Song of the Day: Lady Wray – Do It Again

photo by Aviva Klein

photo by Aviva Klein

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, unrealeased 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 “Do It Again” by Lady Wray, from her 2016 album, Queen Alone, via Big Crown Records.

Lady Wray – Do It Again (MP3)Virginia-raised and Missy Elliott-discovered, Lady Wray (aka Nicole Wray) has been soulfully leasing her powerful pipes to the R&B genre since she was fifteen, but the ride hasn’t been as smooth as her voice. Starting when Missy Elliott paid her a visit for a home audition, Nicole Wray made her industry breakthrough on Elliott’s 1998 platinum-selling album Supa Dupa Fly singing backing vocals on “Gettaway.” Shortly after this hit, Wray was Elliott’s first pick for an artist to sign to her own label The Goldmine, which yielded Wray’s 1998 debut full-length, Make It Hot, produced by Missy Elliott and Timbaland.

Since her 1998 debut, she’s had to navigate the rocky and unpredictable waters of the music industry. She’s had to go it alone for a while and re-make a name for herself. So she did, despite many trials and tribulations in her personal and professional life, in the form of a hitting the hustle hard. In that hustle, she sang backups for a whole host of big names like The Black Keys on Brothers and Kid Cudi, and in 2013 collaborated with Terri Walker in a new neo-soul duo called LADY. After Walker and Wray went their separate ways, Wray had to go it alone again, which is where we meet her now with her bootstraps pulled up once again on her 2016 LP, Queen Alone, her first solo album since 1998.

Queen Alone presents like Lady Wray’s bold interpretation of herself and long history within the music industry. She expresses, “It’s a reflection of my soul. It’s who I am today.” Despite her major ups and downs, she continues to create a healing, tried-and-true style of R&B such as the second track on her album called “Do It Again” that is both realistically cynical, but grounded in optimistic hope with the lyrics, “We roll the dice / And we lost in the end / Though our luck has run out / I would do it again.” With strong horn hooks and the thread of percussive, yet sensual piano throughout, Lady Wray captivates her listeners her stunningly refined and matured instrument of a voice that captures that empathetic pains and passions of life. “Do It Again” is followed on the album by “Smiling,” which champions the uplifting of the soul in the chorus “Just keep on smiling.” It’s that same wellspring that Lady Wray writes and wins the race on a four-minute ditty like “Do It Again” and showing us the fearless power to be Queen Alone.

Lady Wray doesn’t seem to have any upcoming shows at the moment, but you can always check out what she’s up to and thinking via her Facebook page. In the meantime, check out the video below of her sanguine anthem “Smiling” also from Queen Alone below.

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Music that Matters: The Tummy Ache Music that Matters Podcast

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.

Porcelain Raft at KEXP in 2015 // photo by Jim Beckmann (view set)

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 552 – The Tummy Ache Music that Matters Podcast

The tummy ache Music That Matters podcast, featuring a vast array of fantastic new music. Why? Because I said so. Keep asking and I’ll turn this podcast around and we’ll go home.

Tracklist:
1. Hand Habits – Sun Beholds Me
2. Porcelain Raft – Big Sur
3. Tori Bukle – Rooms
4. C Duncan – Nothing More
5. Western Haunts – Man Made Heart
6. Slowdive – Star Roving
7. Rudy Willingham – Why?
8. Virginia Wing – ESP Offline
9. Diet Cig – Tummy Ache
10. The Courtneys – Tour
11. Hiccup – Teasin’
12. John Wesley Coleman – Shovel
13. Hater – Mental Haven
14. The Olympians – Sirens of Jupiter

Listen here: (MP3)

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Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • She’s already ruled in the guitar world, and now St. Vincent is trying her hand at film directing. XX is an all-female directed anthology collecting four short horror films. St. Vincent’s clip is titled The Birthday Party, and captures an 8-year-old’s birthday party gone wrong. Watch below for an intense panda stare-down. XX is in theaters and on-demand today. [ Pitchfork ]


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KEXP Suggests: Sound Off! Semi-Finals #2 at the MoPOP Museum 2/17

emp2017poster

It’s that time of year again: MoPOP’s Sound Off! has been pitting local bands against each other for 16 years now. The all-ages “battle of the bands” has introduced us to acts like The Lonely Forest, Naked Giants, Manatee Commune, and more. Every Friday night this month, a new band will progress to the finals on Saturday, March 11th, where KEXP’s Audioasis will be broadcasting live. Last week, Jason McCue took the first round, with Fluencie winning the Wild Card. (Runners-up will be entered into the Wildcard Pool, and one of the three Wildcard bands will be selected by the Mo’Pop Youth Advisory Board to compete in the finals.) Let’s take a look at this week’s competitors below:

[ Photos courtesy of MoPOP Museum ]
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Don’t You Forget About Them: A John Hughes & Molly Ringwald Birthday Video Roundup

Molly-Ringwald-and-John-Hughes-on-set-of-Sixteen-Candles-1984-600x428

Anyone who grew up in the ’80s got their first look at being a teenager thanks to writer/director John Hughes and actress Molly Ringwald, and weirdly enough, they share the same birthday — February 18th, 1950 for him and 1968 for her. His coming-of-age films reigned over the metroplex, and she was the star in most of them: Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Pretty in Pink (1986), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), just to name a few of his blockbuster hits.

Hughes was also a huge new wave fan, introducing artists like The Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen to a wider audience via his soundtracks. He even turned to Ringwald for ideas: her Sixteen Candles character Sam Baker had The Rave-Ups scrawled on her 3-ring binder, and the band later performed in the movie Pretty In Pink. When Ringwald wanted to move on to more “mature” roles, it created a rift that the two didn’t repair for nearly 20 years. Sadly, Hughes passed away in 2009, but he leaves behind a legacy in film and music. In honor of their birthdays, KEXP has compiled a roundup of songs that the two popularized through their film collaborations (and a few without Molly) — see if you can listen without seeing the scene in your head, because we bet you can’t.
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Trans Musicales and KEXP: The Perfect Partnership

Talmud Beach // photo by Morgan Chosnyk

One of my favorite things about humanity is when we discover common bonds between us regardless of environment and background. Of course there are the basic necessities: food, water, shelter, but the commonality we share that is the most interesting, because it is abstract, is music. – DJ Morgan

KEXP’s hardworking video production team is constantly on the go. At the station, that means setting up and breaking down a constantly shifting schedule of bands from across the musical spectrum. But Seattle isn’t the only place these active creatives engage their passion for musical discovery. Occasionally, they reach other shores as KEXP seeks not just new bands but new and like-minded partners along the way, like the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France.
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Song of the Day: Mega Bog – London

photo by Adam Gundersheimer

photo by Adam Gundersheimer

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, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “London” by Mega Bog, from the 2017 album, Happy Together, via Nicey.

Mega Bog – London (MP3) Read More »

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Thursday Music News

photo by Jim Bennett

  • More new music from The Shins: stream the very Wilco-esque single “Mildenhall” below (frontman James Mercer is even singer lower than ever before). The band’s fifth LP Heartworms will be out March 10th via Aural Apothecary/Columbia. Catch them at this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival, 5/26-5/28 at The Gorge in George, Washington. [ Pitchfork ]


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Song of the Day: The Holy – Ramses the Evil Brother

photo by Annukka Pakarinen

photo by Annukka Pakarinen

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, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Ramses the Evil Brother” from Finnish group The Holy, from the More Escher And Random Notes EP released by Soliti.

The Holy – Ramses the Evil Brother (MP3) Read More »

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Midnight In A Perfect World: Melenie

Photo by Toryan Dixon

photo by Toryan Dixon

Melenie Yap Chesneau, or simply Melenie, has long been one of the Seattle’s most trusted resources for quality music. A tireless networker dedicated to connecting people with top-shelf music, Melenie has handled a multitude of roles within the local music community. Her passion for promoting shows, producing events, and pushing good music eventually landed her on the marketing team at Decibel, and she continues to spotlight up-and-coming talent and help coordinate events through her work with the Red Bull Music Academy. Her exclusive guest DJ mix for Midnight in a Perfect World revolves around the romance of Valentine’s Day, with Melenie finding inspiration in Quiet Storm radio and BET’s Midnight Love late-night video show for an emotional, nostalgic, and love-fueled journey through the finest in R&B slow jams of the 1980s and early 1990s.


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