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paulsmith on 10/10/2012 at 01:00AM

KEXP Live Music Highlights 2012

laura musselman duffy/flickr

Seattle’s KEXP delivered us a great mix of some of their best sessions from January to February of this year, featuring local and international artists and bands. Here's our guide to the tracks:
From Seattle, Sandrider preview their self-titled debut, released on Good To Die Records. 'Crysknife' sees them at their loudest. Sprawling 13-piece ensemble Orkestar Zirkonium list funk, punk, klezmer, and Eastern European and Indian styles as their inspiration, resulting in a distinct sound that's both boisterous and drum-and-brass-driven.

Then there's lo-fi folkster Bill Campbell, who performs under the guise of Thee Midnight Creep and plays a spooky autoharp. Singer-songwriter Damien Jurado writes ambitious psychedelic folk compositions that'll make you swoon.
Representing Portland next is warehouse band Blouse who preview its self-titled debut with a song called ‘Into The Black.’ Quasi, an indie trio formed in 1993, comprising ex husband and wife Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss and bassist Joanna Bolme, play 'Case Of No Way Out'.  Laura Gibson is a Portland-bases folk singer and songwriter. ‘La Grabde,’ is the title track of her acclaimed 2012 album.


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jason on 06/24/2011 at 12:15PM

KEXP @ Iceland Airwaves // S.H. Draumur Reunion

This week, Iceland Airwaves announced the latest additions to their lineup for October 2011, prompting a look & a listen back to KEXP's trip to Reykjavik for Iceland Airwaves 2010 featuring some of Iceland's most exciting artists.

Today I'd like to spotlight the avant-punk band S.H. Draumur from Kópavogur, Iceland. Originally active from 1982-1988, the three-piece was inspired by Pere Ubu, Suicide, Swell Maps, Joy Division and The Birthday Party, as well as by the vibrant Icelandic music scene, where they served as the local opener for Swans and Einsturzende Neubauten. Along with a handful of cassettes and 7"s, S.H. Draumur recorded one LP -- Goð -- over the course of 50 hours spent in a YMCA community center, as bassist/vocalist Dr. Guuni recounts in The Reykjavik Grapevine.

That sought-after LP (picutred R) was reissued by Iceland's Kimi Records in 2010 to coincide with S.H. Draumur's reunion at the Iceland Airwaves Festival. KEXP was there all the way from Seattle (Reykjavik's "sister city") to record the performance (stream it here), and "Nótt Eins Og Þessi" (below) is part of KEXP's Iceland Airwaves MP3 compilation.

KEXP will return to Iceland Airwaves for the third year in a row Oct 12-16th 2011. This year's lineup again features an incredible array of Icelandic artists (including Retro Stefson and Who Knew who are also featured in KEXP's 2010 mix) and internationals (tUnE-yArDs, K-X-P, Liturgy, Dungen, Suuns, and Beach House to name a few). Check out the latest on the 2011 lineup here and more of KEXP's Iceland Airwaves coverage here.

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kexpadmin on 12/26/2010 at 03:00PM

KEXP 2010 FMA Highlight Mixes

Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int'l live at the 25th Anniversary of "Jon Kertzer's KEXP program" . Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

So many incredible artists have played live on KEXP this year, from top local Seattle artists like Damien Jurado and Black Stax, to those of international renown like Vieux Farka Touré, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Beach House, and Devendra Banhardt. The venues have ranged from KEXP's 90.3-FM headquarters in Seattle, to the Cutting Room Floor in New York City (where KEXP programming airs on 91.5-FM), to live events like Bumbershoot, SXSW, and the Capital Hill Block Party.

We've put together seven mixes that offer some of the many highlights from KEXP's live performances:

KEXP 2010: Worldwide -- 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of "The Best Ambiance" hosted by Jon Kertzer, and these were just a few of the many recent highlights:

KEXP 2010: Shimmering Pop
-- these artists bring a fresh, irresistable approach to pop music

KEXP 2010: Rock!
-- classic artists like The Wedding Present and The Posies, contemporary heavy-weights like Drive-By Truckers and The Hold Steady plus up-and-coming artists like White Mystery and Love Is All...

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kexpadmin on 10/25/2010 at 01:00PM

KEXP @ Capital Hill Block Party 2010 (mix)

Photo of Brite Futures (c) KEXP / Spencer Leamer

Studio sessions from artists local (Aveo, The Head and the Heart, Low Land High, Out For Stardom, Feral Children) and not-so local (!!!/chk chk chk, Simon Shabantu Kashama, Admiral Radley, The Secret History, Menomena, These United States, Maps and Atlases). Plus Seattle locals Damien Jurado, Brite Futures, and THEE Satisfaction live from KEXP's "Bean Room" stage during the 2010 Capitol Hill Block Party Broadcast.

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macedonia on 10/09/2010 at 12:37PM

Shining Like Diamonds...

Diamond District. D.C. hip-hop at its finest...

If you like your hip-hop rough, rugged, and real, make sure to keep tabs on Diamond District.  Based in Washington, D.C., their debut album In The Ruff has been catching the ears of those that lean towards the '90s production style of the genre.  Longtime producer Oddisee is joined by X.O. and YU on the microphone, each spitting gritty rhymes over grimy beats reflective of present-day D.C.

Back in May of 2010, Diamond District visited the studios of KEXP for a live session.  "The Shining" is a good representation of what you can expect from their album.  As for Oddisee, his work ethic is tireless, constantly creating instrumentals you can't help but snap your neck to.  For further proof, make sure to stop by his Bandcamp page and take a listen to his Odd Season EPs and particularly his Traveling Man album...

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kexp, hip-hop, live recording
JoeMc on 09/29/2010 at 01:00PM

The Street Meat Beat (Satellite 4, mp3)

One of the many Jersey City food trucks (photo courtesy ahemler/flickr)

Everyday at WFMU, usually around 1 p.m., a minor exodus takes place. This happens when the WFMU staff can no longer ignore the rumblings of their stomachs, and tearing themselves away from the divine work of serving the freeform gods, they tumble down the stairs, scattering to the four corners of Jersey City in search of nourishment.

Lunch is a freeform affair, unsurprisingly. Some seek Italian; some Indian; others dare to explore steam table fare from the local Korean deli. Where these freeform warriors most often end up, however, is at the neighborhood food trucks, those kitchens on wheels that serve everything from catfish to crepes, tikka to tacos.

Food trucks that knock out a small list of specialties day-in and day-out are one of the best dining options in Jersey City: cheap, easy meals dished out at a feverish clip. It's a culture adopted from Manhattan, where some food trucks have been at it for decades. Nothing new, but apparently, the lowly food truck is experiencing some sort of vogue right now, perhaps second only to the peculiar renaissance of the cupcake.

Why, just last week "The Great Food Truck Race," a series based on dropping popular food trucks in strange cities to see how they make out, wrapped up on the Food Network. A bit L.A.-centric, this series didn't really capture the New York/New Jersey food truck experience, even though the winners hawked their hamburgers to victory in Madhattan (I personally think Nom Nom Truck should've won). Still, it showed just how far food trucks have come in terms of respectability. Even New York Magazine did a feature on them this past summer.

Why the sudden interest? Like everything else, I would guess it's the Economy. It's easier for a couple of enterprising young cooks to rustle up the dough for an outfitted truck than it is to set up a fixed restaurant, especially in a city like New York with its astronomical rents and strict building codes. For a customer who might be strapped for cash and time (if you've got a job, odds are you're doing more of it), it's the perfect alternative to a sit-down lunch, fast and cheap. Most places don't even ask you to cough up a tip.

Not only that, but now that so many trucks are on a mission to cute-up, with brightly painted trucks and matching T-shirts for the staff, people who previously would never go near a food truck can feel more comfortable with the food truck experience. Folks like a clean-looking truck just like they like a clean-looking restaurant, and fear of ptomaine poisoning seems to be a thing of the past. Not that you still can't have an authentic sick-making experience, if you want one; there are still plenty of trucks around that seem to use the same oil to run the truck and cook the burgers. I, for one, hope they never disappear completely!

For your next trip to your local food truck, here's a tune to dial up on your iPod, phone, or whatever you listen to things on: "Street Food" by Satellite 4. They're a band of transplanted southerners and midwesterners who've made their home in Seattle, and they churn out a nice greasy sound that'll get you in the mood for some good street cookin'. They've got a new album coming out soon called Call Your Girl; in the meantime, enjoy this radio session.

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satellite 4
kexpfan on 08/27/2010 at 09:15AM

Jazz Violinist Regina Carter Interprets African Folk Live @ KEXP

photo by Dave Lichterman, all rights reserved, more photos on the KEXP flickr

Renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter took an interesting turn with her album Reverse Thread by interpreting a wide range of African songs (both modern and traditional) with her own unique twist. She’s joined by Malian kora master Yacouba Sissoko and accordionist Will Holshouser for a live KEXP performance and you can see the results are quite lovely. –W. Myers / KEXP

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elizalomas on 08/03/2010 at 04:45PM

Stanton Moore: An Alchemists' Approach to Drumming

Live grooving at KEXP (photo credit: Ogalthorpe)

Stanton Moore is best known for being a founding member of legendary New Orleans funk band Galactic. Away from this, he has a solo career which spotlights him as all-round inspiring musician, innovator and teacher. His dedication to funk drumming is surpassed only by the love of his home, New Orleans, where jazz was created and where people like him are investing their time and talents to keep it as vibrant as ever.

In April this year he released the book 'Groove Alchemy', an essential investigation into the original elements of funk and groove drumming. He gives invaluable insight into how his drumming is turned to gold: combining masterful, experienced rhythms with the characteristic laid-back lilt of New Orleans.

The release of this book reflects the type of musician Moore is. From providing masterclasses in the Big Easy drumming style, to introducing his own titanium snare drum, to setting up a scholarship for young aspiring musicians post-Katrina, Moore's heart and soul are truely backing every beat he makes.

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macedonia on 07/24/2010 at 12:02PM

Bonobo Live at KEXP: This One's A "Keeper"...

Bonobo at KEXP April 25, 2010. Photography by Jill Rachel.

Simon Green has recorded several albums under the name Bonobo, but none that have been as well received as his latest full-length, Black Sands.  He's at his most symphonic with this one, the swell of strings and the arrangement of chopped-up jazz drum solos adding to the cinematic feel of the release.  Much has been made of his collaborations with the sole vocalist on the album, the captivating Andreya Triana.  It's easy to see why once you hear "The Keeper."  It's a bittersweet and melancholy tune, one that's dressed with xylophone riffs, rhythm guitar, and a languid hip-hop backbeat in its original version.

Stripped down to Triana's amazing vocals and some guitar work, this live version from the KEXP studios is a special one, indeed.  Even without the extra elements featured on the album, this song still delivers and exceeds the emotion felt in the original.  Make sure to check out the video featuring the album version of the song after the jump...

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macedonia on 04/17/2010 at 12:22PM

Kieran's Angel Echoes (and memories of Steve...)

Kieran Hebden a.k.a. Four Tet.

I was at work on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 when I got the news that legendary drummer Steve Reid had passed away.  Not even a week after the death of Malcolm McLaren, my heart was heavy that day.  With all of the amazing accomplishments that Reid achieved during the course of his life (as well as the wealth of talented musicians he played with), I can't help but think of his collaborations with Kieran Hebden a.k.a. Four Tet.  Their conversations between drums and electronics were something really special and it caused me of have Four Tet on the brain while Reid was on my heart.

It was about five years ago that I went to see an in-store appearance by Four Tet at Other Music in New York City.  Surrounded by an arsenal of keyboards, drum machines and effect boxes, it was there that I witnessed first hand his love for improvisation.  Even while performing songs like "Smile Around The Face" or "Sun Drums and Soil," the random bursts of noise threatened to run some onlookers out of the place.  It was as if Hebden was saying to the crowd, "If one of you refer to what I do as 'folktronica' one more time..."

For all of the melody and beauty his recordings possess, it was clear that Four Tet wasn't interested in his performances sounding just like the record.  There was an element of "OUT" that was being unleashed.  He wanted the music to get "free."  By that rationale, it was only a matter of time before he would cross paths with Steve Reid.  I will forever be in debt to Kieran Hebden: it was through him that I was introduced to Reid's music.  Both volumes of The Exchange Sessions remain phenomenal recordings in my mind, these one-take moments of unbridled energy.  You can tell the chemistry that Hebden and Reid had together just by listening to those albums.  They didn't have to exchange words; all they had to do was meet up in the music.

"Angel Echoes" is the opening cut from Four Tet's latest album, There Is Love In You.  This version was recorded live in the studios of KEXP earlier this year and aptly showcases Hebden's on-the-fly performance style.  The beats that usher us in to this selection slowly give way to sparkling tones and vocal cut-ups, making this song one of his most touching and poignant selections.  Put this one on and think of the living legacy of Steve Reid's music as well as the continuing tradition of rhythmic freedom that Four Tet provides within his own...

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