattle Center will transform itself into a multi-cultural arts and music extravaganza.

This year’s focus is “The Power of the Human Voice through Song,” a proposal from long-time Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator James Roe, who sadly passed away last summer. Kelli Faryar, Programs Director for Northwest Folklife, explained, “When Jim passed away… we envisioned a festival of many, many voices coming together to sing in his honor, and ‘The Power of the Human Voice through Song’ concept was born.”

As they explain on their website, “Singing is one of the most natural means of human communication and expression. Songs play an essential part of the social fabric of cultures – every ritual a community shares calls for its own song: birth, marriage, death, the planting and harvest, the coming of spring and fertility, the changing of the seasons. Songs are used for protest, for love and honor. They are used as expressions of unity through national anthems and sports teams. Songs are used to sing babies to sleep and to accompany a child’s play. Singing is thus an ideal tool to express the common themes of humanity and culture.”

Lending their voices to the choir of Folklife will be 30 different bands over 9 different showcases throughout all four days of the Festival. A few KEXP favorites on the lineup include: Hurray for the Riff Raff, Country Lips, Karl Blau, and more.

And KEXP DJ Greg Vandy will read from his new book, 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest, on Monday, May 30th at 1:30 PM in the SIFF Film Center and at 3:00 PM from the Fisher Green stage.

As always, KEXP is proud to sponsor the Indie Roots Showcase. This year’s showcase was programmed by our friends at the Treefort Music Fest, and you can find the bands across all four stages: the Fisher Green Stage, the Fountain Lawn Stage, Vera Project Stage, and the Folklife Café. Check out the schedule below.

And don’t forget: Folklife is always FREE, thanks to on-going community donations!

FRIDAY, MAY 27

Kickin’ Up Dust Showcase
Featuring The Lucky Shots, The Gortexans, Johnson Country, and The Fentons
6:00 ­ 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

SATURDAY, MAY 28

Next Generation: Indie Roots
Featuring Crow’s Share, Dark Madrona, The Banner Days, and The Bruised Hearts Revue
7:00 ­ 9:55 p.m., Vera Project

Seattle Living Room Showcase
Featuring The Cloves, Lanford Black, The Hollers, and Sarah Gerritsen and the Shadow Catchers
12:30 ­ 3:15 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

SUNDAY, MAY 29

91.3 KBCS Acoustic Showcase
Featuring Naomi Wachira, Luz Elena Mendoza, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and The Sweet Lowdown
12:30 ­ 3:20 p.m., Fisher Green Stage

Ear to the Ground: Indie Roots
Featuring Murfitt and Main and Fish and Bird
2:00 ­ 3:25 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

Folk, Redefined
Featuring Familiar Wild, Shelita Burke, Intisaar, and Aimee Wilson
3:00 ­ 6:00 p.m., Vera Project

Kinfolk: Ancient Voices
Featuring Jean Rohe and Meghan Yates
1:00 ­ 2:10 p.m., Folklife Cafe

Underwood Stables Show
Featuring Caleb and Walter, Denver, Silverhands, and Country Lips
6:00 ­ 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

MONDAY, MAY 30

Treefort Music Showcase
Featuring Hillfolk Noir, Rabbit Wilde, and Karl Blau
3:45 ­ 5:45 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Amber Knecht (view set)

  • If his KEXP in-studio session didn’t creep you out enough, Ty Segall has just released a clip for the track “Candy Sam” off his Drag City Records release, Emotional Mugger. Watch as a woman rocks out in his now-iconic baby mask spliced with eerie filtered footage of babies. #Shudder [Spin]


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KEXP Suggests: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie at Benaroya Hall 5/26

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On Wednesday, May 25th, KEXP will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs with a day full of exclusive interviews, special programming on The Roadhouse on KEXP, and a live streaming video session with Bill Frisell, Gerald Collier, and John Doe.

The following evening, Thursday, May 26th, Frisell, Collier, and Doe will continue the tribute from the stage of Benaroya Hall, alongside Dave Alvin, Sera Cahoone, Shelby Earl, Ian Moore, Tim Easton, Gerald Collier, and former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn. While the focus of the evening is the songs Guthrie was commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration to write during his stay at the Grand Coulee Dam, the artists have been granted free reign to cover other songs. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Frisell confessed that he’ll revisit an instrumental version of “Pastures of Plenty” that he performed at a Guthrie trbute two years ago at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York.
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SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

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The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
(Directed by Morgan Neville, USA, 2015, 96 minutes)

Festival screenings:
Saturday, May 28th at 3:30 PM – Shoreline Community College Theater
Sunday, May 29th at 7:00 PM – SIFF Cinema Uptown

“We don’t speak perfect English, or perfect Chinese, or perfect Persian, but we speak perfect music language.” — Wu Man, The Silk Road Ensemble

The Silk Road is an ancient trade route dating all the way back to the Han Dynasty of China (206 BC – 220 AD), connecting China to Eastern Europe. While it was created to allow the transport of goods transcontinentally, it also resulted in an exchange of cultures.

Inspired by this Euro-Asia connection, in 2000, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma formed the musical collective The Silk Road Ensemble. The group features a rotating cast of about 60 musicians, across 20 different countries. And, much like the historic roadways across the continent, the music they create combines cultures, using instruments like a Chinese lute, a Japanese bamboo flute, a Mongolian horse head fiddle, and so much more.
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Live Review: Nada Surf w/ Prism Tats at The Neptune 5/18/16

all photos by Brittany Feenstra

Next month we celebrate the 20th birthday of High/Low, the timeless full-length debut from New York indie rock stalwarts Nada Surf. The band celebrated the milestone in great fashion, reissuing the record on beautiful orange vinyl through Vinyl Me Please and giving it a fantastic packaging makeover. But High/Low’s 20th year was much sweeter for an entirely different reason, as Nada Surf also gave us their seventh studio album (eighth, if you include the covers album If I Had A Hi-Fi), You Know Who You Are, a record that answers the hyperbolic tendencies of their debut with priceless perspective on identity and hopefulness in times of change. Nada Surf’s wisdom and musical excellence both only seem to ripen with time, and here in their third decade, they are writing the best material of their career. This is the first record the band has recorded with additional guitarist Doug Gillard, who has brought the band’s live presence to excellent new levels. Tonight’s show at the Neptune was a second to none Nada Surf performance, and for a city that loves them so immensely, this was a real treat to experience. Together with rising indie rock act Prism Tats, tonight was a joy for fans of all eras.
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Song of the Day: The Coathangers – Make It Right

photo by Matt Odom

photo by Matt Odom

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Make It Right” by The Coathangers from their 2016 album, Nosebleed Weekend, on Suicide Squeeze.

The Coathangers – Make It Right (MP3)

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SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: Contemporary Color

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Contemporary Color
(Directed by Bill & Turner Ross, USA, 2016, 96 minutes)

Festival screenings:
Thursday, May 26th at 9:00 PM – Majestic Bay Cinema
Saturday, May 28th at 8:30 PM – SIFF Cinema Uptown
Monday, May 30th at 1:30 PM – SIFF Cinema Egyptian

I don’t know about you, but when I was in high school, Color Guard was not the realm of the cool kids. Not quite the social suicide of Marching Band, but definitely not as glamorous as the Thespians, and certainly not the insta-popularity of the Cheerleaders. Sure, every school is different, but we’re going by “John Hughes” standards here. Well, for some reason, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has decided to make Color Guard cool, and really, if you think about it, his entire career has been based on making the nerdy cool, so, you go, Byrne.

If you don’t quite remember Color Guard, think kids in matching uniforms conducting synchronized steps with giant swooping flags or spinning rifles around in unison. In Byrne’s own words, via his website: “Color guards are, well, high school (and college-level) ‘dance’ groups who perform during half time at football games, and then compete amongst themselves later in the school year—usually in their school gymnasiums. They are, in my way of looking at them, a sophisticated folk art form that flies under the official cultural radar. I think it’s a wonderful, peculiar, under-appreciated and very creative artform and that deserves to be seen and experienced—in a slightly different context, by a wider public.”
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Tuesday Music News

  • Happy 75th birthday, Bob Dylan! In honor of this momentous occasion, Animal Collective have decided to pay tribute to the legendary singer-songwriter. The experimental pop outfit shared their remix of Dylan’s 1963 song “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.” On paper, this combination doesn’t make any sense, but trust me, it’s pretty darn amazing. [Stereogum]


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El Sonido: Primavera Sound

This week in El Sonido we’re doing a bit of a video round-up preview of Primavera Sound 2016. One of the best curated multi-day events of its size in the world, this Barcelona, Spain event is an urban festival par excellence.

The 2016 edition runs June 1-5 at Parc del Fòrum and around the city with a huge bill that includes heavyweights like Radiohead, Air, LCD Soundsystem and PJ Harvey as well as other KEXP favorites like Ty Segall and The Muggers, Daughter, Tame Impala, Beach House, Mudhoney and Car Seat Headrest. Plus, the return of The Avalanches! As always, Spanish bands are well-represented and it’s great to see some bands from Chile and Peru like Tunacola and Kanaku Y El Tigre on the bill this year as well. Some other unique surprises include the Senegalese Afro-Cuban band Orchestra Baobab and ’70s Turkish psych-folk star Selda performing with the Israeli group Boom Pam.
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Song of the Day: Adia Victoria – Dead Eyes

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Dead Eyes” by Adia Victoria from her 2016 album Beyond The Bloodhounds on Canvasback/Atlantic.

Adia Victoria – Dead Eyes (MP3)

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