2014 Top Ten List Spotlight: DJ Alex

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2014, leading up to our 2014 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Tuesday, December 16th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 19th to hear if your picks made the list!

How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well // photo by Eric Gonzalez Alfaro (view set)

Hey hey, DJ Alex here! It’s always a blast to look back upon a year’s worth of playlists and reviews to recall what sounds stood out the most, what struck the hardest, what seemed the most influential, iconic, and important. As has been a tradition over the last couple years (here + here), I tend to get giddy come December about sorting through all the sounds that passed through my ears in order to share my favorites. Here’s an extensive breakdown of what got me most excited over the last 12 month in hopes that you discover some artists, albums, or singles that catch your ear, too! :)

DJ Alex’s 2014 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
10 Submotion Orchestra Alium Counter
9 Lewis L’amour Light In The Attic
8 Popcaan Where We Come From Mixpak
7 Alexander Turnquist Flying Fantasy Western Vinyl
6 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart Days Of Abandon Yebo Music
5 Dej Loaf Sell Sole self-released
4 Posse Soft Opening Beating A Dead Horse
3 Caribou Our Love Merge
2 How To Dress Well “What Is This Heart?” Weird World/Domino
1 FKA twigs LP1 Young Turks

11. Populous – Night Safari (Bad Panda/Folk Wisdom)
12. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)
13. Mr Twin Sister – Mr Twin Sister (Twin Group)
14. Dean Blunt – Black Metal (Rough Trade)
15. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (Pax-Am)
16. TOPS – Picture You Staring (Arbutus)
17. Recycle Culture – In Transit II (self-released)
18. Clap! Clap! – Tayi Bebba (Black Acre)
19. Grenier x Archie Pelago – Grenier Meets Archie Pelago (Melodic)
20. Mark McGuire – Along The Way (Dead Oceans)
21. Supreme Cuts – Supreme Ecstasy (Dovecote)
22. Erik Blood – Canons Vol. 1 (self-released)
23. BADBADNOTGOOD – III (Innovative Leisure)
24. Real Estate – Atlas (Domino)
25. DJAO – DJAO (Dropping Gems)

Honorable Mentions:
Bam Spacey – 1998 (Ceremony)
Blackbird Blackbird – Tangerine Sky (Om)
Bruce Leroy – 10′ (self-released)
Chimurenga Renaissance – riZe vadZimu riZe (Brick Lane)
CYNE – All My Angles Are Right (Home Tapes)
Emma Ruth Rundle – Some Heavy Ocean (Sargent House)
Fatima – Yellow Memories (Eglo)
Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch (Hyperdub)
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (Warp)
Foxes In Fiction – Ontario Gothic (Orchid Tapes)
Francis Bebey – Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984 (Born Bad)
Glass Animals – ZABA (Harvest)
Groundislava – Frozen Throne (Friends of Friends)
Hightek Lowlives – Humanoid Void (Cabin Games)
Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like A Bell (OWSLA)
Jim-E Stack – Tell Me I Belong (Innovative Leisure)
Leon Vynehall – Music For The Uninvited (3024)
Les Sins – Michael (Company)
Linda Perhacs – The Soul Of All Natural Things (Asthmatic Kitty)
Lockah – Yahoo Or The Highway (Donky Pitch)
Lone – Reality Testing (R&S)
Lydia Ainsworth – Right From Real (Arbutus)
Nicholas Krgovich – On Sunset (self-released)
Nick Monaco – Mating Call (Soul Clap)
Paul White – Shaker Notes (R&S)
Peaking Lights – Cosmic Logic (Domino)
Porter Robinson – worlds (Astralwerks)
Redinho – Redinho (Numbers)
Ricky Eat Acid – Three Love Songs (Orchid Tapes)
Sabzi – The wøøds (self-released)
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty (Sub Pop)
Talquin – Tomorrow’s Calm (self-released)
Taylor McFerrin – Early Riser (Brainfeeder)
Todd Terje – It’s Album Time (Olsen)
Vemont – Vermont (Kompakt)
The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)
Young Fathers – Dead (Anticon)

01. Doss – EP (Acephale)
02. Yumi Zouma – EP (Cascine)
03. Spazzkid – Promise EP (Magical Properties)
04. Movement – EP (Modular)
05. SALES – EP (self-released)
06. Roses – Dreamlover EP (Group Tightener)
07. Sunless 97 – Pure4Sure EP (RinseFM)
08. Gallant – Zebra EP (self-released)
09. StéLouse – The City EP (Die High)
10. USF – SIMISM EP (Ceremony)

Honorable Mentions:
A Weekend At The Feelies – Chasing Silk EP (self-released)
Bakradze – The Letter EP (The Crescent)
Baths – Ocean Death EP (Anticon)
Ben Khan – 1992 EP (Dirty Hit)
Body Language – Infinite Sunshine EP (self-released)
BSN Posse – Soul Rhythm EP (Freshmoon)
CYPHR – Eklepsis (Her)
Desert Sound Colony – The Way I Began EP (Scissor & Thread)
Different Sleep- Conflict EP (Friends of Friends)
Faws – Free Samples (self-released)
Goodbye Heart – Restless Nights EP (self-released)
Jacques Greene – Phantom Vibrate EP (LuckyMe)
Joseph Marinetti – PDA EP (LuckyMe)
LIZ – Just Like You EP (Mad Decent)
Lucas – Clearing EP (Live For The Funk)
NAAVI – // EP (self-released)
Nao – So Good EP (Little Tokyo Recordings)
Only Real – Cadillac Girl EP (Harvest)
Philip Grass – Find EP (Dropping Gems)
Ptaki – Kalina EP (Young Adults)
Ryn Weaver – Promises EP (Friends Keep Secrets/Interscope)
School ’94 – Like You EP (Cascine)
Spooky Black – Leaving EP (self-released)
Sun Angels – S3TEP (CSCN)
Synkro – Transient EP (Apollo)
Vespertown – Kaleidoscope EP (Donky Pitch)

01. FKA twigs – “Two Weeks”
02. Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”
03. Saint Pepsi – “Fiona Coyne”
04. How To Dress Well – “Repeat Pleasure”
05. QT – “Hey QT”
06. Jamie xx – “Girl”
07. Popcaan – “Everything Nice”
08. Cam’ron & A-Trak – “Dipshits”
09. Basement Jaxx – “Never Say Never”
10. Todd Terje – “Delorean Dynamite”

11. Porter Robinson – “Sad Machine”
12. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”
13. Leon Vynehall – “Butterflies”
14. Perfume Genius – “Queen”
15. Lil B – “No Black Person Is Ugly”

16. Years & Years – “Real”
17. Les Sins – “Why (feat. Nate Salman)”
18. Drake – “0 to 100″
19. Lockah – “If Loving U Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Wrong”
20. Ricky Eat Acid – “In my dreams we’re almost touching”
21. Andy Stott – “Violence”
22. Essay – “Ocarina”
23. Spooky Black – “Pull”
24. Kendrick Lamar – “i”
25. Real Lies – “North Circular”

The 2 Bears – “Angel (Touch Me)”
A. G. Cook – “Beautiful”
Adanowsky – “Dancing To The Radio”
All We Are – “I Wear You”
Arca – “Thievery”
Azealia Banks – “Miss Camaraderie”
Banks – “Brain”
Baths – “Ocean Death”
Becky G – “Shower”
Becky Hill – “Losing”
The Black Madonna – “Stay”
Bob Moses – “I Ain’t Gonna First To Cry”
Bok Bok – “Melba’s Call (feat. Kelela)”
Charli XCX – “Boom Clap”
Chet Faker – “1998”
Chromeo – “Come Alive (feat. Toro Y Moi)”
Cities Aviv – “Never Look Back”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Coming Down”
Clean Bandit – “Rather Be”
De Lux – “Better At Making Time ”
Dean Blunt – “100”
Dej Loaf – “Try Me”
DJ Dodger Stadium – “Love Songs”
Doss – “The Way I Feel”
Duck Sauce – “Everyone (feat. Teddy Toothpick)”
Duke Dumont – “I Got U (feat. Jax Jones)”
El_Txef_A – “We Walked Home Together”
Fishing – “Chi Glow (feat. Marcus Whale”
Flight Facilities – “Sunshine (feat. Reggie Watts)”
Francis Lung – “A Selfish Man”
Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
Glass Animals – “Gooey”
Hannah Diamond – “Every Night”
inc. – “Our Time (Demo)”
J Mascis – “Wide Awake (feat. Cat Power)”
Jess Glynne – “Right Here”
Jessie Ware – “Tough Love”
Katie Kate – “Sadie Hawkins”
Kevin Drew – “Good Sex”
Kevin Gates – “Movie”
Kiesza – “Hideaway”
Kindness – “I’ll Be Back”
Kölsch – “Cassiopeia”
KOOL A.D. – “The Front”
Lapalux – “Movement I, II & III”
Life Sim – “Caladhort”
Lil Silva – “Mabel”
Lone – “2 Is 8″
LoneLady – “Groove It Out”
Love Dollhouse – “Can I”
Made In Heights – “Pop It In”
Mapei – “Don’t Wait”
Martyn – “Glassbeadgames (feat. Four Tet)”
Matom – “Piano 2 Variation 4″
MCFERRDOG – “I Wanna See”
Misun – “Travel With Me”
Mo Kolours – “Mike Black”
Movement – “Like Lust”
Mr Twin Sister – “In The House of Yes”
Nao – “So Good (feat. A.K. Paul)”
Nick Jonas – “Jealous”
Niia – “Body”
Novelist – “Take TIme (feat. Mumdance)”
Pa’s Lam System – “I’m Coming”
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Simple and Sure”
Pale Blue Dot – “Voyage”
Peaking Lights – “Breakdown”
Photay – “No Sass”
PHSNWSKY – “Wrist”
Posse – “Shut Up”
The Preatures – “Somebody’s Talking”
Rae Morris – “Closer”
Real Estate – “Primitive”
Rich Gang – “Lifestyle”
Rita Ora – “I Will Never Let You Down”
Riton – “Inside My Head (feat. Meleka)”
Royksopp & Robyn – “Do It Again”
Run The Jewels – “Early (feat. BOOTS)”
Rustie – “Raptor”
Ryan Hemsworth – “Surrounded (feat. Kotomi & DOSS)”
Ryn Weaver – “OctaHate”
Sango – “Me de Amor”
Say Lou Lou x Lindstrom – “Games For Girls”
ScHoolboy Q – “Man of the Year”
Shamir – “On The Regular”
Slugabed – “Another Chance 2K14″
SOAK – “B a noBody”
Sunless 97 – “Pure4Sure”
Supreme Cuts – “Down (feat. The GTW, Khallee and David Ashley)”
Swindle – “Walter’s Call”
Sylvan Esso – “Coffee”
Taraval – “Gonna Rain”
Teengirl Fantasy – “Lung (feat. Lafawndah)”
Tensnake – “Love Sublime (feat. Nile Rodgers & Fiora)”
Tennyson – “You’re Cute”
Tinashe – “2 On (feat. ScHoolboy Q)”
Tirzah – “No Romance”
Tobias Jesso Jr. – “True Love”
Todd Osborn – “House 117″
Total Control – “Flesh War”
Touch Sensitive – “Slowments”
Turtlez – “Dream of Heaven”
Twin Peaks – “I Found A New Way”
Vic Mensa – “Down On My Luck”
The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”
Wave Racer – “Streamers”
Winter Flags – “Message From Home”
YG – “Who Do You Love? (feat. Drake)”
Yohuna – “Badges”
Yumi Zouma – “Alena”

DJ Alex is on the air every Saturday morning from 1AM-6AM.

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Song of the Day: Cabana – Warmest Night


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 “Warmest Night” by Seattle band Cabana from their 2014 self-released, self-titled EP.

Cabana – Warmest Night (MP3)

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2014 Top Ten List Spotlight: The Best in Free


Poolside // photo by Victoria Holt

As another year of declining CD sales hits us, music distribution continues to move in a progressively liberal direction. Sure, vinyl might be making a temporary comeback in sales, but for the most part, what little is left of the intake for small artists in terms of direct music sales is taken from streaming services and third-party royalties. For the rest of them, the benefit of exposure supersedes the need for an attached dollar sign. Thus, it only makes sense that in 2014 we saw a lot of great free stuff come our way. With this list, we hope to get the best of it all in your hands at no cost to celebrate as the year comes to a close.

Poolside – Stir It Up mixtape

The LA daytime disco duo Poolside have brought us some incredible stuff in the past couple years. Between their debut LP Pacific Standard Time and a handful of great live appearances in Seattle, Poolside are growing into the market they deserve, and their latest DJ mix Stir It Up sure isn’t deterring us at all. A full hour of positive vibes, fresh Poolside disco edits, and world music eclecticism, Stir It Up is exactly what you need to keep the winter nights warm.
Read More »

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Thursday Music News

photo by Charina Pitzel

  • Like all good things from the ’90s, The Juliana Hatfield Three are back! It’s been 22 years since the release of their breakthrough album Become What You Are, but on February 17th, 2015 they’ll return with Whatever, My Love via American Laundromat. Today, they share the first single “If I Could,” which hardcore Hatfield fans may recognize from older demos. In a statement, the former Sassy Magazine postergirl says, “Some of you may have heard an older demo version of this song… I have always loved this song and I always wanted it to be done up properly and although this is not shockingly or radically different than the demo, I really love it.” [Consequence of Sound]

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Review Revue: R. Stevie Moore – Teenage Spectacular


Where does one begin with R. Stevie Moore? That’s what I’ve been asking myself, and likely what most people ask themselves when faced with the enormity of his recorded output. Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, and since I happened to pull this record off the shelves, and it seems to have been a hit at KCMU when it came out, Teenage Spectacular seems like as good a place as any to start. (Moore has a jaw-droppingly thorough Bandcamp page, so for once you can actually listen along as you read this blog post.)

R. Stevie Moore has been making and recording his own music for coming up on fifty years now. 1987’s Teenage Spectacular was his eighth “official” album – pressed on a record rather than on homemade cassettes – but in reality he had created dozens of releases by this time, and has created dozens more since then. His level of output is maybe not quite where it was in the ’70s and ’80s, but it still puts even Robert Pollard to shame, averaging three releases a year over the past decade (not that this is a competition). And the incredible thing is you could go to his bandcamp page and buy them all right now! You’d probably put quite a dent in his bills while you were at it. Read More »

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2014 Top Ten List Spotlight: Don Slack

For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2014, leading up to our 2014 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Voting ends on Tuesday, December 16th at 6:00 PM PT, so let us know your favorites now, and tune in on Friday, December 19th to hear if your picks made the list!

Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill Simpson // photo by Kristina Moravec (view set)

Don Slack’s 2014 Top Ten Albums

rank artist album label
10 Cloud Nothings Here And Nowhere Else Carpark
9 Run The Jewels Run The Jewels 2 Mass Appeal
8 Sun Kil Moon Benji Caldo Verde
7 YG My Krazy Life Def Jam
6 Strand of Oaks Heal Dead Oceans
5 FKA twigs LP1 Young Turks
4 Ty Segall Manipulator Drag City
3 Cymbals Eat Guitars Lose Barsuk
2 Angaleena Presley American Middle Class Slate Creek
1 Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds in Country Music High Top Mountain

Don Slack is the host of Swingin’ Doors, airing Thursday nights, 6-9PM.

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Song of the Day: Francisco the Man – Loaded

photo by Allyce Andrew

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 “Loaded” by Francisco the Man from the 2014 album Loose Ends on Fat Possum Records.

Francisco the Man – Loaded (MP3)

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KEXP Suggests: Dancing on the Valentine X at Neumos 2/13/2015

Attention shoppers: For a holiday gift that ticks the experiential and charitable boxes, pick up a Dancing on the Valentine X ticket for a friend or loved one – plus one for yourself, of course – and mark your calendars for Friday, February 13th at Neumos.

Dancing on the Valentine celebrates its 10th year as an annual fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, this year featuring local musicians Katie Kate, Gibraltar, The Swearengens, Jupe Jupe, Thunderpussy, Sam Ford of Goodbye Heart and many others, all performing new wave covers of artists including The Cure, New Order, Duran Duran and Depeche Mode. DJ Mike Steves and Emcee Dana from Three Imaginary Girls keep the evening rolling with raffle prizes from local businesses.

Since 2004, DOTV has raised much awareness for the cause and over $40,000. Producer Jenny George beat the odds – diagnosed with leukemia at age 12, given less than thirty days to live and told she would never have children – and today she’s a dedicated mother and an advocate for cancer research. This year’s DOTV is made especially sweet by a performance of the band 3rd Base, which includes her son (and stellar KEXP intern), Atticus.

Dancing on the Valentine X hopes to raise $10,000. Let’s help them get there! Gift a ticket to everyone you know and meet us on the dance floor.

Buy tickets, $15 in advance, here.

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

  • Surprise! UK singer/producer James Blake quietly released a new double 7″ single today, via his own brilliantly-named label 1-800-Dinosaur. Stream tracks from the single 200 Press below, which concludes with the poem “Words That We Both Know.” The mini-release will hold you over ’til Blake releases his next full-length sometime in 2015. [Pitchfork]

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Your Chance to Own a KEXP Hoodie Like No Other

Hoodie Dave front 441x441 To celebrate KEXP’s New Home at Seattle Center and the improved Live Room that you and your fellow music lovers are building to so you can enjoy KEXP up-close and in-person, we’re offering you the chance to own a KEXP hoodie like no other. Like many of our most popular shirts and hoodies, this one was designed by Chad Syme and printed by our friends at Seattle Logo Pro.

So how is it different? Because this fundraising drive is different. When you donate $250 or more, you’re building a New Home for the music you love — and to recognize your contributions, we’ll thank you with the limited-editing “Listener Built” hoodie. You’ll be sharing your passion for the future of great music, in Seattle and around the world, every time you wear it. And as a listener who helped build KEXP’s New Home, I hope you’ll wear it with pride. Our New Home at Seattle Center will be around to serve you for generations to come, but after the drive ends, this hoodie is gone so please make your gift right now while you still have time. Thank you for powering KEXP.
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