Friday on My Mind: Songs for the Returning Rain

Seattle Center in the rain // photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

So in case you’ve been locked deep away in a windowless basement, it is indeed Fall and the rains have returned to Seattle. Despite what has now become legend, when it comes down to it, Seattle doesn’t really get that much rain. Especially when you compared our city with others throughout the country. In fact, Seattle doesn’t even rank in the top 10. We fall way down in ranking at #44 when pitted against other major cities in the annual rainfall department. Seattle measures in at a measly 38 inches of rainfall each year. We get beaten out by Houston, Memphis, and Miami. MIAMI. So it begs the question. Why the hell does is Seattle considered notorious for rain? I for one blame Tom Hanks for one, but it can also be chalked up to distribution. Compared to other cities, Seattle is through the roof when it comes down to amount of days a year with rain. Most cities that outrank us in yearly rain percentages, actually average less actual rainy days every year than Seattle. We just drag those days out. As well, Seattle doesn’t have a very uniform distribution of cloudy or rainy days from month to month like Boston, New York, and many other major U.S. cities have. As a rule, it pretty much is cloudy with occasional light drizzles from October through March in Seattle. Then from April through September, Seattle gets almost no rain and from June through September almost no cloudy days. So now, let us provide you with some songs to add to your rainy day music mixes….

Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song

From 1973’s Houses of the Holy, were busting out the Led for “The Rain Song” as our first song choice. Led Zeppelin consider this song this the very first ballad that they wrote. Supposedly is was written in response to a comment that George Harrison had made to John Bonham saying they lacked ballads, which was indeed true at that particular time. All four members of the band contributed to the writing of the song, which was a rare occurrence.

The Beatles - Rain

The song was recorded during the same sessions that resulted in the album Revolver. “Rain” did not make the album, but did manage to become the B-side to the single for “Paperback Writer”. And although a B-side, “Rain” received more attention many years later when it was released as a Record Store Day exclusive in 2010. Three different promotional videos were made for “Rain”, which at that pre-MTV time was a completely novel idea. Here is one of those promotional videos:

The Temptations - I Wish It Would Rain

Found on their 1967 effort, The Temptations Wish It Would Rain, our third song choice is “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations. This is one of their the few completely melancholy songs released by The Temptations who are known for being upbeat.

Honorable Mentions:

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

Everything But the Girl - Missing

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Agitated Atmosphere: CJ Boyd - Precariat

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as CJ Boyd.

What compels CJ Boyd to put it all out there? His releases are an oceanic (his word) pool of emotion and observation that feels heavy with every listen. And yet, one does not feel bogged down with the weight of Atlas when listening. The balance between the material and the phantasmagorical is a nimble dance of dirge and mass.
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Song of the Day: The Pharmacy - Masten Lake Lagoon

photo by Mike De Leon

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 “Masten Lake Lagoon” by The Pharmacy from the 2014 album Spells on Old Flame Records.

The Pharmacy - Masten Lake Lagoon (MP3)

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Live Video: Ásgeir

photo by Morgen Schuler (view set)

It’s going to take a little practice, but you’ll be saying the name Ásgeir like a true Icelander soon enough. When we first introduced the young singer-songwriter to Seattle audiences two years ago, we knew his ethereal falsetto and captivating songs would appeal to KEXP listeners even if his songs were sung then completely in Icelandic. But when he revealed that he was working with American expat John Grant on English versions of his locally award winning and record breaking debut, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, his fate was sealed. The translated In the Silence, released earlier this year, has thrust him before larger and larger crowds. Two years after his first Seattle appearance, nearly to the day, Ásgeir returns like a king to Seattle, selling out his show at Columbia City Theater and already scheduled to come back in February to perform with Hozier at the Paramount. He returned also to KEXP, older, wiser and with a full band to share the glorious noise of In The Silence here:

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Thursday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

  • Brooklyn indiepopsters The Pains of Being Pure At Heart share a new video today for the track “Kelly,” off their most recent release Days Of Abandon. Directed by Art Boonparn, the video reflects the warm, lovely light of the song itself. Jen Goma of A Sunny Day in Glasgow takes lead on vocals. Watch below: [Pitchfork]

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Review Revue: VA - Rutles Highway Revisited

Leave it to the musical pranksters at Shimmy Disc (Review Revue all-stars, to say the least) to release a tribute compilation to a joke band. The Rutles (note the pronunciation lesson below) were a Beatles-mocking vehicle created in the ’70s by Monty Python’s Eric Idle and Neil Innes, which ended up having a longer career than the band they were a parody of, recording and touring off and on into the ’90s and reuniting for a 30th anniversary concert in 2008.

The Rutles did not spawn quite as many covers and tributes as the Beatles, of course - why, just this week we were treated to the Flaming Lips’ take on Sgt. Pepper’s, much of which wouldn’t sound out of place on this LP. As far as I can tell this is the only Rutles tribute album out there, and might be the only tribute album to any fake band (e.g., there are lots of Spinal Tap tribute bands out there, but I couldn’t find a compilation in their honor – someone get on that!). The results are decidedly mixed, but with a lineup including Galaxie 500, Syd Straw, Unrest, Shonen Knife, King Missile, Paleface, and Bongwater, it’s a great slice of early ’90s rock, viewed through a very strange lens. Read More »

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KEXP Presents: 2014 Halloween Kids Dance Party

This Sunday, October 26th, KEXP will host its annual Halloween Kids Dance Party! This will be the harvest party of the year, hosted by John Richards and featuring KEXP DJs Darek Mazzone, DJ Chilly, Miss Ashley and DJ Shannon!

What’s special about this party? This year, we’ve expanded into two rooms! We’ll be taking over EMP Museum’s Level 3 and Sky Church, with plenty of room for family dancing! Crafts include an array of different and fun activities provided by The Adventure School to get you in that autumn mood!

Featured Activities:
• Make a bird feeder
• Ping pong toss
• Fishing activity
• Make an eyeball mask
• Face cut-outs for photo opportunities
• Face painting

We will also have pizza dough tossing with our sponsor Pagliacci Pizza, and, of course, our annual Halloween parade led by Grand Marshall DJ El Toro and the D20 Brass Band!

The party starts at 11:00 AM, with doors at 10:30 AM! Advanced tickets are on sale now at EMPMuseum.ORG.

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Song of the Day: Ty Segall - Feel

photo by Denee Petracek

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 “Feel” by Ty Segall from the 2014 album Manipulator on Drag City.

Ty Segall - Feel (MP3)

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Album Review: Hudson Mohawke - Chimes EP

I don’t know if there’s a UK producer on the scene who has had a bigger 2014 than Hudson Mohawke. The Glasgow native has been riding an unstoppable wave of momentum that hasn’t stopped since his collaboration with Lunice, TNGHT, put out their eponymous EP back in July of 2012. Since then, I don’t think there’s been a memorable DJ set played that hasn’t had at least an ounce of a TNGHT track or one of the subsequent Hudson Mohawke tracks. The group got the attention of one Kanye West, who featured the two on the Yeezus masterpiece “Blood On The Leaves”, and since then, Hudson Mohawke is more or less a household name in the realm of progressive electronic production. Leading up to the release of his first post-TNGHT solo EP, the man has devastated every building he’s been asked to DJ at. For evidence, you only have to look back a month to his excellent BBC1 set for Diplo & Friends or his Boiler Room x Ray Ban special event in LA, complete with a three minute introduction by Eric Wareheim. The latter features a live appearance from Busta Rhymes (26:30), a ravenous new remix of Kanye West’s “Monster” (48:00), and a point at which the power gives way completely. But apart from the hype, the cool factor, the light shows, and the crazy dance music culture, Hudson Mohawke is just a genius of a producer, and there’s no way to deny that, especially with his new EP Chimes. With a handful of new tracks no doubt the select offering of several dozen we’ve yet to feast on, Hudson Mohawke reminds us why he is at the top of the food chain right now, and does it in a way that makes you lose your mind.

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

  • Seattle’s own The Head and the Heart share a fantastical new video for the title track from their most recent release, Let’s Be Still, out now on Sub Pop Records. Director Jon Jon Augustavo says he turned to the children’s classic Mary Poppins for inspiration. Take a look below: [Stereogum]

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