KEXP Premiere: David Bowie – Blackstar

photo by Jimmy King

Every day, KEXP is excited to break new music from emerging artists, but today we have the honor of presenting a new song from a long-time legend: David Bowie.

For his 69th birthday, on January 8th, 2016, the Thin White Duke will release his 25th studio album (pronounced “Blackstar”). In a profile for UK newspaper The Times, it was detailed the release was recorded at the Magic Shop studio in New York with a band of local jazz musicians. Producer Tony Visconti told Mojo Magazine, “If we’d used David’s former musicians they would be rock people playing jazz. Having jazz guys play rock music turns it upside down. Their approach to the music was so refreshing, I looked forward to every day in the studio. Nothing was done recalling the past.” The Times describes the 7-song 45-minute-long LP as “an album of long, jazzy jams mixed with the kind of driving beat pioneered by Seventies German bands Can and Kraftwerk.”

Today, we premiere the title track, an epic 10-minute-long single that shows Bowie is still as vibrant as ever. If the song sounds familiar, a snippet of it is used in the opening credits of the television show The Last Panthers, a crime drama airing exclusively on Sky Atlantic in Europe. (The show premieres in the U.S. in Spring 2016 on SundanceTV.)

Watch the video for “Blackstar” below. hits stores on January 8th, 2016 via Columbia Records, and is available for pre-order now in various formats, including CD/Vinyl/Digital and a limited clear vinyl version. There are also special configurations including exclusive lithograph artwork.

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Thursday Music News

photo by Brittany Brassell (view set)

  • Swedish pop group Miike Snow will return next year with their third full-length, wittily titled III. They’ve already shared the single “Heart Is Full,” their first new song in three years, and today, they share the Run the Jewels remix, which you can stream below. In an interview with FADER, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt said, “When we heard that RTJ were fans and down to get on this beat I was super excited… but cautiously so. I knew this was the type of beat that they could just eat for breakfast; but I was hoping that the whole thing wouldn’t come off sounding too retro. I was at [producer] Emile Haynie’s house when the email with the mix came through and so we stopped what we were doing to throw it up on the speakers. The moment Killer Mike launched into his verse, Emile and I couldn’t stop smiling; he had found that flow, the rhythm to his lines that was undeniable, the flow which was so huge as to transcend any trendiness in music and just be monolithically awesome. El-P continued riding that same vein – and it’s like a sledgehammer.” [Pitchfork]

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Review Revue: The Cure – Disintegration


How appropriate that I should be blogging about this album on the very week KEXP (formerly KCMU)’s vinyl library is being disintegrated, the records removed from their dusty shelves and boxed up to be transported to the shiny, sexy new home. (I hope you guys are careful with those little paper labels!) I look forward to being reunited with them there, but for now I send my thanks to the wonderful Janice for grabbing a few photos for me, including this gem, which I had somehow not yet covered.

The Internet informs me that Disintegration – I think now acknowledged by all right-minded humans to be a classic – was not at all well-received initially by the powers that be at Elektra Records. Perhaps used to some of the poppier numbers on Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, the label thought this record was way too much of a downer, and accused Robert Smith of being “willfully obscure.” It’s a good thing they went ahead and released it anyway, since it ended up being the band’s most successful release, achieving dizzying new chart heights in the US and UK. Despite the comments of one of our DJ pals below, it even birthed a legitimate top 40 hit in “Lovesong.” Let’s hear it for the power of gloom and depression!

Back to the present for a moment: The Cure are touring the States next spring, including a jaunt up the West coast. There are no official dates listed in our fair state, but we all know what that late-May gap means, right? Right. Read More »

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Live Video: Mew

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

Danish psych-rock band Mew returned to the KEXP studios in support of their first album in six years, + - (pronounced “plus minus”). It ended up being quite an appropriate title. Plus: the return of founding bassist Johan Wohlert, who left the band in 2006 before the birth of his first child. Minus: original guitarist Bo Madsen, who left the band this past summer. Even the session below takes away the bombastic soar of production on their latest full-length (minus), letting the other-worldly harmonies of the band truly shine (plus). It all adds up to a beautiful, stripped-down set. Watch below.

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Song of the Day: Fast Romantics – Julia

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 “Julia” by Fast Romantics from the 2015 self-released single.

Fast Romantics – Julia (MP3)

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2015 Top Ten List Spotlight: John Gilbreath

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2015, leading up to our 2015 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 11th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 18 to hear if your picks made the list!

Industrial Revelation

Industrial Revelation // photo courtesy of the artist

John Gilbreath’s 2015 Top Ten Albums

artist album label
Ambrose Akinmusire the imagined savior is far easier to paint Blue Note
Vijay Iyer Break Stuff ECM
Mary Halvorson Meltframe Firehouse 12
Industrial Revelation Liberation & The Kingdom of NRI S/R
Jose James Yesterday I Had the Blues Blue Note
Steve Coleman Synovial Joints Pi Recordings
Terence Blanchard Breathless Blue Note
Antonio Sanchez Birdman Milan
D’Angelo Black Messiah RCA
Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra Galactic Parables Cuneiform

John Gilbreath is the host of Jazz Theater every Monday morning from 1AM-3AM.

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Live Review: Mac DeMarco with Alex Calder and The Courtneys at The Moore 10/29/15

all photos by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Mac DeMarco is a walking contradiction. He’s a hardworking slacker, a popular outsider, and his newest release Another One is laden with carefree melancholy. His shows have always been a celebration of his refusal to fit any sort of vague mold, and the fans that aspire to do the same. Thursday night at The Moore found Mac moving up the ranks of Seattle venues, and having no trouble filling the bigger Moore. He has always inspired a dedicated fan base, and after The Courtneys and Alex Calder got the night going, Mac DeMarco showed exactly why that is.
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Wednesday Music News

  • Eagles of Death Metal have issued their first statement since last week’s terrorist attack at their Bataclan show in Paris that claimed the lives of 89 people, including their merchandise manager Nick Alexander. Via social media, the band wrote: “While the band is now home safe, we are horrified and still trying to come to terms with what happened in France. Our thoughts are first and foremost with our brother, Nick Alexander, our record company comrades Thomas Ayad, Marie Mosser, and Manu Perez, and all the friends and fan’s whose lives were taken in Paris, as well as their friends, families, and loved ones.” The band have postponed all future shows until further notice, concluding the statement with, “Vive la musique, vive la liberté, vive la France, and vive EODM.” Read below: [Spin]

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Live Review: Gardens & Villa with De Lux at The Crocodile 11/16/15

Gardens & Villa

all photos by Brittany Brassell

There are lots of reasons for two bands to tour with each other. For example, they might have a similar fanbase. Or, they might have a similar sound, and can cater to a single collaborative night of music fairly easily. Or, in the case of Los Angeles pairing Gardens & Villa and De Lux, they might have written their newest album with the same dystopian thoughts stewing in their minds. While the synthesizer may link these two from a distance, it’s the motifs that really put them hand in hand with each other on this six date west coast tour leg. In June, De Lux dropped their second LP, Generation, on Innovative Leisure, an album that explores the weird world of modern communication with the backdrop of increasingly intelligent technology creeping up behind. In August, Gardens & Villa released their third LP Music For Dogs on Secretly Canadian, and told the story of how a similar world to that of De Lux has changed their lives and their loves in every way. Where De Lux tackle communication and perception, Gardens tackle culture and disposition, but in both, we see a weird modern world where the givens of yesterday seem to be misplaced among our increasingly complicated world of wires. De Lux supports Gardens into the last of the year for their lengthy touring behind the new record, and Gardens couldn’t have picked a better band to finish out with. Together, Gardens & Villa and De Lux put on a fantastic Monday night show, full of startling conclusions and plenty of whimsical charm.
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2015 Top Ten List Spotlight: Miss Ashley

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2015, leading up to our 2015 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Friday, December 11th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 18 to hear if your picks made the list!

Lila Downs

Lila Downs // photo credit: Charina Pitzel (view set)

Miss Ashley’s 2015 Top Ten Albums

artist album label
Protoje Ancient Future Overstand
Tame Impala Currents Interscope
The Internet Ego Death Aftermath
Lila Downs Balas y Chocolate Sony Latin
Caribou Our Love Merge
Tego Calderon El Que Sabe, Sabe Venemusic
Floating Points Eleania Luaka Bop
Steel Pulse Handsworth Revolution (Deluxe Edition) Island
Bob Moses Days Gone By Domino
Santi Mostaffa Intratable Regalia

DJ Miss Ashley is on the air every Monday morning from 3-6AM.

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