Surfer Blood Cover Pavement’s “Box Elder” (KEXP Premiere)

Surfer Blood // Photo by Victoria Sanders

Surfer Blood // Photo by Victoria Sanders

There’s history to bands covering Pavement’s “Box Elder.” When The Wedding Present recorded their interpretation of the track from Pavement’s Slay Tracks (1933–1969) EP track back in ’89, it caught the ear of renowned BBC DJ John Peel and helped generate buzz for the release abroad. Nearly three decades later, the song is still resonating with indie rock bands as Florida outfit Surfer Blood takes on the classic song for their new tribute LP, Covers, out now via Joyful Noise.

It’s an apt fit for the band, embracing the punchiness of the original while infusing it with their own 21st century disaffection. Lead vocalist John Paul Pitts’ voice croons over the vibrant and iconic guitar riffs, sounding like he was born to bellow the line, “I had to get the fuck out of this town.” It’s a fitting tribute from one indie rock group to another. Surfer Blood’s affection for the original shines with each chiming rhythm. Stream the track in full below.

Surfer Blood is on tour now with Terry Malts, including a string of dates around the Northwest and culminating with a show at Lo-Fi in Seattle on Jan. 27. Check out their upcoming dates below. The album is only available for purchase at shows or through mail order, so you won’t want to miss these shows.

Jan. 22 – Chico, CA @ Duffy’s
Jan. 23 – Redding, CA @ The Dip
Jan. 24 – Eugene, OR @ Hi Fi Music Hall
Jan. 25 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Jan. 26 – Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown
Jan. 27 – Seattle, WA @ Lo-Fi

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Song of the Day: Camp Cope – The Opener

photo by: Naomi Lee

photo by: Naomi Lee

By Annie Zaleski

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 “The Opener” by Camp Cope, from the upcoming album How To Socialise & Make Friends out March 2nd on Poison City/Run For Cover Records.

Camp Cope – The Opener (MP3) Read More »

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Friday Music News

photo by Alexandre Fumeron

  • Former Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto has shared her take on Tommy James & The Shondells’ 1968 song “I’m Alive.” Ditto said of the cover: “Being alive is radical right now. So let’s live!” Ditto released her solo debut Fake Sugar last year. Catch Ditto at the Showbox on Thursday, March 29. [ SPIN ]

Read More »

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Music That Matters: The (Mostly) Goth Pod

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.

Zola Jesus at KEXP in 2015 // photo by Rachel White

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 599 – The (Mostly) Goth Pod

Goth is back from the dead and everybody is wearing black and dangly earrings. Atticus takes you on a journey throughout the various dark jams that he’s been listening to lately, from goth tinged electropop to shoegaze to garage and everything in between.

1. Odonis Odonis – Check My Profile
2. TR/ST – Bicep
3. Ritual Howls – This is Transcendence
4. L.A. Witch – Drive Your Car
5. Has A Shadow – The Flesh
6. The Soft Moon – Burn
7. Night Sins – Crystal Blue
8. Death of Lovers – The Absolute
9. Blood Pleasures – New Bodies
10. Zola Jesus – Veka
11. Actors – Crystal
12. Drab Majesty – Dot in the Sky
13. Boy Harsher – Motion
14. Porches – Find Me
15. El Perro Del Mar – Fight For Life

Listen here: (MP3)

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KEXP Songbook: Barrett Martin Talks Music, Community, and the Environment

Barrett Martin and KEXP’s DJ Kevin Cole // all photos by Renata Steiner (view set)

By Beverly Bryan

Barrett Martin, best known as the drummer for Seattle grunge rockers Screaming Trees, was an integral part of Seattle’s music scene in the 1980s and ’90s. The drummer, producer, and composer has played on more than one hundred albums, from records by R.E.M. to Queens of the Stone Age, and has circled the globe on tour. And today, Friday, January 19th, his project Walking Papers — featuring Jefferson Angell (The Missionary Position), Benjamin Anderson (The Missionary Position), and Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, fellow Raw Power band member) — release their second full-length, WP2, via Loud & Proud Records.

He also holds a Master’s Degree in Ethnology and Linguistics, and is now a professor of music at Antioch University. His adventures as a musician, researcher, and world traveler have taken him around the world: from Senegal, where he traveled to study with griot drum master Mapathe Diop; to Cuba, where he sat in with Cuban musicians as a cultural diplomat. He’s worked in the studio with delta blues guitarist CeDell Davis and spent time in the Peruvian Amazon with Shipibo shaman and singer Herlinda Agustin Fernandez.

His musical travelogue, The Singing Earth, weaves his encounters with musicians from varied musical traditions into an investigation of the links between music, community, and the natural world. As part of Songbook: KEXP’s Music & Literature Series, the book provided a jumping off point for a thought-provoking dialogue about the role music plays in human life. In this live interview with DJ Kevin Cole, host of The Afternoon Show on KEXP, Martin looked back on a lifetime of music and travel. Watch video, and read edited excerpts from his chat with Martin below.

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Song of the Day: Alyeska – Stones


By Jason Anderson

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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “Stones” by L.A. band Alyeska, a single from Unsatisfied Records.

Alyeska – Stones (MP3) Read More »

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Hibou Announces New Album Something Familiar, Shares “Fall Into” Music Video

Peter's preferred press photo

Hibou, the moniker of Seattle songwriter Peter Michel, returns with a new LP entitled Something Familiar out March 2 via Barsuk Records. The album follows up on the project’s 2015 self-titled debut, which Michel recorded in a walk-in closet. This time around he’s recorded with a full-band at Chris Walla’s Hall of Justice recording studio, but that’s not the only change in the project.
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Thursday Music News

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

  • Indie veterans Yo La Tengo have announced a new album slated for release in March called There’s a Riot Going On. In a press release written by writer and critic Luc Santé, the album title is an intentional nod to Sly and the Family Stone’s 1971 album of the same name, as well as a remark on the current ominous state of the world, saying: “While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream.” The album was made solely by Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew of the band with no outside engineer besides John McEntire, who later mixed the album. The band has shared four songs off the 15-track LP: “Out of the Pool,” “She May, She Might,” “Shades of Blue,” and “You Are Here.” They’ve also announced a tour, with two nights in Seattle on Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1, both at the Neptune. There’s a Riot Going On is out March 16 via Matador Records. [ Under the Radar ]

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Throwaway Style: Droning Out the Noise with Tiny Vipers, Norm Chambers, and Pink Void

Pink Void // photo by Allyce Andrew

Throwaway Style is a weekly column dedicated to examining all aspects of the Northwest music scene. Whether it’s a new artist making waves, headlines affecting local talent, or reflecting on some of the music that’s been a foundation in our region; this space celebrates everything happening in the Northwest region, every Thursday on the KEXP Blog.

The world is full of noise. The chatter of nature, cars whipping by, and even the low hum of your computer all contribute to a universal murmur that we might not even notice if we’re not thinking about it. That’s all before we get to the “other” types of noise. Push news notifications full of nonsense, frustrating conversations, and that buzz of anxiousness rushing through your bloodstream. Tuning out everything and finding true quiet is near impossible, it seems, unless you’ve got a hermetically sealed chamber just sitting around (and really, who doesn’t?). Sometimes to quiet the noise, you need more noise. And for a city as noisy and sometimes (depending on who you ask) exhausting as Seattle, you need that blanket of sound to help soften the blow of day-to-day life. As Shabazz Palaces once said, “that’s how city life goes.” As such, artists within the city are learning this steadily on their own and crafting work that complements this need for peace. Tomorrow night at Timbre Room, three artists will help give the relief many of us crave through swaths of robust sound.
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Review Revue: Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.

I always love discovering obscure and forgotten musical gems through this series, but every once in a while it’s fun to find an honest-to-goodness classic, an album that you have a hard time imagining hearing for the first time (even though I must have heard it, once, for the first time, several years after it was released), a game-changing, idiosyncratic, utterly unforgettable and, at this point, probably wildly overplayed album that you still have etched on your heart for all time. Yes, it was 2004, and a little band from Montreal called The Arcade Fire had just — wait, no! Sorry, got my wires crossed.

But something about the utter joy with which seemingly the entire DJ staff at KCMU received this record — and the lengthy tenure in Heavy rotation implied by several of the comments — called to mind that “instant classic” of our own millennium as a point of comparison (which I’m pretty sure was still in rotation when I started volunteering at KEXP a year after its release). And while the commentary on the cover of Funeral is likely limited to a glowing review by our own Don Yates and maybe a couple little chimes of appreciation, here in the debut album by Wisconsin’s own Violent Femmes we can really just immerse ourselves in the delight of discovery and a new favorite thing.

By the way, Violent Femmes are totally still a band! They released a new studio album in 2016 (it probably rules), and were live in the KEXP Gathering Space last summer (watch that performance here).

“Wow! Very fresh sounding. Poppish in an early Elvis Costello sort of way.”

“No: 14″ [This probably means ‘do not play side 1 track 4,’ which was probably a good idea.]

“I like this and I hate everything! -SC”

“This should be in heavy!”

“SC hates me (and everything else), but I agree with her anyway.”

“It’s an instant classic! No synths . . . what’s wrong? Couldn’t afford one? Everyone else seems to be able to! This is fresh, clean, quirky pop/rock/folk, with excellent instrumentation! The best in a long time!”

“This is great rock + roll! Try ‘Prove My Love'”

“Kiss off!”


“Bongos? Who’re they? (Just joking boys . . .)”

“Kiss off! Is a big yes!!!”

“What’s this big fascination with the phrase: ‘Kiss Off’? Try the song . . .”

“Gone daddy gone – oh yes!”

“Yes! A touch laid back, but still hot.”

“‘Prove My Love’ sounds a lot like ‘Good Girls Don’t’ by the Knack.”

“This gets better + better!!”

“Actually, I’m starting to dislike it more and more . . .”

“If this goes out of H I’m going on a Homicidal rampage – I can see it now – the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ of KCMU H!”

“Dare I say best debut of ’83? Best LP?”

“I dare you . . .”

“DEJA VU . . .”

“I like this record a whole lot.”

“Almost time for this to go back to H!”

“Vocals reminiscent of Lou Reed – sounds overall kinda like Velvet Underground but with more raw energy .”

“Don’t say that to Gordon Gano!”

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