Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

  • M.I.A. and Skrillrex have teamed up on a new single called “Go Off.” The song will be featured on her upcoming studio album AIM, which drops on September 9. Yesterday, M.I.A. announced that this album will be her last, she said: “I wanna go and do some other stuff and take some time out.” Watch the track’s music video below. [CoS]

  • Grimes premiered a 30-minute mixtape of her favorite tracks on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction show. The collection includes songs from Animal Collective, Aphex Twin, and many more. Grimes introduced the tape saying: “I tried to include a mix of weird stuff that I like that’s old, and some newer stuff I love that inspires me.” Listen below. [Pitchfork]

  • Parquet Courts were joined by a surprise guest during their appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. During their performance of the Human Performance track “Captive Of The Sun,” Texas rapper Bun B (UGK) strolled onstage to deliver a verse like a total badass. It’s a kick ass combination. [Stereogum]

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Leon Berman Shakes His Last Shack on KEXP


After 30 amazing years as KEXP’s in-house proctologist of rock n’ roll, DJ Leon Berman is stepping down as host of Shake the Shack on KEXP tonight, Friday, July 15th, and handing all surgical implements over to Cousin Mike, his faithful sidekick over many years.

Since his days at KCMU, it’s truly been a wild ride by Berman’s side. In an open letter to fans, he writes, “Back in 1986, Paul Aleinikoff and I came up with a Jim Beam-fueled, hair-brained idea to turn my love for announcing and my love for music into what is now Shake the Shack. Paul prompted Kerry Loewen and the powers at KCMU to take me, my music, and my off-sense of humor onboard, and pretty much turned me loose. Starting on Sunday mornings, moving to Tuesdays, Thursday briefly, and then onto our current location on Friday nights. Three turntables and a cassette player to CD players, my sad attempts at using digital laptop –- and now a digital system called Dalet. The stories I tell about using reel-to-reel tape editing makes me sound like the old guy I am.”

In 2009, Leon was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for his decades of work in the genre. He produced 25 years of the Rockabilly Ball and seven Shake the Shack Rockabilly Ball CD compilations. “A dream to bring rockabilly bands from all over the world to Seattle became a reality with the advent and advances in the internet,” he explains in his letter. “Starting out with two bands on one night turning into three days of music with twenty plus bands and a hot-rod show… even between acts like Artis the Spoonman and the Juggling Chainsaw guy.”
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Song of the Day: VHS – Wheelchair

photo by Melissa Wax

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 DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Wheelchair” by Seattle band VHS from their 2016 release, Gift of Life, on Suicide Squeeze Records.

VHS – Wheelchair (MP3)

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KEXP Suggests: Timber! Outdoor Music Festival 7/14-7/17


In what’s easily become a summer tradition for many KEXP listeners, the 4th Annual Timber! Outdoor Music Festival kicks off tonight in beautiful Carnation, WA. It’s more than just a music festival: it’s a beautiful escape to Tolt-Macdonald Park with recreation tree climbing, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding in the nearby Tolt River Beach, and even mountain biking around the area. Not feeling athletic? You can also escape for some stargazing with the Seattle Astronomical Society and astrophysicists from University of Washington, or just making S’mores beside the campfire. Plus, this year, you can bring your old high school band instruments, and join in with the Whidbey Island Custom Events & Production for a gonzo marching band. It’s truly a weekend of family fun beneath the tree branches and starry skies!

And, of course, you can’t forget the music. This year’s line-up includes Langhorne Slim & the Law, Telekinesis, Deep Sea Diver, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Chastity Belt, Lemolo, Acapulco Lips, Karl Blau, and many more! The Moondoggies and The Maldives will be teaming up for a tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Ravenna Woods will be joined by Seattle Kokon Taiko, Seattle’s oldest and second-largest Japanese drum group.
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Scribes Sounding Off: Trouble Boys


The Replacements may have broken up 25 years ago (and then gotten back together, and broken up again), but their influence grows larger every year. Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy once declared that everything his band does is based on The Replacements. Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day calls them his favorite band of all time. The tragic thing is though, those bands enjoyed a success the likes of which The Replacements never saw in their day. After reading Bob Mehr’s definitive book on the band, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, you realize: everything about the band was pretty tragic.

Like most people, I discovered The Replacements in the pre-internet days, so this book was a revelation. Mehr spent the past decade passionately researching, reporting, and interviewing hundreds of friends, family, and colleagues of the group. Though the tome is not an “authorized” biography of the band, it was compiled with participation from key members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, making it the most revealing story of the band you’ll find. It’s long, clocking in at 435 pages, but it also wastes no time: the book opens with the 1995 funeral of founding member and lead guitarist Bob Stinson.
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Thursday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Wilco‘s surprise release of Star Wars (voted #15 in KEXP’s Top Albums of 2015 countdown), and to celebrate, the band have done another surprise release. Check out the single “Locator” below, which you can download for free in exchange for an email address. Happy anniversary, Star Wars! (Watch the boys perform the songs live for KEXP in this exclusive donor performance here.) [Pitchfork]

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Review Revue: Lida Husk – Bozo


Today, over five and a half years after my post about Lida Husik’s 2nd album and its reception at KCMU, I decided to share her very first album. Way back in 2010, I was lamenting whatever oversight had led to Ms. Husik’s not being on Wikipedia, and expressing excitement that she was working on her ninth album. Well, do I have news for you! She is now Wikipedia official (I assume due to the efforts of one of my readers), and according to her web site she has a new EP, Future Ghosts of America, coming out on August 1st! I was just listening to a couple of the tunes from Bozo that had the KCMU gang so jazzed, and it makes me a) wish I’d been paying attention to her in the ’90s, and b) excited to hear whatever she’s doing in 2016. Here’s hoping it ends up in H, too! Read More »

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Naked as We Came: KEXP’s National Nude Day Video Roundup

Kris Orlowski and band // photo by Morgen Schuler (view set)

Weren’t we just saying there seems to be a day for everything? Well, today is National Nude Day. We’re not sure exactly how this day came to be, but research shows it began in 1976 in New Zealand. (No wonder Flight of the Conchords wrote that song!) Incidentally, today also happens to be Bastille Day, and the French are renowned for their nude beaches, and hold the longest tradition of clothing-optional shores. (If that ain’t enough French stuff for you, check out yesterday’s roundup, too.) We’re not sure what Seattle is up to; the Nudists of Washington State haven’t updated their Facebook page in a while. No matter where your lack of clothing takes you, KEXP has your soundtrack with this Video Roundup (and don’t forget the sunscreen, people):

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Live Video: David Bazan

photo by Charina Pitzel (view set)

Our long-time musician friend, David Bazan, stopped by the KEXP studios the other day to play synth-ethereal songs off his new album, Blanco, which he so Bazanly described before the session as “basically electronic music with sadness.” No surprise there! If you know anything about the man you know he’s a poignantly witty lyricist, but is also one of the busiest musicians in the business. He’s is an energizer bunny of creativity. This live in-studio performance is a perfect example of Bazan’s playful originality and talent as he says goodbye to his guitar and fixes himself up with a custom rig where he plays organ-pedaled drums with his feet and simultaneously plays keyboard with MPC pads – all while singing! In his interview with DJ Cheryl Waters, David Bazan opines, “I feel like I’ve been chasing something” and that speaks volumes as these songs off Blanco kind of harken back to a sound from his ahead-of-its-time, electronic project Headphones that he started back in 2005. Check out the videos below to hear four rapturous numbers from the new LP and his amusing banter with Cheryl Waters about where all the new songs got their start.

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Song of the Day: Outer Spaces – Words

photo by Micah E. Wood

photo by Micah E. Wood

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 DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Words” by Outer Spaces from their 2016 album, A Shedding Snake, on Don Giovanni Records.

Outer Spaces – Words (MP3) Read More »

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