Song of the Day: The Cairo Gang – Real Enough to Believe

photo by Nancy Neil

photo by Nancy Neil

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Real Enough to Believe” by The Cairo Gang, from their 2017 album, Untouchable, on Drag City Records.

The Cairo Gang – Real Enough to Believe (MP3)The Cairo Gang are no strangers to the modern music scene, or the KEXP airwaves. The longtime project of Emmett Kelly, The Cairo Gang has frequently collaborated with artists such as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Ty Segall (Kelly currently plays in Mr. Segall’s current Freedom Band.) Untouchable, released back in March, marks Kelly’s first record under The Cairo Gang moniker since 2015, and his second LP released on Drag City. Though connected to his past records, which contain undertones of 1980s British and New Zealand pop/punk, Untouchable finds Kelly in particularly strong form, working with producer Ty Segall to craft an album of meticulous, yearning yet spirited pop music.

“Real Enough to Believe,” today’s featured Song of the Day, finds Kelly’s precise croon taking center stage, the song guided by the energy and rhythm of his voice. Kelly’s vocals recall Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice, perhaps if he was raised on a steady diet of The Byrds. The wavering quality of Kelly’s voice compliments his melodic, jangling guitar, as well as laid-back, but precise drumming from Ty Segall. The track floats along, leaving behind an intricate, gentle haze in its wake.

The Cairo Gang will embark on a tour in late June, along with fellow garage-revivalists (and fellow Freedom Band member) CFM. For more information, check out the band’s Facebook and Bandcamp. In the meantime, here’s a nice acoustic recording of Kelly performing live at Pickathon last year:

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Upstream Music Fest + Summit, Day 1: The Fabulous Downey Brothers

all photos by Bebe Labree Besch (view set)

To state the obvious, The Fabulous Downey Brothers know how to put on a hell of a show. The sextet’s costume changes, frenetic dual vocals, prop comedy (industrial shrub material; see below), and themes of extraterrestrial body modification killed at the Vera Project-curated Buttnick Building space. The titular Liam Downey, fresh from his So Pitted set, ended the performance by aggressively pushing back the metal rail which sequestered the 21+ area, attempting to liberate the decidedly all-ages crowd. The crowd largely remained static, but the gesture was appreciated never the less.

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What Does Soundgarden Sound Like To You?

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

With the death of Chris Cornell yesteray, we asked KEXP DJs to stop and reflect: “What does Soundgarden sound like to you?” Here are some of their answers below. Let us know what the band sounds like to you in the comments below.

John Richards, host of The Morning Show:

Listening to Soundgarden and Chris’ voice sounds like Seattle to me. They are Seattle.

Darek Mazzone, host of Wo’Pop:

As with most of my city I awoke to the news that Chris Cornell passed last night. Fuck. Both Amy and I were stunned in the morning as John Richards confirmed. Wow. No.

This was the sound of Seattle in the early ’90s, a real tangible manifestation of what the city felt, smelled, vibrated on. On Monday, I was at KEXP and Cheryl Waters played an early Soundgarden song and his voice cutting through the air created a dimensional portal for me that for a second felt like Capitol Hill in ’93. Dirtier, rawer, closer to the forest, cheaper, undiscovered by tech. I’m in line at Café Paradiso with him waiting for a coffee that would manifest the day’s art and experiments. RIP.

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Music That Matters: 2017 Sasquatch! Music Festival Preview

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.

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 565 – 2017 Sasquatch! Music Festival Preview

Troy Nelson gets you primed for a killer Memorial Day weekend in the Gorge with a preview of this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival, featuring high energy rock, scuzzy punk, rootsy folk rock, and hard-hitting hip hop.

1. Sleigh Bells – Rule Number One
2. Jagwar Ma – O B 1
3. The Radio Dept. – Committed to the Cause
4. SISTERS – Trails
5. Manatee Commune – What We’ve Got
6. Aesop Rock – Rings
7. Charles Bradley – Change for the World
8. Courtney Marie Andrews – Irene
9. American Football – I’ve Been Lost for so Long
10. Thee Oh Sees – Plastic Plant

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • Local Natives have released a new single with the help of Nico Segal, a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet, from Chance the Rapper associates The Social Experiment. Entitled “The Only Heirs”, it follows the previously released track “I Saw You Close Your Eyes”, which (rather creepily) forced listeners to physically close their eyes in front of a webcam before listening when on the website. “I Saw You Close Your Eyes”/”The Only Heirs” will be released as a digital single and limited edition 7-inch via Local Natives’ webstore. No word on a new full-length, as the band is still touring behind their previous effort, Sunlit Youth. Unfortunately, Seattle is not one of the upcoming stops [ Consequence of Sound ]

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DJ Sharlese’s Favorite Soundgarden Songs

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Every Saturday night, Audioasis host DJ Sharlese showcases exclusively local music on KEXP from 6-9 p.m. With the heartbreaking news of Chris Cornell’s death comes a blow to the local music scene. It’s something Sharlese knows well both as an expert on Seattle music and as a fan.

“I think the Seattle music community is so influenced by Soundgarden,” she reflected in our Facebook Live video earlier today. “Myself, I graduated in 1996 and I just remember hearing so much Soundgarden on the radio… and really being influenced by Seattle music — not even realizing that I would be here today and this has happened and that I get to play so much Soundgarden on the radio this weekend. This is something that really, truly affects me personally. It’s such a timestamp of my life.”

As we continue to remember Cornell, we’ve asked Sharlese to share her favorite Soundgarden songs (with a bonus Temple of the Dog thrown in, too). Check them out below and share your favorite Cornell tracks in the comments.

If you, or someone you know, are in need of someone to talk to, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are not alone.
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SIFF Face the Music 2017 Preview: Give Me Future

Give Me Future

Give Me Future
(Directed by Austin Peters, 2017, 85 minutes)

Festival Screenings:
Friday, May 19 at 8:30PM – SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, May 20 at 3:30PM – Majestic Bay
Friday, June 2 at 9:00PM – Ark Lodge Cinemas
[Director Austin Peters scheduled to attend this weekend’s screenings]

Remember how long you waited for that one band to come to town, how vigilantly you scanned the listings, praying for a new album, a West Coast tour, for the singer to stop screwing around with solo projects. It always felt like a lifetime, but it never was.

If you can’t recall the feeling, go see Give Me Future, a documentary about Major Lazer‘s historic concert in Cuba in 2016, showing this weekend at SIFF Cinema Uptown and Majestic Bay as part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The fans at that show really did have to wait a lifetime to see the globetrotting dancehall-electro party starters play their country–it wasn’t until 2015 that the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations, opening up the possibility for bands to visit–and you can see that air of anticipation on screen.

Give Me Future is simultaneously a reminder of that sense of excitement, a light shined on Cuba’s vibrant DIY community, and a celebration of youth culture that so often spawns the next big thing in music. Even more, you don’t have to be a fan of Major Lazer to appreciate the film; it’s a just a good story. Director Austin Peters, who will be at both screenings this weekend, backs up the film’s themes with compelling characters, carefully selected sound bytes, and a mostly well-paced plot.
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Song of the Day: Eyelids – Falling Eyes

photo by Alan Lawrence

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 “Falling Eyes” by Portland band Eyelids, from their new album, Or, out now on Jealous Butcher Records.

Eyelids – Falling Eyes (MP3) Read More »

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KEXP Presents Six Degrees of Chris Cornell


In light of the tragic passing of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog), KEXP has decided to dedicate an additional 12 hours of programming to celebrate the life and music of Chris Cornell. Six Degrees of Chris Cornell will place Cornell’s music within a larger musical context, exploring his connections in the Seattle music scene, as well as his greater national significance as an essential voice of rock music.

Six Degrees of Chris Cornell

Friday, May 19th. 6AM to 6PM PST.

Starting at 6AM PST, Morning Show DJ John Richards will play a track which features Chris Cornell. The next track played on air will connect somehow to Cornell. Each additional track will relate in some way to the track played before, creating a circle of interconnected music, all centered around the late Mr. Cornell.

Please join us as we celebrate this indelible artist, whose singular presence will be greatly missed at KEXP.

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Thursday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)


  •  As previously reported, Chris Cornell of the legendary band Soundgarden has passed away. We now have footage of the very last song Soundgarden played before Cornell’s death last night in Detroit. “Slaves and Bulldozers” was a deep cut from the album Badmotorfinger and is an interesting choice in light of Cornell’s death because its lyrics reference death. They also merged the song with Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying” which makes their last performance a poetically dark one. [ Stereogum, update: Stereogum ]

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