Slush Music: Sounds From Finland

Nobody In Their Right Mind // photo by Petri Anttila

Late November might seem like a crazy time to visit Helsinki, Finland, but not if you’re going for Slush 2016, a high-energy gathering of global tech heads focused on entrepreneurship and new developments and ideas in technology. This was the first year they had a full day of music programming, bringing the tech and music communities together to problem solve and share thoughts on how technology can help have more impact on the music world, from the artist, label, industry, and music lover perspective.

It was all really fascinating and inspiring — I felt honored to attend and participate. There was music, of course, too, and I was invited by our friends at Nordic Playlist to present a show featuring my favorites from the Nordic counties. As part of the show, I was privileged to host a live set from View, a young Finnish rapper I’ve been diggin’ lately. View’s debut EP, Avalon, is a beautiful set of deeply blunted, nourish beats and grooves, with honest and introspective narratives about depression, survival, and self identity, definitely capturing the city night, and the vibe of cutting through the haze of the dark daze.



While in Helsinki, I wanted to get a better sense of what the music scene was like. Huge thanks to Katariina Sorsa, Tuomo Tähtinen, and Teemu Fiilin from Music Finland for arranging a Friday afternoon session attended by over 20 independent labels and industry peeps. As a result of that session alone, I’ve already discovered some great new music from Finnish artists that span the musical spectrum, including post punk, jazz, singer songwriter, hip hop, electronica, and afrobeat. And that’s just scratching the surface. Here are a few of these new discoveries.

Tuomo & Markus — “Over the Rooftops”
Gary Louris from The Jayhawks, John Stirratt from Wilco, and Joey Burns from Calexico all contribute to this track. If you like any of these bands, you’ll dig this. Beautiful, delicate, dreamy.

VIRTA — “Time Travel”
VIRTA are a Finnish instrumental trio that layers jazz, post-rock and electronica with avant-garde sensibilities. This could be the soundtrack for your very own spy movie.

Helsonki-Cotonou Ensemble — “Djigbo”
Finnish afrobeat? That’s right, with this remarkable collaboration of Finnish and West African musicians. “Djigbo” is from their second album, 2015’s Fire, Sweat, & Pastis, which won Finland’s Ethno Album of the Year award.

Mikko Joensuu — “Warning Sign”
Amen 2, the second release in the Amen trilogy from Mikko Joensuu, is an eclectic marvel front to back, with an unlikely combination of The War On Drugs, Ennio Morricone, Vangelis, and prog rock. “Warning Sing” is a mournful song about regret and defiance with a twangy pedal steel part that just twists the knife in even further.

Tontario x Lucas Nord — “Rewind”
Young Finnish producer Tontario and Swedish vocalist Lucas Nord with a downtempo electronic track that floats like giant flakes of snow suspended in air.

Tune into The Afternoon Show this Thursday, December 8th at 4:00 PM PT as I feature some of the best Finnish tracks I discovered on my trip to Helsinki. And, check out Nordic Playlist, a great resource for discovering and keeping up to date on all the sounds coming out of the Nordics, via curated playlists from artists and DJs like Ólafur Arnalds, Júníus Meyvant, Lindstrøm, Sóley, and yours truly.

Kevin Cole and Francine Gorman from Nordic Playlist. Dueling DJs, Slush Music 2016 // photo by Markus Ketola

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TV Eye: Week of 12/5

The Lemon Twigs

The Lemon Twigs // photo by Melissa Wax (view set)

KEXP has our TV eye set for this week in late night television. Set your DVR, TiVo, or just drink some coffee to stay awake for these musical guest performances on your favorite talk shows. Here are the highlights:

Monday, December 5th:
Late Night with Seth Meyers: The Hold Steady
Last Call with Carson Daly: Wolf Parade
@midnight with Chris Hardwick: J Mascis

Tuesday, December 6th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: James Vincent McMorrow
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: DJ Khaled
The Late Late Show with James Corden: CRX
Conan: Dinosaur Jr.
Last Call with Carson Daly: Banks & Steelz

Wednesday, December 7th:
Late Night with Seth Meyers: Kacey Musgraves
The Late Late Show with James Corden: Reggie Watts
Last Call with Carson Daly: Bob Mould
Conan: Robert Glasper Experiment

Thursday, December 8th:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Pharrell Williams
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Travis Scott
Last Call with Carson Daly: The Black Lips
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: DJ Khaled
Conan: The Lemon Twigs

Friday, December 9th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: A Tribe Called Quest
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Gary Clark Jr.
Late Night with Seth Meyers: K. Flay
Last Call with Carson Daly: Bear Hands

Saturday, December 10th:
Austin City Limits: Ryan Adams and Shakey Graves

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Monday Music News

photo by Alan Lawrence (view set)

  • Thank you to everyone who came out Saturday night for a sold out sixth annual SMooCH: Seattle Musicians for Children’s Hospital. Those in attendance were treated to new music from headliner Father John Misty, who told the audience, the follow-up to last year’s I Love You, Honeybear is done. Songs premiered for the first time live included “Pure Comedy,” “When the God of Love,” and “Two Wildly Different,” as well as the previously shared tracks “Holy Hell” and “Leaving LA.” He also performed “Trump’s Private Pilot,” a cover of the Tim Heidecker song written for the 30 Days, 30 Songs campaign. Check out the playlist, posted by a Reddit user, below, as well as a couple of fan-shot videos from the evening. [Under the Radar]

fjm-set


Sassy #sotall

A video posted by e (@pizzaposse4lyfe) on



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Song of the Day: Acid Arab – Gul l’Abi (feat. A-WA)

Acid Arab

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, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear.  Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Acid Arab” by Gul l’Abi (and featuring A-WA), from the 2016 album Musique de France on Crammed Discs.

Acid Arab – Gul l’Abi (mp3)
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2016 Top Ten List Spotlight: John Richards

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2016, leading up to our 2016 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 9th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 16th to hear if your picks made the list! Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win the Top 10 Albums of 2016 as voted on by you, the listener, provided by Sonic Boom Records. Winners will be notified by email on Friday December 16th.

Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest // photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

John Richards’ 2016 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
1 Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate Interscope Records
2 Kate Tempest Let Them Eat Chaos Lex
3 Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid Rhymesayers Entertainment
4 Angel Olsen My Woman Jagjaguwar
5 Underworld Barbara, Barbara, We Face a Shining Future Astralwerks
6 Case/Lang/Viers Case/Lang/Viers Anti-
7 The Avalanches Wildflower Astralwerks
8 Wussy Forever Sounds Damnably
9 Damien Jurado Visions of Us On the Land Secretly Canadian
10 A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service Epic

John Richards is the host of The Morning Show, airing Monday through Friday, 6-10AM.

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Trans Musicales Music Festival: Day Three

Rennes Opera House // photos by Morgan Chosnyk

When we last left off, the crew and I were on our way to the Parc Expo where a majority of the Trans Musicales shows are held. It’s a 15 minute shuttle ride from the neighborhood where we are staying. The Parc Expo is a large compound of warehouses the size of airline hangers to accommodate the approximately 16,000 festival goers who attend each day. The stage setups and light shows create an amazing atmosphere for each artist playing that makes it feel like you’re seeing a veteran touring band when many have only played less than a dozen shows. I wish we could have stayed longer, but our days are jam packed with sessions, which is fine by me!

Day three had us filming in the historic city center at the Rennes Opera House. The Opera House was built in 1836 and was the first Opera House built in Brittany, the region in which Rennes is located. It was designed in response to the Capitol building directly across the square from the Opera built 100 years prior. Where the Capitol building is concave, the Opera House is convex so that they could fit together like puzzle pieces. When the Opera was built, the pubic hated it because of its modern design but when the building burned down 20 years later, asked if it should be redesigned the residents had warmed up to their Opera so it was rebuilt to look the same. We we given the privilege to film in the gorgeous ground floor rotunda.
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2016 Top Ten List Spotlight: Hans

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2016, leading up to our 2016 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 9th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 16th to hear if your picks made the list! Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win the Top 10 Albums of 2016 as voted on by you, the listener, provided by Sonic Boom Records. Winners will be notified by email on Friday December 16th.

Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Hans’ 2016 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
1 David Bowie Blackstar Columbia
2 Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate Polydor
3 Erik Blood Lost in Slow Motion HomeSkillet
4 Case / Lang / Veirs Case / Lang / Veirs Anti-
5 Júníus Meyvant Floating Harmonies Record
6 Charles Bradley Changes Daptone
7 Various Artists Day of the Dead 4AD
8 Damien Jurado Visions Of Us On The Land Secretly Canadian
9 Woods City Sun Eater In The River Of Light Woodsist
10 Angel Olsen My Woman Jagjaguwar

Hans is on the air every Wednesday night from 9PM -1AM.

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2016 Top Ten List Spotlight: DJ Alex

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2016, leading up to our 2016 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 9th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 16th to hear if your picks made the list! Anyone who votes is automatically entered to win the Top 10 Albums of 2016 as voted on by you, the listener, provided by Sonic Boom Records. Winners will be notified by email on Friday December 16th.

Anderson Paak

Anderson .Paak // photo by Brittany Feenstra (view set)

DJ Alex’s 2016 Top Ten Albums

artist album label
Kamaiyah A Good Night in the Ghetto Big Money Gang
A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service Epic
Anderson .Paak Malibu EMPIRE/OBE/Steel Wool/Art Club
Solange A Seat At The Table Columbia
Blood Orange Freetown Sound Domino
Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool XL
The Range Potential Domino
Shura Nothing’s Real Polydor/Interscope
Josef Leimberg Astral Progressions World Galaxy/Alpha Pup
Childish Gambino “Awaken, My Love!” Glassnote

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Trans Musicales Music Festival: Day Two

Trans Musicales Day 2

We just returned from our second day of filming live sessions from the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France, and our host at the Magic Hall Hotel is playing a killer French funk LP from an artist named Michel Jonasz. And here I thought we’d be discovering only new bands, but now I have a new favorite LP from the 1970s. I’ll need to find that later, but for now I’m still thinking about the new bands we saw today!

Today’s filming took place in the abandoned third floor of a former hotel turned dental university called the Hotel Pasteur. The first floor remains a student dental clinic while the second and third floors are now used as free community spaces. The third floor used to be the student laboratory space and has definitely seen better days, with peeling paint, graffiti, makeshift murals, and cracking linoleum, but as we filled the space with gear, bands, and music industry folks, it warmed up and ended up feeling homey by the end of the afternoon.
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Music that Matters: Monday Night John in the Morning

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.

Kristin Hersh at KEXP in 2016 // photo by Niffer Calderwood (view set)

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 541 – Monday Night John in the Morning

Today’s podcast description is sung to the tune of the Monday Night Football theme. “John John John Johnnnnn. John John John John Johhhnnn. John…john…john…Johnnnnnn. JohnJohnJohnJohnJohn.

Tracklist:
1. The Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe (featuring Moses Sumney)
2. Lushlife – The League of Frightened Men
3. Little Children – (We Used to Feel) Higher
4. Sad13 – <2
5. Kindling – Blinding Wave
6. Menace Beach – Maybe We’ll Drown
7. Kristin Hersh – Soma Gone Slapstick
8. Doubles – Plant
9. Desperate Journalist – Hollow
10. Austra – Utopia
11. STRFKR – Open Your Eyes

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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