Song of the Day: Nothing – Vertigo Flowers

photo by Ben Rayner

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 “Vertigo Flowers” by Nothing from their 2016 album, Tired of Tomorrow, on Relapse Records.

Nothing – Vertigo Flowers (MP3)

Philly band Nothing is a shoegaze band on a metal label. It’s an odd match on paper, but the minute the heavy tones of their music flood through the air, the pairing makes sense. Nothing make music that washes you with sound like 90’s shoegaze greats, through a dark grating lens. The lead up to the band’s recent release “Tired of Tomorrow” has not been easy, as the title implies. Lead man Dominic Palermo was playing in a punk band when he stabbed a man in a fight and found himself in jail facing seven years for assault and attempted murder. After two years of jail, he got out only to experience the deaths of friends and family. So it makes sense that Nothing touches on heavy themes, through both texture and lyrics. And while they do that excellently, their sound also relies on a certain contrasting softness, that melds the harsh tones and honest lyrics into a smoother affair. Album cut and our featured song “Vertigo Flowers,” may be the lightest on the album, providing an excellent example of the bands duality. It begins with harmonies and pleasant guitar riffs, but a breakdown in the later half shifts the tempo, bringing wave after wave of fuzz crashing down to the harsh droning of a guitar. Palermo’s voice rises and falls, dipping in and out of the haze instead of adding to it, providing a pang of emotion few shoegaze vocalists can match. As the song ends to the ringing of feedback, it’s clear that when you’re tired of tomorrow, Nothing will help.

You can catch Nothing live in Seattle at Tractor Tavern on June 16th. Until then, keep up with the band on their Facebook and website, and check out the video for “Vertigo Flowers” below:

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Live Around Town This Week

Nada Surf // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Monday, May 16th:

Alberta Cross, Sky White Tiger, Grand Canyon at the Tractor Tavern // 21+ (more info)

Paa Kow, Syrinx Effect at The Triple Door // All Ages (more info)

Turtle T, Cosmos the Band, DoNormaal, Raven Matthews at Substation // 21+ (more info)

Detective Agency, Golden Idols at The Crocodile // All Ages (more info)


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In Stores Now 5/16

Brooklyn band The So So Glos lead this week’s new release with their fifth full length. KEXP Music Director Don Yates says the LP, “finds them bringing a bit more diverse and hook-filled sound to their anthemic garage-punk, with often-politically charged lyrics contrasting anxiety, political extremism and other modern problems with the power of music and community.” The latest from UK artist James Blake is “another beautifully crafted blend of intimate R&B and ambient post-dubstep with a spacious, atmospheric sound featuring moody, woozy synths, somber piano and spare downtempo beats accompanying his gorgeous, sometimes digitally manipulated falsetto and emotionally vulnerable lyrics of love lost and found.”

Hamilton, ON artist Jessy Lanza returns with her sophomore release, co-produced and co-written by Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan. Yates calls it a “more brightly melodic take on her sultry blend of R&B, electro-pop, house, post-dubstep and other styles,” noting that Greenspan “helps provide her with a spacious, atmospheric sound to surround her breathy falsetto and intimate, emotionally direct lyrics.” Chicago band Twin Peaks return with a “more polished and fully realized take on their psych-tinged garage-pop, with a warm, ’60-inspired sound featuring acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, occasional horns, mostly laid-back rhythms and alternating lead vocals on songs ranging from hook-filled power pop and Stones-influenced rockers to airy psych-folk ballads.”

The latest from Seattle’s own David Bazan “finds him adopting a more electronic-oriented sound, with atmospheric synths and drum-machine rhythms along with guitars fleshing out a batch of sturdily constructed songs reflecting the tensions between home and life on the road. (These songs were originally released as part of a limited-edition vinyl series called Bazan Monthly Volume 1 & Volume 2.)” And British artist Oscar shares his debut, “a strong set of hook-filled electro-pop with fizzy synths and a variety of beats accompanying his baritone croon reminiscent of Morrissey.”
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TV Eye: Week of 5/16

Courtney Barnett // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

KEXP has our TV eye set for this week in late night television. Set your DVR, TiVo, or just drink some coffee to stay awake for these musical guest performances on your favorite talk shows. Here are the highlights:

Monday, May 16th:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: The Kills (R)
Last Call with Carson Daly: White Mystery
Conan: Andrew Bird (R)

Tuesday, May 17th:
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Coldplay
Last Call with Carson Daly: Moby
Conan: Ty Segall & the Muggers (R)
Ellen: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Wednesday, May 18th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Band of Horses
Last Call with Carson Daly: Murs & 9th Wonder

Thursday, May 19th:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Corinne Bailey Rae
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: “Weird Al” Yankovic
The Late Late Show with James Corden: Ziggy Marley
Last Call with Carson Daly: Radical Face

Friday, May 20th:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Joanna Newsom
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Wolf Parade
The Late Late Show with James Corden: Miguel

Saturday, May 21st:
Austin City Limits: Foo Fighters
Saturday Night Live: Courtney Barnett

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Monday Music News

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  • At first I thought it was an piece in The Onion, but no, Seattle rapper Macklemore really did appear with President Barack Obama this past Saturday morning for the weekly White House Address. (Did you catch Obama’s sly “same love” pun?) And the topic is certainly no joke: the two addressed opioid addiction, calling on Congress to do more about the crisis. “Addiction is like any other disease: It doesn’t discriminate,” Macklemore said. “It doesn’t care what color you are, whether you’re a guy or a girl, rich or poor, whether you live in an inner city, suburb or rural America. This doesn’t just happen to other peoples’ kids or some other neighborhood; it can happen to any of us.” Watch below, and to find treatment in your area, call 1-800-662-HELP. [Spin]


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Happy (Belated) Birthday, Brian Eno!

photo by Shamil Tanna

photo by Shamil Tanna

This morning, John Richards celebrates the 68th birthday of composer, producer and performer Brian Eno, featuring four hours of ambient and other music created, produced and inspired by the all-around musical mastermind. While he’s most directly connected to the genre of “ambient”, a term he coined himself, Eno also collaborated with and produced an amazing array of talented artists, from David Bowie, David Byrne, and Robert Fripp to U2, James, and Daniel Lanois and more relative newcomers like Coldplay, Anna Calvi, James Blake and many others, all after getting his start as a keyboardist for Roxy Music. Today, Brian Eno continues to push boundaries, composing aural experiences for the physical, digital, and even cellular world. Tune in to the Morning Show this morning (or catch it later on KEXP’s 14-day streaming archive). For now, here’s a sampling of the diverse ambient world of Brian Eno:

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Song of the Day: Marissa Nadler – Janie In Love

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

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 “Janie in Love” by Marissa Nadler from her 2016 album, Strangers, on Sacred Bones Records.

Marissa Nadler – Janie in Love (MP3)

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Midnight In A Perfect World: J-Justice

MIAPW-J-Justice

Seattle’s J-Justice (a.k.a. Jason Justice) has been a trusted local favorite behind the turntables for over a decade now, helping ignite the influential SunTzu and TRUST dance parties. Originally a native of the Philadelphia area, Justice brings a love for warm, soulful, and progressive grooves both to the club where he’s opened up for international touring artists, as well as on the radio as a host alongside his DJ partner Atlee for City Soul on KBCS. His exclusive guest DJ mix for Midnight In A Perfect World perfectly showcases his eclectic ear, strong curatorial selections, and top-notch mixing skills, as he storms through 18 new and old favorites in his collection to stimulate both your mind and dancing shoes.


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Live Review: Modern English with Underpass at Neumos 5/11/16

all photos by Brittany Feenstra

UK post-punk legends Modern English have truly figured out the perfect way to retain their punk roots 35 years on from their biggest hit. What’s the most punk way to fund a new album from the original lineup of the band that gave you timeless new wave classic “I Melt With You”? Probably go on tour and play only songs from before that record came out, mystifying all lovebirds and passersby alike with a real throwdown of a classic set. Yes, Modern English kicked off their Mesh & Lace tour playing almost exclusively material from the 1981 album of the same name. Mesh & Lace was the band’s debut LP on 4AD and one of the absolute best offerings of 4AD’s outstanding 1981 catalogue, and it was a priceless treat to get to hear all of these ageless tunes at Neumos tonight. Together with Olympia post-punk act Underpass, Modern English melted for no one with a blistering post-punk set of deserved classics turned up to earsplitting volume. Their tour kickoff was a riveting success. If Modern English is coming to your town, go.
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Live Review: The Range and Rome Fortune with Zoolab at Barboza 5/8/16

all photos by Brittany Feenstra

If Brooklyn producer The Range and Atlanta rapper Rome Fortune have any one thing in common, it’s an unfettered line of sight towards a marvelous horizon. Both artists make music that is wrought with present-tense turmoil, but the future always looks brighter – and not only that, it looks magnanimous. The Range does it with atmosphere. His new album, Potential, out now on Domino, is built around samples of Youtube artists, struggling to get noticed, struggling to maintain some semblance of self while looking towards the dream. The Range reigns this collection in brilliantly, accenting the struggle and showing the brightness of the self-knowledge beyond. Meanwhile, Rome does it with poetry. His debut studio album, Jerome Raheem Fortune, out now on Fool’s Gold, bleeds personal narrative. It tells the story of a man struggling to see the big picture in a world where just making ends meet seems arduous. But around the corner, beyond all the distraction and nonsense, there is true fulfillment. It’s really no surprise that the two reach a shared place with The Range’s remix of Rome’s “Paid Back Loans”, where the two give us one of the best tunes of the year. Rome’s foundation sets the stage with timeless wisdom, then The Range builds on it with swirling texture and a euphoria that can really only come from understanding. Thus, it makes perfect sense that these two are co-headlining a tour together, working off of each other’s immense energy, making their appearance at Barboza maybe the most inspiration basement show all year. Together with a DJ set from local electronic act Zoolab, Rome Fortune and The Range gave a modest crowd something they could brag about for weeks.
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