Music That Matters: Stakes Are High

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.


Filthy Friends at KEXP in 2017 // photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 581 – Stakes Are High

DJ Kevin Cole provides your perfect post-apocalyptic ash rain soundtrack with tons of great new music including tracks from Bully, Ghostpoet, Frankie Rose, Jane Weaver, and local bands New Age Healers, The True Loves, and Dot Comet. Let it rain!

Tracklist:
1. New Age Healers – Love Is For Free
2. Alex Lahey – Every Day’s The Weekend
3. Filthy Friends – Any Kind of Crowd
4. Bully – Running
5. Blis. – Take Me Home
6. Beaches – Arrow
7. The True Loves – The Dirty
8. Ghostpoet – Immigrant Boogie
9. Frankie Rose – Cage Tropical
10. Dream Wife – Fire (Ellie Herring Remix)
11. Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology
12. Tristen – Glass Jar
13. Dot Comet – Shut Eye
14. Matt Emery – Empire

Listen here: (MP3)

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KEXP Track Premiere: Dog Mountain – Purity

Dog_Mountain_640

With a name like Dog Mountain, how could you ever fail? The Bellingham indie rock quartet doesn’t need the name as a crutch — they match both the majesty of mountains and dogs by crafting powerful, tastefully arranged guitar-heavy tracks that aptly blend the band’s humor with their own introspective tendencies. With a new album in the pipeline, the band has shared their latest single, “Purity.” It’s may be the band’s most mature and emotionally wrought song yet, displaying the band’s masterful understanding of dynamics. Waves of guitar distortion sway in and out through the verses, surging in the chorus over distant vocals that serve as a steady baseline for the rest of the song. Strings pop into the mix as well at key moments, underscoring the drama lingering beneath the disaffected melodies.

You can stream the track below. We also caught up with the band to learn more about their Bellingham beginnings, the origins of the song, and most importantly — dogs.

  Read More »

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Friday Music News

photo by Kyle Johnson (view set)

  • Charlotte Gainsbourg has announced that she will release her first album in seven years in November. Called Rest, Gainsbourg has released the album’s title track as well as a teaser for its accompanying music video, which she directed herself. In a statement, Gainsbourg says that Lars Von Trier, her director in NymphomaniacMelancholia, and Antichrist, encouraged her to direct the video herself: “At first I asked him if he would direct this video for me. He answered, ‘No… you should do it.’ He then said, knowing very well what I needed, ‘I will tell you exactly what you must do.’ He dictated quite precisely ‘the rules’ for me to follow. I was nodding through the telephone while writing down the master’s principles. And that was it—the first push I longed for.” Rest follows up 2010’s Beck-produced IRM and is out November 17 via Because Music. [  Noisey ]


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Local Artist Spotlight: Baby Island

baby island

Every week, KEXP features a new local artist with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. This week we’re highlighting Whidbey Island’s own Baby Island.

Some collaborations just make sense. Formed between members of Arizona’s The Format and Olympia local legends LAKE, Baby Island started collaborating in 2010 and released their self-titled debut tape back in 2012. In both of their previous projects, the bands had penchants for the power in quieter moments — embracing folk-like arrangements with colorful, fantastical lyricism that accentuates the beauty in the emotions they’re trying to convey. All this through the whirr of a cassette tape — their preferred format. We caught up with the band’s Elijah Moore and Mark Buzzard to delve into their thrift shop beginnings, the importance of the Whidbey Island grange hall where the record their music, and the appeal of cassettes in the modern era.

Baby Island is a supergroup of sorts, with members from The Format and LAKE. Where did your paths first intersect and what made you initially want to start a new project together?

Elijah Moore: My partner (and bandmate in LAKE) Ashley and I had just moved to Whidbey Island from Olympia, WA when we met Mark at a thrift store (probably around 2008). We got to know him over the course of a couple years because he worked at the local guitar and music store. At one point I asked him to accompany me on guitar for a solo show and I loved his playing. We began jamming in my trailer practice space with Nick on drums. The intention was to make loud and aggressive music, but it ended up sounding more like the Beach Boys than the Jesus Lizard. Read More »

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Song of the Day: Noah Gundersen – The Sound

Photo by Charlie Shuck

Photo by Charlie Shuck

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 “The Sound” by Noah Gundersen, off the album White Noise, out September 22nd on Cooking Vinyl.

Noah Gundersen – The Sound (MP3) Read More »

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Throwaway Style: Tomo Nakayama Creates a Wallflower Opus with Pieces of Sky

Tomo Nakayama

Photo by Bebe Labree

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.


I can remember a few years ago I sat down with my laptop with the intention of creating a spreadsheet of local artists in Seattle I wanted to keep track of (yeah, I’m a pretty wild and crazy guy). It didn’t take long before I came to an incredibly obvious yet still startling conclusion — there’s a shit ton of bands in this city. That’s why they pay me the big bucks, folks — for my immense musical insight. But bear with me a second. Seattle’s massive arts and music scene is part of what makes our city so exciting. There’s always something to discover, always a band you can be going out to watch, and also scenes that are constantly changing. If you think back to 10 years ago, there was a surge of excitement around the city’s folk scene. But music here also moves fast and suddenly new waves of artists with totally different sounds come rushing in and it becomes harder and harder to keep track of the artists you’ve loved with the new ones you’re falling in love with.

That sounds maybe pessimistic or maybe shallow, but I think it comes from a good place filled with good intentions of wanting to engage with new art. I can only speak for myself in that regard and I feel a little self-conscious putting that out there, but I like to think others go through the same thing. How do you make time for the artists you already love while still giving the attention to a new wave of emerging artists? Read More »

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Thursday Music News

photo by Melissa Wax (view set)

  • Natalie Mering, better known as Weyes Blood, has had a busy year. She released her latest (and very good) LP Front Row Seat To Earth late last year and followed that up a few months later with a collaborative EP with Ariel Pink called Myths 002. Next on her agenda is a 7″ of two covers of two songs that greatly influenced Mering, Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” and Soft Machine’s “A Certain Kind,” both released in 1968. Both are vastly different from their original versions and hauntingly beautiful. A Certain Kind b/w Everybody’s Talkin’ is available Thursday, September 7 on 7” and digital formats. [ Under the Radar ]


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Learn How to Create and Book Shows at KEXP’s Mastering the Hustle Workshop This Saturday

MasteringTheHustle_BookingShows_Sept9_640x426

Your band has been practicing in your basement non-stop. You know your songs inside and out. Now you’re ready to finally load up your gear and play a show. But where do you start? When you’re first starting to play live music around town, it can be hard to get your bearings and know who to talk to, what to say, and — most importantly — how to actually land a gig. Or what if you want to create your own show? What do you do then? Thankfully, all your questions are about to be answered.

Mastering The Hustle: Creating and Booking Shows
Saturday, September 9th
2-4 pm in the KEXP Gathering Space

[RSVP HERE]

Upstream Music Festival + Summit, KEXP, and MoPOP are partnering up for the fourth installment of the Mastering The Hustle workshop series this Saturday, September 9th in the KEXP Gathering Space. This weekend’s session is themed “Creating and Booking Shows”, giving expert advice to artists of all levels the information they need to start making gigs happen. You’ll hear from professional bookers like Sean Majors from the Q Nightclub and Upper Left Events, KEXP Audioasis host and Events Producer Sharlese Metcalf, The Vera Project’s Andrea Friedman, and Neumos’ Evan Johnson; all moderated by KEXP’s own John Richards. Read More »

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Review Revue: Saqqara Dogs – World Crunch

Saqqara Dogs - World Crunch

Saqqara Dogs seems to be yet another band that absolutely delighted a certain subset of nerdy college radio DJs (and soon-to-be-incredibly-influential New York Times music critics – you’ve got to love any band that forces the Times to refer to someone as “Mr. 66″), but didn’t seem to make much of a splash beyond that – which could be partially due to only having released one EP and one full-length album. Fortunately we have a wonderful world of music nerds at Discogs, Trouser Press, and other places (not to mention that NYT archive ) to help document the details (not to mention the YouTube music nerds who let us actually hear the music in question). I guess you can now count this blog post and these 1987 DJ reviews as another piece of that puzzle. Saqqara Dogs may not have done much under that name in the past 30 years, but this band sounds totally up my alley, and I thank the KEXP record stacks for bringing them to my attention.

“Some good stuff here. Semi-Goth guitars with Middle Eastern percussion. Lyrics are minimal; the songs create atmosphere more than anything else. Nice.”

“Pretty mediocre. 1.2 is painfully bad. Be careful.”

“I like it. Just as J.S. [first review] says. Side 2 long but eventful.”

“I really like this. a move to M?”

“This is great! Greenwich Mean Time! Is excellent. Well, excellent in its own way. It’s very good, unique!”

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Song of the Day: Widowspeak – Dog

photo by Colby Perry (view set)

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 “Dog ” by Widowspeak, off the 2017 album Expect the Best, recently released via Captured Tracks.

Widowspeak – Dog (MP3)The album cover for Widowspeak‘s latest album Expect the Best features a glowing lava lamp lighting an otherwise dark and seemingly empty room. It’s an apt photo for the lyrical content behind their fourth full-length, which spends much time focused on isolation, discontent, and a “grass is always greener” mindset that any human can relate to. Which is why Molly Hamilton expresses her jealousy over the simple life and mindset of her dog, who doesn’t overthink their place in the world or next move, in the album’s lead single “Dog.” Written while Hamilton was taking a reprieve from her life in Brooklyn to move back to her hometown of Tacoma, she used the time for self-examination, which is why this record feels the most personal and honest.

“In the past, I’ve felt compelled to write songs that are more optimistic than I’m actually feeling,” she said in a statement. “As if I could make it true, as if everything in the past was significant or beautiful in a way, even if it was painful. But the truth is that not everything makes sense, and not every day of your life is an experience of clear cut emotional clarity. I struggle with this compulsion to pull away from people, pull away from the things I enjoy doing, and sometimes literally picking up and moving away when I am feeling uneasy and anxious about my future in a given space, physical or mental. Social media these days can exacerbate that as well.” The influence of her Pacific Northwest dwellings are apparent, with a much more lush, shoegaze-y sound added to their previous alt-country meets dream pop aesthetic that the band is calling “cowboy grunge.” The inclusion of touring members drummer James Jano and bassist Willy Muse in the process of creating the album rather than the typical arrangement of Hamilton and lead guitarist Robert Earl Thomas forming the songs is most likely a factor. Expect the Best is their most rich and atmospheric album to date while speaking to the restlessness of human existence.

Widowspeak will make a stop in Seattle on their upcoming tour, playing at Barboza on Saturday, September 23 with Clearance. Until then, keep up with the band on Facebook or download Expect the Best on Bandcamp. Watch the moody, dream-like video for “Dog” below.

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