Friday on My Mind: Happy Anniversary

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

It turns out that today and tomorrow mark the anniversaries of a few releases that we hold pretty near and dear to our hearts here at KEXP. A couple of them celebrate their 25th anniversary and that also makes it official that you’re old because you remember getting these on tape. Or you’re just kind of old because you got them soon after on CD. Or just young and just discovered them on vinyl and that’s the only way you listen to music now. Or maybe you’re just someone who downloaded it illegally and aren’t even sure when any of this came out, what an album is or that Scream wasn’t the first time Red Right Hand saw the time of day. Either way, these are three very important seminal records.

Pixies - Here Comes Your Man

Doolittle is considered by many to be one of the most highly influential and most emulated albums since the dawn of “college” or “alternative” rock. Although Pixies had already released two previous albums, Doolittle served as the first glimpse of the band to a broader audience, thanks especially to the band’s move from 4AD to Elektra. Now, more people had access to the bizarre lyrical world of Pixies and their screaming space-infatuated frontman, Frank Black. Album producer Gil Norton said that Pixies recorded a song a day in order to complete Doolittle.

Tricky - Black Steel

Bristol-born Adrian Thaws, a.k.a. Tricky, released Maxinquaye on today’s date in 1994. While Maxinquaye is Tricky’s solo debut after departing Massive Attack, the album was actually more of a collaboration between Thaws and his then wife, Martina Topley-Bird, whose vocals permeate a good portion of the album. For a more mainstream audience, Maxinquaye was an introduction to what is referred to as IDM or intelligent dance music, which creeped into existence during the early 90’s. Samples throughout the album range from Michael Jackson’s “Bad” on “Brand New, You’re Retro” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Suffer” on “Ponderosa”. The dark moods created with electronic bloops and clangs was a whole new musical landscape. Topley-Bird has gone on to be an acclaimed singer-songwriter of her own right, releasing many solo releases since 1994. “Black Steel” was Tricky’s twist on Public Enemy’s “Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos”.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ eighth studio album, Let Love In was released in the UK on on April 18th and to audiences in the US on April 19th back in 1994. The album was a continuation of the progression of the band’s stylistic growth from their early days, during which they leaned towards a more post punk sound. “Red Right Hand” is probably one of the most recognizable songs off of the album. With it’s eerie subject matter, the song has been licensed many times for use within various television programs and feature films, most dealing with dark themes such as murder and death, for which this particular tune serves as a perfect soundtrack.

Honorable Mention:

Another little album was released on April 18th back during the year 2000. Elliott Smith’s Figure 8.

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Song of the Day: Kithkin - Altered Beast

photo by Alex Crick

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. Every Friday, we feature a song from a local artist. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Altered Beast” by Kithkin from the forthcoming 2014 album Rituals, Trances & Ecstasies For Humans in Face of The Collapse on Pesanta Urfolk.

Kithkin - Altered Beast (MP3)

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Record Store Day 2014: DJ Kevin Cole’s Picks

This Saturday’s Record Store Day will be kind of like the Easter egg hunt for me and my fellow music lovers and record collecting geeks. We’ll gleefully race down the aisles in search of that colorful surprise and treat. And, this year there are plenty of goodies — rarities, long out-of-print re-issues, first-time releases, colored vinyl, picture discs, etc., in all kinds of formats including 7”, 10”, and 12” vinyl, CDs, and even cassettes. Some of the golden eggs I’ll be looking for include:
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Thursday Music News

photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

  • Australian quartet Cut Copy have shared the b-side from their forthcoming Record Store Day 10″ single — stream the track “Like Any Other Day” below, and get ready for the RSD scramble on Saturday morning, as the 10″ is limited to 2,000 copies. Cut Copy will be in town on Saturday, May 24th at the Sasquatch! Music Festival. [Consequence of Sound]

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Review Revue: Room Nine - Voices . . . of a Summer’s Day

Room Nine were, it seems, a pretty big deal in Seattle in the late ’80s; like Diamond Fist Werny, they were another band doing their own thing — with their own lighting designer! — while it probably seemed like everyone around them was churning out noisy, grungy rock. Room Nine broke up not long after this album’s release — judging by the comments below, perhaps while it was still in heavy rotation? — and frontman Ron Nine went on to form the somewhat grungier Love Battery (whom we discussed here back in 2008). Overall it seems as though this record was pretty well received at KCMU, though these comments do lay bare the risks of overexposure.
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Live Video: Tacocat

photo by Victoria Holt (view set)

It would be great to construct this write-up as a complete palindrome, but probably only Tacocat could pull that off! Instead, let it suffice that this Seattle four-piece is hella charming — from the new ice cream flavor coming out under their name all the way down to their latest album title, NVM, a nod to Nirvana’s Nevermind. Recently, Tacocat stopped by KEXP’s Audioasis with Larry Rose (sitting in for Sharlese) to play some thoughtfully-punk tunes off their new album. They finished the set with their track “Crimson Wave”, a fantastic surf-laden sing-along about “that time of the month”. Watch the entire performance here:

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Live Review: OFF! with Cerebral Ballzy and NASA Space Universe at El Corazon 4/13/14

all photos by Brittany Brassell

“This is a really beautiful city”, Keith Morris remarked halfway his El Corazon set with super punk supergroup OFF!. He was talking to the punk kid who had fought his way to the very front of the crowd, sweating profusely through the leather jacket he dared not remove in the pit. “You don’t know that yet, though”, Morris continued, “you haven’t figured out how to find the good parts and... oh, well, you know, that stuff comes later”. Back behind the pit, you can hear some chuckles. They come from the denim vests and true vintage Circle Jerks t-shirts in the back, who have spent twice as many years at punk shows than their juniors up front. They know what Morris is talking about - with time, the virulent opposition to everything within a 50 mile radius of mainstream culture becomes more focused, and while the anger may continue to burn towards the deserving, you learn to appreciate the good for what it is.

For example, the good tonight was a maniacally intense set from OFF!, perhaps the most impactful and furious voice in the modern punk context. It helps that the face of the band is Morris, who has had more experience telling it like it is from the vantage point of a microphone and a pair of ripped Levi’s for longer than anyone on the scene. But together with equally legendary bassist Steven Shane McDonald (founding member of Redd Kross), devilishly good guitarist Dimitri Coats, and drummer Mario Rubalcaba (a veteran of too many punk bands to count), they make for one hell of a performance, no matter how long you’ve been on the scene. The band is on tour in support of new LP Wasted Years with Brooklyn band Cerebral Ballzy and Santa Ana punks NASA Space Universe. Armed with an armada of vans and one totally kickass tour poster, the three left a crater where El Corazon used to be.
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Song of the Day: Sun Tunnels - Notice Me

photo by Sugar McGuinn

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 “Notice Me” by Seattle duo Sun Tunnels from the 2013 compilation Ball of Wax Volume 34 (in 3​/​4 time) by Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly.

Sun Tunnels - Notice Me (MP3)

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KEXP Q&A: Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens of Distinction on Record Store Day, KEXP In-Studios, and Why Radio Still Matters

Patrick from Kitchens of Distinction has his own ideas about “Extravagance”

In the wake of their 2013 full-length Folly, the first new album from Kitchens of Distinction in 19 years, the UK trio celebrates Record Store Day with the limited-edition 10-inch single “Extravagance,” featuring two B-sides culled from the band’s KEXP in-studio session last year. I asked Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens of Distinction to tell me a little more about “Extravagance” and got an earful about how the band’s KEXP in-studio inspired him, why human curation still matters, and “perving out” on LP sleeves.

KEXP: Two of the tracks on your RSD single, “I Wish It Would Snow” and “Drive That Fast,” are originally from your 2013 KEXP session and feature very different, stripped-down arrangements from the originals. Was arranging them a big challenge?

Patrick Fitzgerald: It was a massive challenge to take the gory excesses of the studio versions of Folly songs and to reduce them to bare essentials. The key was to find a way of playing [the song] on the piano that I was happy with, and then to slather on the Julian Swales Guitar Sounds of the Unknown Universe. Without that it would have been drab.
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Live Video: The Afghan Whigs

photo by Matthew Thompson (view set)

The boozy blues of obsession and regret never sounded so good... at least not in the last 16 years. It’s been that long since The Afghan Whigs released an album and its members turned their attention elsewhere. Yet, while other 90′s bands are now cashing in on their notoriety with 20- and 25-year anniversary reunions and reissues of their past classics, Greg Dulli and co. have returned to form with a brand new album of tantalizingly dark, soul-inflected rock. And The Afghan Whigs proved they’ve lost none of their swagger as they took control of the KEXP studio to perform four songs from the Do to the Beast. This session was broadcast yesterday as part of our ongoing Live Streaming Video series, but you can watch it now in its pure unadulterated glory:

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