Song of the Day: Kyson – You

photo by Tonje Thilesen

photo by Tonje Thilesen

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “You” by Kyson from the 2016 album A Book Of Flying, on Friends of Friends.

Kyson – You (MP3)

If you had only heard his 2013 debut LP or his previous EPs, you might think of Kyson only as an “electronic artist”. Though true, from the beginning, the Australian-born, German-based artist (real name Jian Kellett Liew) has composed everything from hip-hop influenced to ambient textured tracks full of samples, synths and programmed beats, it’s only now that he has fully embraced the singular quality of his glorious voice. Like José González, Justin Vernon, James Blake, and others, Kyson probes the ether with his soaring vocals on A Book Of Flying, his forthcoming release (due April 1). On songs like “You”, today’s featured podcast, he bolsters his gentle, airy vocals with minimal production and intimate instrumentation, mixing pristine drones, shimmering keys, and plaintive fingerpicking. Such intimate recordings, you’d think he’d done it all in his bedroom (and you may be right!), but the songs implore you to look outward (“no man’s a forest, even if he tries to be one”), and, as you hear the light leaf-crunching effects in “You”, you’ll find yourself already wandering, and searching, beside him.

You’ll have to look for him for a while yet, as Kyson doesn’t yet have tour listed, but hopefully he’ll hit the road after A Book Of Flying is released. For now, keep up with him on his website and Facebook page, and check out this video for “A Song About The Future”, another track from the forthcoming LP:

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Live Video: Sóley at Iceland Airwaves

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

KEXP can never get enough of Sóley. The charming Icelandic songstress has a knack for covering a deep emotional range and some occasionally morbid subjects in the most disarming and endearing way. In fact, we’ve recorded her six out of the past seven years we’ve been covering Iceland Airwaves, and she never fails to melt our hearts, or to find new ways to do so. During our broadcast this year, Sóley stripped it bare as she decided to give her band a break and leave the loop pedals behind and perform raw, impossibly delicate versions of songs, from her two LPs and most recent EP, solo on guitar and piano. And clearly we’re not the only ones smitten by her, as Sóley hushed the packed room at KEX Hostel in Reykjavik to pin-drop quiet. Enjoy this exquisite set, and be sure to listen to her previous sets at Kex Hostel here
and here.

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Music That Matters: Eyes on You

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.

photo by Melissa Wax

PWR BTTM // photo by Melissa Wax

Currently, you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 497 – Eyes on You
Midday Show host Cheryl Waters has her eye on a bunch of great records coming out in early spring. Here’s a sneak peek at some songs she knows you will love.

1. M. Ward – Girl From Conejo Valley
2. Hey Marseilles – Eyes on You
3. GEMS – w/o U
4. Lucius – Born Again Teen
5. ANOHNI – 4 Degrees
6. Radiation City – Juicy
7. Damien Jurado – Exit 353
8. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – Nobody Dies
9. Surf Rock Is Dead – Anymore
10. Talisco – The Keys
11. Nada Surf – Believe You’re Mine
12. PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries
13. Petal – Heaven
14. Bob Mould – Voices In My Head
15. Yeasayer – I Am Chemistry

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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Friday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman

  • Danish rock duo The Raveonettes are taking a more avant-garde approach to releasing new music. Instead of putting together a full LP, they’ve decided to shared one new song a month as part of their Rave-Sound-Of-The-Month series. Check out the first song of the series, “The World is Empty (Without You),” below. [Stereogum]

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Album Review: Savages – Adore Life

Post-punk gods Savages have done the unthinkable with their second outing: they made their sophomore record an unabashed anthem to embracing life and love. “Love is the answer” – this is the message of Savages’ first single off of Adore Life, their second LP and follow up to the highly acclaimed 2013 debut, Silence Yourself. If you think back to the post-punk heroes – Joy Division, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Birthday Party, Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees – every single one made their second record darker, heavier, murkier, more weighed down by the heaviness of life and struggling through it. But not Savages. Where Silence Yourself was the social assessment in a crowded room, Adore Life turns to the horizon and makes a declaration of togetherness. It is a hurtling, exuberant effort that all but outdoes its fantastic predecessor. With Tony Visconti describing David Bowie’s Blackstar as avoiding rock and roll, Savages give us the first great rock record of 2016, and it’s going to be hard to beat in the coming 11 months. Adore Life is nothing else if not meant to be adored.

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Song of the Day: La Luz – You Disappear

photo by Amber Knecht

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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “You Disappear” by La Luz, from the 2015 album Weirdo Shrine on Hardly Art.

La Luz – You Disappear (MP3)

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Review Revue: Ambitious Lovers – Greed


Arto Lindsay, the guitaring/singing half of the art-pop duo Ambitious Lovers, is one of my favorite – and one of the most underrated – musical artists of the late 20th century (he has gone relatively quiet in the past decade or so, although some recent posts on his facebook page instill hopes that he’s recording some exciting new work with an exciting group of musicians). Seriously, go dig into his solo catalog if you haven’t; O Corpu Sutil, Mundo Civilizado, Noon Chill, and The Prize are mixtape go-tos for me, but it’s all great. (Side note: Hat tip to Beauty Pill for covering “The Prize” on their near-perfect 2015 album Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are. I knew Chad Clark and I were soulmates when he covered Arto Lindsay and Lungfish on the same album.)

For some reason – I’ll blame the relative difficulty of just listening to whatever you want in the ’90s – I never really went back and dug into Ambitious Lovers’ catalog beyond their contribution to Elektra’s splendid Rubaiyat compilation, a cover of Fred Neil’s “A Little Bit of Rain” (no room to go into it, but Fred Neil! – another fantastic confluence), which I’m trying to make up for now. They seem to have split the difference between the aggressively odd work of Lindsay’s previous band, no-wave weirdos DNA, and his later solo work, which is incredibly listenable but no less artful. In short, perfect fodder for college radio! Read More »

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Thursday Music News

photo by Laura Crosta

  • How many indie rock dudes does it take to cover a Sharon Van Etten song? By our count, four, as footage has surfaced of a 2010 concert where Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon, Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National, and Colin Stetson covered her single “Love More.” Watch below. The footage comes from a MusicNOW show; the festival was started eleven years ago by Bryce Dessner, and today they’ve announce the 2016 dates, March 18th-20th. [Pitchfork]

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Live Review: Ty Segall & the Muggers at the Neptune Theatre 1/21

photos by Amber Knecht (view set)

If you happened to have watched KEXP’s Live Video stream of Ty Segall & the Muggers earlier this day, you’d have a pretty good sneak preview of the evening’s coming attractions at the Neptune Theatre: creepy baby mask, plenty of saliva, and some of the catchiest darn garage-punk out there today.

As I sat in the balcony, watching Ty Segall lick his palm and then reach down in the audience to shake the hands of his fans, I looked down at my own hand… which had shook his earlier that day at the in-studio. Instinctually, I dove into my purse for hand sanitizer, but then I realized it was too late. I, like many in Seattle, had been… Segall’ed.

Before the spit-storm began, Seattle’s own Bread & Butter kicked off the night with their ’80s arena-rock stylings. Frontman Shane Herrell — dubbed the “Shaggy of Seattle Rock” by my friend Bryan — had the crowd seriously pumped. Their songs reminded me of a mix of Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, and Aerosmith, minus the scarves. They should seriously consider covering “Jesse’s Girl.” The audience screamed with delight at the mix of old favorites and new tracks from their forthcoming full-length. Word on the street is KEXP’s own DJ Troy Nelson might be behind the board on that one…
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KEXP Suggests: Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival 1/29 + 1/30


Beat the winter doldrums with a trip up north for the 2016 Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, this Friday, January 29th and Saturday the 30th in scenic Leavenworth, Washington. It may be cold outside, but this year’s line-up is extra-hot, featuring Strand of Oaks, Fruit Bats, Grace Love & the True Loves, Iska Dhaaf, Hibou, The Young Evils, Industrial Revelation, Benjamin Verdoes, and many more.

In addition to the great music, you can score discounted ski and snowboard packages at Stevens Pass during the day, swing by the Hot Toddy Happy Hour, and enjoy a free toboggan adventure in the middle of downtown Leavenworth.

Find out more at, and get excited with a Video Roundup of KEXP sessions below:

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