KEXP's Song of the Day podcast features exclusive in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent musicians that KEXP thinks listeners should hear along with songs from more well-known artists.
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Chris Carroll - "Blue (feat. Gabriel Teodros)," a 2021 single on Raindrop Sound. Seattle-based artist Chris Carroll made a name for himself with his impressive production work on music from Gifted Youngstaz, Ra Scion of Common Market, Entendres, and MADlines. And then in 2019, he began releasing his own music, first under the alias Spoke, and then under his own name. Today's Song of the Day showcases that balance between control and collaboration as he invites local artist (and KEXP DJ) Gabriel Teodros and musician Mario Luciano to the poignant single "Blue." Carroll writes on his Bandcamp page: I'm honored to have created this track featuring an artist that I deeply admire, Gabriel Teodros. When I was 16, he was the first artist I'd ever heard perform spoken word (alongside Khingz as Abyssinian Creole), and when I was 18, Gabriel gave me my first turntable for a ride home. Little did I know this would set the course of my musical journey on through to adulthood. This track also features the sample composition of a recent mentor of mine, Mario Luciano, who has been a tremendous influence in the last year. This song is for all those we have lost during the pandemic, and to those we've become estranged from. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids - "Change (feat. ebonEmpress & Jenny Lea)" from the 2021 album Life After on Distorted Muse. Vancouver-based duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids live up to their name. The duo of Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce formed the group in 2016 after seeing a show headlined by fellow-Indigenous artists, the hip-hop collective First Ladies Crew. As members of the Haisla nation, the pair knew they could use music to both celebrate and elevate their heritage. “As Indigenous people who have been shit on year after year after year by the government, from the people, from our own people, the media, the police… I feel like Indigenous people have developed our own sense of humour that only we get,” Nyce toldRange. “For us, the way we grew up listening to rap and hip-hop, it was so dark and heavy and it just weighed on you. You couldn't listen to it more than once unless you were in the right mindset. So for us, coming up, our message, our music, we wanted to talk about the heavy stuff but with a positive spin. And making sure that at the end of the day you left smiling — on a high note. We never want people to feel down on themselves. We want to lift our people up, not bring them down.” Metz adds: “It's just like our name also, Snotty Nose Rez Kids; it explains who we are without having to explain who we are. You gotta have a sense of humour when you come through trauma.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jelly Cleaver - "Black Line," a 2021 single on Gearbox Records. On today's Song of the Day, South London-based artist/activist Jelly Cleaver uses her bluesy guitar rock to speak out on global warming. In a press release, she elaborates: “This song was especially inspired by the story of the Ogoni Nine and Shell oil corporation. Having poisoned the Niger Delta region with negligent oil spills, the Ogoni people who were indigenous there rose up and demanded Shell clean up the oil and compensate them. Shell worked with the military dictatorship government who raided villages killing 2,000 and displacing 80,000. Shell then bribed witnesses to provide false testimonies so that the leaders of the uprising were executed, who became known as the Ogoni nine.” “It was also inspired by the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests by the Standing Rock Sioux and the many times the fossil fuel industry has abused the world.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Ivy Sole - "One More Night (feat. Topaz Jones)," a 2021 single on Les Fleurs Records. With her new single "One More Night", Philadelphia-based artist Ivy Sole teams up with Montclair, NJ-based rapper Topaz Jones for a soulful, R&B tinged exploration of romantic feelings. It's also the first listen to her just-announced full-length CANDID, which will be released February 2nd on Ivy's own Les Fleurs Music. "CANDID explores the many ways I find myself endeavouring towards truth and clarity, and 'One More Night' is no different. It's a song that speaks directly to the woman I had in mind, but still gives room for the listener's imagination,” Sole explained toStereofox. “The song itself came out of the essence of someone appearing in your mind without you actively deciding to invite them there, and the longing that ends up dictating how you act upon the memories, images and feelings that are brought out from that initial spark. Topaz and I produced it together, which makes it even more special to me..." Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Coco Peila - "Pretty Girls (feat. Taj Mahal)," a 2021 single on JuixeGRL Records. With her latest single "Pretty Girls," Bay Area-based artist Coco Peila has elevated a movement to challenge beauty norms. As she expresses on her Facebook page, “It's an opportunity for us as Black women to have a heart to heart about what it's been like for all of us, and to challenge the ideas and perceptions in our own minds about what 'Pretty' is, WHY it is, and who currently or historically has access to it.” It also launched the "Pretty Heist" media campaign, which Peila describes as "a music video and interview series centered around Black Women's Liberation and the impacts of sexism, anti-black racism, white supremacy, and the beautification industry on Black Women & Girls' lives, perception of ourselves and others, sense of worth, perception of beauty and access to resources. The series spotlights women and girls, and provides information about how to support the work we are doing in the world and our communities." Learn more about the campaign at her Facebook page here. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Ruth B. - "Moments in Between" from the 2021 album Moments in Between on Reb Music Productions / Downtown Records. Ethiopian-Canadian singer/songwriter Ruth B. explores the complexities of being a woman in her mid-twenties on her sophomore album Moments In Between. This is especially resonant on the title track, a wistful, laid-back song that really highlights Ruth's soulful voice. The new LP was executive produced by Patrick Wimberly (Beyonce, Solange, Blood Orange, Ellie Goulding). “Writing songs has always been therapeutic for me,” she says via a press release, “and I hope that hearing my songs helps other people in the same way. Whether they're feeling lonely or heartbroken or happy, I want them to know that someone else understands what they're going through.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Maiah Manser - "Walking Faster," a 2021 self-released single. It's been four years since Los Angeles-via-Seattle-via-Oregon musician Maiah Manser released her fantastic and far-too-succinct sophomore EP Second Skin. In that time, she's been busy sharing stages with artists like CHVRCHES, Crystal Castles, and ODESZA, singing backup vocals alongside local luminary Mary Lambert for a few names you might recognize such as Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, and Pharrell Williams, and getting placements in the show Lucifer and at 2017's Met Gala. It now appears that, finally, Manser is ready to release new music out to the world. Today's Song of the Day, “Walking Faster” is her first single in two years and a perfect reintroduction to an artist who clearly hasn't lost her touch. Without any hesitation or introduction, Manser comes in swinging with the softly and speedily sung lines, “Giving up all my love /Just because that was what i was taught / Even though I don't know who even said that,” while a glitchy electronic beat fights to keep up. From there, the song builds as Manser belts the chorus while drenched in reverb for a cathartic and catchy track that's only snag is that it's over too soon. A new EP titled Third Degree is expected in 2022. Watch Manser's 2017 KEXP in-studio performance on YouTube or at the link below. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Combo Chimbita - "Babalawo," a 2021 single on Anti-. Combo Chimbita is the project for four first-generation New Yorkers who make tropical futurism inspired by the cumbia of their birth country of Colombia and the rock n' roll of the American city they call home. Since the release of their incredible 2019 full-length Ahomale, the quartet have been steadily churning out singles that continually build upon their otherworldly mystique. Our Song of the Day, “Babalawo,” is the latest single to be revealed and an incredible entry point for those unfamiliar with the band's gorgeous genre fusion. While my sub-par Spanish skills prevent me from deciphering the song's lyrics, the passion and fury with which frontwoman Carolina Oliveras sings bridges the language barrier by letting listeners into the cosmically spiritual world with which the song lives. “We debuted ‘Babalawo' when we played with Sun Ra Arkestra and it's become a favorite song from our set,” explains guitarist Niño Lento. “It has some hints of trap, a bit of rock, but also carries influences from Haitian music and sounds. Carolina's lyrics are also important since they describe some of our first encounters with Regla de Ocha (often known as Santeria). These intimate moments of spiritual guidance are incredibly important to us as a band with decolonial aspirations.” “This song narrates a dream I had in which an Eggun (deceased person) assuaged my fears and encouraged me to continue down my path,” Oliveras says of “Babalawo.” “They said ‘Ponte pa lo tuyo,' a directive to follow that which is already mine — a message I felt important to share forward … While it may seem that this song is dedicated to a particular Babalawo (similar to a priest in a Yoruban context), it's also an homage to the many teachers who form the Yoruban culture and religion around me and continue to inspire a deeper exploration from me.” The song comes with a video featuring multidisciplinary artist Edrimael Delgado Reyes in a fiery interpretative dance that draws from Plato's Allegory of the Cave that heightens the drama of the “Babalawo” to celestial levels. Watch the video, directed by Oscar Diaz, on KEXP.org at the link below. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
JOHN - "Šibensko Powerhouse" from the 2021 album Nocturnal Manoeuvres on Brace Yourself Records / Pets Care Records. As one YouTuber comically remarked on the footage of JOHN's Live on KEXP Performance from 2019's International Clash Day celebration, “The best band with the worst SEO.” And they're not wrong, trying to find a band that goes by the most common English first name in the world on the internet is an incredibly difficult task. But once discovered, the riches that the duo rewards you with are plentiful. Made up of John Newton and Johnny Healey, the duo are an absolute force to be reckoned with. Their latest album Nocturnal Manoeuvres, released in October, takes the explosive riffs the two Johns have a penchant for and spreads them out into maximalist, psychedelic new territories. Our Song of the Day is the album's early single “Šibensko Powerhouse,” a turbulent thumper that features vocals from none other than IDLES bassist Adam Devonshire for an extra layer of fury. “The lyrics came from a now-distant memory of visiting a festival in another country,” offers drummer and lead vocalist Newton. “I remembered standing alone in baking 40 degree heat on the hillside outside of my apartment – only to hear a familiar song echoing live in the distance from over the hill's crest. It was a once in lifetime moment that just stuck with me, a reminder of my small scale in the greater scheme of the world.” Nocturnal Manoeuvres follows 2019's Out Here on the Fringes. Watch the Ryan Gander-directed video for “Šibensko Powerhouse” on KEXP.org. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Trentemøller - "All Too Soon" from the 2022 album Memoria on In My Room. Danish producer Anders Trentemøller has been making cinematic electronic soundscapes for over 20 years now and is constantly finding new avenues of traversing genre-bending lush landscapes. The latest singles off his forthcoming sixth studio album, Memoria, “In the Gloaming” and our Song of the Day “All Too Soon,” find him employing textured dream pop and the glistening vocals of his girlfriend Lisbet Fritze for a majestic and mysterious mood. According to Trentemøller's Bandcamp: “‘All Too Soon' examines ostensibly diametric relationships of light and dark, life and death, day and night, love and hate, while actually presenting them as dualistic, and symbiotic, influencing each other as they interrelate. What might appear to be a dispiriting take on our mortality could just as easily be interpreted as its acceptance being liberating.” Memoria follows up 2019's Obverse, which featured Rachel Goswell of Slowdive and Jenny Lee Linberg of Warpaint. Watch the video for “All Too Soon,” directed by Fryd Frydendahl on KEXP.org. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mr Twin Sister - "Polvo" from the 2021 album Al Mundo Azul on Twin Group. For over a decade now, Mr Twin Sister have been constantly reinventing their sound in completely underrated fashion. From the dreamy baroque indie of their debut under the name Twin Sister to the infectious electro pop of 2014's Mr Twin Sister to the eclectic groove and slow jams on their last full-length, 2018's Salt, the band has been constantly pushing forward while remaining almost completely under the radar. Their newest forthcoming album, Al Mundo Azul, sees the New York-based band continuing this trajectory in dazzling fashion. Our Song of the Day, “Polvo,” might be the best representation of this new direction towards sheeny dance pop. Influenced by the cumbia of frontwoman Andrea Estella's maternal homeland of El Salvador, the song is a strutting dance track and one of the few in the band's discography sung entirely in Spanish. “‘Polvo' is about how death fuels life, how we're all connected, and how we must die in order to live,” Estella says of the song. “Polvo” is one five singles off of Al Mundo Azul shared ahead of the album's November 19th release. Watch the video for single “Beezle,” directed by Estella, on KEXP.org. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, we bring you the story of Tina Bell, from KEXP's Sound & Vision podcast. Bam Bam was a Black woman-fronted grunge band in Seattle in the early '80s — before grunge was a defined genre. Larry Mizell Jr. tells the story of Bam Bam and the life of frontwoman Tina Bell. He also explores why we've never heard of this group before and why their story has been erased from Seattle music history. For more stories like these, including recent interviews with The War On Drugs, Tori Amos, and Mudhoney's Guy Maddison, check out KEXP's Sound & Vision wherever you listen to podcasts. Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Talaya. - "Sola Fide + No Way (feat. Brandon Marsalis & Crissy P)" from the 2021 album Existential Soul on Talaya's Music. “Sola Fide + No Way” is an exemplification in song of a whole new crop of young, self-taught, self-made artists that is currently rising in the Seattle area. The hypnotic track off of Talaya's debut full-length Existential Soul sees the R&B soul songstress team up with rappers Brandon Marsalis of Tacoma and Kent-based Crissy P for a sophisticated and spiritual quest to find the light. An audio engineer by day, Talaya first gained recognition for her vocal prowess at 2020's Sound Off! The 21-and-under competition has been the symbolic birthplace of artists like Naked Giants, Dave B, Emma Lee Toyoda, and Travis Thompson and is seen as one of the main opportunities that young artists in the Northwest can get exposure. Crissy P also falls into that category, as a finalist in 2019's competition and now an activist using his insightful voice on his 2020 debut full-length The East Coordinate to amplify the causes close to his heart. “Is you Christian all the way?” Marsalis ponders on “Sola Fide +No Way,” questioning the intentions behind performative religion. Reflection is big for the 24-year-old artist, who beautifully articulates the big questions in life on his 2019 album Ouroboros. While none of these artists have yet lived a quarter century on this planet, their ability to express larger-than-life concepts bodes very well for the next generation. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Liv.e - "Bout It," a 2021 single on In Real Life / AWAL. Dallas-born singer/songwriter Liv.e may have only just released her debut album Couldn't Wait to Tell You in 2020 but she's been quietly gaining traction underground since 2017, with marquee names like Janelle Monae, Earl Sweatshirt, and Tyler, The Creator singing her praises. And, listening to Couldn't Wait to Tell You, it's easy to see why. The 20-track record is hypnotic in its fusion of soul, jazz, and R&B with loose song structures that fade like dreams. Her latest single and KEXP's Song of the Day, “Bout It” continues that dreamy feeling with hazy downtempo production by Mndsgn that repeats the same spacey line over and over like an incantation and Liv.e following suit with the recurrent question of “Is you ‘bout it?” to spell-binding effect. If you weren't before, you certainly are about it now. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dora Jar - "Scab Song," a 2021 single on Original Sin. 24-year-old Dora Jar may only have a handful of songs out currently but she's poised to become the Next Big Thing. Take our Song of the Day, for example. “Scab Song” ingeniously uses an actual scab on Dora's 19-year-old leg as an inspiration for an infectiously blissful pop banger that investigates the odd and interesting aspects of the human form. The track follows Dora Jar's 2021 mini album Digital Meadow, a flawless debut that melds intellectually quirky songwriting with electronic flourishes and hip-hop beats for a sound we can only unjustly describe as “bedroom pop.” Keep your eyes and ears peeled because if she can make a song about a scab sound like a top 40 hit then there's no telling what else she can do. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Angélica Garcia - "Llorona" from the 2021 Echo Eléctrico EP on Spacebomb. Los Angeles-born, Richmond-based singer/songwriter Angélica Garcia uses music to explore her many identities as an American with Mexican and Salvadoran descent. Garcia's 2016 debut, Medicine for Birds, was a folksy affair where her vocals twinkled in harmony with both banjos and synth beats and 2020's Cha Cha Palace, released only weeks before the world shut down, is a powerful and unique pop record that stomps with fury. So commanding were the tracks, that even Barack Obama couldn't help but take notice. Continuing her journey of constant evolution, Garcia's latest release, Echo Eléctrico, couldn't be further from her prior records. An interpretation of traditional Mexican ranchera songs, Garcia uses richly textured synth and vocal loops to layer the passionately sung ballads. Our Song of the Day, “Llorona,” sits smack dab in the middle of the 5-song EP and uses cascading looped vocals as the sole instrumentation behind Garcia's intensely emoted quavers. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Pink Siifu - "Big Ole (feat. BbyMutha)" from the 2021 album GUMBO'! on Dynamite Hill. Pink Siifu is just one of the musical pseudonyms that Livingston Matthews has taken on over the years. The 29-year-old Birmingham-bred rapper/singer/producer has been making a massive splash the past couple of years, most notably with 2020's NEGRO, which was an experimental excercise in catharsis, taking the years of pain and discrimination and turning it into a battle cry of recordings. In August, Matthews quickly followed NEGRO up with GUMBO, which departs massively from the free jazz experimentation and caustic howls for an incredibly smooth and bouncy Southern rap record. Our Song of the Day and GUMBO highlight, “Big Ole,” features bass-heavy, blown out production from Conquest Tony Phillips and an effortless verse from Chatanooga rapper BbyMutha. The song comes with a bright and distorted video, directed by 30onme. Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
MAITA - "Pastel Concrete" from the 2022 album I Just Want To Be Wild For You on Kill Rock Stars. MAITA is the full-band project of Portland-based artist Maria Maita-Keppeler. Quickly following up the release of her fantastic debut album Best Wishes, unveiled only just last year, this February her sophomore record I Want To Be Wild For You will be revealed. Our Song of the Day is the early single “Pastel Concrete.” What appears to be an intimate, possibly somber guitar strummer in the opening lines grows into a jaunty tune that grows and eventually cathartically erupts. Known for her mercurial lyricism, Maita-Keppeler turns the task of driving through Santa Monica for work as a study of the unique culture and landscape of Southern California. “Pastel Concrete was written at a time when I had a job that periodically sent me to Santa Monica, Maita-Keppeler says of the song. “A place that felt more foreign to me than any other. The outdoor mall, the kitschy boardwalk, the actors and artists I worked with who seemed so different from me and yet so understood the struggle of trying to get paid, and the infamous mythology of LA—I found it all uncomfortable and fascinating.” I Want To Be Wild For You is out February 18, 2022 via Kill Rock Stars. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Breeze - "Come Around (feat. Cadence Weapon)" from the 2021 album Only Up on Hand Drawn Dracula. Toronto-based producer Josh Korody has a long list of credits to his name including Dilly Dally, Beliefs, and Nailbiter but his main solo project is the monosyllabically titled Breeze. For his latest album as Breeze, Only Up, Korody recruited pretty much anybody and everybody in the Toronto scene to join him in collaboration to make a record in only eight days. Members of Orville Peck, Tallies, Vallens, Zoon, Sauna, Fake Palms, Rapport, Praises, Civic TV, Moon King, Blonde Elvis, For Jane, Ducks Ltd, TOPS and Broken Social Scene all have their fingers on the frenetically fun album. Our Song of the Day is the record's early single “Come Around.” Energetic and eclectic, the song mashes genres together in a way that makes “Come Around” sound so wrong that it's right. Psychedelic guitar strums meld with hard-hitting tribal beats and post-punk howls that feels caustic on first listen but gets soothing on repeated spins. Then, just when your brain is starting to comprehend what's happening, Cadence Weapon (the musical pseudonym of rapper/writer Rollie Pemberton) jumps in halfway through for an unexpected verse of nonsensical but clever as hell lines like, “On the web I surf like Brian Wilson.” After a cool 40 seconds, he dips out and we're back to Korody's trippy nightmarish yowls. Korody had his to say about the song: “Come Around” is about someone that has done something horrible and has not shown any accountability or true remorse and the fear they – or have the nerve – to be able to jump back into a community that no longer feels comfortable around them. So, as I'm singing the song I'm picturing performing it live with them walking into the room and making people, especially the people closest to them, extremely uncomfortable and angry. The lyrics: ‘Yeah, you really did a number on this one' references the trauma they imposed upon the community. When Rollie (Cadence Weapon) comes in, his lyrical dialogue is a bit more separate, it's more fun but still comes from frustration as well and it quickly takes myself and others out of that dark place with the hope of trying to move on and to enjoy the life we have.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Abiodun Oyewole - "Harlem" from the 2021 album Gratitude on Fire Records. Abiodun Oyewole's legendary history can be traced back to one very important day, May 19, 1968, when he read poetry in Harlem's Mount Morris Park with David Nelson and Gylan Kain in honor of Malcolm X's birthday and became what is now considered the first hip hop group - The Last Poets. In honor of this sacred day and Oyewole's love for the New York neighborhood that gave him life, Oyewole recently released a single expressing his appreciation for Harlem and the people that live there. Appropriately titled “Harlem,” the song is locked in a singular groove for nearly six and a half minutes while Oyewole waxes poetic about the music, food, history, and culture that makes this neighborhood so special. Backup singers provide meditative coos of “Harlem, sweet Harlem” behind Oyewole's shout outs to soul food at Sylvia's, hanging out at the Jazzmobile, the Apollo, shopping on 125th street, children jumping double dutch, high fives, and real hugs. It's a spiritual and inspirational journey of a man with a singular legacy. In a recent interview with Pat Thomas, Oyewole had this to say about the inspiration behind the song: “You gotta realize, Harlem was the place I wanted. It was like a desire, a dream. I was raised in Queens, New York. I would see Harlem every Sunday of my life because we went to church in Harlem. The energy of Harlem was exciting, electric. I told myself, 'I got to be here,' because there was no place in New York City that had that kind of energy and I really wanted that. “When the opportunity arose that The Last Poets were gonna happen and Dahveed Nelson, a brother who I consider part of the group because it was his idea, he told me that we were going to read poetry at Mount Morris Park in Harlem, there was a part of me that was very happy and a part of me that was very scared. I was intimidated because I thought Harlem was a tough place to do anything. “Harlem was where everything was going to happen. When we set up our home base in Harlem, I spent all my time in Harlem, I got an apartment in Harlem - Harlem became everything to me.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
alt-J - "U&ME," from the 2022 album The Dream on Atlantic. After a surprisingly sunny weekend, a cheery indie pop single about hanging with your friends at a music festival seems most appropriate. Alt-J, Mercury Prize winners and one of the early 2010's leading festival headliners, are back after four years to provide that ebulliant and light-hearted feeling with their latest single “U&ME.” Their first release since 2017's Relaxer (if you don't count the following year's remix album Reduxer) and the lead single off their forthcoming album The Dream, “U&ME” hits all the notes that Alt-J fans search for. Groovy percussion - check. Blissed out guitar riffs - you know it. A woozy melody - gotta have it. A nostalgic repeating chorus with slightly esoteric verses - wouldn't be alt-J without em. “It's about being at a festival with your best friends, having a good time, togetherness, and the feeling in life that nothing could be any better than it is right now,” explains keyboardist/vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton. The video, directed Unger-Hamilton's brother, Prosper, captures that sort of bonding-with-the-buds feeling by featuring the band ripping at the skatepark. Kicks are flipped, blood is shed, and - wait - concrete is floating? Just a typical day with the guys! The Dream is out February 11th via Canvasback/Infectious Music. Alt-J will be in Seattle on Tuesday, March 29th to play WaMu Theatre with Portugal. The Man. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sneaker Pimps - "So Far Gone (feat. Simonne Jones)" from the 2021 album Squaring The Circle on Unfall. It might have taken almost two decades, but Sneaker Pimps are finally back with their first record since 2002's Bloodsport. Titled Squaring the Circle, the album is a lengthy 16 tracks that sees founding members Chris Corner and Liam Howe team up with LA-born, Berlin-based musician Simonne Jones on vocals. Our Song of the Day, “So Far Gone” probably best utilizes her emotive voice to haunting effect. Harkening back to the trip-hop that put them on the map in the ‘90s, “So Far Gone,” is cemented by a downtempo electronic beat while arpeggiated synth flourishes sparkle around Jones' yearning cries of nostalgia. “So far gone, never return, no safe ground,” she coos with a deeper timbre than the band's original singer Kelli Alli's wispy vocals rang on iconic songs like “6 Underground.” The textured dynamics and affecting vocals make “So Far Gone” an album highlight and an exciting return for a band that some (wrongly) think of as a one-hit-wonder. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Danny Newcomb - "This World," a 2021 single on Rock Candy Mountain. Danny Newcomb's musical journey goes all the way back to 1981, when the hair was bigger, the music simultaneously messy and glam, and Seattle wasn't even a footnote in the music zeitgeist. At that time, Newcomb was a member of a KISS-inspired Seattle-area band called Shadow made up of four teens, one with a particularly now-recognizable name - Mike McCready. Since then, Newcomb's gone on to play in a number of bands including dark pop outfit Goodness and the McCready and Nancy Wilson-featuring short-lived side project. Under his own name, Newcomb makes straightforward guitar strummers, with his last release, 2020's Mackerel Sky, departing from his long-standing rock-n-roll, singer-songwriter roots for a drum-less, introspective, piano and acoustic-guitar led record. On our Song of the Day, “This World,” he is back to playing with a full band, bringing the piano into the sound as well. “I've always been a fan of classic songwriting and so many are written on the piano,” Newcomb explains. “It's such a great instrument to have in the mix when there is a strong main melody — you can call and respond with the vocals, echo a chorus subtly, while adding a driving percussive feel at the same time. It's made the sound bigger, and it feels a little more finished to me.” Last year, he started gathering material for a new release, writing for the band, and “This World” is the first single of 10 songs recorded with producer John Goodmanson, (Sleater-Kinney, Wolf Parade, Quasi) and drummer Eric Eagle, bassist Jeremy Lightfoot, and Erin Rubin on piano. “My good friend Carrie Akre [who played with Newcomb in Goodness and The Rockfords] will be singing with me on a track as well — its a bit of a throwback, (that song) but maybe in the best possible way." "I wrote ‘This World' last fall after being shut in for 10 months or so on the small farm on the small island where I live,” Newcomb continues. “I think there was line that drew me in — the one that says: ‘Don't ever let the Strangers in' — because that's what it was, I saw my family every morning, the sheep, the chickens, my geese, my neighbors, but not anyone outside my immediate circle. And I missed seeing people in that larger circle, people at shows, people on the ferry, talking to people i didn't know, making connections. Felt like the whole world was lonely — literally — but it was also a state of mind.” The single is the first song off the upcoming LP in Spring 2022 tentatively titled The Islander. Watch Danny Newcomb & the Sugarmakers' KEXP in-studio performance from 2019 below. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Makthaverskan - "This Time" from the 2021 album För Allting on Run For Cover. Makthaverskan don't sound at all like they belong in this era. Heavily inspired by mid ‘80s post punk and baroque pop, they sound like they should be a Factory Records-signee alongside Joy Division rather than their (albeit great) home of Run For Cover. Even the slight crack in their recordings make them sound like a long-lost cassette import your cousin sent you when they went to Sweden for the summer. But, indeed, the Gothenburg-based band is completely of this time and on the verge of releasing their fourth studio album and first since 2017's III. Titled För Allting, the album was recorded with HOLY's Hannes Ferm and will be out on November 12th via Run For Cover. Our Song of the Day is the record's lead single “This Time” that soars in the band's typical theatrical fashion, with frontwoman Maja Milner's voice going to Kate Bushian lengths to convey, well, something important. “It won't matter/ This time, it's too late/ This time, it won't matter.” While the song sounds squarely within the wheelhouse of the Makthaverskan's previously melodramatic dream pop, the band say the recording process for the new album was a very new direction for them. “When we started the songwriting process for this album, I think we all were pretty determined to take the music in a new direction. Not necessarily that we would sound ‘different,' but to work on the songs using somewhat different methods than before. For our previous albums, we wrote the songs in our rehearsal space and pretty much recorded them the way they were. For this album, we intended the songs to be finalized in the studio and left some more room to work with.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Deserta - "Lost in the Weight" from the 2022 album Every Moment, Everything You Need on Felte. Matthew Doty is wasting no time building up a catalogue of work as Deserta. Quick on the heels of releasing his debut album under the moniker last year, Black Aura My Sun, the former Saxon Shore/Midnight Faces plans on releasing the follow-up titled Every Moment, Everything You Need in 2022. The record's lead single and our Song of the Day is the Herculean track “Lost In the Weight.” At nearly six and a half minutes, the song is a slow burn of epic proportions that sludges as if carrying the weight of the world on its back. Endless layers of swelling textures ground the track while Doty's wispy vocals float above, urging us to “Take a little time /Slow down” like an angelic spirit guiding us from the demons in our heads. Doty had this to say about “Lost In the Weight”: “This song came from a place of exhaustion, frustration and the necessity to create. LITW trudges away on the same bass note for most of its six and a half minutes. It has moments of release, but even those moments are meant to feel heavy. This was the first song I tracked with Chris Coady and while we were setting up mics I said something along the lines of “Please make this sound as good as possible, I can't work as a nurse much longer.” And though I somehow doubt releasing seven-minute ‘singles' will bring about financial independence, I feel that we created some beauty from all of those darker parts.” Deserta will be in Seattle on Friday, November 5th to play the Central Saloon. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - "The Distance" from the 2021 The Distance EP on Nice Age. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, the musical pseudonym of Orlando Higginbottom, returned last year with his first collection of songs since his 2012's Trouble, a four-track EP called I Can Hear the Birds. After nearly a decade of releasing singles and collaborating with a horde of others including Amtrac, Bonobo, and Porter Robinson, the London-born producer is finally ready to give us the solo cuts we've been patiently waiting for. Our Song of the Day, “The Distance” is the title track from a forthcoming solo EP out October 27th. The blissful dance track is meditative and trancey with wistful glitched out vocals. “How long must I wait for this love?” T.E.E.D. beseeches. “I'm tired of breathing alone /Don't you know this could be you and me forever?” Rarely has longing felt this good. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aeon Station - "Queens" from the 2021 album Observatory on Sub Pop. After 18 years of waiting for the Wrens to follow up their beloved 2003 triumph, The Meadowlands, we've finally received new music from them. Well, sort of. Frustrated with his bandmate Charles Bissell's endlessly tinkering with his half of the planned follow-up record alongside a dispute over money cuts, Kevin Whelan is releasing his portion of songs under the name Aeon Station on December 10th. It's a heartbreaking way to receive them, but we'll take what we can get! The lead single and our Song of the Day, “Queens,” was unveiled in September and is so much more than we could've expected. A climactic five-minute epic, the song opens as a synthy slow-burner but builds into a propulsive, thrashing rocker only to crash to its emotional guitar-strummed ending. With lines like, “You said it was all in,” it's difficult to not read the song as Whelan's pointed message to his former bandmate. Whelan claims the song was inspired by one of his all-time favorite songs, “The Winner Takes it All” by ABBA. “It's about betting on the real you,” he explains in the press release. “Like a game of high-stakes poker, you push all your chips to the center of the table and aren't afraid to go “all in.” When the New York Times asked Whelan in their profile on his new project about whether the song was a breakup song, he responded “More like post-break-up,” Whelan said, “when you find the strength to get on with your life.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
J'von - "Blacc Moses" from the 2021 album KING CHEETAH on Empty Planet. “I need something that sounds like a win,” J'Von announces at the beginning of “Blacc Moses.” And, indeed, the story he weaves is one of triumph. Starting at the beginning, with his childhood, the Seattle rapper paints a picture of a mother stricken with grief but keeping it together for her four boys and how that molded him into an empathetic but unassailable human who would look at life with a keen and level-headed lens. The song comes from J'Von's 2021 album KING CHEETAH, his latest in a nearly annual record release string since 2015. More than solely a rapper, J'Von can count the titles of producer, animator, creative director, and father on his rapidly expanding resume. “They have that whole ‘jack of all trades master of none'… I hate that,” J'Von told KEXP's Dusty Henry in 2019. “I don't want to be that. I don't want to be the dude that's alright at everything. I want to be amazing at everything.” That sounds like a win to me. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tiawa - "Life Is Not a Crime" from the 2021 album Moonlit Train on Tru Thoughts. Brighton-based musician Tiawa fuses hip hop, neo-soul, and the Latin folk of her Portuguese heritage for an exploratory yet unhurried experience on her debut album Moonlit Train. Released at the beginning of the summer, the album features production by collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Jack-Chi aka Jack Kingslake and a thematic concept that maps a metaphorical train journey from relationships through to healing and liberation. Our Song of the Day, “Life Is Not a Crime” focuses on the liberation from oppression. A gorgeous Spanish guitar riff and lackadaisical electronic beat ground the song while Tiawa's woozy vocals float in a nearly imperceptible tone to create more “vibe” than message. What does come through, though, - words like “frightened” and “silenced” coupled with “life is not a crime” - paints a clear picture of Tiawa's story and intention. "Each song on the album is an emotion,” Tiawa explains. “I hope it helps to heal people in serious situations and make them feel better when they listen.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Helixx C. Armageddon - "Rollercoaster," a 2021 single on Creative Juices Music. While “Rollercoaster” might be the sole single one can currently find on streaming platforms by Helixx C. Armageddon, the New York-based artist has a wealth of songs, poems, and beats going back over 20 years. Probably best known as a member of The Anomolies, an all-women hip-hop supergroup founded in the late '90s NYC alongside Invincible, Pri the Honey Dark, Big Tara and DJ Kuttin Kandi, Armageddon is a treasure trove of creative energy that has emersed herself in nearly every medium of artistry one can engage with over the years. “Rollercoaster” comes from the anticipated forthcoming full-length House of Helixx and wrestles with the dips in the proverbial rollercoaster of life. The low lows are something Armageddon knows well. Sleep paralysis, depression, and social media addiction are a few of the demons that plague her but Armageddon keeps her perspective by acknowledging that “There isn't one person on Earth that isn't riddled with holes.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Cleo Sol - "Don't Let It Go to Your Head" from the 2021 album Mother on Forever Living Originals. If her name doesn't sound familiar, her angelic vocals have been on full display here at KEXP as a contributor to the mysterious UK collective SAULT. But Cleo Sol is a star in her own right, with a penchant for intimate neo-soul that's both heartwarming and spacious. Her latest record, August's Mother, is especially personal as its subject matter is grounded in the beautiful yet overwhelming adventure of becoming a mother. Our Song of the Day, “Don't Let It Go To Your Head,” is smack dab in the middle of the record and one of the funkier tracks on the album, with an intricate drum beat leading the way rather than the twinkling piano, sparse guitar, and shimmering strings that fill the majority of the songs. “Don't let it go to your head,” Sol croons. “Love is stronger than fear /Don't let it change who you are /You are meant to be here.” While the song was likely written as a lesson to her baby girl about the importance of being willing to love without compromising yourself, it's something we all likely need to be reminded of from time to time. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Adeline - "Stages (feat. KAMAUU)" from the 2021 album Adi Oasis on Unity Records. French Caribbean singer and bassist Adeline makes funk-fueled soul that's as joyful as it is political. The Paris-born, New York-based artist might be best known for fronting the nu-disco band Escort but broke out on her own in 2018 with her debut self-titled album. In it, she tackles difficult subjects that are close to her heart, such as immigration and feminism, while still making your booty bounce. For her third record in almost as many years, Adeline channels the fear and confusion brought on by the pandemic but reveals those ideas in a groovy, dancefloor-ready way. The record's opening track and our Song of the Day, “Stages,” blends a surfy guitar riff, funky bass line, and an exuberant verse from New York rapper KAMAUU for a song that touches on the challenges the music industry brings. Adeline says this about the song: “Stages” is about my journey in the music business as a young black woman, but it's relevant to indie artists in general, and everyone who's hustling to reach their goals. I've had many experiences of not being taken seriously, of people making me feel like I'm not good enough, and of being hit on by fake aspiring collaborators who turned out to have ulterior motives. ‘Stages' is my self-affirming chant reminding me that ‘I'm not going to take sh*t from anybody anymore. I got this. I trust myself'. Having KAMAUU on the song felt perfect because not only is he talented beyond words, but he's also been a great advocate for me as a female producer.” “Stages is also a reminder to myself that no matter where I am in my musical journey, I'm right where I'm supposed to be. When people discover a “new artist”, they often don't realize they're actually seeing the result of years and years of hard work. And while it's tempting as an artist to compare ourselves to other artists who might seem to be having more success, every stage is a win -- a necessary step towards the next one. There are so many different ways of measuring success, and every artist's journey is unique. I get to create this story in the way that works for me.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Guazú & Terror/Cactus - "Almita" from the 2021 EP Botanas: Guazú & Terror Cactus on Shika Shika Collective. “Almita” is one of three tracks on an EP that melds the simpatico genius of two Argentine-born producers living nearly seven thousand miles away from each other. With Lucas Page a.k.a GUAZÚ in Buenos Aires and Martin Selasco aka Terror/Cactus in Seattle, it should have been difficult to find each other. Luckily, with the help of social media, the two recognized their shared history and influences as well as their individual styles and started exchanging remixes. Via email, a collaboration was sprung and, with the help of Berlin label Shika Shika, Botanas was born. GUAZÚ's dark and mysterious sound is centered around the rich percussive legacy of Latin America with ample use of marimbas, bombo legüeros, warm guitars, kalimbas and birdsong . Terror/Cactus' more upbeat sound takes its main inspiration from cumbia with a modern electronic flair. Together, they've made something that seems like it could fit just as comfortably in the techno clubs of their label's hometown as in the dancehalls of Buenos Aires. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Xenia Rubinos - "Cógelo Suave," a 2021 single on Anti-. Renowned for forging a sound that's completely her own, with influences ranging from R&B to punk, you never know what you're gonna get from Xenia Rubinos. The Brooklyn-based daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father uses her Berklee degree in jazz composition and early influences of classical music and opera to warp modern genres in unique yet timeless fashion. One of the handful of singles the past year, “Cógelo Suave,” is one of those left-field songs that only Rubinos could pull off so well. “It's a gibberish spaceship ride, high speed chase, birds and stars whirring around your head at the end of a cartoon fight,” Rubinos said in a statement about the song and, really, it's the most apt description. Made up primarily of swirling scat sounds, the few phrases dictated in the English language are “Well, I don't know” and “I'm doing fine.” Which makes sense, considering the song was born during the height of the pandemic, Spring 2020, when despair and paranoia were the overwhelming feelings of the moment. “The more I think about it, the more I realize that the world was totally burning down around us while we were producing this track,” Rubinos shared on Twitter, “and in Cógelo Suave I guess I'm saying ‘I'm fine. THIS IS FINE.'” As the song whirls down from its psychedelic high, a vintage-sounding voice floats down from the heavens saying, “Penetrando los misterios del universo” - “Penetrating the mysteries of the universe” - which is part of a taped radio show that Rubinos found digging through her dad's old cassettes. An appropriate addition considering when the present is so awful, it makes sense to turn to the past. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Quantic & Nidia Góngora - "Macumba de Marea," a 2021 single on Tru Thoughts. Since 2017, British producer Will Holland AKA Quantic and Colombian folk singer-songwriter Nidia Góngora have been joining forces to amplify each other's respective crafts. Him, as a prolific expert in the art of electronic dance music. Her, as one of the foremost artists of the marimba music of the South Pacific region and a guardian of the oral tradition. Together, they've married their skills to offer something uniquely special. Four years after collaborating for the dancefloor-ready full-length Curao, the duo have joined forces again for a softer, more sultry single with “Macumba de Marea.” An offering from the pair's forthcoming album Almas Conectadas, out October 22nd, the song swelters under the summer sun, stretching out languorously while a bevy of instruments shake, rattle, and moan. Góngora had this to say about the track: “This song speaks of the importance of the rituals to say goodbye to our dead, through actions, charged with mysticism, spirituality and beliefs that define our cultural identity.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Susana Baca - "Sorongo" from the 2021 album Palabras Urgentes on Real World Records. Singer, musicologist, writer, three-time Latin Grammy winner, and a former Minister of Culture in her native Peru, Susana Baca has been a treasure to the Peruvian people for five decades now. A champion of the revival of Afro-Peruvian music, Baca's latest album “Palabras Urgentes,” is an enthralling 10 song set that pays homage to the heritage and tradition of those that once fought for a better world and features production by Snarky Puppy's Michael League. The record's lead single and our Song of the Day, “Sorongo,” is Baca's take on a song by salsa composer Tite Curet Alonso. Alonso was a prolific writer, originally from Puerto Rico, who penned more than 2,000 songs in a thirty year career and “Sorongo” was first released by his friend Rafael Cortijo Y Su Bonche in the late 1960s. More recently the song was recorded by Calle 13 (who also collaborated with Susana Baca on the Latin Grammy-winning song “Latinoamerica.”) “Within ‘Sorongo', one can find intuition, strength, feeling and enunciation,” says Baca of the song. “I spent many nights trying to find the right way of singing ‘Sorongo'… in the end it is only with the presence of the musicians that accompanied me that it found vitality. I am sure that Sorongo' is faith found at the crossroad between feelings and rhythm.” Michael League added: “Sorongo is a very interesting track because of its history with Calle 13 and because it's a powerhouse track on a record that doesn't really have powerhouse tracks. This is like a freight train and stands apart from the rest of the record in that way but Susana was really, really adamant about feeling Africa in Sorongo, so we made a lot of really interesting decisions during the recording process about textures and sounds and structure to make you feel the connection between the sugar fields in Peru and the African roots of the people who were enslaved and working them.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sean Beaver - "TECH-YES" from the 2020 self-released album Electric Turtle Dreams Sean Beaver is an indigenous Canadian electronic artist who is based in Calgary, Alberta. Originally from the Driftpile First Nation in northern Alberta and of Cree descent, Beaver is award-winning in the indigenous communities, with nominations for Best Instrumental Album at the Indigenous Music Awards in 2015 and 2017, Best Instrumental CD at the Aboriginal People's Choice Awards in 2013, and Rap-Hip Hop-Electronica Album Of The Year at the 2021 Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hiatus Kaiyote - "Sip Into Something Soft" from the 2021 album Mood Valiant on Brainfeeder. Two-time Grammy nominated neo-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote have returned after a six-year... well... "hiatus." During that time, members of the Australian jazz/funk group explored solo and side projects. Then, in 2018, vocalist/guitarist Nai Palm (real name: Naomi Saalfield) was diagnosed with breast cancer, the same disease she confronted in her childhood when her mother was diagnosed and died from it. The band's new album, Mood Valiant, was named in tribute to her late mom. “I don't know how she afforded it, but she had two Valiant station wagons. And we were ratbags,” Saalfield toldNME. “A Valiant is like a Kingswood, a trashy Aussie car. I like the idea that it's not a Lamborghini like you usually see. It's a flex because it's really daggy. The badass side of me comes from my mum being incredibly stylish. I also really like the word valiant – it's so uplifting and righteous.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Moor Mother - "Made A Circle (feat. Nappy Nina, Maassai, Antonia Gabriela & Orion Sun)" from the 2021 album Black Encyclopedia of the Air on Moor Mother / Anti. While she couldn't physically engage with fellow artists during the pandemic, Moor Mother was able to virtually invite them to her latest LP, Black Encyclopedia Of The Air, out now via Anti- Records. The poet, artist, and musician — whose real name is Camae Ayewa — utilized more than 100 instrumentals from long-time collaborator Swedish producer Olof Melander, inviting vocals from artists lojii, Elucid, Brother May, Bfly, Yatta, Black Quantum Futurism, Elaine Mitchner, and Dudu Kouate, and on today's Song of the Day, Nappy Nina, Maassai, Antonia Gabriela, and Orion Sun. "Collaboration to me is just community," she toldThe Fader. `"I love being a solo artist, and I love to really dwell in that. Of course, I've always been into multiple genres. Like right now, I'd like to create some small chamber orchestra, but they would play my music. I'm more into that now trying to create some sort of small orchestra, as far as collaboration. But collaboration to me is community, and it's very accidental. You're just hanging out with your friend. Your friends are talented. It's all about seeing how talented your community is. Then collaboration is very easy. So it's not like I'm out here seeking to collaborate with people, it's just how it happens through community." Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Rochelle Jordan - "LOVE YOU GOOD" from the 2021 album Play With The Changes on UNDRGRND / Young Art Records. Seven years ago, London-born L.A.-based artist Rochelle Jordan released her debut album 1021, a knockout mix of R&B, hip-hop, and house. Sadly, a toxic business relationship and a moderate form of sickle cell disease delayed this artist-on-the-rise. Thankfully, she's returned, stronger than ever, with a brand new full-length, Play With the Changes, released on TOKiMONSTA's Young Art imprint. Today's Song of the Day is one of Jordan's favorites off the new release. As she toldPassion of the Weiss: I tend to wrap things up into kind of a bubble of a love interest if you will. But a lot of my songs, the inside of it, inside of it, I'm kind of speaking to kind of how I feel, or maybe other experiences that I'm going through. So for instance, with “Love You Good” I find that over the years, I've kind of turned into a little bit of an introvert, a little bit of a loner, which I actually loved, which is very strange. But at the same time, I feel like I'm misunderstood a lot of the time. And not necessarily when it comes to love, but maybe friendships and things like that because I go about things a certain way, right. And so I thought to myself, when I was writing, “Love You Good” I was thinking about that, but then I was thinking about also in a love aspect as well, maybe sometimes you feel misunderstood or no one can love you because you're kind of a weird lover, in this weird pocket of energy and yeah, it's just funny hearing some people respond to “Love You Good” too and be like, “Oh my God, like I relate to that so much.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Cheekface - "Reward Points" from the 2021 Emphatically Mo' (b-sides) EP on New Professor Music. Los Angeles-based trio Cheekface specialize in quirky, upbeat songs with sharp-as-a-whip, sardonic lyrics delivered in talk-sing by frontman Greg Katz, seemingly (obviously?) influenced by Stephen Malkmus. (Sample line from a different track: "Life is long / like a CVS receipt.") But don't let their buoyant punk-pop and the colorful cover art by bassist/vocalist Amanda Tannen fool you. Cheekface was formed in the wake of the 2017 presidential inauguration, and lyrics touch on anxiety, political discourse, and protest culture. "It's a challenge to write something meaningful when our terrible fascist government is destroying people's lives," Katz toldThe Grey Estates. "Personally, part of why I wanted to start this project was the desire to create something while the government is so destructive. Obviously the lyrics go to political places, and hopefully they capture some of the moral confusion that intelligent people are facing right now. But I also don't want the lyrics to be heavy-handed – I like heavy-handed political lyrics a lot actually, but with so much darkness in the world, we're not trying to add any more darkness with this particular band. Today's Song of the Day — a catchy ode to consumption — comes from their latest EP Emphatically Mo', a collection of b-sides from their 2021 full-length Emphatically No. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Shivas - "Undone," a 2021 single on Tender Loving Empire. Portland psych-rock band The Shivas return with their fifth full-length, Feels So Good // Feels So Bad, an album they say was inspired by self-acceptance. “I do think it's about acceptance,” Drummer/vocalist Kristin Leonard says in a press release. “There's a weird relaxation that comes with being at peace with things you can't control or have regrets about.” Today's Song of the Day almost serves as the album's manifesto, a song about finding that peace and balance. “‘Undone' was written by myself as a kind of homage to the times in our life when we rebound from periods of darkness to states of exuberance that easily go too far into the realm of darkness all over again,” Leonard toldFlood Magazine. “When we bounce back from times of depression and anxiety and then find ourselves enjoying life a whole lot… Life's about finding balance. But in order to find that balance, some healthy reflection and acceptance about where we've been is necessary to push us forward with love and wisdom on our journey. So 'Undone' is me reflecting on those aspects of myself. And I think most of us can relate.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Geese - "Low Era" from the 2021 album Projector on Partisan. Brooklyn youths Geese (the oldest band member is 19-years-old) are releasing their debut album, Projector, on October 29th, sharing a first listen with today's Song of the Day, a fun, dance-y post-rock groove, accompanied by a music video from Los Angeles director/designer and artist Fons Schiedon. “We had been trying to get everything to sound super heavy, creepy crawly, and complicated, really because that's all we knew how to do," the band said, via a press release. "Four-on-the-floor songs like 'Low Era' had felt a little like poison to us for a while, until we consciously tried to challenge ourselves to write something more danceable. Once we stopped enforcing certain boundaries, it ended up working out without us expecting it to, and even ushered in this psychedelic 3-D element that ends up appearing throughout the album." “We like the idea of confusing the listener a little, and trying to make every song a counteraction to the last, pinballing between catchy and complicated, fast and slow. 'Low Era' is one end of that spectrum, and ultimately broadened the scope of songs we thought we could make.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom Morello - "Driving To Texas (feat. Phantogram)" from the 2021 album The Atlas Underground Fire on Mom + Pop. Tom Morello has a lot of impressive guests on his forthcoming album, The Atlas Underground Fire, which will be out October 15th: Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Damian Marley, Sama' Abdulhadi, and, on today's Song of the Day, Phantogram. “I'd worked with Josh from Phantogram on my first Atlas Underground album and I was thrilled when he and Sarah reached out about collaborating on this record," said the Rage Against the Machine guitarist. "This song is creepy as hell — a dark journey, a struggle for a tortured soul. The guitar solo needed to feel like a vengeful angel who has come down to decide the fate of the protagonist. Will they descend into the abyss or will they find redemption? 'Driving To Texas' really shows the breadth of the music you'll hear on this record. Sarah has one of the most haunting and beautiful voices of anyone singing today, and Josh's production is stylistically so fresh and eerie.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
EERA - "Ladder" from the 2021 album Speak on Just Dust Recordings. Berlin-based Norwegian artist EERA (real name: Anna Lena Bruland) has announced her sophomore album, Speak, will be out December 3rd via Just Dust Recordings. “Speak is a search for a balance in life, acknowledging myself, and being proud of who I am,” she said via a press release. “To become braver and more confident, and stop questioning so much. Accept and move on instead. My debut was a little bit timid, like, am I doing this right? This album is more who I am.” For today's Song of the Day, Bruland works on that inner-strength, explaining, "‘Ladder' is a song about opportunity and about trying to make someone else see that they have a lot to be grateful for, which they may not realise themselves; pushing down the ladder signifying sabotaging oneself.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The War On Drugs - "Living Proof" from the 2021 album I Don't Live Here Anymore on Atlantic. Long-running Philly-based band The War on Drugs have announced their fifth full-length, I Don't Live Here Anymore, out October 29th via Atlantic Records. It'll be the group's first new album since 2017's A Deeper Understanding, not including last year's live LP, LIVE DRUGS. The new album was constructed over the span of three years, recorded in more than a dozen sessions in seven different studios. Today's Song of the Day was conceived in May 2019 at Electro-Vox Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The track is accompanied by a video shot by director Emmett Malloy, using 16mm film. Watch as frontman Adam Granduciel drives around in Stinson Beach, California. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Big Red Machine - "Phoenix (feat. Fleet Foxes & Anaïs Mitchell)" from the 2021 album How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last? on 37d03d. Last month, The National's Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon released their second album under the name Big Red Machine, titled How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?. The album features a heavyweight line-up of guests, including Taylor Swift, Sharon Van Etten, This Is The Kit, Ben Howard, Naeem, Lisa Hannigan, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Nova, and on today's Song of the Day, Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes and Tony Award-winning singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell. "'Phoenix' was one of the last songs we wrote for this record," Dessner says via a press release. "I was thinking about The Band and the Grateful Dead... maybe imagining this Big Red Machine album was some version of The Last Waltz. Justin first heard it while driving and immediately the chorus melody came into his head. I shared the sketch with Robin Pecknold, who I've been a fan of forever and who I'd been dreaming would join us on this record. Robin wrote the verses and pre chorus as a kind of dialogue with Justin, recalling a conversation they once had backstage in Phoenix. Later Anais wrote words to the chorus and The Westerlies added their magic to the instrumental. JT Bates rumbles around in rare form on the drums on this song. I think it's what I always imagined Big Red Machine would sound like." Pecknold adds, “It was a high, high honor to work on this song, and beyond that it was a really interesting creative challenge. Justin's vocals and the beautiful chorus were already in place before I got my hands on it, so I felt my job melodically and lyrically was to set his entrance up in the best possible way. I felt like a pilgrim putting questions to an elusive sage, not needing clear answers, but happy for the chance to ask.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Public Service Broadcasting - "Blue Heaven (feat. Andreya Casablanca)" from the 2021 album Bright Magic on Play It Again Sam. London-based post-prog band Public Service Broadcasting pay tribute to silent-film actress and singer Marlene Dietrich on today's Song of the Day. The inspiration was drawn from bandmember J. Willgoose, Esq.'s recent move to Berlin, which inspired the group's forthcoming full-length Bright Magic, out September 24th via Play It Again Sam. The track features guest vocals from Andreya Casablanca, of the Berlin band Gurr. “The lyrics highlight her power of self-manipulation, her ambition, her bravery and her lack of compromise on vital matters of character — ‘I am all my own invention /I'm in my blue heaven' and so on,” he explained in a press release. “It's named after the jazz number ‘My Blue Heaven' which she sang regularly and which she said first made her dream of America.” Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Haunted Youth - "Coming Home," a 2021 single on Mayway Records. Belgian dream-pop project The Haunted Youth (the creative outlet for musician Joachim Liebens) bring dreamy waves of synth and chiming guitar on their latest single "Coming Home." Today's Song of the Day is an irresistible end-of-summer anthem. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Violent Hearts - "Everything and Nothing," a 2021 single on Dinner For Wolves. After the break-up of their previous band Sharks, musicians James Mattock (vocals/guitarist) and Carl Murrihy (bassist) teamed up with drummer Aidan Sinclair (of the band, Computers) to form the post-punk power-trio of The Violent Hearts. Channeling classic punk bands like The Clash, The Jam, and the Buzzcocks, The Violent Hearts breathe new life into the genre on today's Song of the Day. Read the full post on KEXP.org Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.