Song of the Day: Calexico – Voices in the Field

Calexico

photo by: Jairo Zavala Ruiz

By Beverly Bryan

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 “Voices in the Field” by Calexico, from the forthcoming album The Thread That Keeps Us, which will be released by Anti Records on January 26.

Calexico – Voices in the Field (MP3)

Whether they’re experimenting with cumbia or mining Americana for gold, Calexico is at their best when mournful and romantic, haunting their rootsy musical inspirations like wandering ghosts. On their newest single, the swirling “Voices in the Field,” off their forthcoming 10th studio album The Thread That Keeps Us, they’re in their full desolate glory. The song finds the duo of Joey Burns and John Convertino dipping into psych-blues and, not for the first time, singing about these troubled times in a timeless, well-seasoned voice.

“Voices in the Field,” deals poetically (and affectingly) with displacement and separation. When Burns intones, “Running thru fields of flowers and smoke/Leaving behind all that we’ve built,” he could be telling the story of an immigrant, a refugee, or anyone who finds themselves compelled to wander far from home. In an equally poetic statement about the song, Burns said, “In the age of the extremes, when walls attempt stifling words, this song is inspired by the poems on postcards from those uprooted by war and oppression. It’s a song to remind us to open up our hearts and hear other voices sing their stories.” The postcard theme continues with the song’s official lyric video.

Along with the other two album singles, “End of The World with You” and “Under the Wheels,” “Voices in the Field” promises Calexico’s new album will reveal a noisier, more turbulent band. Burns has said that the album’s sound has a lot to do with “where we’re at right now as a planet,” which is to say chaotic, but not without a thread of melody to follow.

Calexico don’t have any local dates (or even any American dates) planned at the moment, but you can follow them on their Facebook for more updates. Below, revisit their KEXP in-studio performance from 2015.

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Doron Gild (view set)

  • San Francisco experimental indie band Deerhoof have contributed a cover of Madonna’s “Live to Tell” to a new benefit compilation called Post – Trash: Volume Three. The proceeds of the compilation are benefitting the Maria Fund, which is a relief agency to help those affected by the hurricane in Puerto Rico last year. Deerhoof’s take on the Madonna hit originally appeared in 2016 on a limited-release mixtape called The Magic but hasn’t been widely available until now. Other artists included on the 51-track benefit compilation include Gun Outfit, Strange Relations, Gemma, and LVL UP side project Spirit Was. Deerhoof released their latest album Mountain Moves last fall. Post – Trash: Volume Three is out now. [ Under the Radar ]


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R.I.P. Mark E. Smith of The Fall

the-fall

Mark E. Smith, leader of influential UK post-punk band The Fall, passed away this morning at home at the age of 60. His manager Pam Van Damned states, “A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, Pam & Mark’s family request privacy at this sad time.” The band canceled last year’s North American tour due to what they described as “a mix of bizarre and rare (true to form) medical issues that Mark is currently being treated for… Mark’s current problems are connected to his throat, mouth/dental & respiratory system.”

Formed in 1976, The Fall has barely stopped during its 40-year existence. As founder and frontman, Smith has been the only consistent member. Their discography boasts more than 30 albums, with their most recent release, New Facts Emerge, out just last year via Cherry Red Records. The band’s influence cannot be overstated: revered BBC DJ John Peel cited them as his favorite band, and musicians from Pavement to LCD Soundsystem to Will Oldham have claimed them as an influence. KEXP pays tribute to this one-of-a-kind icon; revisit some of their songs below, and the BBC Four television documentary The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith released in 2005.

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Song of the Day: Ought – These 3 Things

Ought

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “These 3 Things” by Ought, from the forthcoming album Room Inside The World, which will be released via Merge Records on February 16th.

Ought – These 3 Things (MP3) Read More »

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Tuesday Music News

Sufjan Stevenes // photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

  • This year’s Oscar nominations rolled out this morning and some very familiar names to KEXP are on the list. Indie-folk genius Sufjan Stevens is nominated in the Best Original Song category for one of the two songs he contributed to Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me Be Your Name, “Mystery Of Love.” Stevens is up against R&B singer Mary J. Blige‘s contribution to the Netflix film Mudbound  (of which she is also nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in the film), “Mighty River.” The song was co-written by Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinton. Rapper Common receives his second nomination, after taking home the prize 2015, with Andra Day for “Stand Up For Something” from Marshall.

    Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is nominated in the Best Original Score category for his fourth score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Phantom Thread. He goes up against movie score legends Alexandre Desplat for The Shape Of Water, John Williams for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Carter Burwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk. The Oscars ceremony airs on March 4th at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.
    [ Rolling Stone ]


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Song of the Day: Bette Smith – I Found Love

Bette Smith

photo by: Shervin Lainez

By Stephanie Garr

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 “I Found Love” by Bette Smith, from the album Jetlagger, available now on Big Legal Mess.

Bette Smith – I Found Love (MP3) Read More »

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Monday Music News

photo by Amber Knecht (view set)

  • Over the weekend, on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the National shared a politically-focused video for “Walk It Back,” off of last year’s Sleep Well Beast. Directed by Casey Reas, the video featues grainy footage of politicians, with Reas saying: “The video documents the performance and spectacle of governance. It captures the pomp and rituals of Congress and its vainglorious, televised culture.” This is the 8th video the band has shared of songs off Sleep Well Beast. [ Under the Radar ]


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In Stores Now 1/22

In Stores Now KEXP New Music January 22 2018

January is starting to pick-up the pace with a swath of thrilling releases from new and old favorite artists. Swedish Folk outfit First Aid Kit returns with their fourth LP, Ruins, which KEXP’s Music Director Dan Yates calls the duo’s “most accomplished album to date is a beautifully crafted set of emotive folk-pop inflected with shades of country-rock, doo wop and more.”

tUnE-yArDs, the project helmed by New England songwriter Merrill Garbus, releases their first album in four years with i can feel you creep into my private life. It’s “another excellent set that brings a stronger dance focus to her rhythm-driven avant-pop, combining a propulsive, ’80s-steeped sound with often-politically charged lyrics addressing white privilege, environmental devastation and other weighty subjects.”

London trio Shopping also shared their third LP, The Official Body, offering up a “strong set of minimalist post-punk with jittery guitar lines, urgent, sometimes funk-inflected rhythms, declamatory vocals and lyrics revolving around identity.” Belle and Sebastian release their second installment in their three EP trilogy How To Solve Our Human Problems and Porches get introspective on The House. Plus Strand of Oaks and The Shins both offer new takes on previous works with Harder Love and The Worm’s Heart respectively. Check out all these releases and more below!

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KEXP Exclusive Interview: Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols

stevejones_promo

lonelyboy_cover For many of us who grew up in the punk era, the sound of the Sex Pistols — that power, energy, propelled by a sneer — was life-changing. For me, it was those guitar chords. That sound — copied over and over by legions of guitarists since — changed my life on a cold, sunny day in a Victorian house in my hometown Minneapolis. Sure, we had heard power-chords of a similar nature, but none with this level of venomous, sarcastic, troubled fun, infused into six strings attached to a stolen guitar. But you know all that. What you may not know is that Steve Jones, guitarist for The Sex Pistols had an extraordinarily troubled childhood — an experience that led him to music and that ignited shenanigans of the highest order. With the help of his radio producer Mark “Mr. Shovel” Sovel, I was lucky enough to speak to the influential guitarist from his Los Angeles radio studio about his sometimes emotional, sometimes hilarious, often VERY entertaining book aptly titled Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol, out now via Da Capo Press (and reprinted in paperback form on April 10, 2018).

Transcription by Michael Appleton

KEXP: So, first off, congratulations on this book. I read the whole thing in about a day and a half, and I thought it was fantastic. What does it feel like to pour your life out on the pages and share it with the world?

Steve Jones: It was a bit weird at first. I definitely balked at first, before anyone read it. “Am I doing the smart thing?” And then I thought, “you know what, life’s too short.” It’s OK, and you know, I’m OK with what’s in the book. I’ve only gotten positive feedback from it. I haven’t got any real negative stuff at all about the content of the book.

Portions of it are brave, from my perspective — you talk about being assaulted by, what I would describe as your stepfather? And in there, you use a phrase that is near and dear to our heart here at KEXP and that’s “you’re not alone.” If you don’t mind, share why you shared those kinds of intimate details.

I just thought that, it happens a lot. And no one talks about it. I didn’t do it for other people; I really did it just for myself. But I like the fact that there’s a lot of dudes who relate to it. Similar stuff happened to them when they were kids. It’s just one of them things that happens way too much, and no one talks about it.

Part of it — you know, my part of it was — this is all the picture that made me who I was. And then to want to start the Sex Pistols. That scenario of the stepfather shaped the way I became as a teenager, wanting to play music, and being angry, whatever. Maybe if I had really good parents, I would have ended up in a band like Air Supply or something. Read More »

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Pearl Jam Announce The Home Shows at Safeco Field

photo by Danny Clinch

photo by Danny Clinch

Rumours have been buzzing all weekend about Pearl Jam‘s 2018 North American tour schedule — today, we can confirm at least two of those shows. On Wednesday, August 8th and Friday, August 10th, our hometown heroes will take the stage at Safeco Field as part of their series The Home Shows.

It’s been five years since the band last played a local show, and this will be the largest headlining concert event in Seattle since the Rolling Stones’ two-night stint at the Kingdome in 1981. The city is celebrating the announce by waving the Pearl Jam flag on top of the Space Needle (check out the band’s Instagram account to see guitarist Mike McCready hoist away), and as the sun goes down, the skyline will light up in red and yellow.

The Home Shows is more than just a nod to home plate, baseball, and Safeco Field; these special concerts will spotlight efforts across Seattle and King County to address the region’s homelessness issue. The band are pledging a minimum of $1 million toward local homelessness initiatives and is challenging others in the community to join them, with the goal of raising a minimum of $10 million pledged toward addressing homelessness in 2018. The band is researching a wide range of programs to address Seattle-area homelessness in varied ways with a plan to announce specific beneficiaries closer to the show dates. KEXP is honored to partner with the band alongside a list of area businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and members of the creative community who are collaborating to tackle the biggest public health crisis to hit our community in recent history.

Founding member and guitarist Stone Gossard explains, “Seattle is our hometown. When there are challenges here, we want to be part of the solution. It’s heartening so many organizations and individuals coming together to do the same. It’s going to take all of us.”

Unsurprisingly, this is just the latest in the band’s long-running history of philanthropy. Back in 1992, they headlined Drop In The Park, a free concert in Magnuson Park to encourage people to register to vote. Approximately 3,000 attendees registered to vote, the largest registration effort at the time. And then, back in 2003, Pearl Jam performed a special acoustic concert at Benaroya Hall to benefit the Seattle-based YouthCare’s Orion Center for homeless youth. The band debuted two new songs at this show — “Man Of The Hour,” which later appeared on the soundtrack for Tim Burton’s movie, Big Fish, and “Fatal” which appeared on the band’s rarities album, Lost Dogs.

Ticket information for The Home Shows will be announced in the days to come, but full details (including hotel and travel information) can be found here.

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