Song of the Day

By KEXP

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 Aug 16, 2018

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Description

KEXP’s Song of the Day podcast features stand-out tracks from independent and emerging talent alongside the best new music from more established artists. Curated by KEXP DJs with listeners’ adventurous taste in mind, Song of the Day is delivered daily, Monday through Friday. Finding new music can be hard. Let KEXP help!


Episode Date
Fievel Is Glauque - My Rebel
108

Fievel Is Glauque - "My Rebel" from the 2022 album Flaming Swords on MATH Interactive.

Taking their name from a diss on a 1986 cartoon character, Belgium-based vocalist Ma Clément and NY producer/musician Zach Phillips comprise the duo that is Fievel Is Glauque. ("Fievel" is a mouse who stars in the animated An American Tail film series; the internet says "glauque" translates from French to "sinister, ominous, worrying.") 

The jazzy-pop of their 2021 debut cassette God’s Trashmen Sent To Right The Mess landed them an opening slot on Stereolab's recent North American tour, but their first proper LP — Flaming Swords, released back in November — adds a sheen to their prog-punk-jazz sound. The album was recorded live, in its entirety, during an evening in Brussels, August 2021. 

“Musically, Ma directed melodic impetus and I directed harmonic and rhythmic framing,” Phillips said in a press release. “Lyrically, we fought and embraced our initial impulses alternatingly; above all, we tried to trust and document the psychodynamics of the process itself rather than attempting to express concrete, prefab emotional or intellectual messaging. This approach to writing is intended to promote poetry while avoiding alibis and the hall-of-mirrors reproduction of excessive self-identification.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Feb 01, 2023
MIKE - Stop Worry! (feat. Sister Nancy)
149

MIKE - Stop Worry! (feat. Sister Nancy) from the 2022 album Beware of the Monkey on 10k

London-via-the-Bronx artist Michael Jordan Bonema (better known as MIKE to us) has recruited the legendary Sister Nancy to help out on today's Song of the Day. Sister Nancy is the first ever female dancehall DJ, and her repeated refrain to "wake up" helps elevate this laid-back, synthesizer-laden song. 

The track can be found on his latest full-length Beware of the Monkey, titled after some advice he found in his Chinese horoscope. Like on previous releases, the new album honors the memory of his mother. The video, directed by Ryosuke Tanzawa, is dedicated to her, and the single was released on what would've been his mother's birthday.

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Jan 31, 2023
50 Years of Hip-Hop: Coming February 1
118

A party in the Bronx on August 11th, 1973 is widely considered to be the birthplace of hip-hop. The art form has since touched every corner of our world and evolved into one of the most significant cultural forces today. This year, on hip-hop's 50th anniversary, we’re giving it a proper tribute. 

50 Years of Hip-Hop is KEXP’s newest podcast. Hosted by Larry Mizell Jr, the series highlights a different year of rap history each week. Jumping around the timeline from 1973 to today, expect personal reflections, iconic tracks and albums, and conversations around the genesis of the culture. New episodes drop every Wednesday starting February 1. 

Subscribe to 50 Years of Hip-Hop now and learn more at KEXP.org.

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Jan 30, 2023
Liv.e - Wild Animals
218

Liv.e - "Wild Animals" from the 2023 album Girl In The Half Pearl on In Real Life Music.

Psychedelic soulstress Liv.e returns with her sophomore full-length Girl in the Half Pearl, out February 10 via In Real Life. The Dallas-born, Los Angeles-based singer/producer found inspiration while experimenting with live performance at her residency last year at London's Laylow.

Today's Song of the Day was co-written and produced with John Carroll Kirby and Solomonphonic, and is accompanied by a video directed by herself. 

“I really love the process of coming up with a vision and doing my best to ensure that it will come out just as it was in my imagination,” Liv.e shared in a press release. “I tend to use almost all my practices as another way to strengthen my trust and belief in myself. The concept is just based on the release of letting go old ‘people pleasing’ habits that I tended to act on in the past a lot. A depiction of gaining the strength & courage to choose myself every time.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

 

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Jan 30, 2023
Hibou - Night Fell
281

Hibou - Night Fell from the 2023 self-released Arc EP.

Hibou, the solo project of former Seattlite Peter Michel, dropped his first body of music in three years earlier this month. The five-song EP Arc builds upon the dreamy atmospherics that have been his signature since releasing his debut self-titled back in 2015. Now living in Paris, Michel was inspired by “an electric arc between things, or arc lightning” when titling his new EP.

Our Song of the Day “Night Fell” is a shimmering, nostalgic bridge between shoegaze and dreampop with only a steady, pulsing drumbeat keeping our feet planted on ground lest we float straight to the heavens. “It’s exhilarating to be releasing new Hibou music after spending so much of the last several years concentrating on my folk project,” Michel says of Arc. “‘Night Fell’ feels like the perfect song to kick things back into gear. Packed tightly into this track is my return to the lush textured melodies and breezy blend of gossamer vocals that comprise Hibou.”

Michel spent the summer writing Arc along the Canal de l’Ourcq in Paris, before recording in various apartments, bathrooms and rehearsal spaces in the city. The EP was engineered and produced by Michel himself, who also performs vocals, guitar, and bass on each track, with drums provided by Jase Ihler.

Watch Hibou’s KEXP in-studio performance from 2019 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 27, 2023
Black Belt Eagle Scout - Don't Give Up
300

Black Belt Eagle Scout - Don't Give Up from the 2023 album The Land, The Water, The Sky on Saddle Creek.

Three years after the release of her sophomore record At the Party Wtih My Brown Friends, Katherine Paul unveiled the new Black Belt Eagle Scout single "Don't Give Up." The song is a dreamy, emotive gift to her Indigenous Swinomish, WA community, where over a melancholic guitar melody she hushedly touches on mental health awareness and the importance of connection to the land in the healing process. Paul wrote the song over the course of two years, starting in 2020 at a songwriting residency in Coast Salish territory before the pandemic and finishing in November 2021 while attending the same residency again.

She had this to say about the song:

“'Don’t Give Up' is a song about mental health awareness and the importance that my connection to the land plays within my own mental health journey. Spending time with the land and on the water are ways that strengthen my connection to my ancestors and to my culture. It helps heal my spirit and is the form of self-care that helps me the most. The lyrics “I don’t give up” mean staying alive. I wrote this song for me but also for my community and anyone who deals with challenging mental health issues to remind us just how much of a role our connection to the environment plays within our healing process. At the end of the song when I sing, “The land, the water, the sky,” I wanted to sing it like my late grandfather Alexander Paul Sr. sang in our family’s big drum group—from the heart."

Black Belt Eagle Scout is embarking on a tour in February, with a date in Seattle on Wednesday, February 15th at Neumos. Watch Black Belt Eagle Scout’s KEXP in-studio performance from 2018 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 26, 2023
Genesis Owusu - Get Inspired
173

Genesis Owusu – “Get Inspired,” a 2022 single on Ourness

With his 2021 debut LP Smiling with No Teeth, Ghanaian-Australian artist Genesis Owusu swept the ARIA Music Awards (like the Australian Grammys) landing Album of the Year, Best Hip Hop Release, Best Independent Release, and even Best Cover Art.

As we await another full-length, Owusu has shared some stand-alone singles, including today's Song of the Day, which brings a fun new wave-feel to his lightning-quick raps. The track is accompanied by a video made in collaboration with creative agency Babekühl and illustrator/animator Chris Yee. Owusu heads to the US later this year, touring in support of Paramore. No Seattle dates yet, but stay tuned.

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Jan 25, 2023
Gladie - Heaven, Someday
181

Gladie - "Heaven, Someday" from the 2022 album Don’t Know What You’re in Until You’re Out on Plum Records

Recorded in early 2022, Philadelphia band Gladie chose an appropriate name for their second LP: Don’t Know What You’re in Until You’re Out. The thoughtful title covers more than just the pandemic. As frontwoman Augusta Koch explained to Flood magazine, "We decided to name the record this because it deals a lot with the theme of shifting into a new mindset, and with that change you can objectively look back and see what you were going through without your thought processes being clouded by being in the thick of it." She adds, "I think it’s also an ambiguous title in a way, because I like the idea that it can be interpreted as both a positive and a negative. Like, the duality of both ‘you don’t know what you’re in until you’re out’ could seem sad because it implies hardship and turmoil, but it can also seem hopeful in the sense that although you’re going through something really rough, there’s hope that it will get better — you will change, you will survive it, and you will be able to view yourself and your surroundings from a totally new perspective."

Today's Song of the Day continues that theme of duality. She tells Flood, it "was written during the height of the 2020 doomscroll-bad-news factory, when we were all putting in overtime. It’s about trying to combat the fear of the outside world and your inner demons at the same time. There’s still some hope to hold onto, though, and it’s important to remember that even both the inside and outside feel inhabitable."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jan 24, 2023
Deerhoof - My Lovely Cat!
265

Deerhoof - My Lovely Cat! from the 2023 album Miracle-Level on Joyful Noise.

Bay Area-based noise-pop group Deerhoof may not be savvy on internet-memes, but they did dedicate today's Song of the Day to the online feline sensation Lil Bub, and had the song produced by Mike Bridavsky, Lil Bub's owner. As the band explain in a press statement:

If you were going to compose a song about a cute cat from the internet, then get it recorded and mixed and mastered by an outside producer known not only for their recording and mixing and mastering, but for their cute cat from the internet, well, you would be shrewd indeed. But this of course we did not do, because we didn't know about Mike Bridavsky or Lil Bub when we wrote the song! Well, we think about him now: a true collaborator and artist and friend.

The song is a first-look at the band's forthcoming full-length, Miracle-Level, which will be released on March 31 via Joyful Noise. It's their first Japanese-language LP, and their first to be made entirely in a proper recording studio (with the aforementioned Bridavsky). Lil Bub's Dad shared in a press release, "Satomi [Matsuzaki], Ed [Rodríguez], John [Dieterich], and Greg [Saunier] tried something different on this record, and the result is Deerhoof at their most sparse and vulnerable."

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Jan 23, 2023
Quasi - Doomscrollers
264

Quasi - Doomscrollers from the 2023 album Breaking the Balls of History on Sub Pop.

"Doomscrollers" is a new single from the indie rock duo Quasi, the project of former partners Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss, off their upcoming album Breaking The Balls Of History which is set to be released in February and is their first full-length in a decade. The song is a commentary on the modern phenomenon of doomscrolling, where people compulsively consume negative news and social media, leading to feelings of anxiety and despair. The lyrics of the song also touch on themes of addiction and isolation, painting a bleak yet relatable portrait of the 21st century.

The song opens with a punchy guitar riff, and Coomes's lyrics paint a picture of the current state of society, of people sleeping in their cars, teenage TikTok stars, and everyone baking bread, doomscrolling, and going out of their heads. Weiss, famed former Sleater-Kinney drummer, adds an upbeat, energetic feel to the song that belies the dark lyricism. The lyrics of the song are relatable and dig right into the anxieties of our divisive, COVID-contorted culture.

The music video for the song is directed by B.A. Miale and is visually striking, taking Weiss and Coomes into psychedelic territory, facing death, the apocalypse, pies, penguins, and more. Watch the video and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 20, 2023
Death Valley Girls - What Are the Odds
175

Death Valley Girls - What Are the Odds from the 2023 album Islands in the Sky on Suicide Squeeze.

Los Angeles-based garage rockers Death Valley Girls are releasing their fifth record Islands in the Sky on February 24th via Suicide Squeeze. The follow-up to 2020’s Under the Spell Of Joy was recorded in a cabin in the California woods in early 2022 following a “mysterious illness” that left frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden bedridden from November 2020 to March 2021 which inspired much of the record.

“When I was sick I had to sleep most of the day,” Bloomgarden details in a press release. “I kept waking up every few hours with an intense message to take care of the island, feed the island…I have no idea why, but making music for the island kept coming up.” 

Our Song of the Day is the lead single off the record “What Are the Odds,” a rollicking riff-ripping scorcher that takes its inspiration from an unlikely source: Madonna. “In ‘I’m A Man Too’ we were trying to revisit No Doubt’s ‘I’m Just A Girl’ but through a new lens,” explains Bloomgarden. “‘What Are The Odds’ is in the same way an investigation/revisitation of Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ but with a DVG spin.”

She continues on to say, “We love to think about consciousness and existence, and we very much believe in some type of reincarnation, but also that this experience isn’t linear, there isn’t a past and future, there’s something else going on! What is it? Is it a simulation, are we simulated girls??”

The video for the song sees two versions of the band, one where they’re black hoodie-clad amongst a dreary LA landscape and the other a technicolor dreamscape of them lounging at a pool with red beehives. Which one is the simulation is anyone’s guess, but I’d personally rather live in the latter. Watch the Samantha Westervelt-directed video and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 19, 2023
Moriah Bailey - The Ocean Life
225

Moriah Bailey - "The Ocean Life" from the 2022 album i tried words on Keeled Scales.

"i was hoping on the ocean life to pull through /
turns out i’ll have to say goodbye real soon."

On her sophomore full-length, i tried words, harpist/vocalist Moriah Bailey reflects on the end of a relationship, and the definitions and expectations of "femininity" that can play into not only romantic relationships, but friendships, jobs, or family. 

Not only is this reflected in her words, but also on the expanded sound she presents on the new album. After recording the voice and harp parts in her former rental home in Tucson, AZ, she recruited Sarah Reid (violin), Ryan Robinson (percussion), and Ricky Tutaan (guitar) to contribute to those tracks, allowing them to follow their own "musical intuition and insight." The beautifully woven results provide a backdrop for her thoughtful lyrics, ruminating on the struggle of dualities: "yes/no, future/past, darkness/light, giving/taking, masculinity/femininity, wants/needs."

Today's Song of the Day is accompanied by a video directed by Lauren Reese. Bailey shares on her Instagram, "When we initially talked about collaborating on this, I let her listen to the whole album and choose a song that she was excited about. The video was filmed at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Elmer Fajardo and [Holly Pierce] assisted Lauren in shooting the video and providing me moral support in being in front of the camera. Ha. The result is a really compelling illustration of themes in the song that plays with shots of light, reflections, shadows, movement, and water."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jan 18, 2023
Fan Girl - react (react)
145

Fan Girl - "react (react)" a 2022 self-released single.

Australian quintet Fan Girl closed out 2022 with a bang, releasing their latest single "react (react)," a boisterous high-energy piece of early 2000's-influenced pop-punk. 

“We wrote this song during a particularly wintry week in our studio in Brunswick, Melbourne, channeling the energy and excitement of playing shows,” they told Australian website Pile Rats.

You can witness that excitement in the song's accompanying video, filmed at one of Melbourne’s longest-running venues, Revolver Upstairs. 

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Jan 17, 2023
Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations - Blood Ah Go Run (feat. Wesley Joseph & ESKA)
216

Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations - "Blood Ah Go Run (feat. Wesley Joseph & ESKA)" from the 2023 album I Came From Love on Transgressive.

Mercury Prize-nominated artist Dave Okumu returns with his new project, Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations, a name he says honors "my actual ancestors, the ancestors of others, my musical ancestors, and my descendants." Their debut album, I Came From Love, will be released April 14th via Transgressive Records.

In a press statement, the UK-based guitarist/producer explains, "the narrative of this record emerged in tandem with the origin of its musical journey, through a rumination on survival, ancestry and heritage. The account of the young west African girl who was transported to South Carolina in 1756 and sold to the slave owner Elias Ball and the subsequent unearthing and presentation of her story to her descendants became an emblematic framework for these songs, opening doors to many aspects of the diasporic experience. The music stands in loving defiance of any forces that would seek to disconnect us from our collective history. As I consciously stand before my ancestors through the medium of this sound world, I proclaim that ‘You survived so I might live.’”

On today's Song of the Day, in particular, he reflects on the New Cross house fire in 1981 that killed 13 Black teenagers in South London.

“Living in an area as culturally rich and diverse as southeast London, I feel touched by an atmosphere of transcendence forged through a particular type of adversity. When you walk the streets and so many cultures are represented within a community, it’s difficult not to ask the questions ‘how did these people get here and what have their ancestors passed through so that I can have the life I am experiencing now?’ The story of the New Cross Fire and the subsequent response from different factions of society is one such trial, embodying a process which came to shape a significant element of the discourse around race relations in this country. Living in this part of London, I want to remember and honor those who lost their lives in that fire as their sacrifice, along with many others, feeds directly into my experience of this world.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jan 16, 2023
Caleb Kunle - All In Your Head
207

Caleb Kunle - All In Your Head a 2022 single on Pony Recordings.

While Caleb Kunle may only have a handful of EPs and singles under his belt, the soul-pop artist has been making a splash in the UK since the release of his debut EP Eden in 2017 which landed him the prize of Emerging Artist of the Year 2017 from Thatchers Haze x NME. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Kunle immigrated to the Irish countryside of Laios at eight years old where his love of music was fostered through church choir and playing guitar.

Inspired by Nina Simone and Sam Cooke, Kunle’s music has a sound that’s simultaneously retro and refreshingly modern. Our Song of the Day, “All In Your Head,” opens with stirring strings before Kunle bursts in with an impassioned “Oh!” From there, a bellowing horn section, jazzy piano, and uptempo drums accompany Kunle’s croons to pop perfection.

Kunle had this to say about the song:

“All in your head is an anthem about us facing and rising to our inner challenges. Referenced in the middle 8 lyric ‘It’s in your head now, you’re on the frontline’ this highlights how we collectively have our internal battles and that we can overcome them!”

“All In Your Head” is accompanied by a joyful and appropriately retro video directed by Andy Banjanin. Watch it and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 13, 2023
Queralt Lahoz - Blade
198

Queralt Lahoz - "Blade," a 2022 single on Costa Futuro/Say It Loud.

Queralt Lahoz is a rising star from Spain who has captivated audiences with her powerful live performances over the past handful of years. Ahead of not only her Eurosonic slot, but also her first stints at SXSW in Austin, Texas, she released the song “Blade.” Her most powerful, pop-centric track yet, the song sees her both sing and rap with equal dexterity about mystical forces at work. Vampires are no match for the katana she weilds which speaks true to the survivor mentality that’s always run strong through her work.

Watch the Bycontrast-directed video for "Blade" and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 12, 2023
BILBAO - Get Up!
196

BILBAO - "Get Up!" from the 2022 album Shake Well on [PIAS].

Like the beautiful city in Spain where they derived their band name, Bilbao create sunny, summery songs, showcased on their debut LP Shake Well. It's hard to believe then that the quartet themselves actually hail from Germany.

"There is the 'Bilbao' song by Yves Montand, a chanson that my parents used to play," bassist Jannes Eschrich shares about their moniker. "He tells of the place of longing Bilbao. Our band should also be a place of longing, a place that we conjure up in rainy Hamburg and that you can dream of."

Bilbao came together after the four friends attended the Reeperbahn Festival in 2019, writing and recording their first EP within a month. Despite the pandemic, they kept the momentum going, resulting in their first full-length, released in early 2022. Calling to mind bands like Bombay Bicycle Club and Two Door Cinema Club (and other groups that don't have "club" in their band name), Bilbao suceed in transporting you to sunnier shores with their buoyant, upbeat tunes.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, showcasing artists playing at this year’s ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) Festival. ESNS is a European new music showcase festival and conference committed to presenting and supporting the best new and emerging artists. This year’s festival will take place January 18-21, 2023 in Groningen, NL.

Read the full post on KEXP.org

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Jan 11, 2023
Club Makumba - Crazy Lizard
273
Jan 10, 2023
OSKA - Starstruck
177

OSKA - "Starstruck" from the 2022 album My world, My love, Paris on Nettwerk Music Group.

Though paying tribute to the City of Lights on her debut album My world, My love, Paris, singer/songwriter OSKA (real name: Maria Burger) was born in a small village in Lower Austria, the youngest of eight kids. She moved to Vienna at the age of 18 to study music, busking on the streets, and sharing her debut EP, Honeymoon Phase, in 2020. The five-song release won her the XA Music Export Award at Waves Vienna Festival 2020.

Conceived near the beginning of the pandemic, OSKA envisioned the story of a couple "who board a boat as the world comes to an end" as the theme for her eagerly-anticipated first full-length. She cites her inspiration as the Edith Piaf song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" (which translates to “No, I do not regret anything”).

Today's Song of the Day has a particular cinematic influence. "This song was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," she shared in a press release. “It’s about celebrating someone great that is in your life while also dealing with the fear of losing them.”

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, showcasing artists playing at this year’s ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) Festival. ESNS is a European new music showcase festival and conference committed to presenting and supporting the best new and emerging artists. This year’s festival will take place January 18-21, 2023 in Groningen, NL.

Read the full post on KEXP.org

Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/donate

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Jan 09, 2023
Jarv Dee & WD4D - Lets Work
201

Jarv Dee & WD4D - “Lets Work,” a 2022 single on MOOR LIFE.

Today’s Song of the Day is a Seattle-centric bop that sees rapper Jarv Dee hook up with producer WD4D for a buoyant banger about the stressful nature of the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. While the track is light and airy, Jarv Dee clearly isn’t. “Sometimes I wanna take a vacation just to clear my head and get my money right,” he exasperates on the hook while a scorching beat evokes the feeling of a summer evening with zero concerns. A vacation in the ears is better than no vacation at all.

Jarv Dee stopped by KEXP in July 2022 for a live performance. Watch it and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 06, 2023
Blinky Bill, M.anifest, Khaligraph Jones - Inaweza Haiwezi
194

Blinky Bill, M.anifest, Khaligraph Jones - “Inaweza Haiwezi,” a 2022 single on Rauka Music Ltd.

You may know celebrated Kenyan producer/DJ Bill Sellanga, aka Blinky Bill, is one-fourth of the electronic collective Just A Band and has produced songs for notable names like Nneka, Goldlink, and Sampa The Great. The OneBeat Alum and TED Fellow is on the verge of releasing his anticipated sophomore record We Cut Keys 2, which follows 2018’s Everyone’s Just Winging It and Other Fly Tales.

Our Song of the Day is the lead single from the record, “Inaweza Haiwezi,” which features two of Africa’s greatest rappers, M.anifest from Ghana and Kenya’s Khaligraph Jones. Produced by Blinky Bill and Swiss producer Hook (MDQ), mixed by Commissioner Gordon (‘Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’, ‘Welcome To Jamrock’) and mastered by Tony Dawsey (Jay-Z ‘Blueprint 3’, Whitney Houston “My Love is your Love”, Nas ‘Illmatic’), the song is a bouncy, bass-heavy thrillride that shows off each rappers dexterous flows in this “East/West classic.”

The song comes with a colorful, gorgeously-shot video directed by Zack Adell. Watch it and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Jan 05, 2023
Ukhoikhoi - Abathembu
190

Ukhoikhoi - “Abathembu” from the 2022 Nongqawuse EP on Next Movement

More than just a musical duo, uKhoiKhoi call themselves a "a live looping, musical performance art showpiece." Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, the group is comprised of musician/composer Yogin Sullaphen and vocalist Anelisa Stuurman. Their band name pays tribute to their shared KhoiSan heritage, an indigenous tribe said to be the first inhabitants of southern Africa. By combining operatic elements with chanting and poetry, they create a unique Afro-Futuristic sound they call "indigenous-electro."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jan 04, 2023
Little Simz - Angel
352

Little Simz - “Angel” from the 2022 album NO THANK YOU on Forever Living Originals.

With her latest single "Angel," London-based artist Little Simz continues to pay tribute to her friend Harry Uzoka, who was murdered in 2018.

"Harry listenin’ from Heaven on repeat/
He was backin’ it when nobody believed"

She previously wrote about Uzoka with her 2019 song "Wounds" off the album GREY Area. As she told The Guardian at the time, "“I remember waking up, Googling, trying to find out as many details as I could and going to the studio in bits. I sat in the dark in tears and I didn’t go on socials to see everyone posting ‘RIP’ – and because I didn’t do that, I was able to write 'Wounds.'”

Today's Song of the Day not only finds Little Simz continuing to process her grief, but also struggling with the music industry, as she notes on the couplet:

"They don’t care if your mental is on the brink of somethin’ dark/
As long as your cuttin’ somebody’s payslip"

A ten-minute short film was released to accompany her latest LP NO THANK YOU. Watch that below, along with her 2021 Live on KEXP at Home session.

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jan 03, 2023
Contour - Hearing Voices
138

Contour – “Hearing Voices” from the 2022 album Onwards! on Touching Bass Limited.

Recording under the name Contour, Khari Lucas combines tradition and technology into his sophomore full-length Onwards!, using both archival material and atmospheric production to weave together influences of jazz, soul, psych, and hip-hop.

In a press statement, he offers, "The record exists as a bridge in conversation between today’s artists and art of the past which offered potential ways to navigate the world that we’re in; personally or on a larger scale."

He explains that today's Song of the Day “explores the relationship between our conditions of living and working and how we process or fail to process them," adding, it's about "our connection to intuition.” 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jan 02, 2023
Stas THEE Boss - DON'T CRASH
153

Stas THEE Boss is no stranger to KEXP. The former host of our station’s beloved weekly hip-hop show, Street Sounds, Stas has been a fixture of Seattle since she emerged as part of the duo THEE Satisfaction. Though Stas has since moved away, her sound, influence, and ingenuity can still be felt reverberating in Seattle. The rapper and producer has been busy dropping singles the past couple of years following 2020’s immaculate On the Quarner. “Don’t Crash” finds Stas steeped in deep house, capturing the feeling of blurry, 4 a.m. euphoria on the dancefloor. As always, Stas’ voice is the smooth tether holding you down. It’s an exciting new dimension to her ever-expanding sounds and ideas in her catalog. 

Get to know more about Stas KEXP’s Fresh off the Spaceship podcast.

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Dec 30, 2022
Nick Hakim - Vertigo
217

Nick Hakim - “Vertigo” from the 2022 album COMETA on ATO / PIAS.

Nick Hakim has been making amorphous psych-soul since 2014 that hones in on his gorgeous buttery smooth croons. Just since 2020, he’s released three projects, 2020’s WIl This Make Me Good, a collaborative record with jazz saxophonist Roy Nathanson, Small Things, in 2021, and, most recently, the intimately stunning COMETA.

Featuring appearances by Alex G, Helado Negro, Arto Lindsay, and DJ Dahl, with co-production from indie’s go-to guy Andrew Sarlo, COMETA is a collection of romantic songs written through different lenses, guided by Hakim’s own experience of falling in love in a way that made him feel like he was floating. This is best seen on our Song of the Day, “Vertigo,” in which Hakim is struck by the hypnotic feelings of falling in love. The tender track whirrs and sputters as Hakim coos, "Can't tell if it's me or the room that's moving."

“The key is to find that extremity of love for yourself,” he says of the romantic themes on the record. “It’s about growing into someone you want to be; it’s about finding pure love within yourself when the world around us seems to be crumbling.”

The song comes with a cinematic and perfectly-paired video by Asli Baykal shot at a real-life rotating house in Bosnia-Herzegovina built by Vojin Kusic for his wife, who desired a life where she could enjoy constantly-evolving views. Watch it and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 29, 2022
Dina Ögon - Oas
197

Dina Ögon - "Oas," a 2022 single on Playground Music Scandinavia.

Stockholm-based songwriter Dina Ögon captures the warmth of Laurel Canyon with her immaculate, soothing arrangements, and pristine vocals. After releasing her self-titled debut album in 2021, Ögon teases more of what’s to come with new single titled “Oas.” The title track from her forthcoming sophomore album on Feb. 3, 2023, the song is a breezy exhale as we reach the end of the year. 

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Dec 28, 2022
SHIRT - Dave Chappelle Is Wrong (Beef With God)
160

SHIRT - "Dave Chappelle Is Wrong (Beef With God)" from the 2022 album I Turned Myself into Myself on Mello Music Group.

Queens-based artist Shirt carries many titles – rapper, conceptual artist, experimentalist. These are all titles that are easy to call yourself and harder to live up to. Shirt, of course, rises to the occasion. On his Bandcamp page he describes his latest album, I Turned Myself Into Myself, as “an album that understands that the devil’s greatest trick is mobilizing our collective fear, to render us catatonic and indifferent to so much possibility around us.” With that in mind, the opening track “Dave Chapelle Is Wrong (Beef With God)” comes out blazing without mincing his words. It’s a song that dares to up to our heroes and push for the right way forward. 

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Dec 27, 2022
SAULT - Money
154

SAULT - "Money" from the 2022 album Today & Tomorrow on Forever Living Originals.

Ever-mysterious and always reliably great, SAULT capped off 2022 by dropping five albums simultaneously on Nov. 11. “Money” is a raucous standout from one of those album, Today & Tomorrow. While the whole album digs into the grittier side of the anonymous collective’s work, “Money” is the band at their most distorted and tenacious. It’s a punk rock squall to getting your due – mainly cold hard cash. 

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Dec 26, 2022
Zahara Elan - Dear Santa (NAUGHTY)
213

Zahara Elan - “Dear Santa…(NAUGHTY),” a 2022 self-released single.

This week, we are continuing a long-held tradition of featuring Christmas-themed songs selected by Brian Foss, host of KEXP’s punk show Sonic Reducer. He will be hosting his 18th annual Punk Rock Xmess on Saturday, December 24th from 9pm -12am and then jump back on the mic Christmas day from noon - 9pm for his no standards, non-traditional Christmas broadcast, including a special holiday edition of Sunday Soul.

Zahara Elan is a young musical prodigy who’s been posting her covers and, recently, original songs on YouTube the past couple of years. Born in 2008 with Malignant Infantile Osteopetrosis (MIOP), a very rare and fatal genetic bone disorder in which the bones grow unchecked, Zahara (formerly known as Zoe) required serious medical procedures to save her life. Early videos on her YouTube channel, made by her parents, focused entirely on her therapies and development but recently they’ve shifted to focus on her main passion: creating and performing music.

Her latest original song is, to put it lightly, an absolute banger. “Dear Santa…(NAUGHTY)” is, indeed, bawdy, with the Seattle-based pre-teen not holding back on the curse words. “Mind your fucking business,” Elan declares in one verse to the nosy and judgemental Saint Nick. But it’s the chorus that packs the biggest punch with, “WHAT THE FUCK, Santa?! /Don’t tell me to be good /I blow off steam from time to time /Because I’m misunderstood.” It’s about time someone gave Santa the middle finger.

Watch the adorably creative video for “Dear Santa…(NAUGHTY),” written, directed, filmed, and edited by Elan’s mother Kellie Newton, and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 23, 2022
We Are the Union - Yr Always Alone (On Christmas)
164

We Are The Union - “Yr Always Alone (On Christmas)” from the 2022 album I Surrender Sleighs on I Surrender Records.

This week, we are continuing a long-held tradition of featuring Christmas-themed songs selected by Brian Foss, host of KEXP’s punk show Sonic Reducer. He will be hosting his 18th annual Punk Rock Xmess on Saturday, December 24th from 9pm -12am and then jump back on the mic Christmas day from noon - 9pm for his no standards, non-traditional Christmas broadcast, including a special holiday edition of Sunday Soul.

We Are The Union have been making ska-infused pop punk since 2005 with five full-length records to their name. After multiple lineup changes, original members vocalist/guitarist Reade Wolcott and bassist Brandon Benson have remained and added Ricky Weber on lead guitar and Jer Hunter on the ska-important trombone.

Their latest single “Yr Always Alone (On Christmas)” centers on the idea of loneliness and how especially excruciating the feeling is around the holidays. “Nuclear holiday /Oh, oh, oh, oh, detonate, set me free,” Wolcott sings with a nasally snarl. “Venom in your head, brandy on your breath /'Tis the season to be vile and mean.” The band had this to say about the song:

“Yr Always Alone (On Christmas)' is almost not a holiday song. It's a fairly cynical take on loneliness as a consequence of selfishness, but it's centered around Christmas as a focal point.”

The song was released on a compilation album of original, non-traditional Christmas songs via I Surrender Records titled I Surrender Sleighs. Watch the video for “Yr Always Alone (On Christmas),” directed by Rae Mystic, and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 22, 2022
BumbleWasps - I'll Be at Work for Christmas
162

BumbleWasps - "Ill Be at Work for Christmas" from the 2021 self-released album F U Xmas.

UK-based BumbleWasps describe themselves as “cute like a bee, scary like a wasp.” It’s an apt description for the project with its bubbly aesthetics and biting lyricism. No more is that better exemplified with their yearly Christmas music, especially last year’s F U Christmas. Stand out track “I’ll Be At Work for Christmas” captures the dismal capitalist nightmare of working on the holidays. While you’re smashing back that egg nog and roasting the Yule log, let BumbleWasps remind you that they and others are somewhere out there putting in the hours. 

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Dec 21, 2022
Bat Hearse - Coffin for Christmas
224

Bat Hearse - “Coffin for Christmas,” a 2021 self-released single.

This week, we are continuing a long-held tradition of featuring Christmas-themed songs selected by Brian Foss, host of KEXP’s punk show Sonic Reducer. He will be hosting his 18th annual Punk Rock Xmess on Saturday, December 24th from 9pm -12am and then jump back on the mic Christmas day from noon - 9pm for his no standards, non-traditional Christmas broadcast, including a special holiday edition of Sunday Soul.

Detroit-based Gothabilly band Bat Hearse lean into darkness and horror but with a humorous slant. The five-piece have released two records, their 2021 self-titled debut and 2022’s Transylvania Moonshine but before dropping either, their first single was a tune in celebration of a very unlikely holiday for a band gushing Halloween out of their pours.

“Coffin for Christmas” barrels in like an undead force to be reckoned with. In between frequent howls, frontman Rick Ruiner sings of unrequited love and is either threatening them with a coffin for Christmas or is proclaiming that’s what he’s received. Either way, his anger is palpable. “Are you looking for stocking stuffer, baby?” asks vocalist/guitarist Nina Friday and Ruiner’s howls confirm the answer is most definitely affirmative.

Watch the blast of a video for “Coffin for Christmas” at the link below.

Read the full post on KEXP.org

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Dec 20, 2022
James Kochalka Superstar - Christmas Muffin
52

James Kochalka Superstar – “Christmas Muffin,” a 2017 self-released single.

This week, we are continuing a long-held tradition of featuring Christmas-themed songs selected by Brian Foss, host of KEXP’s punk show Sonic Reducer. He will be hosting his 18th annual Punk Rock Xmess on Saturday, December 24th from 9pm -12am and then jump back on the mic Christmas day from noon - 9pm for his no standards, non-traditional Christmas broadcast, including a special holiday edition of Sunday Soul.

James Kochalka is a Vermont-based comic book artist and writer, animator, and rock musician. Under his James Kochalka Superstar moniker, it makes sardonic comic rock with nearly twenty releases to his name, going back to 1995. As you’d imagine, his take on a Christmas tune is wry and undeniably silly.

“Christmas Muffin” grapples with the very adult reality of having to purchase gifts when you’re flat broke. With little dinero to his name, our narrator instead offers the most generous gift of a muffin - or at least half of it. The song is less than a minute long but his point is made quickly and succinctly. Over a spare high hat beat, Kochalka declares, “Ain’t got no money to buy you nothin’ /Ain’t got no money to buy you shit / Ain’t got no money to buy you nothin’ so I got you this muffin /But we’ll have to split it.” If that’s not the true spirit of Christmas, I don’t know what is.

Watch the selfie-shot video for "Christmas Muffin" at the link below.

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Dec 19, 2022
Kennebec - Tall Tales (feat. Hemlock Ernst and Sudan Archives)
193

Kennebec - Tall Tales (feat. Hemlock Ernst and Sudan Archives) from the 2022 album Without Star or Compass on Night Time Stories.

While Eric Phillips has only been releasing cinematic instrumental soundscapes under the name Kennebec since 2020, his enchanting works have garnered attention and led to a number of incredible collaborations. Our Song of the Day, “Tall Tales,” sees the Portland-based artist team up with Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands under his rap moniker Hemlock Ernst and Brittany Denise Parks, better known as the LA-based musician Sudan Archives.

The early single off his sophomore record Without Star or Compass is one of three tracks on the album that Herring contributes to but the only one under his rap alias. Over a guitar-strummed hook, Herring and Parks swap stream-of-consciousness verses and come together for heavenly harmonies on the chorus. While the lyrics are esoteric, ripe with references to nature, the seeming meaning revolves around our inability to fully know what another is thinking or feeling.

Phillips had this to say about working with Herring:

“I think our styles just resonated well with one another, and we clicked naturally. We sent some ideas back and forth remotely and then he flew out to Portland and we recorded all the vocals in three days together. It was so fun and inspiring – and really deepened my appreciation for his craft. He’s such a nice guy and a total genius. Sam’s lyrics really hit a beautiful balance between that sense of magic and folklore in the natural world that I’m after, while really bringing his own sense of narrative. He’s really amazing at constructing lyrical concepts in a way that I think compliments my own strengths (and weaknesses).”

Watch Future Islands’ Live on KEXP at Home performance from 2020 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 16, 2022
Archie Roach - One Song
361

Archie Roach - One Song from the 2022 album My Songs: 1989 – 2021 on Bloodlines.

Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter, activist, and author Archie Roach exited this mortal coil on July 30th of this year, leaving behind a legacy of powerful blues tunes telling the story of his painful personal history as well as those of the Aboriginal community. In his 66 years on the planet, 30 of them releasing music, he acquired numerous awards and accolades, including multiple ARIAs (Australia’s version of the Grammy’s), an International Human Rights Achievement award, and a hall of fame induction at the 2020 ARIAs.

Shortly before his death, in February of 2022, Roach released the 44-tack anthology album My Songs: 1989 – 2021 which included a new song titled “One Song.” The softly-strummed six-minute song is sparse yet compelling, with Roach singing of a collective connection and the acknowledgment of and privilege to all come from one place. “Remember well what we have told you /And don't forget where you come from,” Roach warmly suggests. “Mother Earth will always hold you /And you are born of just one song.”

Watch Archie Roach play the song live for Triple J’s Like a Version at read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 15, 2022
Weyes Blood - Grapevine
325

Weyes Blood - "Grapevine" from the 2022 album And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow on Sub Pop.

Los Angeles-based artist Weyes Blood (real name: Natalie Mering) explores the ways we're tangled together on the wistful acoustic ballad "Grapevine."

“Technology is harvesting our attention away from each other,” she said, via a press release. “We all have a ‘Grapevine’ entwined around our past with unresolved wounds and pain. Being in love doesn’t necessarily mean being together. Why else do so many love songs yearn for a connection?”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Dec 14, 2022
Bleached - Flip It
188

Bleached - "Flip It" a 2022 self-released single.

Los Angeles-based sibling duo Bleached return with a pop-punk pep talk, inspired by television dialogue and self care.

“I heard this quote on Euphoria," Jennifer Clavin said in a press release, "‘Every day you get out of bed is an act of courage.' I really related that to the lyrics. During the time of writing this song, I felt like I had to find my inner warrior to make it through another day in LA.”

Her sister Jessie adds, "“I was thinking of the way I speak to myself and I never realized how hard I could be on myself. I'm becoming way more aware of my inner voice. When I’m going through a day and I'm just feeling extra challenged, I now think about flipping it.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Dec 13, 2022
Hannah Jadagu - Say It Now
219

Hannah Jadagu - "Say It Now" a 2022 single on Sub Pop.

As we eagerly await a full-length debut from Hannah Jadagu, the 20-year-old artist gives us a sneak peek with the new single "Say It Now."

In a press release, the Texas-born/New York-based artist explains, “"Say It Now" is my sort of inner reflection on where things have gone wrong in my past interactions and relationships with other people. Sonically and lyrically, I feel as though this song signifies me venturing into a new world that is even more intense and vulnerable.” 

The new track is accompanied by a video directed by Jade De Brito and shot in Paris. Jadagu adds, "Making this video was so special because I got to make it during my first visit to Paris. We shot it in about 2 days, showcasing a sort of “day in the life” where I do studio work and get to go around the city. It’s a nice contrast to the lyrical content because there’s truly no time to be sad in Paris."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Dec 12, 2022
Field School - Jennifer Valentine
186

Field School - "Jennifer Valentine" from the 2022 album When Summer Comes on Bobo Integral / Small Craft Advisory.

It can be rare for a new band to immediately conjure a very specific location, scene, time, and sound but pressing play on Field School’s debut album When Summer Comes is like traveling to Olympia in the early ‘90s, despite its 2022 release. The project of Charles Bert of Seattle band Math and Physics Club, Field School was born out of necessity during the pandemic. Without the ability to play with his bandmates, Bert leaned on himself to create and record full songs on his own. Conjuring the twee pop sounds K Records became synonymous with during that era, the perhaps-not-coincidentally Olympia-based artist makes sentimental lo-fi jangle pop with all the sugary sweetness but none of the calories.

Our Song of the Day, “Jennifer Valentine,” is a highlight off the record and hones in on the saccharine wistfulness. “Jennifer Valentine, I wrote your name a thousand times/I wonder if you remember mine,” Bert sings with sincerity while a simple drum beat keeps tempo and guitars effervescently jangle. “Jennifer Valentine, I'll never change my mind /Cross my heart and hope to die.” If that’s not twee, I don’t know what is.

Purchase When Summer Comes on Bandcamp and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 09, 2022
Peak Park - Need Your Love
226

Peak Park - Need Your Love a 2022 self-released single.

Naarm/Melbourne-based trio Peak Park make groovy multi-facted art rock that blends genres to make music that’s at times upbeat and dancey and other times slow and sweet. Ethereal vocals deliver vulnerable and honest lyricism, centred on identity, existentialism and mental health.

Our Song of the Day “Need Your Love” is a dark and driving synth-filled tune about the intoxication and obsession of the baser needs surrounding new love. In a TikTok made by the band, they claim to have been inspired by the films The Batman, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, Drive, and Good Time when writing the song and the gritty undertones of those films are felt on the track. “Need your love /I wanna lose the weight of my bones /Intoxicate my air /I just need a taste of you,” passionately croons frontman Mitch Summers, balancing the complex feelings of vulnerable pining with the sometimes-seedy demands of desire.

To see a different side of the band, watch the lyric video for recent single “For Tomorrow,” off 2022’s How To Be EP and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 08, 2022
Death of the High Street - Chancer
311

Death of the High Street - "Chancer" a 2022 single on Bubblebrain.

Post-punk quartet Death Of The High Street return with their second KEXP Song of the Day this year, a sneering slice of razor-sharp alt-rock titled "Chancer."

In an interview with Edge of Arcady, the band describe the main character of the track as "a Frank Gallagher meets Del Boy character who’ll sell you a TV just as soon as he’s lifted it from your living room." The accompanying video — written, filmed, and edited by the band themselves — follows Chancer in a day-in-the-life clip. Check it out below. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Dec 07, 2022
Cliché Cult - Slippy
204

Cliché Cult - "Slippy" a 2022 single on Blaggers.

Post-punk band Cliché Cult formed in the height of the pandemic, but the lockdown hasn't hampered their rise. This past August, the Leeds quartet played their first live hometown show. "It's probably my favourite gig that we've played so far," they told Rebel Noise. "The crowd were chanting along to our tunes! The venue was quite small as well so it was a sweaty night."

If you can't get enough of their dark, '80s-influenced sound, the group are aiming to release a new single early next year.

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Dec 06, 2022
Fever Ray - Carbon Dioxide
292

Fever Ray - "Carbon Dioxide" from the 2023 album Radical Romantics on Mute.

Swedish artist Fever Ray (aka Karin Dreijer) returns early next year with their third LP Radical Romantics. It's their first full-length in five years, and features production from her brother (and former partner in The Knife) Olof Dreijer. Contributors include Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Nídia, Aasthma (Johannes Berglund, Peder Mannerfelt, and Pär Grindvik), and Vessel. 

Radical Romantics will be released March 10th via Mute.

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Dec 05, 2022
Tona - Triple Crown (feat. Shad & Drezus)
237

Tona - Triple Crown (feat. Drezus & Shad) a 2022 single on District Entertainment.

Toronto rapper Tona has been churning out a massive amount of high-level, collaborator-heavy music for years now and received the coveted Juno Award for Best Rap Recording in 2015. Recently he dropped GE20, the follow-up to 2021’s Good Energy, which sees Tona hone in on optimistic thoughts during the most pessimistic scenarios and how they can affect your health.

“Good Energy does not mean you ignore life's less pleasant situations, just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way,” reads the Bandcamp description for the record. And nothing brings better energy than collaborating with talented friends. Our Song of the Day, “Triple Crown,” features Rwandan-Canadian rapper Shad and Calgary-based indigenous artist Drezus trade the mic to speak on their various perspectives. But, as Tona states in his opening verse, it’s, “For all people.”

This is what he had to say about the song:

"This record came about from a conversation of truth, our truths. Featured artists Shad & Indigenous lyricist Drezus have always been advocates for speaking their truths about equality and freedom the same way I do with my content. The fight against racism in Canada, the U.S. and abroad is far from over. The Black community has been grieving for the Black lives lost due to police brutality, racial inequality, systems inflicting trauma, historical injustice and the many injustices faced daily for a long time as well as the indigenous people. There are intense feelings of helplessness, anger and emotional pain. It might be uncomfortable for those not affected by race, but the dialogue must continue to stay open to allow room for responsiveness and not reactionary tactics. All of these emotions are captured on this record produced by The Kount."

Watch the self-directed video for “Triple Crown” and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 02, 2022
SoulChef & Uptown Swuite - Bless The Child
167

SoulChef & Uptown Swuite - Bless The Child a 2022 single on SoulSwuite Music.

New Zealand-based rapper SoulChef has been churning out soul and jazz-inspired hip-hop for well over a decade now, starting with 2010’s Escapism. He focuses on invoking serenity through his thoughtful lyricism, meticulous productions, and head-bopping beats. He’s also an endeared collaborator.

For one of his latest singles, “Bless The Child,” SoulChef teams up with Bay Area-bred rapper and member of the Digital Martyrs collective Uptown Swuite, for a breezy jam steeped in nostalgia. In the song, the rappers forgive their former adolescent selves for their mistakes since it’s not their fault they were products of broken homes.

This isn’t the first time the two have worked together. In 2020 the duo dropped the collaborative album SoulSwuite. At the time, Uptown Swuite told HipHopDX this about their relationship:

“Soul Chef and I are of Samoan descent. Although I reside in California and Chef lives in New Zealand, New Zealand is like my second home. I used to live there and have real strong roots in the music/Hip Hop community of New Zealand. With this album, we really just wanted to capture the Samoan experience all around via our eyes — whether it be a Samoan living in California, New Zealand or even the motherland Samoa/American Samoa.”

Watch the video for “Bless the Child,” directed by Digital Martyrs, and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Dec 01, 2022
Danielle Ponder - Some Of Us Are Brave
233

Danielle Ponder - "Some Of Us Are Brave" from the 2022 album Some Of Us Are Brave on Future Classic.

After working as a Public Defender for five years, Rochester-based singer/songwriter Danielle Ponder left to focus on her music full-time. But her life-long pursuit of justice continues through her songs, as you can hear on her debut LP Some of Us Are Brave

"I read a book in law school, All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: But Some of Us Are Brave," Ponder explains in a press release. "I first fell in love with the title, I immediately felt seen. The book is essentially one of the first to address intersectionality. Often when we talk about feminism, we forget the issues that uniquely impact Black women and the same when we speak about race. The book is a collection of Black women writers pushing against invisibility, speaking loud and clear and telling our unique story. To me, this song was just a moment to pause and pay homage to Black women. The album is named that because that's where I get my biggest inspirations. My biggest cheerleaders are my sisters, my mother, Black women. And I think bravery is what I've needed to become a full-time artist.''

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 30, 2022
Arima Ederra - Steel Wing
277

Arima Ederra - "Steel Wing" from the 2022 album An Orange Colored Day on Arima's Lab.

Today's Song of the Day came to singer/songwriter Arima Ederra in a moment of anger. As the firstborn daughter of Ethiopian refugees, the Los Angeles-based artist was rattled by the refugee crisis that forcibly displaced a record 68.5 million people. In a press statement, she reflected:

“When the former president put a ban on refugees in 2017, I remember sitting in my room very angry and couldn’t help but think about my family in East Africa. When the news came, a melody followed, kind of in the form of a chant. I recorded a little voice note of it, tucked it away and didn’t really think much of it til later in the year. When we started making the music, it felt like a soundtrack to my rebellious teen years and I felt called to explore the parallels of my youth to my father’s journey as a refugee. The hook is kind of like a conversation between the two of us. 'Steel Wing' pays homage to not only my family, but all refugees, women and young girls to continue to take up space, rebel and explore their curiosity and freedom in everything they do.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 29, 2022
Carsen Gray - Cracks
205

Carsen Gray - "Cracks" a 2022 single on Nettwerk Music Group.

Canadian singer/songwriter Carsen Gray brings the beauty of her homeland of Haida Gwaii, BC to her music. 

“It’s very chill, beautiful, laidback, and peaceful,” she says of her home in a press statement. “The people are nice and welcoming. We all support one another and cheer each other on. Because of where I’m from, I feel like I was able to come out with such a warm project. We’re in a safe little place up here. I’m proud of my heritage, where I come from, and the land I live on.”

She brings that "chill, beautiful, laidback, and peaceful" vibe to today's Song of the Day, which showcases Gray's soulful voice against an acoustic guitar.

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 28, 2022
Among Authors - Fears We Hold
258

Among Authors - Fears We Hold, a 2022 single on Squaremoss.

Five years after releasing their debut album I AM BECOME, atmospheric art-rock outfit Among Authors finally returned last month with a gripping new single. The Seattle-based band is led by Ian Ketterer and the song details the crippling anxiety he’s felt his entire life due to being born without a right thumb or ear coupled with the scars left from multiple invasive surgeries - one to fix a Tracheoesophageal fistula and the other an open heart surgery.

This isn’t just vanity at play, it’s struggling to fit into what is considered “normal” in a very ableist society. But it also hits home for all of us quietly brooding over what we consider to be our imperfections. In “Fears We Hold,” Ketterer sends a message to his younger self that the world isn’t as scary as he thinks it is and that nobody’s out to get him. Led by sparse piano, the song builds and swirls as Ketterer bellows, “So pull back your hair /And roll up your sleeves /Cause nobody cares /Or sees what you see.”

In a reflective and deeply vulnerable Instagram post, Ketterer had this to say about the song:

“I have struggled with hiding the right side of my body my entire life. Everything from my clothing style down to my body movements and positions are all so ingrained in my subconscious and all tailor around making sure nobody can see my right hand, or my missing ear on my right side. I have worn long sleeves my entire life, long hair, even the seemingly simplest every day tasks like going to get Starbucks puts my head in a space where without even thinking about it, I am pulling out my card to pay for my drink in a specific way so my right hand isn't seen. Or when talking to people, always positioning myself so the right side is hidden. Oh god don't even get me started with when I am approached by someone to shake their hand with my right hand. You know what I do? I grab their hand with both my hands so that they don't sense that I have a missing thumb on my right hand. I have lived in my own self-doubt my entire life.

As a musician, I have always had this fear that when my band makes it big some day, and we're at some dumb photoshoot, that my big "lie" will be revealed, we'll get kicked off our record label (which we've yet to have) for not being sellable from a look standpoint, and our music career will be over.

That's all nonsense. I have held onto these unnecessary and irrelevant fears for way too long.

This is who I am.”

Watch Among Authors’ KEXP in-studio performance from 2018 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 25, 2022
Martha - Every Day the Hope Gets Harder
132

Martha - Hope Gets Harder from the 2022 album Please Don't Take Me Back on Specialist Subject.

British pop-punkers Martha have been spreading messages of anarchy since 2014 when they released their debut album Courting Strong. They’ve dropped three more records since, with the latest being this year’s Please Don’t Take Me Back. The record proves that the band from a small town called Pity Me continue to pity no one, especially the Powers That Be controlling the state of the UK.

Our Song of the Day, “Hope Gets Harder,” hones in on this idea, targeting the rich and powerful who are killing hope and optimism at a rapid rate. “Drain the blood from every diamond /On this damp and hateful island,” they cry over a sprititedly brisk riff before closing the song with the pointed claim, “Every day the hope gets harder/ England is a funeral parlor.”

In a lengthy statement about the song, the band don’t mince words on what they mean by that:

“‘Hope Gets Harder’ is a song about England: a uniquely fucking terrible idea,” the band said in a statement. “A place governed by the most absurdly mediocre people in history. Selfish, rich, thick, malevolent ghouls propped up by a bootlicking, self-congratulating, stenographic, client-journalist news media that puts North Korea to shame. England is a grey, damp artifice, vibrating to a quasi-fascist background hum, where the majority live miserable hopeless lives, so that a tiny minority can live in extravagant luxury. As we lurch violently from one crisis to the next, it feels like the light of any hope for the future is slowly dying. But we have to try and find hope in one another, and together we have to fight like hell for a more socially and ecologically just world. No fate but what we make for ourselves. Abolish england. Fuck the king.”

Watch the cleverly illustrated music video for “Hope Gets Harder” by Nathan Stephens-Griffin and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 24, 2022
Metronomy x Jessica Winter - I lost my mind
249

Metronomy x Jessica Winter - “I lost my mind,” a 2022 single on Because Music.

Following the release of their seventh LP Small WorldMetronomy return with a "reimagined" version featuring re-worked versions of tracks from that album from Sébastien Tellier, Bolis Pupul, and on today's Song of the Day, London-based singer/songwriter Jessica Winter

Winter cited Kylie Minogue as an inspiration for the reimagining, saying in a press release, “As soon as I heard the held high notes in the chorus I thought the song could go in a Kylie direction; the key change at the end then went quite ABBA.” She added, "“Everything on the track was made from analogue synths and drum machines and there’s real strings on there too; if you listen closely you can hear a hook pinched from a different track on Metronomy’s latest album.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 23, 2022
Fanfara Station - Lafoo
228

Fanfara Station - “Lafoo” from the 2022 album Boussadia on Garrincha Edizioni Musicali.

On their latest LP Boussadia, the trio Fanfara Station aim to celebrate the culture of each band member. 

Multi-instrumentalist Marzouk Mejri grew up in Tunisia; not only does he bring an inspiration of North African rhythms to the group, but he explores traditional woodwind and percussion instruments in his music. He met DJ/producer Marco Dalmasso (aka Ghiaccioli e Branzini) after relocating to Italy in the '90s; his electronic expertise elevates Mejri's compositions to dance-floor bangers. American horn player Charles Ferris arrived from San Francisco on a Fulbright scolarship to research the chants of Campania, 

The album was recorded in Tunisia, in order for the artists to "immerse and breath the culture," and most of the tracks were born from live improvisations, to "capture the energy of their concerts."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 22, 2022
Mykki Blanco - French Lessons (feat. ANOHNI and Kelsey Lu)
204

Mykki Blanco - “French Lessons (feat. ANOHNI and Kelsey Lu)” from the 2022 album Stay Close to Music on Mykki Blanco/Transgressive.

On today's Song of the Day, poet/musician Mykki Blanco pays tribute to fellow speak-singer Lou Reed. 

“The song is a reflection on the possibility of true love, on the notion that one truly can experience what we see in the Hollywood films,” Mykki states in a press release. “The song is also this ode in a way to Lou Reed. I’m not what I would consider a singer at all, I’m a talk-singer so I look to people in history who have that same style: Tom Petty, Jonathan Richmond of the Modern Lovers, Lou Reed – these are all AMAZING ‘talk singers’ and I feel comfortable in that style vocally. The song was originally composed by FaltyDL and it encapsulated so much sonically of what I was trying to articulate with my own music. FaltyDL has a way of touching on the spiritual subtleties of life. He is able somehow to create mystery out of banality, to create tranquility and fill a room with zen like vibrations, something unnameable and yet so familiar a feeling.”

The song features a guest collaboration with Kelsey Lu. (On the album version of the song, ANOHNI contributes to the track.) Mykki continues, “Kelsey Lu I’m sure will go on to become one of the legendary artists of my generation. A classically trained virtuoso with a voice that sounds ancient like a bell ringing for the first time, like something out of a Greek odyssey. I have been a long time super fan of Kelsey’s and collaborating with her on this song has been a very special moment for myself and FaltyDL.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 21, 2022
Multiplayer - Cosmic Quest
290

Multiplayer - Cosmic Quest from the 2022 self-released album Multiplayer.

Matt Williams is a Seattle-based, Phoenix-bred, Kansas City-born pianist and vibraphonist who has worked with a seemingly endless amount of names in multiple jazz communities, many of which might only be familiar to niche jazz aficionados but carry a heavy mantle of respectability. His latest project Multiplayer is an improvisational project that feels both modern and nostalgic.

Our Song of the Day, “Cosmic Quest,” comes from his recently-released debut self-titled album and very much feels like one searching the galaxy for something more. With a sparse synth-fueled start, the song's unhurried build feels like a floating object just searching for some purpose. Things tighten up quickly, as the target is acquired and, while we may not feel like we’re moving at the speed of light, we’re still boldly going where no man has gone before.

Watch Multiplayer's live session at the old Cafe Racer back in 2019 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 18, 2022
Yves Tumor - God Is A Circle
214

Yves Tumor - "God Is A Circle," a 2022 single on Warp.

Shortly after the end of spooky season, Yves Tumor dropped the chilling single “God Is A Circle” to the delight of the many fans who have been gripped by the Turin-based artist’s enigmatic take on glam rock. The single follows last year’s EP The Asymptotical World and 2020’s full-length Heaven To a Tortured Mind.

Produced by Noah Goldstein (Frank Ocean, Arcade Fire), and mixed by Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails), the song is built upon a beat of labored breaths for a moody post-punk-indebted rocker that features squelching guitars, fuzzed-out bass, and desperate shrieks. Swedish electronic artist Ecco2K and Lebanon-born artist Thoom bestow backing vocals as Yves Tumor sings about detachment and strained relationships, “There’s places in my mind that I cannot go / There’s people in my life I still don’t know.”

The song is paired perfectly with a campy horror-movie-style video by Jordan Hemmingway which adds to the ominous feel of the song. Watch the video and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 17, 2022
Kelela - Happy Ending
249

Kelela - "Happy Ending" a 2022 single on Warp

It's been five years since we last heard from L.A.-based artist Kelela. Her 2017 debut LP Take Me Apart was a masterful set of adventurous electro-R&B, and her recent return to music — with the singles “Washed Away” and now, "Happy Ending" — show she hasn't missed a beat during that brief hiatus.

Today's Song of the Day features production by LSDXOXO with additional production from Bambii. Drawing inspiration from "the rapture of a club crush" (as a press release states), it's fitting that the accompanying video (co-directed by Alima Lee and Kelela) captures the Black rave scene in NYC.

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 16, 2022
Floating Points - Problems
277

Floating Points - "Problems" a 2022 single on Pluto / Ninja Tune

Throughout the year, British electronic musician Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd) has been releasing some excellent stand-alone singles, including today's Song of the Day. Just last week, he announced the songs will be collected and released on limited vinyl for the first time on December 16th. 

Today's featured track is accompanied by a video directed and produced by the creative team Hamill Industries, a frequent Floating Points collaborator. In a press statement, they wrote: "'Problems' is meant to agitate every single room that its ecstatic sound waves reach. We wanted to celebrate it with movement and dance and reshape it through sound, by using techniques that allow the sonification of images. We have used lasers that spin and move with the music, making visible their sinuous shapes. It was important that this video shaped the electrical feeling you get when being on a dancefloor, the urge of dancing when sound waves reach your ears."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 15, 2022
Empress Of - Dance For You
200

Empress Of - "Dance For You" from the 2022 Save Me EP on Major Arcana

Brooklyn-based artist Empress Of (the electro-pop recording project of Lorely Rodriguez) released her five-song EP Save Me over the summer, which features the stand-out (and suitably-titled) track "Dance For You."

“I love the lyrics on this song,” Rodriguez said in a press statement. “I made this in Minneapolis with BJ Burton. It was freezing outside. I was in a cave-like studio in the snow literally dancing as I wrote this. ‘Surrender to me like this’ is a touching lyric for me because I’m not hurt over this person anymore. I’ve come out the other side.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 14, 2022
Jason McCue - Kingdom
242

Jason McCue - "Kingdom" from the 2022 album Screen, Turn On on Fluff & Gravy.

KEXP has long been supporters and fans of local artist Jason McCue. First bursting on the scene as the 2017 winner of Sound Off!, which sees artists under 21 showcase their talent for a shot at the coveted prize. Since then, he’s gone on to release three records, 2018’s Pangaea, Wasteland in 2019, and, most recently, Screen, Turn On.

Recorded during the pandemic, the record sees McCue grapple with his reliance on technology as the world became a more insular place. Our Song of the Day, “Kingdom,” hones in on other vices that often sneak up and then terrorize those in vulnerable headspaces. In the song, our narrator experiences a heavy night of drinking, leaving them lost and bloody, with their lover pleading with them to stay the night before doing anything else wreckless.

In a tone that sounds as if Elliot Smith was reincarnated, McCue quavers “But my baby said to me /Don’t you go home /Stay here with me /I know you’ve been drinking all night long /Don’t you go home” over an urgently strummed acoustic guitar while another electric guitar offers warbled flourishes. The intensity of the message and the vulnerability of the narrator’s position is felt through the constantly changing dynamics that slow down at the end with layered vocals mimicking the narrator’s fading mind and resolve.

Watch McCue’s KEXP in-studio performance of the song “Ocean" and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 11, 2022
Glüme - Do Me a Favor
232

Glüme - "Do Me a Favor," a 2022 single on Italians Do It Better.

Describing Glüme could be easy - a wide-eyed chanteuse who channels equal parts Marilyn Monroe and Lana del Rey - but it would be reductive. Especially considering her status as one of the newest additions to the Italians Do It Better roster, who are known for their icey cool-as-hell synth-filled soundscapes. How does the pouty, Monroe-reincarnated pop princess fit in with the leather-clad cool kids?

The answer is something along the lines of: the girl’s got chops. On our Song of the Day, “Do Me a Favor,” the latest single from Glüme, is an upbeat ode to the insecurities that often plague one’s mind from being burned too many times. How can you recognize if something is real after so many heartbreaks? Sometimes the answer is sometimes just in the other person making the bold moves. “Do me a favor and take me,” she begs.

The single is off her forthcoming sophomore record Main Character, out on Valentine’s Day 2023 and follows 2021’s lauded The Internet. It comes with a gay western-themed video in which Glüme is dressed in a red leather dress and gets wooed by a cowgirl that leads them to an onslaught of debauchery in a tiny tumbleweed town. Watch the video, directed by George Baron, and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 10, 2022
WITCH - Waile
315

WITCH - "Waile" a 2022 single on Desert Daze/Partisan.

It's been almost 40 years since WITCH (which stands for "We Intend To Cause Havoc") caused some havoc.

The Zambia-based band were early adopters of the "Zamrock" sound, a combination of traditional African music with psychedelic rock, releasing seven albums back in the '70s and '80s. After Zambia-born hip-hop artist Sampa The Great featured them on her latest LP As Above, So Below, WITCH decided to reconvene, releasing the single "Waile."

"'Waile' was one of the songs that I brought to the WITCH when I joined in 1978," explained keyboardist Patrick Mwondela via a press release. "While it was played live often back in the day, it was never recorded until the new formation of the band picked it up 43 years later during a rehearsal on an island in Kenya, where the band embraced it and made it their own. A few months after that, they gave it a new lease of life by recording it in Lusaka’s legendary DB Studios. Sang in my native language Luvale, the subject matter is a nostalgic wailing for home of ancient African tribes that would eventually settle in Zambia."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 09, 2022
Cuffed Up - 10 for 10
256

Cuffed Up - "10 for 10," a 2022 single on Corduroy Recordings.

Los Angeles-based trio Cuffed Up return with a punk-pop pep-rally anthem for anyone struggling with imposter syndrome.

"It's deeply rooted in confidence," vocalist and guitarist Ralph Torrefranca told Atwood Magazine. "The dialogue in the song follows a creative, trying to understand the negative thoughts that plagues their mind every time they feel the imposter syndrome. The chorus is the heavy-handed conclusion that they arrive to every time but the bridge is the 'big aha! moment' where the character finally realizes that they are amazing at what they do and are in fact, 10/10."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 08, 2022
Winter - sunday
267

Winter - "sunday" from the 2022 album What Kind of Blue Are You? on Bar/None.

Songwriter Samira Winter (who records as Winter) returns with her sophomore full-length, What Kind of Blue Are You?, described as an "emotional excavation of [her] purest self." The new album features guest appearances from artists like Hatchie and Sasami. "“I feel like I’ve come full circle, making an album that my 22-year-old self who just started Winter would love," she says in a press release. "It’s my inner shadow girl, revealing herself in all her brokenness, despair, and beauty.”

Winter describes today's Song of the Day as "a fever dream meditation on social media toxicity," a topic she says is "always on my mind and generates a lot of fear and anxiety for me. It’s a critique on social media’s effect on mental health and contorted beauty standards for women."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 07, 2022
Lydia Ramsey - I Will Wait For You
254

Lydia Ramsey - “I Will Wait For You” from the 2022 self-released album Like A Dream.

Lydia Ramsey is an Indianola, WA-born, Seattle-based Americana artist that’s been channeling the vintage folk sounds of Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt since 2016. Her wistful melodies and enchanting vocals and often simple in presentation: just a guitar or banjo, perhaps some twinkling piano, and showstealingly lovely coos.

Her latest record Like A Dream was released in September and hones in on the collective thoughts, anxieties, and loneliness felt during the pandemic. Our Song of the Day “I Will Wait For You” is especially relatable looking back on those lockdown days but also for many still, as she speaks to a friend - or perhaps to herself - in the depths of despair, encouraging them to keep moving forward.

“Running through your head /What if this lasts forever,” Ramsey quavers. “It’s bitter end in these days without being close together.” Resiliently, she presses on, hoping, waiting, and praying for the day in which things “will be better than ever.”

Ramsey collaborated with a number of longtime musician-friends, engineer Johnny Bregar, and New York-based engineer/producer, D. James Goodwin (The National, Kevin Morby, Blitzen Trapper) on Like A Dream. Watch the intimate Jacob Rosen-directed video for “I Will Wait For You" and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 04, 2022
Rival Consoles - World Turns
323

Rival Consoles - “World Turns” from the 2022 album Now Is on Erased Tapes.

Ryan Lee West has been making electronic music under the name Rival Consoles since 2007, experimenting with a diverse range of styles and influences primarily with analog equipment. His latest release Now Is was made during the pandemic and sees the English producer in a contemplative mood, painting an atmospheric kaleidoscope of occasionally glitchy sounds. He had this to say about the record:

“There are some pieces that are influenced quite strongly by the isolation and anxiety of these times. There are also pieces which are more optimistic and vibrant, which I think is a consistent attitude of my records, as I want art to express many aspects of life.”

Our Song of the Day, “World Turns,” thrums with spacey energy, slowly unfolding and retracting. Not quite a dancefloor jam, the song mimics the spinning orb we live on and the twinkling stars that sit amongst it, making the song a perfect late-night headphones listen.

Check out Rival Consoles' Boiler Room set from 2016 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Nov 03, 2022
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - When the Lights Go
296

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - “When the Lights Go” from the 2022 album When the Lights Go on Nice Age.

Over the past decade, Orlando Higginbottom has been thriving under the name Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. The British producer scored a Grammy nomination for his collaboration with Bonobo, and has released several singles and EPs since his 2012 debut LP Trouble.

Ten years later, he shares his sophomore full-length, When The Lights Go, which he says is "about love and the end of the world." 

“I think that the record starts and all the ideas are quite direct, and then it gets murkier and murkier as it goes on,” he told Rolling Stone UK. But as we move further away from the lockdown, the apocalypse isn't quite as front of mind. “It’s kind of nice to get this material off my chest. The next record I’m working on is much more hopeful. I’ve come out and I’m very far over the other side now.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 02, 2022
United Freedom Collective - MERCY (feat. FACESOUL)
265

United Freedom Collective - “MERCY (feat. FACESOUL)” from the 2022 Am Ta EP on Dama Dama.

At the core of the United Freedom Collective are three musicians: Mathieu Seynaeve, WaiFung Tsang, and Robbie Redway. The trio convened in a remote barn in Cornwall, in South West England, to create music inspired by Zen Taoism, Buddhism, Jungian analysis, meditation, yoga, and more. “It’s supposed to be something more than us” they explain in a press statement, “it’s music with intention, music for healing”.

This open and experimental approach can be heard on their debut EP Am Ta. The intentional band name of "United Freedom Collective" leaves the door open for frequent collaborators, and on today's Song of the Day, we hear from Somali-born, U.K.-based singer/songwriter FACESOUL, who the band describe as "a dear brother who spent some time with us in Cornwall earlier this year to cook up some magic with his unbelievable voice." 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Nov 01, 2022
Bill Callahan - Coyotes
385

Bill Callahan - “Coyotes” from the 2022 album YTI⅃AƎЯ on Drag City.

Singer/songwriter Bill Callahan is shaking up reality — literally, with the backwards title of his latest LP, YTILAER, out now via his long-time label Drag City. 

“It felt like it was necessary to rouse people — rouse their love, their kindness, their anger, rouse anything in them. Get their senses working again,” he shared in a press release.

On today's Song of the Day, that reality takes us to his backyard, where the titular animal made its presence known. “We lived for awhile in a house in the hills,” he explained. “Coyote hills. The coyotes would start their song at dawn. Dawn and dusk were their main appearance times. Our dog would sleep outside sometimes in the morning and our boy was still bite-size. The coyotes would come take notes, edging closer each day. Mornings on the kingsize outdoor daybed. Like a righteous floating tide the coyotes would drift into our world. Predator and prey, blurred. Past and present, blurred. The young, the aged are to be snatched and devoured. Past lives edge in closer to try to speak to us. Current lives eye the past ones like sleeping dogs. And love spans all, that is why the feeling is so deep — deeper than one lifetime.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 31, 2022
Grynch - Paper Route (feat. Sir Mix‐A‐Lot)
227

Grynch Paper Route (feat. Sir Mix‐A‐Lot) from the 2022 self-released album Born in '86.

Nearly fifteen years after dropping his debut full-length, My Second Wind, Grynch is back with his first solo record since 2014 titled Born in ‘86. While it may be a solo record, that doesn’t mean the Seattle-born-and-bred rapper isn’t still open to sharing the mic. The deeply collaborative artist invited artists like Boom Bap Project, Blake Lewis, Prometheus Brown, and Daz Dillinger to help add color to the nostalgia-hued record.

But there’s no collaboration more deeply Seattle than our Song of the Day. “Paper Route” sees none other than the big-booty-loving Sir Mix a Lot join Grynch for a song that recognizes the resilience it takes to continue on the winding and fickle journey of being a longstanding musician. “I could never do a thing that I aint about,” Grynch spits on the chorus, “Suckers out here running miles /Chasing clout /But when it’s all said and done and they faded out /I’m gonna still be getting mine on my paper route.”

Watch Grynch's KEXP in-studio performance of fan-favorite “My Volvo” from all the way back in 2010 and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Oct 28, 2022
Bosq - Song for Ehi (feat. The Ibibio Horns and Kaleta)
423

4348 Kevin Cole Thursday 10/27/22 Bosq Song for Ehi (feat. The Ibibio Horns and Kaleta) a 2022 single on Canopy Limited.

Bosq is the musical pseudonym for Benjamin Woods, who has been utilizing Afro-Latin music in fusion with Funk, Disco, Reggae, House and Hip Hop to dazzling effect for a decade now. The Boston-bred, Colombia-based musician has released 4 full albums, heaps of EP's of original music, and countless collaborative singles and remixes with artists like Fania Records, Orchestre Poly Rhythmo de Cotonou, Poolside, Nickodemus, and many more.

He recently teamed up with the horn section of Ibibio Sound Machine as well as vocalist Kaleta for a fiery new single released via Portugal-based label Canopy Records, whose specialty is “Sub-Saharan synth swagger, re-calibrated and re- celebrated.” Titled “Song for Ehi,” the track is a combination of classic Edo-funk, Afro-disco and reggae disco with a groovy meandering bassline, soaring horns arrangements, and timbale breakdowns. While it may be cold outside, the group is bringing the heat!

Watch Ibibio Sound Machine’s recently-released KEXP in-studio session from September and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Oct 27, 2022
You Said Strange - So Sorry
200

You Said Strange - "So Sorry" from the 2021 album Thousand Shadows Vol.1 on Le Cèpe Records / Modulor.

For their debut albumSalvation Prayer, the French band You Said Strange recorded in Portland with Dandy Warhols guitarist Peter G Holmström. For they're latest LP, titled Thousand Shadows Vol​.​1, they hunkered down at home, building their own studio in Évreux, equipped with a vintage analog console and microphones gathered during previous tours. 

The band told Psychedelic Baby Magazine that the change enabled them to "become autonomous with our gear, build a cocoon and stretch our creation on a bigger space of time. Taking time to refine our sound and our compositions." As a result, the group's sophomore full-length is a thoughtful, intimate affair, produced by Daniel James Goodwin (This Is The Kit, Kevin Morby, Wand).

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 26, 2022
Love’n’Joy - Psy Summer
352

Love'n'joy - "Psy Summer" from the 2022 self-released album Half Home.

Kyiv-based band Love’n’Joy completed their latest album Half Home just three days before the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Vocalist/guitarist Anton Pushkar explained to Psychdelic Baby Magazine, "The idea of ​​the album title was mainly connected with the loss of Crimea, the place where me and Sergey (Zlobin, drummer) were born and raised and where our relatives live under russian occupation. After the events of February 24, when we had to leave our native Kyiv, this feeling multiplied.”

While touring in support of the new LP, the band established the Musicians Defend Ukraine fund, a way for them to support "Ukrainian artists who defend their cities and work as volunteers." 

“Different parts of the world [are] trying to support somehow,” Pushkar told Kerrang. “[You] can sell your records, collect money, organise a show – there’s lots of options available. And for [promoters] you can also just have a Ukrainian band play, because I guess all of the bands who are outside the Ukraine right now are raising money. We have a really big volunteer movement in Ukraine, and in a really horrible time it’s really nice to know and a really warm feeling that everybody cares for each other. And to see how people from Europe and U.S. help us, that’s really important.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 25, 2022
Elsy Wameyo - River Nile
203

Elsy Wameyo - "River Nile" from the 2022 Nilotic EP on Music in Exile.

Over the past few years, Nairobi-born, Adelaide-based artist Elsy Wameyo has made a name for herself in hip-hop, garnering both the Young Kenyan of the Year award in 2018, and the People's Choice Best Hip Hop Award at the annual South Australian Music Awards in 2019.

Her debut EP, titled Nilotic, is a tribute to her indigenous roots to the people of the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages. In a press release, she explains that today's Song of the Day is an exploration of her newfound strength. “‘River Nile’ was a revelation, a turning point that led me to understand who I truly am. I had been so weak, fighting a battle that was never mine. This song came about after I learnt how to strategically use the power within. I journeyed with this song to find a place of rest. I reached a level where I no longer had to work. Instead, I used the forces around me to gain altitude. The moment I found it, it was game over for everyone else.”

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 24, 2022
Enumclaw - Jimmy Neutron
231

Enumclaw - "Jimmy Neutron" from the 2022 album Save the Baby on Luminelle Recordings.

It can often be tough to trace exactly where and when a band “broke” but for Enumclaw, it’s pretty straightforward. KEXP’s own Martin Douglas first wrote about the Tacoma band on KEXP’s website and, shortly after, major publications like Pitchfork, Stereogum, Gorilla vs. Bear, and The Fader followed suit. So, for all intents and purposes, we claim them as ours.

Last week, the quartet - made up of Aramis Johnson, Nathan Cornell, Eli Edwards, and Ladaniel Gipson - released their debut full-length Save the Baby. Produced by Gabe Wax, who’s also manned the boards for Soccer Mommy, Palehound, and Ian Sweet, the highly anticipated record continues their streak of ‘90s-inspired indie rock. Our Song of the Day, “Jimmy Neutron,” is a dreamy rocker about the desire for love and the pitfalls of making it a reality.

"This song is about getting so close to love that you can almost taste it," says Johnson of the track. "All the highs of being in love and how ridiculously unlike yourself it can make you act. All the daydreaming you do about what things could be and how they might go. There's always a catch though and in this story as soon as you reach out to grab 'love' and have it in your hands you drop it."

Enumclaw is currently touring the US, check out their scheduled dates to make sure you don't miss "the best band since Oasis." Recently, Martin Douglas spoke with Enumclaw and revisited the beginning of his relationship with the band for KEXP. Read the full post and watch the John C. Peterson-directed video for “Jimmy Neutron" at KEXP.org.

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Oct 21, 2022
Cheekface - I Feel So Weird!
156

Cheekface - "I Feel So Weird!" from the 2022 album Too Much To Ask on New Professor.

In times like we’ve been living through the past handful of years, humor has become more and more tantamount to survival. Cheekface understands that and displays it with aplomb. The Los Angeles-based band made up of Greg Katz, Amanda Tannen, Mark “Echo” Edwards channels Lou Reed, Jonathan Richman, and Stephan Malkmus with their speak-singing but has plenty of wisdom behind their absurdist, critical, and, dare I say, cheeky lyricism.

Our Song of the Day “I Feel So Weird!,” off the band’s recently released third record Too Much To Ask, is an excellent example of Cheekface’s ability to make you spit-take with laughter at the same time as saying to yourself, “I feel that.” Over a mellow, bass-heavy rhythm Katz spews goofy statements like, “The difference between me and a dog is I am taller /Think about it, just think about it” before getting into a pretty great allegory for the feelings that anxiety often riddles upon a body, which is also an allusion towards dogs. Plus the Das Racist reference of “I'm at the combination Jamba Juice and therapist” makes it the gold standard of satirical lyricism.

While Cheekface isn’t big on music videos currently, watch the lyric video for other Too Much To Ask highlight “Featured Singer” and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Oct 20, 2022
PVA - Untethered
216

PVA - "Untethered" from the 2022 album BLUSH on Ninja Tune.

South London trio PVA have gained a reputation for their live sets, with their dark, industrial-tinged dance music and frontwoman Ella Harris' deadpan vocals. (Early in their career, the band came up with the term “country-friend techno” to describe their sound.)

With their debut LP BLUSH, the group channels the raw energy of their shows, while displaying an increased confidence in the studio. “We wanted to surprise people and do something more than just get across how we sound at a gig,” percussionist Louis Satchell conveyed in a press release. “It’s quite an anxious record sometimes that is relating to mental health issues but also an everyday anxiety of making the album. It’s been a rocky ride but we always pick ourselves up.” 

Harris says today's Song of the Day is about "being in a straight relationship that is restrictive and closed off. It’s basically an expression of this really frustrated anger at masculinity and a resentment at being unable to free yourself from that heteronormative situation and explore the world.” The group elaborates, "'Untethered' is a song about release. It’s our current set opener and an introduction to our industrial arm. We wrote it in one session in a burst of chaotic catharsis. The lyrics follow a character being freed from imaginary tethers and experiencing the earth under their feet again."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 19, 2022
Benedek - Emotional (feat. Devin Morrison)
192

Benedek - "Emotional (feat. Devin Morrison)" from the 2022 Zebrano EP on Apron Records.

Los Angeles-based producer/musician Benedek (real name: Nicholas Benedek) began playing guitar at the age of nine, and first started composing beats using his Nintendo Game Boy Camera software. With admiration for artists like Herbie Hancock and Jeff Beck, he's developed a unique style drawing from funk, hip-hop, soul, house, as well as science fiction and '90s video games. 

On today's Song of the Day, Benedek teams up with the soulful singer Devin Morrison for this '80s-inspired jam. (Do I detect a Bell Biv DeVoe inspiration?) Bandcamp calls the track a "slow burning ode to the West Coast," and with Morrison's laid-back vocals and that smooth R&B groove, it's the perfect song to make you forget it's autumn now. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 18, 2022
STR4TA - Turn Me Around
316

STR4TA - "Turn Me Around" from the 2022 album STR4TASFEAR on Brownswood.

Just before the world shut down in 2020, renowned DJ/record label owner Gilles Peterson joined acid jazz legend Jean-Paul Maunick (better known as "Bluey") for an improvised jam session in Bluey's parents’ garden shed in London. The result became STR4TA, and last year's debut LP, Aspects, draws influence from the '70s/'80s Brit-Funk sound they both grew up with. 

Their sophomore full-length, STR4TASFEAR, will be released on November 10th via Peterson's own Brownswood Recordings, and is described by Peterson in a press release as "a continuation from our first project, celebrating the ground breaking Brit-Funk era of the late 70s/ early 80s while continuing the story with the rise of the drum machine; paying homage to the Acid Jazz and Electro Soul that followed and the evolution that inspired club culture and new Jazz of recent times." He continues, "For me it's a record of parallels, not only in music but a lot of the issues we are experiencing today began in that Brit-Funk era. The parallels in the political landscape of that time and today are poignant and the moment of overall change we are living in is reflected in this record. Bluey is a significant executer of exhibiting the important social questions through music from a Black British perspective and it's an honour to work with him."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 17, 2022
Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Taabu, Shad - Red Sky at Night - Remix
236

Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Taabu, Shad - Red Sky at Night - Remix a 2022 single on Distorted Muse.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are a Polaris and Juno Award-nominated indigenous hip hop duo that are beacons amongst their community for addressing the generational trauma affecting indigenous people with wit, humor, and bars for days. Their most recent album Life After dropped in 2021 but recently they unveiled a remix of standout track “Red Sky at Night” featuring veteran emcee Shad and producer Taabu.

While the original was a vibey late-night track that showed off the duo’s dexterous verbal ability and is absolutely incredible on its own, the remix is a fiery hard-hitting journey meant to melt faces. Shad’s gracious opening verse sets the tone before Yung Trybez and Young D speak their truth, “Rez Kids on that red carpet /Tell the homies that this feature is free /Get best bargain like red target, all love.”

Turns out, Shad was actually supposed to be on the original version of the track but submitted his verse too late. “He showed us mad love when he heard it,” says SNRK to Complex of Shad. “...and sent us a verse back a little late when it came to getting it on the original [song], but that’s what remixes are for! His verse was recorded before we even thought about ours, and he set the damn bar!”

Snotty Nose Rez Kids were featured on an episode of Sound & Vision last year to discuss the change they want to be in their community. Check it out and watch the visualizer for “Red Sky at Night (Remix)” at KEXP.org.

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Oct 14, 2022
Bobby Sanchez - Trans 101 (Scarim)
160

Bobby Sanchez - Trans 101 (Scarim) from the 2022 Prophecy EP on Harawiq Records.

Bobby Sanchez carries a plethora of identities on their shoulders - poet, musician, painter, model, activist. The American-Peruvian Indigenous artist is vocal about speaking on the topics close to their heart such as Indigenous displacement, gentrification, environmentalism, and gender identity. Their most recent EP Prophecy covers all of these in just four short yet vibey tracks.

Based solely on the number of Tik Toks that have used “Trans 101 (Scarim)” over the past few months, our Song of the Day has clearly hit home for a lot of trans people. Over a jazzy piano sample, Sanchez effortlessly flows about the beauty and danger of being trans. In one of the more triumphant verses, Sanchez coos, “Trans bodies are like temples I could see you worshipping /Trans bodies sentimental more beneath the surfaces /Trans bodies love each other and the love is permanent /Trans bodies will prevail and you cannot circumvent.”

Watch the video for 2018 single “Plutonomy” and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Oct 13, 2022
Byron Nicholai - Tengauryugtua (I Want To Fly)
219

Byron Nicholai - "Tengauryugtua (I Want To Fly)" from the 2022 album Ayagnera (The Beginning) on Tuallu Entertainment.

Back in 2014, a young Byron Nicholai went viral when he began posting videos of himself singing in the Indigenous Yup'ik language on Facebook. The media even dubbed him the "Justin Bieber of Alaska." 

Since then, he's relocated from the coastal town of Toksook Bay to Anchorage, to "get faster internet," he confessed to KYUK. “I feel like it would mess with my momentum a little bit, 'cause sometimes I’d be excited to work on a track, but then having internet problems would just kind of wash that away.”

The move worked, because now, almost ten years later, he's returned with a new album, titled Ayagnera [The Beginning], a collection of rap, R&B, and dance songs, all sung in Yugtun, the Indigenous language he grew up speaking.

“I came up with the title Ayagnera [The Beginning] because I felt like it was the start of Yup’ik modern music," he told Rolling Stone India. "There’s currently no other Yup’ik music that is released like this other than what I’ve put out.” 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 12, 2022
Digging Roots - Tall Grass
232

Digging Roots - "Tall Grass" from the 2022 album Zhawenim on Ishkōdé Records.

Canadian duo Digging Roots returned this summer with their fourth LP Zhawenim. Since 2004, the husband-and-wife team of Raven Kanatakta Polson-Lahache and Sho-Shona Kish have crafted an award-winning blend of folk, hip-hop, and more with traditional Indigenous music. (Sho-Shona is Anishinabe, from Batchewana First Nation, while Raven is Anishinabe and Mohawk, from Winneway, Quebec.)

The album title of "zhawenim" translates from Anishinabemowin to "to love unconditionally." As they write on their Facebook page, "Each of us has a thousand Ancestors standing with us. This collection of songs is for all our Ancestors, past, present and future. We’re dedicating Zhawenim to the children. Those living now, those yet to come and to those little ones who were stolen and never made it home to their families. We will always live life to its fullest for them, play music and dance for them, and feast for them. Niikaanaagaanah." 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 11, 2022
Mare Advertencia - Escribiendo La Historia
196

Mare Advertencia - "Escribiendo La Historia" from the 2022 Siempreviva EP on Derretida Ent / MuyMAL.

An Indigenous Zapotec artist, rapper and activist Mare Advertencia Lirika has been using her voice to amplify underrepresented communities since she burst onto the scene in 2003 alongside Dj TBear. "My life context has taught me that I can use my voice,” she told Refinery 29 last year, “And maybe that’s a privilege of mine, one I shouldn’t have, but I trust very much what I have to say. I don’t fear what I have to say.”

On her 2020 EP SiempreViva, she combines rap and funk to help express her reflections on feminism, cultural identity, and social inequality. She said in a press release at the time, "It is a material that invites us to learn to live despite death and violence, proposes a metaphor with the everlasting flower that reminds us that, despite adversity, hope is always with us. We have the possibility to reinvent our reality, the way life is presented to us and to find ourselves in community."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 10, 2022
TeZATalks - Lex Luthor
146

TeZATalks - Lex Luthor a 2022 self-released single.

Since 2016, TeZATalks has been enchanting fans with her unique genre-blending sound that explores electronic, hip-hop, metal, and dark pop in bewitching fashion. The self-described “Hard-Core Popstar” was born in Oahu but calls Seattle home and we’re more than happy to have her represent the diversity of music that breeds here.

“Lex Luther” is the artist’s most recent release and the first taste from her upcoming debut full-length, of which she currently hasn’t dropped any details on yet. What we do know is that if this what we can expect the record to sound like, then we’re in for a wild ride. Produced by Grammy-nominated artist, writer, and producer Blakksoul, “Lex Luther” taps into the hardest, grimiest aspects of TeZATalks’ sound, turning the heat up full throttle for a breakup song zeroed in on the anger and resentment felt for her ex.

In a recent interview with American Songwriter, who premiered the track, she calls the song an, “anthem for victims of a fuck boy.” And goes on to say, “I found myself reminiscing on a past relationship. The experience was so bad I guess there was some left over hurt on my mind that needed to get out. I decided to write a 20 reason letter as to why I should have dumped him sooner.”

Now, That’s What I Call Therapy.

Watch TeZATalks’ absolutely mindblowing KEXP in-studio performance from February 2020 (right in the nick of time) and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Oct 07, 2022
Disq - Cujo Kiddies
229

Disq - "Cujo Kiddies" from the 2022 album Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet on Saddle Creek.

Wisconsin-based quintet Disq are releasing their sophomore record Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet this Friday two years after dropping their debut Collector. Our Song of the Day and the album’s lead single “Cujo Kiddies” emphasizes the band’s ability to craft eclectic art rock but is also a deeply personal song for vocalist/bassist Raina Bock. In a lengthy statement, Bock had this to say about the song:

“I wanted to make a song that sounded like a freight train full of clowns and silly toys, barreling through the dark, observing and taking note of the various gloomy landscapes of my brain (without dwelling too long or taking any of it too seriously).I wrote the first half of ‘Cujo’ from deep inside the hole of substance abuse and loneliness. The song was meant to function as a blueprint for how I wished my reality could look. Six months later, sitting in an ocean of boxes all packed up for what would be my fourth time moving that year, I wrote the second half.The experience inspired what I hope to be my lifelong approach to songwriting going forward… To write songs not with the goal of reflecting on where I am at a given moment, but as a tool to pull myself out of the way things are and toward the way I’d like them to be.I wrote ‘Cujo Kiddies’ for nobody else’s ears but my own, so while it is now making its way out into a strange world where I am not the only living person on earth, I truly from the bottom of my heart hope you all enjoy— but if you don’t, rest easy in knowing that it is no skin off the author’s back either way. This song has already done everything I could have ever hoped it would.”

Disq will be in Seattle on Tuesday, December 6th to play Barboza with opening support from local band Sea Lemon. Watch the official video for other Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet single “The Hardest Part” and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Oct 06, 2022
Miss Grit - Like You
230

Miss Grit - "Like You," a 2022 single on Mute.

New York-based, Korean-American artist Miss Grit (real name: Margaret Sohn) shares the new single "Like You," her first track released since signing to Mute Records. “Mute is one of the labels I put on a pedestal in my mind, so the fact I was even on their radar was really flattering,” Sohn said in a press release. “And then to think they believed in my music enough to want to work together made me so happy.”

Today's Song of the Day is an electropop groove that builds into a radiant burst of synths. The lyrics take inspiration from the 2014 film Ex Machina, the story of a computer programmer interacting with a beautiful robot.  “I had the character of Ex Machina in mind as the voice I was singing from. Her arc in the movie felt really beautiful to me, and I wanted to reach the same ending as her in this song.”

Listen to song below, and check out their 2021 Live on KEXP at Home session, too. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 05, 2022
Ty Segall - Distraction
308

Ty Segall - "Distraction" from the 2022 album "Hello, Hi" on Drag City.

From glam rock to garage to experimental noise, Ty Segall has covered it all over his 14-album discography. On his latest, titled “Hello, Hi”, he takes an intimate acoustic approach to songs that gestated during the pandemic. The album title itself acknowledges the strange isolation of that period, and how he missed just talking to people.

“It’s a simple sentiment,” Segall told Esquire. “A salutation. And just, how nice that is. When you can’t do it. And it’s like, you don’t ever think about it, until it’s gone. Just saying, ‘Hey!’ It’s a simple thing.” He adds, "It was like, ‘now here I’m in this room, and I’m daydreaming about all this weird shit around me, just, the window and the cement floors. And I just want to say hi.” 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 04, 2022
MorMor - Seasons Change
148

MorMor - "Seasons Change," a 2022 single on Don't Guess / AWAL.

On today's Song of the Day, Toronto-based artist MorMor (real name: Seth Nyquist) encourages listeners to seize the day. "I won't leave it to fate / as seasons change," he sings against a laid-back, electro-pop groove, reminiscent of fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene.

"‘Seasons Change’ is a song about the constraints of time," he explained via a press release. "The sentiment is that if you are to live once, why not give into your natural desires.”

The track will appear on his long-awaited debut album Semblance, out November 4th. You can catch him next year on February 1st at Neumos.

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Oct 03, 2022
Cumulus - Sunbeam
179

Cumulus - "Sunbeam" from the 2022 album Something Brighter on Share It Music.

KEXP’s love and respect for Cumulus has been at least a decade in the making, spanning before the release of their 2013 debut I Never Meant to Be Like This. Back in 2018, our coverage of Cumulus’ sophomore record Comfort World was glowing and persistent, and for good reason. Alexandra Lockhart (née Niedzialkowski)’s ability to convey a wide range of introspective feelings while keeping every single song immensely catchy is a skill few have.

At long last, Cumulus is releasing their third record Something Brighter on October 21st via Share It Music. The name is an apt representation of the tone of the record because, despite being written and recorded during the darkness of the pandemic, Lockhart’s ability to find hope and light is stronger than ever.

A big catalyst for that lightness is the love Lockhart found with her now-husband and that comes out in our Song of the Day, “Sunbeam.” “When you’re next to me /It’s like I’m sleeping in a sunbeam,” coos Lockhart. “Oh, the way you love me /It gets into my bloodstream.” It’s *almost* too sweet and pure for those of us not currently in the throes of love but also conjures hope, just knowing that Lockhart and her husband have found that.

She told Atwood Magazine this about the song:

“’Sunbeam’ is probably the purest love song I have ever written, or at least it is the first time that I have written and released a song in the throes of love,” Lockhart tells Atwood Magazine. “Not looking back longingly, not heartbroken and missing something, just in it, appreciative, feeling wrapped in safety and reflecting on all the time I spent wondering if I’d ever find it. Finding your person is such a wild journey. I come from a family of divorce, and I think I built up some walls and codependent notions in my pursuits of young love as a result, and my journey with partnership wasn’t always healthy.”

“This is a song about the realization that when you do meet the right person, it’s not complicated. It’s easy. It’s not that it doesn’t take hard work, but it doesn’t feel like work. I also wrote this song in pandemic times, and wanted to write something to document how good this person makes me feel, how grateful I am to have them next to me.”

“Sunbeam” comes with a video directed by Sébastien Deramat, of Special Explosion and Seacats, in which Lockhart and her husband lock eyes amongst a horde of animal sculptures made of driftwood. Watch the video and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 30, 2022
Big Joanie - In My Arms
203

Big Joanie - "In My Arms" from the 2022 album Back Home on Kill Rock Stars.

British punk trio and International Clash Day alums Big Joanie are releasing this sophomore record Back Home on November 4th via Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s Daydream Library Series (UK) and Kill Rock Stars in the US. Ahead of its release, they’ve dropped a string of singles including “Happier Still” and our Song of the Day, “In My Arms.”

Led by a rambling guitar, the nostalgic track looks back on a past relationship with regret and melancholy. “I’ve compromised too many times /In my life,” sings Stephanie Phillips. “One day I’ll make the great escape /And send another you away /But now I dream /Of you in my arms.” Frontwoman Stephanie Phillips said this of the song in a statement:

“At this point I was getting tired of living in London and dreaming about another life. It’s about knowing you should go another way in life but you end up dreaming about the road you’ve already travelled down even though you know it won’t take you where you need to go.”

On the flip side, the Lydia Garret-directed video for the track is joyful in celebrating queer love and friendships. Focusing on a group of teens over the course of an exhilarating day where they explore a theme park, have a bonfire on the beach, and finish off with a personal dance party with Big Joanie as the entertainment.

Watch the video and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 29, 2022
Peter Matthew Bauer - Skulls
286

Peter Matthew Bauer - "Skulls" from the 2022 album Flowers on Fortune Tellers.

With The Walkmen still on hiatus, multi-instrumentalist Peter Matthew Bauer continues their anthemic style of indie rock on his latest solo LP, Flowers. On today's Song of the Day, he displays the ways he's developed musically since the band took a break.

"'Skulls' was inspired by a new style of guitar playing that I stumbled on," he told Under the Radar. "In all the years I’d made music, I’d never figured out a way to take a guitar solo before. I started using a distortion pedal and a space echo, playing these kind of waterfalling guitar riffs over some farfisa chords. It felt really loose and brought me a lot of joy. From there, I tried to write a very joyous melody to match it. There’s a record by Peter One and Jess Sah Bi, it’s a kind of 1980s country rock record from the Cote d’Ivoire. I feel like their style of melodies really inspired me throughout this album. Just the rhythm and the way they’re both laid back but really letting go."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 28, 2022
Rocky Votolato - Little Black Diamond
164

Rocky Votolato - "Little Black Diamond" from the 2022 album Wild Roots on Spartan.

Long-beloved local artist Rocky Votolato returns with his most personal album yet. Wild Roots is his first new album in seven years. Written during the pandemic, Votolato sought to craft an album about "family connection," adding to People magazine, "but on a deeper level, it's about the human struggle and overcoming and surviving anything that is handed to you." (You can hear and read more about this album in an upcoming interview here on KEXP!)

Today's Song of the Day was inspired by Votolato's niece Carissa. As he writes on social media, "it’s a song about loyalty and how much keeping your word and telling the truth means to the ones closest to you. I wrote it after we went for a walk one day and she helped me find a little stone that I carried around with me in my pocket for years and years on every tour I did. That little rock came to represent loyalty to me and was a constant reminder of all the people in my life who love me and why I was trying to stay alive and do the work on myself to become a better person."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 27, 2022
Karate, Guns and Tanning - Enchanter
249

Karate, Guns and Tanning - "Enchanter," a 2022 self-released single.

Indianapolis-based band Karate, Guns & Tanning formed out of the 15-year friendship of bassist/vocalist Valerie Green and keyboardist/vocalist Paige Shedletsky. “We basically share a brain,” Shedletsky told Post-Punk.com.

Together, they craft a dark, riot grrrl-tinged shoegaze, influenced by David Lynch and Hunter S. Thompson. On today's Song of the Day, they evoke the chilly synths of Ladytron with a soaring '80s-style guitar solo in the center. It's a first look at the band's next EP, slated for release this fall. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 26, 2022
LIV† - Let It Go (feat. Dave B)
166

Livt - Let It Go (feat. Dave B) from the 2022 album Pink and Orange on LIV Free Media / DAY ONE ENT.

If you weren’t able to make it to our KEXP 50th anniversary party earlier this summer, then you missed an incredible performance by local artist LIVt kicking the festivities off. KEXP has become a major champion of the Tacoma, WA-raised musician’s poetic lyricism touting messages of radical self-love and acceptance.

Her most recent record, 2022’s Pink and Orange expands on the soulful soundscapes LIVt created on 2020’s Flowers in the Void. Our Song of the Day “Let It Go” sees her team up with another local hero, Dave B, for a laid-back bop with the cathartic (if not exactly radio-friendly) message of, “Fuck it /Let it go.”

LIVt stopped by KEXP back in March for an in-studio with Gabriel Teodros. Watch it and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 23, 2022
Lil Silva - Still (feat. Sampha & Ghetts)
247

Lil Silva - Still (feat. Sampha & Ghetts) from the 2022 album Yesterday Is Heavy on Nowhere Music Ltd.

It may have taken Lil Silva over a decade to finally drop his debut full-length, but he proved it was worth the wait. Since 2010, the UK producer has been winning over fans as a beatmaker who could bring emotion to the dancefloor. Eventually, Silva started to incorporate his airy vocals into his work, expanding his tapestry of sounds.

Yesterday Is Heavy is not only a tapestry of sounds but also collaborators. Lil Silva is clearly well-liked because everyone from Little Dragon, BADBADNOTGOOD, Charlotte Day Wilson, and serpentwithfeet join him on the record. Our Song of the Day, “Still,” is just one of two tracks South London singer Sampha lends his vocals to alongside some help from grime MC Ghetts.

The smooth track gently grooves until the beat kicks in and Sampha leads with anxiety-riddled lyricsm about wanting to love but knowing he’s not in the right mental place for it. Ghetts backs him on the sentiment with his compelling verse, “Just come back from my therapist /Wouldn't recommend it /I opened up too much /Book in every sentence /I don't need an analyst /To tell me I'm an anarchist.” Silva’s touch is light but his gentle coos back the boys for the intimate posse cut.

Watch the video for Yesterday Is Heavy opening track "Another Sketch" and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 22, 2022
Son Little - 6 AM
231

Son Little - "6 AM," a 2022 single on ANTI-.

Philadelphia-based R&B artist Son Little (real name: Aaron Livingston) found inspiration from acclaimed sci-fi author Octavia Butler for today's Song of the Day. 

Dawn is my favorite Octavia Butler book,” he said in a press release. “It’s also my favorite time of the day— the time I have my clearest most exciting ideas and also the time when I sometimes spiral into emotional/mental chaos. Wrote a song about it.”

"6 AM" is available on his latest LP Like Neptune, out now via ANTI- Records. You can catch him Monday, November 7th at Neumos in Seattle. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 21, 2022
Mystic - Here, Alive (Spirits High)
277

Mystic - "Here, Alive (Spirits High)" from the 2022 album Dreaming In Cursive: The Girl Who Loved Sparklers on Beautifull Soundworks.

As KEXP's Gabriel Teodros says, "Every Mystic album is an event, and something to come back to for years and years."

The long-running Bay Area-based artist/activist (real name: Mandolyn Wind Ludlum) returns with her third full-length Dreaming In Cursive: The Girl Who Loved Sparklers, another release of "healed Black woman music," as she puts it.  

Her debut full-length — 2001's Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom — had a huge impact on Teodros. As he writes on Instagram, "Mystic’s debut album was a record that changed me, an album that made me feel loved in a way I hadn’t felt from other hip-hop albums before: that real kind of love that will hold you accountable, see your flaws and your beauty and just love you to your best self… all in the music though!"

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 20, 2022
Kingsley Ibeneche - Asked for Light
259

Kingsley Ibeneche - "Asked For Light" from the 2022 album Udo on Dirty Deity.

Nigerian-American artist Kingsley Ibeneche truly opens his heart on his debut album Udo, which was released last Friday. In a press statement, the full-length is described as an "emotional experience of an empathic person who stays bound to their kin sometimes to the detriment of themselves, but who refuses to give up the quest for elation, personal peace and self-actualization in the process."

Today's Song of the Day, in particular, is "very special" to him and his longtime collaborator, Lee Clarke. It's a beautiful, meditative piece, with a plaintively plucked acoustic guitar and serene washes of soul. As he stated on Instagram, "We spent a good amount of time carving and molding the shape of this song. I’m a lucky dude to be able to work with Lee. He has always believed in me and supported me in the fullest way possible. I learn from him up close and from afar." 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 19, 2022
Nada Rosa - The Process of Dying
155

Nada Rosa - "The Process of Dying" from the 2020 Personas EP on OTHERWORLDS.

Brandi Diaz is a Seattle-based musician and first-generation Cuban/Dominican American making intimate surf-tinged cosmic soul under the moniker Nada Rosa. The name takes inspiration from the concept of infinite potential (everything comes from nothingness/nada) as well as the name of her maternal Grandmother Rosa, who represents authenticity, power, and strength.

Our Song of the Day “The Process of Dying” is a gentle strummer that hinges on Diaz’s angelic vocals that pack a punch in just a little over two minutes, harkening a gentle rally towards finding freedom from the anxieties that plague the mind. “I give myself /What I need /And I set myself free,” she coos before admitting, “I may not know what’s coming /But I set myself free.”

In an exclusive quote for KEXP, Diaz says this of “The Process of Dying”:

“This song came to me in the middle of a bubble bath actually…. It was the middle of 2020, and I had a whole lot of time of my hands. I decided to take mushrooms that day and go inward. Submerged in the water, I began to notice my hair, and realized how hair lives on even after it leaves our body. For some reason, that moment sparked something in me, and the lyrics to Process of Dying began pouring in. I jumped out of the water, ran to my bedroom and began recording. It was one of those songs that came out almost like a birth, completely intact, and as a total release. The lyrics were a profound realization for me that I have the power to take care of myself always, and that the only certainly in life is that there IS no certainty, other than the fact that this time on earth is temporary. For me, that is the most freeing thing to know. My wish for this song is for it to be a meditation and reminder for everyone that hears it, that we always hold the key to our own freedom, if we can let go of certainty, care for ourselves, and fully belong to this moment.”

Watch the video for "The Process of Dying," co-directed by Diaz and Jane Urban, and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 16, 2022
Meridian Brothers - Metamorfosis (feat. Grupo El Renacimiento)
296

Meridian Brothers - "Metamorfosis (feat. Grupo El Renacimiento)" from the 2022 album Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento on Ansonia Records.

For Eblis Álvarez, frontman and figurehead behind Bogotá band Meridian Brothers, the imaginary is a primary source of inspiration. His latest record, and 11th since the band’s inception in 1998, is a collaboration with a fictional band called Grupo El Renacimiento. Creating an entire backstory for the band, Álvarez claims them to be a 1970s salsa group from a small village in Colombia who had a small amount of fame but then were forgotten after the band delved further into drugs and partying.

But that’s not the only story on Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento. There’s also a Kafka-esque storyline on today’s Song of the Day “Metamorfosis,” in which the formerly-human protagonist wakes up to find themselves transformed into a robot. “Memory is dying,” reads the English translation of the lyrics. “They’ve already connected the internet to my lung /To my heart.”

“Salsa singers in the '70s, they used to sing about, you know, like, actual problems,” Álvarez told NPR in an interview. “Social problems, political problems, human problems of emotional problems. So I decide to imitate that attitude - ‘Metamorfosis’ - that tells about this dystopian world where technology takes over the human brain, takes over the human body, takes over the human societies and control it.”

This record is also important because it marks the first release in 30 years from long-standing label Ansonia Records. Created in 1949 by Puerto Rican immigrant Rafael ‘Ralph’ Pérez, the New York-based label was the home for a surprisingly large, diverse, and important catalog of seminal recordings featuring traditional and popular Latin rhythms and sounds. Genres such as música jíbara, plena, bomba, danza, son, guajira, bolero, danzón and merengue are well represented, as are guaracha, mambo, cha-cha-cha, pachanga and boogaloo.

Watch the lyric video (in both English and Spanish) for “Metamorfosis” and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 15, 2022
Omar Apollo - Archetype
169

Omar Apollo - "Archetype" from the 2022 album Ivory (Marfil) on Warner.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJs Albina Cabrera and DJ Chilly, hosts of El Sonido, in honor of Aquí y Ahora: Without Borders. Join KEXP September 12 through October 14 for a month dedicated to amplifying the contributions, resilience, and music of Latinx, Hispanic and Latino-identified communities worldwide. More info here.


Only four months after releasing his debut album, IVORY, Mexican-American artist Omar Apollo returned with a deluxe edition — titled IVORY (Marfil) —featuring five bonus tracks, including today's Song of the Day. 

As KEXP's Albina Cabrera described in her Living Singles segment back in July, "It’s a classic Omar Apollo love song, which is definitely a way we should start defining songs that show up, interpret your feelings, turn into constant soundtracks, and stay by your side for at least half a year."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 14, 2022
mediopicky - quien te llamo
186

Mediopicky - "quien te llamo" from the 2022 album mediopicky on Salsa Fegol.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJs Albina Cabrera and DJ Chilly, hosts of El Sonido, in honor of Aquí y Ahora: Without Borders. Join KEXP September 12 through October 14 for a month dedicated to amplifying the contributions, resilience, and music of Latinx, Hispanic and Latino-identified communities worldwide. More info here.


"I was borned, i learned to pruduce, and now you are dancing."

This is the Bandcamp bio for Dominican Republic-based artist mediopicky (real name: Pablo Alcántara). Since 2011, he's been releasing some serious bangers, combining tropical rhythms with hip-hop, funk with electronica. Today's Song of the Day is a fuzz-heavy, reggae-tinged trip with eerie overtones.

Throughout it all, his ultimate goal is to get you moving. As he says on his website, "What interests me is that people feel something from what I can create, no matter what it is, but that they feel something and dance without thinking about what kind of music they are listening to."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 13, 2022
Doris Anahí - Aprendiendo por las Malas
194

Doris Anahí - "Aprendiendo por las Malas" from the 2022 Aprendiendo por las Malas EP on Casa Mija.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJs Albina Cabrera and DJ Chilly, hosts of El Sonido, in honor of Aquí y Ahora: Without Borders. Join KEXP September 12 through October 14 for a month dedicated to amplifying the contributions, resilience, and music of Latinx, Hispanic and Latino-identified communities worldwide. More info here.


Doris Anahí Muñoz was a long-time music manager, overseeing emerging Latinx artists like Cuco and La Doña. She's the founder of Casa Mija (FKA mija mgmt), a program for BIPOC youth interested in a career in the music business. Her story is detailed in the Disney original documentary Mija, which follows this ambitious activist on her mission to change the industry. 

Now, she's taking the mic herself, recording under the name Doris Anahí. Her debut EP is titled Aprendiendo por las Malas, or "Learning the Hard Way," which is something she surely did during her time as a music manager.

In an interview with LatinPlug, she says the EP "really tells the different stories of that whole chapter of my life." She adds, "Where I felt like all these repressed songs came from all these lessons that I had to learn the hard way these last few years. Largely because I didn't follow my gut, because I was so stubborn and clinging to a version of myself, the version that people wanted me to be. In the end, you end up learning the hard way. When you're not honest with yourself, you're not honest with others, and that's exactly where the hard lessons come in." 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 12, 2022
Beverly Crusher - Vacuum
164

Beverly Crusher - "Vacuum" from the 2022 album Waste of Waves on Freakout.

Seattle punk rock band Beverly Crusher has been chipping away and threatening a full album for about three years and finally have come to the point they can share said forthcoming new album Waste of Waves, out on Freakout Records.

Said Cozell Wilson (guitar and vocals) of their brand new LP,

"We had so many set backs, development, and growth working on this album that all we can be is ecstatic that it finally printed in its final form on a sick record label that really believes in us and bends over backwards to support independent music. 17 year old us wouldn't believe this is real."

Watch their KEXP in-studio session and read the full post at KEXP.org

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Sep 09, 2022
Manny Noir & Psychedelic Ensemble - Where Were You...
209

Manny Noir & Psychedelic Ensemble - "Where Were You…" from the 2022 album Nocturne on Everything Is Perfect / LIVE AT THE CLINIC.

Southeast London emcee Manny Noir recently teamed up with producer Psychedelic Ensemble to release the collaborative record Nocturne in June. True to the album’s name, Nocturne is ten tracks of vibey downtempo hip hop perfect for the late hours of the evening. The combination of Manny Noir’s silky flows with Psychedelic Ensemble’s smooth, softly grooving production makes for a sexily uneasy nighttime soundscape.

Our Song of the Day “Where Were You…” hones in on the feelings of longing and betrayal that often permeate the brain upon nightfall. “Where were you when I was hurting / I was hurting /I was hurt,” questions Noir over a thrumming beat punctuated by ghostly synths mimicking the fog of memories best left in the past.

Read the full post and watch the video for Nocturne closing track "Let the Love In," directed by Marlon Francis, at KEXP.org.

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Sep 08, 2022
Meskerem Mees - Best Friend
184

Meskerem Mees - "Best Friend," from the 2022 Caesar EP on Mayway.

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Belgium (where she still resides today), 23-year-old artist Meskerem Mees displays a maturity beyond her years in her beautiful compositions. She's won the Emerging Artists Award from Humo's Rock Rally, the Music Moves Europe 2022 Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Montreux Jazz Talent Award in 2021.

On today's Song of the Day, she calls to mind Courtney Barnett with her speedy talk-singing style, but musically, it's stripped down to just her acoustic guitar and cello accompaniment by Frederik Daelemans. Against the minimal folk-pop instrumentation, her lyrics reflect on middle school days to just a year ago, and how her life has changed. 

Today's Song of the Day will appear on the Caesar EP, to be released November 10th via Mayway.

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 07, 2022
S H I R A N - Habibi Inta حبيبي انت
183

S H I R A N - "Habibi Inta حبيبي انت" from the 2022 album Fadaytak on Batov.

Tel Aviv-based artist S H I R A N (real name: Shiran Avraham) uses her music to explore her Middle Eastern roots, combining the influences with hip-hop, Afrobeats, and more. Her production partner Ron Bakal returns on this latest LP to help her carry these songs to new heights, in a style they call “Electro Hafla,” a reference to "the large “'hafla' get-togethers full of music and dancing, common at family gatherings and religious ceremonies."

She declares on Facebook:

I am so proud of what we created Ron Bakal⁩. The album’s creation process was very special for me because all the songs were written in collaboration with a song writer from Yemen and been through a journey in all the places Ron and I love’s to travel. The truth is that the album was ready two years ago, it needed to release outside a long time ago but it postponed by a lot of reasons. COVID-19, our life routine and all kind of challenges that we have been through. We worked on it so hard and during our work I went through a process of my own that thought me a lot. I have learned that it is good to let go and not hold in.. listen to myself and let the art burst out without a lot of questions and thoughts. But I do believe that everything is happening in it’s time. After all, the album was made with love! Thanks to amazing people that took part If it and brought there talent and heart 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 06, 2022
Jitwam - The Get Down
197

Jitwam - "The Get Down" from the 2022 album Third on Roya Records.

As KEXP's DJ Alex mentioned in 2018 when Jitwam contributed a Midnight in a Perfect World mix to us, "Jitwam is a bit of an enigma. He was born in Northeast India, he's currently based in Brooklyn, he spent his formative years in New Zealand and Australia, and has lived in monasteries in Thailand, orphanages in South Africa, and washed out apartments in London."

On his third album — helpfully titled Third — Jitwam focuses on nights in London and New York, specifically, while still infusing a lifetime of global influences into his rich tapestry of disco-funk. Today's Song of the Day is such a fast-paced dance delight, you can almost picture the Soul Train dancers doing one of their infamous line dances to it. 

As he told Mixmag, "Being a diaspora kid, Third, for me, also has a lot of references to third culture. I’m trying to blur the lines between what we think of as different cultures, rhythms, and genres, and show that despite how different these genres are — or how different we are as people — we’re all grounded in the same drumbeat really."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Sep 05, 2022
Franklin Gothic - Mr. Hangman
188

Franklin Gothic - Mr. Hangman from the 2022 album Into the Light on #veryjazzed.

Franklin Gothic is the solo project of Portland-based artist Jay DiBartolo. In August, he released his debut record Into the Light via split release with Very Jazzed ad Pleasure Tapes. Made in collaboration with producer/local luminary Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, Tacocat, Pickwick), the album covers a variety of genres including ‘90s indie, Americana, and shoegaze for a dynamic and colorful listen.

Our Song of the Day is the early single “Mr. Hangman.” Influenced by DiBartolo’s childhood and using the game Hangman as an analogy for feeling cut off from the world and left hanging, the song is, conversely, one of the more vibrant tunes on the record. DiBartolo had this to say about the song:

"The original version we intended to record for "Mr. Hangman" was this sweet, little boppy tune, which had been bugging me because it felt inauthentic. After laying down the drums in the studio, I took the song back home and experimented a bit on guitar by noodling with various phrasings over the existing chord progression. That's when this dissonant feeling emerged that juxtaposed the original version and captured what the song's about. I sent it to Erik and he replied back with a champagne emoji, so I knew that was it."

The song comes with a glitchy VHS-style video directed by Sean McGuirk. Watch it and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Sep 02, 2022
Brijean - Take A Trip
169

Brijean - Take A Trip from the 2022 album Angelo on Ghostly International.

Vocalist/percussionist Brijean Murphy and producer/multi-instrumentalist Doug Stuart have been making sweltering groovy soundscapes as Brijean since 2019 and recently followed up their 2021 full-length Feelings with the EP Angelo. Named after their 1981 Toyota Celica, Angelo was born out of a period of immense grief, in which the duo leaned heavily on each other and music as a way to cope.

Our Song of the Day “Take a Trip” celebrates those moments of cruising windows-down, as well as the more psychedelic types of trips, in which the journey is through the mind. “Travel with me down, down, down /Hear the colors, taste the sounds /Through the window, out the door /Spaces in my mind I've never seen before,” coos Murphy. A meandering bassline leads the scorchingly sunny song while a bevy of sounds including hand-claps, cuíca hiccups, whip-cracks, even a horse neigh add color to the already-heated track.

“This song is an inquiry into shifting perspectives—a way to deepen our lived experience by becoming aware of the unexplored facets of our own perception,” says the duo of “Take a Trip” which comes with a music video from Nathan Castiel inspired by Dreamcast-era video games that interplays lo-fi 3D animation with the warmth of 16mm film.

Watch the video and read the full post at KEXP.org

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Sep 01, 2022
Flying Lotus - You Don’t Know (feat. Devin Tracy)
140

Flying Lotus - "You Don’t Know (feat. Devin Tracy)" from the 2022 album The Room on Warp Records.

DJ/producer Flying Lotus teams up with soul singer Devin Tracy for today's Song of the Day, a laid back summer-y groove perfect for these final days of the season. 

FlyLo's been busy this year: he wrote the theme song to the AppleTV+ Magic Johnson documentary series, They Call Me Magic, and wrote the score for Netflix's YASUKE anime series. He's currently working on his second film, titled Ash. The film was written by Jonni Remler and focuses on a woman who "wakes up on a distant planet and finds the crew of her space station viciously killed, her investigation into what happened setting in motion a terrifying chain of events." In addition to directing, Flying Lotus will also compose the score. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Aug 31, 2022
Yaya Bey - alright
189

Yaya Bey - "alright" from the 2022 album Remember Your North Star on Big Dada.

On her latest LP, Remember Your North Star, Brooklyn-based artist Yaya Bey explores the themes of Black womanhood against a mix of R&B, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop.

"I saw a tweet that said, "Black women have never seen healthy love or have been loved in a healthy way." That's a deep wound for us," she stated in a press release. "Then I started to think about our responses to that as Black women. So this album is kind of my thesis. Even though we need to be all these different types of women, ultimately we do want love: love of self and love from our community. The album is a reminder of that goal."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Aug 30, 2022
Santigold - High Priestess
193

Santigold - "High Priestess" from the 2022 album Spirituals on Little Jerk.

Santigold returns with a vengeance for Spirituals, her first new full-length in six years. 

She explains in a press release, "I loved the idea of calling it Spirituals because it touched on the idea of Negro spirituals, which were songs that served the purpose of getting Black people through the un-get-throughable. In the absence of physical freedom, spirituals have traditionally been music whose sound and physical performance allow its participants to feel transcendental freedom in the moment. That’s what this record did for me."

Today's Song of the Day came out of a collaboration with Ray Brady and Boys Noize, with additional creative contributions from Psymun and Gayngs’ Ryan Olson. 

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Aug 29, 2022
Slang - Chipped Tooth
157

Slang - Chipped Tooth from the 2022 album Cockroach In A Ghost Town on Kill Rock Stars.

In one of the most ultimate Northwest powergroup collaborations to come in recent history, Slang seemingly appeared out of nowhere. In fact, Drew Grow and Janet Weiss (the latter needing no introduction and Grow being a IYKYK frontman of Modern Kin and the Pastors’ Wives and in-demand producer) have been slowly working on Slang for over a decade.

Bringing with them a bevy of notable names for their first record Cockroach In a Ghost Town, including Kathy Foster (Roseblood, The Thermals) on bass and Anita Lee Elliot (Viva Voce) as well as appearances from Sam Coomes (Quasi), Stephen Malkmus (Pavement), and Mary Timony (Helium, Ex Hex, Wild Flag), it’s a who’s who of the Northwest Gen X scene.

Our Song of the Day, “Chipped Tooth,” is an existentialist viewpoint of examining all the rough edges of yourself - be it your ragged brain, running wild with thoughts that slip into darkness quicker than you’d like, or the jagged points of a chipped tooth - always existing but not always noticeable until it’s the only part of you that you can think about.

“I think it’s more our mutual appreciation of music that grabs you and grabs hold and shakes you to the core,” explained Weiss to KEXP’s Eva Walker during their in-studio recorded in July. “I think we feel like this band has that potential to kind of get inside a person a give them strength and hope and just a joie de vive. Things get really hard and I feel like music is our saving grace so we all kind of look to music to lift us up.”

Watch said in-studio and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Aug 26, 2022
The Beths - Silence is Golden
175

The Beths - Silence is Golden from the 2022 album Expert in a Dying Field on Carpark.

New Zealand indie pop outfit The Beths are on the verge of dropping their highly anticipated third record Expert in a Dying Field on September 16th via Carpark Records. The follow-up to 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers sees the band delve into character sketches of relationships and their aftermaths, with an emphasis on the aftermath.

Our Song of the Day is the single “Silence Is Golden.” Frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes spews lines at a brisk clip, nimbly quipping lines like, "I wish that I could freeze time, go to the wild, soak up the quiet / Till I'm dripping wet with it / Then I would drive home, go to my room, wring myself out / That would be the end of it." According to the band, the song conveys the, "stress and anxiety manifesting as an intolerance to noise, where each new sound makes you more and more stressed.”

With fuzzy guitars and a screeching guitar solo contrasting that message, the song is a roaring and nervy antidote to silence. While silence may be golden, a Beths song gleams just as bright.

Watch the video for “Silence Is Golden" and read the full post at KEXP.org

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Aug 25, 2022
Momma - Lucky
244

Momma - "Lucky" from the 2022 album Household Name on Polyvinyl.

On today's Song of the Day, Brooklyn duo Momma aimed to write "a sappy and sentimental love song." The track is a stand-out on their latest LP Household Name, which is a powerhouse of '90s influences and grunge-y guitars. 

“I wrote it after my significant other and I had to spend an unknown amount of time apart from each other on opposite sides of the country,” guitarist/vocalist Etta Friedman said in a press statement. “I wanted it to feel anthemic, like a sappy and sentimental love song, but I still wanted to speak on how exciting it feels to know you found true treasure with someone you are in love with.” 

For its accompanying music video, they tapped directors Emma Penrose and Zack Shorrosh for a clip inspired by Green Day’s “Walking Contradiction.”

"We didn’t want to get too cheesy and literal," Penrose shared, "so, Etta suggested some ideas from the Green Day ‘Walking Contradiction’ video as well as the fun and etherealness of certain Beabadoobee videos. In the end, we feel like the video displays how much fun it was to film."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Aug 24, 2022
NoSo - David
198

NoSo - "David" from the 2022 album Stay Proud of Me on Partisan.

Singer-songwriter Abby Hwong named their musical project NoSo (as in North/South) after being asked one too many times, "which Korea are you from?". The Los Angeles-based artist channels the frustrations stemming from their Asian American heritage into their songs, as well as their experience as a queer non-binary person. Today's Song of the Day taps into that feeling, inspired by a dream Hwong had where they were trapped in the body of a white man named "David." They explained in a press release:

"One summer night, I had a dream that I was a white dude sitting in a church pew; I saw the way girls giggled and whispered to each other excitedly upon noticing me, and other men gave me nods of respect. The way I was perceived in such a positive and palatable way hit me in the gut; I even recognized it was a dream when it was happening."

"I woke up emotional and so disappointed in myself; I had done a lot of work to unlearn internalized racism, and I had been feeling so proud of my identity. But I had to be gentle with myself and remember that it's a plethora of issues; bullying from peers, the media we consume that spotlights euro-centric beauty standards, and the desperate desire to not feel like you inherently take up too much space. It seems to be a universal experience for POC (especially during childhood) to look in the mirror and resent your own features. That dream (and writing this song) reminds me that these kinds of issues don’t disappear overnight; it sneaks up on your subconscious in layered ways."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Aug 23, 2022
Ambar Lucid - La Torre
185

Ambar Lucid - "La Torre" from the 2022 album La Torre on 300 Entertainment.

In tarot, the "Tower" card is said to represent sudden upheaval and unexpected change. Today's Song of the Day is based on this Major Arcana card, which the Dominican-Mexican artist Ambar Lucid told Flaunt “reflects the phase of life that I'm currently in the process of trying to transition from. A lot of these songs were written during my tower moment. This song is a sonic manifestation of childhood PTSD.” 

“Since I started reading tarot, most of my songs are inspired by tarot cards because they are part of my creative process,” she continued. “Before I start writing a song, I shuffle my cards and I'm like, 'alright God, what should I talk about today?' Tarot cards inspire me in so many different ways — visually, just helping me tap into my inner worlds, and lyrically.”

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Aug 22, 2022
Smokey Brights - Ocean Shores
199

Smokey Brights - “Ocean Shores,” a 2022 single on Freakout.

Husband-and-wife duo and KEXP regulars, Smokey Brights, have been steadily churning out singles since their third record, 2020’s I Love You But Damn. Released in the midst of the pandemic, the album was a bright spot amidst the bleakness of the world in which it was birthed and a sign of perseverance.

Their latest single continues the Seattle band’s streak of sunshiney optimism. Named after the sleepy seaside Washington town, “Ocean Shores” sparkles with glimmering synths and kicks off with chorus of bellowing cries before mellowing out to focus on Kim West’s saccharine vocals that recount a story of spending time in the idyllic town while in the midst of battling depression and the mental gymnastics that take place when trying to get out of your head to appreciate beauty.

Read the full post and watch Smokey Brights' KEXP in-studio performance from 2018 at KEXP.org.

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Aug 19, 2022
Young Fathers - Geronimo
214

Young Fathers - “Geronimo,” a 2022 single on Ninja Tune.

Scottish genre-benders, Mercury Prize-winners, and KEXP favorites Young Fathers released their third record Cocoa Sugar in what feels like a lifetime ago, 2018. At long last, they finally returned with the single “Geronimo.” In a world where we’re still stretching our legs and feeling out how to get back into the swing of “real life,” the trio - made up of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and ‘G’ Hastings - are doing the same.

In their most soulful, downtempo song to date, Young Fathers are both sonically and literally dipping their toes back into the waters of music. While in the past, they’d often caustically throw themselves at you, pushing the doors down with the heels of their feet, the trio is gentle in their approach, as if to tap on the door and ask, “Do you mind if I enter?”

Of course we don’t mind. But, personally, I’m not opposed to a gentle approach these days. This is what the band had to say about the song:

“A good time trying. That’s what Ma said, she was smiling, but it was meant as a warning.

It’s a track about contrast, because life is contrast - pushing through, giving up, all at the same time. Wanting everything and then wanting nothing, then wanting everything again. It’s kind of reflective of where we are at the moment, trying to remember how to do this again.

Trying to make music and all of the other stuff that comes along with it. Trying to forget all the bad bits, just trying to get somewhere. And that’s where we are right now, trying to get somewhere.

It’s the tenderness in toil, we had expelled a bunch of stuff with a lot of drive and wilder energy beforehand but this one had focus. It widened the scope again for us personally, that’s where the real high comes from. We grew another arm. We surprised ourselves.

So coming back with a track called ‘Geronimo’ feels quite fitting. Just the 3 of us again, but still in a fucking basement.”

Read the full post and watch their 2018 KEXP in-studio at KEXP.org

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Aug 18, 2022
Beach Bunny - Entropy
221

Beach Bunny - “Entropy” from the 2022 album Emotional Creature on Mom + Pop.

From TikTok buzzband to their sophomore album Emotional Creature, Chicago-based band Beach Bunny have earned a devoted following, including producer Butch Vig and actor Bob Odenkirk, who even appears in one of their music videos. 

A huge part of their appeal is the confessional and, ultimately, relatable lyrics from frontwoman Lili Trifilio. On today's Song of the Day, she tells Stereogum, she took inspiration from the Jonas Brothers for this infectious, polished pop song. Reflecting on her journey as a musician, she continues, "As a young kid I was watching Hannah Montana thinking that was the most unrealistic expectation of all time. But now here I am and all of it happened organically; it just goes very slowly over many, many years. If you want to do something in a creative field, make it a passion project and try it for a few years. You’ll learn what you want to do, or you’ll get to go on a journey. Embark on your journeys! Don’t settle! I mean it! Oh, and don’t date toxic boys. Or I guess, if you do, at least you’ll have songs to write about them."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Aug 17, 2022
Hermanos Gutiérrez - El Bueno Y El Malo
205

Hermanos Gutiérrez - “El Bueno Y El Malo” from the 2022 album El Bueno Y El Malo on Easy Eye Sound

Swiss-Ecuadorian siblings Estevan and Alejandro Gutiérrez bring their love of '50s Latin American music to their musical project Hermanos Gutiérrez. In fact, their forthcoming full-length, El Bueno Y El Malo, takes its name from the 1966 Spaghetti Western film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. with its iconic score by Ennio Morricone. 

“We think that everybody has a good side and a bad side,” Estevan said in a press release. “It’s every person, every moment, every situation. Everybody has these two faces.”

El Bueno Y El Malo was co-produced alongside The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and will be released October 28th via Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound imprint.

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Aug 16, 2022
High Vis - Blending
235

High Vis - “Blending” from the 2022 album Blending on Dais.

London-based band High Vis has its roots in the UK hardcore scene, but evolved into a less-shout-y post-punk vibe on their 2019 debut LP, No Sense No Feeling, and now explore a more new wave vibe on their sophomore album, Blending, which comes out September 9th via Dais Records. The album's title track has a softer sound, reminiscent of The Cult or late-era Ride. In a press release, frontman Graham Sayle explains the song's meaning.

“It became about cloaking yourself in whatever you present to the world, but you’re not defined by that. Just because I wear a trackie, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t read a book. The message of the album is you’re not who you think you are,” he continues. “You’re not your class background. Whatever it is, you’re not that. Don’t resign yourself to thinking you can’t be this and you can’t be that.”

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Aug 15, 2022
Sango - Tongue Tied
425

Sango - "Tongue Tied (feat. asante)" from the 2022 album Great Lakes Influence on Wright Music Group.

Beloved former-Seattlite Sango recently returned with the mixtape Great Lake Influence in June, two years after the release of SHANGO. Described by the sought-after beatmaker as “A homage to where I’m from,” the collection of songs sees Sango dip his toes in techno-house which is very of the moment, as we’ve seen Drake and Beyonce also delve into this realm with their recent releases.

Our Song of the Day, “Tongue Tied” is an excellent example of Sango’s pristine ability to make something that’s currently popular still sound fresh and unique. Bringing back frequent collaborator asante on vocals, the track is bright and bubbly and made for the dancefloor. Moving away from his prior South American influences toward more African sounds is a natural move and one that Sango does with ease.

On his website, Sango says, “I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can change things. I feel change is the first thing we as humans either love or hate. There isn’t a middle. I took a side and I love change. It challenges me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I also figured something out. I can't change the world, but I can change my world, which allows others to see inside of it and hopefully I can influence them to feel/do the same, and hopefully that trend goes on to the next person.”

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Aug 12, 2022
BLK ODYSSY - COMPLEX OF KILLING A MAN (feat. Baby Rose)
191

BLK ODYSSY - "COMPLEX OF KILLING A MAN (feat. Baby Rose)" from the 2022 album BLK VINTAGE: THE REPRISE on BLK ODYSSY / EMPIRE.

BLK ODYSSY aka Juwan Elcock is a dynamic artist who nixed his former Americana sound for a soul-infused hip hop solo project. The Austin-based musician dropped his debut album BLK VINTAGE under the moniker in August of 2021 and, after the record slowly caught fire for its rich jazzy soundscapes and deeply personal and political lyrics about the plight of Black Americanhood, is now following it up with the deluxe edition BLK VINTAGE REPRISE.

One of the new tracks to be included is “COMPLEX OF KILLING A MAN.” With Grammy-nominated R&B singer Baby Rose adding her lush vocals, the song is a downtempo slow burner with heated lyrics about being caught in a culture of violence and oppression with seemingly no way out. “What's the complex of killing a man?/ Can't help but think that this scenario's part of a plan/ That's word to Willie Lynch and Uncle Sam.”

The story is one that hits close to home for Elcock, as his brother was killed at the hands of police offivers when living in New Jersey. With that in mind, the chorus of “Ghetto child, ghetto child/ Running wild, running wild/ This Glock gon' change your ways/ So count your days” hits especially hard.

Watch the video for "COMPLEX OF KILLING A MAN" and read the full post at KEXP.org.

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Aug 11, 2022
CARRTOONS - Lighta (feat. Rae Khalil)
187

CARRTOONS - "Lighta (feat. Rae Khalil)" from the 2022 album Homegrown on Wichita Recordings.

Producer/multi-instrumentalist CARRTOONS (real name: Ben Carr) teams up for a second time with Grammy Award-winning artist Rae Khalil, a track from his latest album, Homegrown. Carr provides a soulful groove for Khalil to drop her breezy, speedy rhymes, playing on the song title as both a noun and a feeling: "I feel a lil lighta / where is my lighta."

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Aug 10, 2022
Ricki Monique - CEREAL (feat. MMYYKK)
213

Ricki Monique - "CEREAL (feat. MMYYKK)" from the 2022 GOOD SEEDS EP on Tangible Records.

Minneapolis-based artist Ricki Monique teams up with producer/multi-instrumentalist on today's Song of the Day, a serene, soulful track she wrote to boost her confidence.

“This song was created as a sonic affirmation to remind me that I was built to be great," she told Lyrical Lemonade. "I put affirmations from my mother and sisters in the hook and brought up feelings of depression and hardships in the first verse to portray a sense of everything-ness. I am both powerful and weak at times. I wrote this song to remind myself to lean into my strong parts.”

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Aug 09, 2022
Zap Mama - Dessiné
220

Zap Mama - "Dessiné" a 2022 self-released single.

A French poem set to song, the latest from Belgian artist Marie Daulne (better known as Zap Mama) is a vibrant expression of love. "Dessiné" loosely translates to "drawn," and the lyrics capture a person sketching the facial features of the one they love. It's the first single from her forthcoming full-length Odyssée, which will be released this fall. 

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Aug 08, 2022
dsrt flwr - Of Discernment
106

dsrt flwr - "Of Discernment," a 2022 self-released single.

Leave it to Larry Mizell Jr. to scope out a song that’s on the verge of blowing up. While “Of Discernment” may be the sole single from up-and-coming artist dsrt flwr, it’s gotten some movement on Tik Tok which, whether you love or hate the clock app, is fast becoming the new medium for a new artist’s rise. It’s currently the sole place where I can find any information on dsrt flower, who uses her platform to speak on the issues she faces as a Muslim woman in America as well as share her music.

“Of Discernment” may be short, at only a minute and forty-six seconds but packs a punch with its truth-telling lyrcism and vibey down-tempo R&B flow. “What's it doin for me/ Will it make?/ All the suffering in life just fade away,” questions the Seattle-based artist before concluding. “If not then be well and/ Take it somewhere else/ If it's something that I need/ Then I can find it for myself.”

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Aug 05, 2022
Bruno Berle - É Preciso Ter Amor
161

Bruno Berle -" É Preciso Ter Amor" from the 2022 album No Reino Dos Afetos on Far Out Recordings.

When Bruno Berle first quietly appeared in 2014, it was with the intimate MPB-folk solo record Arapiraca, Maceió, 2013, which garnered a decent amount of acclaim for seemingly coming out of nowhere. The Brazilian artist has a long musical history, first cutting his teeth in the soft-rock outfit Troco Em Bala and forming the "supergroup", The Mozões alongside fellow Alagoas artist Ítallo França. Most recently, Berle dropped No Reino Dos Afetos, which appears to be his first non-Bandcamp, *very official* release.

Unlike the softly strung releases before it, No Reino Dos Afetos sees Berle experiment with a number of genres including indie, bedroom pop, hip hop, and MPB but never loses the starry-eyed earnestness that Berle has mastered. Our Song of the Day, “É Preciso Ter Amor” closes out the record with a hazy vignette that’s mostly instrumental besides Berle’s reverberating echoed coos, like fading into a dream. “It’s an album that was built from my desire to find beauty”, Berle says and, indeed, he has.

Read the full story and watch the video for No Reino Dos Afetos track "Quero Dizer" at KEXP. org

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Aug 04, 2022
Σtella - Another Nation
162

Σtella - "Another Nation"from the 2022 album Up and Away on Sub Pop.

Greek artist Stella Chronopoulou (who records as Σtella, with a sigma) makes her Sub Pop Records debut with a collection of dreamy electro-pop influenced by her family's music collection of Greek folk-pop from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“Growing up I loved playing ‘Sousourada’ by Nikos Gounaris on my grandfather’s old gramophone. I was thrilled by Greek folk-pop artists like Grigoris Bithikotsis and the great Tzeni Vanou, as well as international artists like Tony Motolla and Julio Inglesias,” she says in a press statement; “Living in a close-knit community by the mountains and sea, I vaguely recall being woken by neighbouring shepherds’ sheep bells… everything back then was so pure and innocent!”

For her first LP, she teamed up with fellow Greek artist and producer Tom Calvert (aka Redinho). "Tom had a similar desire of creating a vintage sound," she continues. "Instantly stars aligned; I was time-traveling, singing songs as The Chiffons or The Crystals would.”

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Aug 03, 2022
Daphni - Cloudy
412

Daphni - "Cloudy" from the 2022 album  on Jiaolong.

Canadian composer Dan Snaith is perhaps best known as Caribou, but he shakes off his old "Daphni" moniker for today's Song of the Day. The title track from his forthcoming full-length is a joyful seven-minute hypnosis. 

He said in a press release, "The essence of this one is keeping it aloft — like occasionally nudging a balloon that’s only just heavier than air to keep it afloat. For something so buoyant, I’m surprised how much it bangs in a club."

Cherry will be released October 7th via Jiaolong. 

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Aug 02, 2022
George Riley - Sacrifice
275

George Riley - "Sacrifice," a 2022 single on PLZ Make It Ruins.

West London-based artist George Riley teams up with DJ/producer Vegyn for today's Song of the Day. Vegyn is best known for his work on Frank Ocean's Blonde and Endless, and brings that soulful sensibility to this dreamy slow jam. (He's also released it on his own PLZ Make It Ruins label.) 

The track serves as a sneak peek at her forthcoming full-length, Running In Waves, to be released on September 9th via Vegyn's aforementioned label. 

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Aug 01, 2022
Bryson The Alien - I'm Out (feat. Signe Baburin)
186

Bryson The Alien - "I'm Out (feat. Signe Baburin)," a 2022 single on PNKSLM.

Portland-based rapper/producer Bryson the Alien is about to break out in a big way with his forthcoming record The Great Adventures of Bryson the Alien. His debut with lauded Stockholm label PNKSLM is due out September 16th and sees the prolific artist and member of the SUMALIENZ and Unexplained Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) collectives utilize a long list of genres for one-of-a-kind sounds and textures.

Our Song of the Day, “I’m Out,” is evidence of this perfectly constructed genre smash. Sunny indie pop and Motown soul come together for a light and bouncy summer jam, while Bryson and his teenage Swedish collaborator Signe Barburin tell a darker tale of coming out of a dysfunctional relationship. Barburin’s melodic, almost childlike coos blend with Bryson’s soft and laid-back, near-whispered baritone rhymes in unexpected harmony. It’s a song whose elements don’t feel like they should work together, but somehow they absolutely do.

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Jul 29, 2022
Elizabeth M. Drummond - Crisis
232

Elizabeth M. Drummond - "Crisis," a 2022 single on Young Poet.

While the idea of starting a band with your childhood friends that almost immediately breaks it big, tours the world, and even works with Aaron Dessner sounds like an absolute dream, the pressure can take a toll. That’s the simplified backstory behind Elizabeth M. Drummond's new path as a solo artist, after leaving the popular Australian indie folk band Little May. Her experiences and the overwhelming feelings that accompanied leaving the band are told through her recent singles “Crisis” and “Congratulations.”

Our Song of the Day, “Crisis,” is particularly gutting. While the instrumentation is light and lovely, the lyrics tell the story of someone who knows it's time to move on from painful past relationships but is having trouble sorting out who they are without them. “There’s a hurricane/ It’s in your eyes,” Drummond coos. “I don’t want to be a part of this thing anymore/ I’d rather run into a fire.”

Speaking of the song, Drummond had this to say:

"I wrote 'Crisis' when I had moved cities after leaving Little May and a long relationship. I felt like everything I ever identified with had just exploded in front of me. I also realised I had been living on auto-pilot for as long as I could remember, and that I had been ignoring what I actually wanted for my life. At this point, I had started to feel a huge amount of relief and humour in surrendering to the idea that things couldn’t get any worse. In many ways I felt like I had become 'no one,' and this started to become liberating. This song marks that time and those feelings for me."

Watch the video for “Crisis,” directed and edited by Richard Clifford, at KEXP.org

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Jul 28, 2022
Brimheim - can't hate myself into a different shape
219

Brimheim - “can't hate myself into a different shape” from the 2022 album can't hate myself into a different shape on W.A.S. Entertainment.

Copenhagen-based artist Helena Heinesen Rebensdorff chose Brimheim as her recording name, as a tribute to her roots in the Faroe Islands. The word translates to "home of the breaking waves," which gives a visual reference to her emotionally-rich alt-pop, and the musical rise-and-fall on today's dramatic Song of the Day. 

On her debut LP can’t hate myself into a different shape, Brimheim explores the topic of self love, inspired by her own experience with a "deep depression hole" she experienced during the pandemic. In an inspiring interview with Get In Her Ears, she says, "I felt like I’d been in this black muddy place, not able to see anything and kind of drowning, and then I slowly started emerging from that through this process of transforming these ideas into arrangements and recorded music with a structure. It was so life affirming."

Read the full story at KEXP.org

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Jul 27, 2022
Alvvays - Pharmacist
126

Alvvays - "Pharmacist" from the 2022 album Blue Rev on Polyvinyl.

Canadian indie-pop quintet Alvvays return this fall with Blue Rev, despite numerous misfortunes that came before it. A thief stole a recorder full of demos from frontwoman Molly Rankin's apartment. The very next day, a basement flood nearly ruined all the band’s gear. On the plus side, they recruited two new band members — drummer Sheridan Riley and bassist Abbey Blackwell  — but, on the bummer side, COVID-related border closures prevented band rehearsals. 

But the band persevered to craft their most mature (and longest!) LP yet. Keyboardist Kerri MacLellan and guitarist Alec O’Hanley contributed more to the songwriting process this time, adding fresh perspectives to their melodic sound. 

Blue Rev is named for a "sugary alcoholic beverage Rankin and MacLellan used to drink as teens on rural Cape Breton," and the songs within express that sweet, dizzy, exuberant feeling. 

Blue Rev will be released October 7th via Polyvinyl, with an October 22nd date at The Moore Theatre in Seattle. 

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Jul 26, 2022
Stone Gossard and Ani DiFranco - Disorders
275

Stone Gossard and Ani DiFranco - "Disorders," a 2022 single on Loosegroove/Righteous Babe.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard unearthed a six-year-old demo and teamed up with alt-folk icon Ani DiFranco for an anthem for abortion access. The music was composed by Gossard, along with Josh Evans, Skerik and Stanton Moore, with vocals and lyrics by DiFranco. All proceeds will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which aims "to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice."

"...Women in every Republican stronghold in this country are left treading in a sea of unnecessary suffering, just trying to keep their heads above water," DiFranco declared. "Poor women will be drowned by the score. That is why this track is a fundraiser for abortion access — to help women who don’t have resources but who desperately need abortions. I am so grateful for men like Stone, Skerik, Stanton — not just for the blessing of this track and the honor of being invited into it, but for actually seeing women in their full humanity and being willing to stand with them.”

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Jul 25, 2022
Mt Fog - Behind a Silent Door
227

Mt Fog - "Behind a Silent Door" from the 2022 self-released album Spells of Silence.

KEXP's own Jasmine Albertson spotlighted today's Song of the Day in her recent segment of Living Singles, introducing us to the gorgeous, melodic synth-pop of Mt. Fog, a project of local artist Carolyn B.

During a lonely time in Olympia, WA, living in a house with no internet, she began experimenting with making loops on her sister's old keyboard with a pirated version of Reason, she says in this interview with Tape Deck Podcast. She brings to Mt. Fog her previous experience as a classical violinist and as a member of a Slavic chorus who sang mostly traditional Bulgarian women’s music. The result is a unique sound she dubs ''forest folktronica'' on her Bandcamp page. Stay tuned for her upcoming sophomore LP, Spells of Silence.

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Jul 22, 2022
Courting - Tennis
242

Courting - "Tennis" a 2022 single on Play It Again Sam.

UK band Courting set the course with their 2020 single "Football" and the title track off last year's EP, Grand National. Now they return with another sporting track, the playful post-punk ode "Tennis," featuring frontman Sean Murphy-O’Neill talk-singing over a Krautrock beat. 

“‘Tennis’ is a paypig’s personal redemption narrative, set in “the city”, and told in two parts,” the band in a press release. “A twisted tale of two lovers’ back and forth, bound by cricket, bodybuilding, and money. A story as old as time.”

“We named the song 'Tennis' as a logical (but unrelated) sequel to our two previously released sports-related songs. To us, this felt like a natural ending to that idea. Dynamically, the second part of the song is supposed to represent a shift in tone for the character in which they realise their own worth and leave the situation that is set within the first part of the song.”

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Jul 21, 2022
Hello Mary - Looking Right Into the Sun
150

Hello Mary - "Looking Right Into the Sun" from the 2022 album Looking Right Into the Sun on Frenchkiss Records

Brooklyn trio Hello Mary continue their ascent with a recent signing to Frenchkiss Records. They followed the announcement with a melodically gritty new single, today's Song of the Day, which they say touches on the "general themes of feeling stuck and restricted by circumstances out of one’s control."

"For us specifically it relates to us having to practice as a band during COVID, not being able to play shows, and being stuck in the thick of writing songs out of a need to cope," they shared in a press release. "The main repeating line of the song ‘Looking Right Into the Sun,’ plays with the idea of confronting something with such duality — the sun is beautiful and mesmerizing yet looking directly at it will blind you — kind of like confronting a hard truth and turning it into a sick song."

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Jul 20, 2022
Jasmyn - Crystal Ball
244

Jasmyn - "Crystal Ball" from the 2022 album In the Wild on ANTI-

Having unraveled herself from the band Weaves, Toronto singer/songwriter Jasmyn Burke was ready to slow down. She moved from the city to the quiet of Hamilton, soaking in the outdoors and the serenity of Lake Ontario. Inspired by her surroundings, she decided to embark on a solo career under the name Jasmyn. She speaks to the experience in today's Song of the Day.

"“I was writing about being afraid of moving into the future but also getting excited by it," she said in a press release. "I knew that I had to change my life and follow my heart in order to evolve and be happy. I think I leaned on nature to do that. Staring at the sun go down, watching birds just float. Nature seems to move without regret or worry. I wanted to write about leaning on my intuition and charging forward into the future with what felt right. I was hit with fresh love and fresh air and a new beginning -- it was exciting. I think this song is about the concept of having a personal renaissance. Looking inward and finding that consistency for yourself even if it means letting go sometimes. Happiness is on the other side.”

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Jul 19, 2022
Xenia Rubinos & El Individuo - Madrugada
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Xenia Rubinos & El Individuo - "Madrugada" a 2022 single on ANTI-.

Last year's album, Una Rosa, was so fantastic, artist Xenia Rubinos is revisiting it with reimagined versions of those tracks. Last year's single "What Is This Voice?” has been reworked into today's Song of the Day, "Madrugada," adding guest vocalist, Cuban rapper El Individuo. She told Stereogum:

El Individuo had just arrived to NYC from Habana for the first time and came straight into this session without us ever having met and just blew us all away.

It feels like the thaw of Spring, like the last frost leaving, like the first flower buds starting to poke through. In the lyrics he talks about dawn and the mysterious vale of those hours right before the morning light hits. I added in a Rhodes line in post production at the end of the track that kind of reminded me of the melody that clocks play, “Westminster Quarters” and the main riff from Mt. Airy Groove by Pieces of a Dream. Creating this rework in a whirlwind cypher with this supergroup of musicians felt like opening a secret trap door we found in the original song.

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Jul 18, 2022
Alec Shaw - Spinning
248

 Alec Shaw - "Spinning" from the 2022 self-released album Quantity.

Seattle-based singer/songwriter Alec Shaw splashed onto the local scene in 2016 with the record Car Town, landing him a gig at famed venue Neumos and perking ears of those in the know as an artist to watch. Since then, Shaw’s subsequent records 2017's Uh Oh and the Oh Wells and 2019's Thinking Place led to KEXP’s own Marco Collins dubbing him one of the “Top 3 PNW artists he would sign immediately.”

Earlier this year, Shaw dropped his fourth record Quantity, recorded during the pandemic and produced by Andy Park (Death Cab For Cutie, Noah Gunderson, Macklemore). The six songs represent that moment in 2020 when life was slowed down and thus more time and effort could be spent in creating fully-realized projects.

“I didn't leave any song on that I was unsure of,” Shaw says of the album. “And because of this I'm thinking of naming the project Quantity as a testament to the thing I had to let go of during this trying time. In the past I would get caught up thinking more is better. ‘More money, more songs, more instruments, more shows, larger audiences.’”

Our Song of the Day, “Spinning,” is a clear highlight on a record already filled with highs. Led by twinkling pianos, soaring strings, and church choir-esque backing vocals, Shaw belts his heart out for the dynamic and emotionally charged track. It’s one you’ll definitely want to spin endlessly.

Alec Shaw will be playing the Sunset Tavern on Saturday, July 30th. Read the full piece and watch a gorgeous live performance of “Spinning” recorded at Studio X Seattle at KEXP.org.

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Jul 15, 2022
Banditos - Here Tonight
199

Banditos - "Here Tonight" from the 2022 album Right On on Egghunt Records.

Birmingham-born, now Nashville-based six-piece Banditos initially started over a decade ago as a searing honky tonk band that bled only the most American of sounds integrating pedal steel, bango, upright bass, and even kazoo for a delightfully scrappy sound. With nearly seven years since their self-titled sophomore record and 2022’s Right On, the country rock band has refined their sound for something decidedly adult and yet no less energetic.

Our Song of the Day, “Here Tonight,” is an excellent representation of this new era for Banditos, with Mary Beth Richardson taking on the role of lead singer which was a good call because the girl has got pipes! Stephen Pierce, initially the band’s banjo player, has also stepped in for bassist duty and the complex strutting rhythmic structure of “Here Tonight” proves that was yet another good call.

Striking the line between sad and hopeful, the song follows a couple of bar patrons drunkenly reminiscing over mistakes and memories, finding comfort in shared errors and repeated plays of singular songs. Mary, as our narrator, helps to quell their haunted hearts with the chorus of, “Life is a drag and then you die /Sometimes, baby, you gotta get high /There ain't no mountain too rugged to climb /Live for today 'cause you're here tonight.”

Watch the video for "Here Tonight" and read the full article at KEXP.org.

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Jul 14, 2022
Kevin Morby - A Random Act of Kindness
253

Kevin Morby - "A Random Act of Kindness," from the 2022 album This is a Photograph on Dead Oceans

With today's Song of the Day, Kevin Morby aims to explore the duality of language on this impassioned piece of Americana. He explains in a press release:

In ‘A Random Act Of Kindness’ I set out to write a song where each line could be interpreted in two completely different ways. For example; when I sing the words ’out of trust…’ it could be heard as either I have lost my sense of trust in something or that I am committing an act with trust as my motive. It’s a song about the menacing nature of the sun rising during a dark time in one’s life only to further illuminate their pain and suffering – and how during these periods it is often the selfless acts of strangers that keeps a person going.

Sonically I am so proud and surprised by where we ended up with this one. Producer Sam Cohen and I had set out to make a sort of windows-down-mid-tempo-cruiser and somehow, with weeks of exploration, made a sonic rocket ship that shoots you out into outer space over the course of 4 minutes. Enjoy!

Morby returns to Seattle on November 11th, playing The Showbox.

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Jul 13, 2022
Wild Pink - Q. Degraw
371

Wild Pink - "Q. Degraw," a 2022 single on Royal Mountain.

Wild Pink – a New York-based group led by John Ross – reflect on the experience of burnout in today's Song of the Day. He's joined by guest vocalist Catherine Vianale of Winded on this six-minute long, heavy, expansive —  yet ultimately uplifting — track. 

“This song is about my experiences with some health problems and how an extremely stressful situation can sharpen your focus on what’s important in life," he shared in a press release. "It’s also about how that stress can sometimes cause you to dissociate from yourself.”

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Jul 12, 2022
Panda Riot - Extra Cosmic
284

Panda Riot - "Extra Cosmic" from the 2022 self-released album Extra Cosmic.

Not only do Chicago quartet Panda Riot tap into My Bloody Valentine's Loveless by sharing the same hot pink color on the album artwork to their fourth LP, Extra Cosmic, they also capture that dreamy shoegaze sound with their soaring, swooning guitars. (I'm also detecting a nod to the Cocteau Twins' Heaven or Las Vegas with the purple/pink theme.) Frontwoman Rebecca Scott's girlish voice is way higher in the mix than MBV though, which is a very good thing! Today's Song of the Day is a dream-pop delight with Beach House synth vibes layered throughout.

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Jul 11, 2022
Khingz - Fort Cash Money
171

Khingz - "Fort Cash Money" from the 2022 album Over The World on OTOW/ freshcutflowers.

Khingz has long been an influential force in the Seattle hip hop scene, with the crowning achievement of Best MC of the Year in 2009 according to Seattle Weekly for his groundbreaking record From Slaveships to Spaceships. A powerful collaborator, Khingz has worked with Geologic of Blue Scholars, Macklemore, and KEXP’s own Gabriel Teodros in the hip-hop supergroup Good Medicine, with B-Flat and Crispy of Godspeed as the trio Hi-Life Soundsystem, and, once again, with Teodros as well as rapper Nam under the project The Livin Yard. His latest single and our Song of the Day reiterates Khingz’ affinity for collaboration.

Over a twinkling piano line and vibrant high hats, Khingz waxes poetic about his desire to bring up the people around him and the power and importance of doing so in “Fort Cash Money.” “Please God make me useful for those I love,” Khingz pleads. “I just wanna be the plug /I just wanna bring them power.”

The song comes from Khingz’ latest full-length and first in 13 years, Over the World, released last month. Khingz will be playing the Clock Out Lounge on July 23rd for the latest installment of The Good Foot alongside notable names such as the aforementioned Geologic and Grynch.

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Jul 08, 2022
Mejiwahn - Heart String Special (feat. Liv.e)
160

Mejiwahn - "Heart String Special (feat. Liv.e)" from the 2022 album BEANNA on Hot Record Societe.

Mejiwahn, who previously recorded under the name Art Vandelay (which personally I love greatly as someone finally watching Seinfeld in whole), is a bit of a mystery. Like the fictional character that George makes up in a job interview, there are few photos, quotes, or general living artifacts to prove that Mejiwahn exists. And yet, the producer is a very real and influential musician in the Oakland scene.

Our Song of the Day, “Heart String Special” was the third single to drop from his latest Beanna full-length, which dropped this week. Featuring Dallas R&b chanteuse Liv.e on vocals, the two create a sunny, sultry downtempo summer jam that’s loose and free like we all should be during these few summer months. Made for the sunsets and sunrises, the comedowns or the comeups, it’s a perfect accompaniment to getting grounded.

If I may steal from the Quietus’ review of Beanna, Mejiwahn, “Worked with R&B-jazz singer-songwriter Liv.e on her 2020 debut Couldn’t Wait to Tell You. Like that record, Beanna finds its strength in the fluidity of soundscapes, with lo-fi beatmaking and production, psychedelic backdrops and cinematic instrumentals all contributing to this nomadic and meandering feel.” Sometimes other writers just say it perfectly.

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Jul 07, 2022
FKJ - Greener (feat. Santana)
234

FKJ - "Greener (feat. Santana)" from the 2022 album V I N C E N T on Mom + Pop.

How do you get legendary guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana to perform on one of your songs? Well, according to multi-instrumentalist FKJ (that's short for French Kiwi Juice, but his real name is Vincent Fenton), you just need to ask nicely. As he explains in a press release, "I told him I would listen to the radio as a young boy, in the days before Spotify, waiting for his song 'Smooth' to come on so I could tape it, and that he plays his instrument like it has its own language and it speaks to me. I just didn’t think he’d end up saying he’d be happy to play on my track."

Santana himself had this to say about their soulful jam: “It is a joy to collaborate and share music with my brother Vincent (FKJ) on ‘Greener.’ Together we have painted a canvas of color, texture and musicality that we know will bring you courage and a deep awareness of your own light and life. Once that happens, there’s no division, separation, or fear. It’s just joy.” 

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Jul 06, 2022
Xênia França - Ancestral Infinito
228

Xênia França - "Ancestral Infinito" from the 2022 self-released album Em Nome da Estrela.

Straight out of the gate, Brazilian artist Xênia França scored two Latin Grammy nominations for her 2018 debut album, Xênia, and the single “Pra Que Me Chamas?” 

She returns with her self-released sophomore effort, Em Nome da Estrela, which translates to "in the name of the star." França expands on the rich influence of her homeland (she even covers a song by tropicália pioneer Gilberto Gil), bringing a sultry R&B vibe with a touch of psychedelia. 

She writes on her Facebook, "I hope this album can take everyone on an enlightened journey, full of love and access their ancestral technological power." 

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Jul 05, 2022
Coco Peila - Remember
208

Coco Peila - "Remember" from the 2022 Whose World? (The New Normal) EP on Miss Behave Records/La Vida Diosa Publishing.

With her latest EP, Whose World? (The New Normal), Bay Area-based MC, singer-songwriter, and producer Coco Peila continues to use music as a platform to speak on causes she feels passionately about. (Her last KEXP Song of the Day spoke out against outdated beauty norms.) This new release is described as a "Hip Hop and Climate Justice audio-visual initiative," presented by BlackGold Movement and developed as a part of Creative Wildfire, "a collaborative call to action from frontline communities, represented by Climate Justice Alliance, New Economy Coalition, and Movement Generation."

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Jul 04, 2022
Supercrush - Perfect Smile
231

Supercrush - Perfect Smile - from the 2022 self-released Melody Maker EP.

While Seattle power pop band Supercrush have technically been a band since 2013, they only just released their debut LP Debt Offensive in 2019. With time to makeup, the band, led by veteran hardcore, punk, and metal musician Mark Palm, quickly followed that up with SODO Pop in 2020 and just dropped the EP Melody Maker in early June via Supercrush’s own KR Records. Made up of five soaringly sweet hook-laden songs, the EP is tailor-made for the sunny days that have finally emerged, including our Song of the Day “Perfect Smile.”

In America, we put high precedence on good teeth. And, unfortunately, it usually takes money in order to acquire perfect teeth. “Perfect Smile,” delves into how easy it is for one who does not have them to fall fast and hard for someone who does. Perhaps, the love interest has other qualities that their narrator also loves but it’s the one quality of obsession that comes into play here. While we could admonish them for their admiration for something that most people can only control to a limited extent, who doesn’t love an incredible smile?

Supercrush are currently in the middle of a US tour, with a tour-ending hometown show in Seattle on Saturday, July 16th at the Vera Project. Watch the visualizer for “Perfect Smile” at the link below.

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Jul 01, 2022
Penelope Isles - Play It Cool (Alt Mix)
275

Penelope Isles - Play It Cool (Alt Mix) - a 2022 single on Bella Union.

It’s a family affair for Penelope Isles, the sibling songwriting duo of Lily and Jack Wolter, who have channeled the energy of their UK homeland the Isle of Man for some seriously dreamy sounds over the course of two records. Now based in Brighton, their latest record, 2021’s Which Way To Happy, sees the band recruit the help of Henry Nicholson, Joe Taylor, and Hannah Feenstra to fill out their expansive soundscapes for an intoxicating leap forward.

Still, a lot of those sounds aren’t exactly accurate to what the band is playing on tour which is why they decided to re-imagine a few of those songs and release them as alternate mixes. Our Song of the Day (and third from Penelope Isles) is the alternate mix of stand-out track “Play It Cool.” Slightly stripped down but no less gorgeous, bouncy, and effervescent, the song only builds excitement to see the band deliver the songs on stage. This is what they had to say about the single:

“We have been working on how to re-imagine songs from Which Way To Happy for our festival shows this summer…. Play It Cool seemed to fall into place a lot easier than others… maybe because we stripped a lot of things away that are in the album version, so we felt that it would be ‘cool’ to re-mix and create an alternative version, where the arrangement and sonics are more like how we are doing it live. Everything is pretty hard panned in the stereo mix, so the drums are on one side and the bass on the other. It’s kind of fun to pan to one side and isolate things. Inspired by those early Byrds and Beatles mixes.”

Penelope Isles is currently on tour behind Which Way To Happy but, unfortunately, currently solely in Europe and the UK. Watch their 2019 KEXP in-studio performance at the link below while we eagerly wait for them to hop the pond.

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Jun 30, 2022
Oceanator - Beach Days (Alive Again)
246

Oceanator - "Beach Days (Alive Again)" from the 2022 album Nothing's Ever Fine on Big Scary Monsters.

"By the ocean /

Is where i wanna be /

When this all comes to an end"

On her 2020 debut album Things I Never Said, Brooklyn-based songwriter Oceanator (real name: Elise Okusami) pondered the apocalypse against grungy guitars and Green Day-inspired pop/punk. On her follow-up LP Nothing’s Ever Fine, she continues to explore similar themes... except on today's Song of the Day.

“I feel like summer is supposed to be the good times,” she told Under the Radar. “I wanted to write some songs about some of the good parts of life, and a lot of those are — for me at least — in the summer.”

Her sophomore full-length was co-produced by Bartees Strange and her brother, Mike Okusami, who each brought their musical expertise to the table. “Bartees and Michael both have this really extensive knowledge of sound and gear,” she explained. “So, it was extremely helpful to be able to translate what I was saying into sounds. Maybe I could have gotten some of the sounds on my own, but it would have taken like 10 years.”

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Jun 29, 2022
Camilla Munck - Blessed Be
236

Camilla Munck - "Blessed Be" from the 2021 album Aeon on Moondrop Records.

Danish artist Camilla Munck began with a background in soundtracks and sound design. On her debut album AEON, she taps into these skills for an emotive, atmospheric experience. On her Facebook page, she describes today's Song of the Day as "a song about finding oneself in and outside communities. to dare step in and out of them. about following oneself, following one's curiosity. and about finding peace in the movement."

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Jun 28, 2022
Confidence Man - Holiday
288

Confidence Man - "Holiday" from the 2022 album TILT on Heavenly Recordings/[PIAS].

With today's Song of the Day, Australian electro-pop duo Confidence Man aim to make the party last forever.

“We’ve been trying for the most epic, hands up, euphoric anthem for a while and this is the first time we’ve come close… Turns out it’s pretty difficult, but nothing’s too hard for Con Man,” said vocalist Sugar Bones.

His bandmate Janet Planet added: “No one tells Confidence Man what to do. Who said a Holiday can’t last forever? Spend big and live free, that’s our motto. And it can be yours too. A vacation is just sunburn at premium prices but a holiday is a state of mind.”

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Jun 27, 2022
Beautiful Freaks - CROCODILE
210

Beautiful Freaks - "CROCODILE," a 2022 single on Scream Queen Records.

Constantly evolving in their sound, Beautiful Freaks has always been a band built more on energy and experimentation than a specific genre tag. Formed in 2013, Peter Bryson and James Bonaci came together over their love for metal, jazz & punk. Their 2018 debut Cameo Artist was hardcore glam at its most frenzied and visceral but the former Bellingham band now resides in Seattle and is entering the next phase of their evolution with the recently released singles “Slugs” and “Crocodile.”

More refined and vocally driven than their prior work, “Crocodile” features Meg Hall shining on lead vocals to tell the story of a not-so-good guy that meets his demise. The angular hooks, spacey guitar wails, and unique time signature make the song some sort of math rock/psychedelic/post punk hybrid and an exciting new direction for the queer & trans band.

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Jun 24, 2022
Chainsaw Girl - Chainsaw Girl
259

Chainsaw Girl - "Chainsaw Girl"  from the 2021 self-released Chainsaw Girl EP.

Portland’s Chainsaw Girl were brought together with a combination of fate and Yu-Gi-Oh. Guitarists Manny Ruiz and Kei Iguchi met at a conference for the Japanese manga series in 2016 and found their common interests spanned beyond Yu-Gi-Oh and into a deep love for music. Vocalist Cricket Greene was later asked to join after their loud and constant singing could be heard through Iguchi’s walls. With the rest of the crew found either through Craigslist or mutual friends, their self-described “Boring Dystopia-core” band was complete.

While very far from boring, finding a better label for the band is difficult. Pulling from a wide range of influences including Title Fight, Joyce Manor, J-rock bands like Number Girl and Polka Dot Stingray, Bay Area DIY bands such as Pllush and Pardener, as well as Mitski, Hayley Williams, and Caroline Polachek as vocal inspirations, Chainsaw Girl straddle the line somewhere between vulnerable indie rock and harder punk.

Our Song of the Day is the eponymous opening track off their self-titled EP which implies it to be Chainsaw Girl’s manifesto. “Chainsaw Girl / Never learned to play guitar,” howls Greene in the opening line. Iguchi describes the song as “an experiment in abstract character development through lyrics.” Each bandmate wrote their part in separation and brought them together, creating a full and diverse picture of who each bandmate considers the character of Chainsaw Girl to be.

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Jun 23, 2022
Ethel Cain - Hard Times
303

Ethel Cain - Hard Times - from the 2022 album Preacher's Daughter on Daughters of Cain Records

The album title Preacher's Daughter is on point for 24-year-old artist Ethel Cain. Raised and home-schooled in a tight-knit Southern Baptist community where her father served as deacon and her mother sang in the church choir, Cain (legal name: Hayden Silas Anhedönia after a name-change at age 20) struggled against her conservative upbringing. At the age of 12, she came out as gay to her mom, and was sent to religious therapy. “My therapist was the first person in my whole life to ever tell me I wasn’t going to hell,” she told the New York Times. “I guess she didn’t understand the assignment.”

On her debut album, she explores the gothic Americana of her southern roots, with dark lyrics tapping into her difficult adolescence and love of horror films. “I love overkill — I’m nothing if not dramatic,” Cain continued. “It’s over-the-top American melodrama, it’s Thelma & Louise and the most ridiculous, psychotic, psychedelic things.”

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Jun 22, 2022
Dreamer Isioma - Dream Girl
91

Dreamer Isioma - Dream Girl - from the 2022 album Goodnight Dreamer on Dreamer Isioma/AWAL.

Goodnight Dreamer may be the debut album for 21-year-old Nigerian-American artist Dreamer Isioma, but it's hardly their first foray into music. 

“Well, it started before birth,” Isioma told the Chicago Tribune, revealing their parents enrolled them in Mommy & Me music classes before they were even out of the womb. “Basically, my parents had a plan. They’re like, this child is either gonna do music or be an athlete or both.” 

Their parents' dream was realized with Isioma's soulful, genre-defying first release. “I think that people will also see themselves in my writing, which is what I’m most excited about," they shared with NME. “I make music for people who aren’t like everyone else, or who are just trying to find themselves and figure out what’s going on with [them] or the world around them. And hopefully, that’s what people hear.”

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Jun 21, 2022
Tasha - Perfect Wife
218

Tasha - Perfect Wife - from the 2021 album Tell Me What You Miss The Most on Father/Daughter Records.

With her sophomore full-length Tell Me What You Miss The Most, Chicago-based singer/songwriter Tasha invites the listener to nestle in to each track, allowing yourself to be enveloped by the warmth and light. "These are swaying songs," she says of the swoonful new release. “I was inspired by a distance I felt from myself,” she continues in a press release, “the writing was kind of born from this desire to get back to an intimacy, or honesty, with myself.” 

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Jun 20, 2022
Erik Blood - Or Am I Wrong?
229

Musician, producer, sound engineer, and all-around creative force Erik Blood is known for a lot of things - one-half of Knife Knights alongside Ishmael Butler, his recent funkified sensual project Pink Lotion with Rachel Ferguson, Black Constellation all-star contributor, and a solo artist in his own right. Something you may have missed was his 2011 foray into music soundtracking which saw the multi-hyphenate write an album’s worth of original music for the Brazilian film Center of Gravity.

Without having even seen the movie, the haunting soundtrack Blood created tells a powerful story on its own, full of tender longing and heartwrenching aching. The description of the film describes it as dealing with, “universal questions about love and our expectations toward the beloved, the thin line that simultaneously divides and unites one another.”

Our Song of the Day, “Or Am I Wrong?” expresses that extremely thin line as our narrator questions their ex’s ability to move on while they’re still so hopelessly entrenched in the memory of their shared past. Backed by a spaghetti-western-esque beat that pairs perfectly with our narrator’s cinema-sized reimagining of past love, the song was made for the widescreen. With lyrics like “That place we were /Can we ever go back /This fear of me being phased out /Or instantly replaced is just so strong,” it’s easy to imagine a montage of loving moments past or rain pouring down a protagonists head as they stare at their ex-love’s window.

For the full lowdown on Erik Blood, listen KEXP’s episode on him for our Fresh Off the Spaceship podcast which delves into the boundless world of the Black Constellation. Below, watch Erik Blood's KEXP in-studio performance from 2016.

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Jun 17, 2022
Toro Y Moi - The Loop
242

In April, Chaz Bear dropped the seventh studio album from his constantly evolving project Toro y Moi titled Mahal. One of his jammier records, Mahal veers heavily towards psych-funk and features a hefty list of contributors including Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Neilson, Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo, visual artist and musician Sofie Royer, and jazz duo the Mattson 2.

Our Song of the Day is the breezy track and early single “The Loop.” Led by a funky bassline and a meandering guitar, the song slowly ambles while Bear mellowly muses on the trappings of modern life in the digital age where it’s imperative to stay up to date. “East Coast friends fill me in, I know you get the early scoop,” Bear croons. “Online trends that border cringe start to feel overused."

The video for the song follows Bear and his friends over the course of a pretty incredible day in San Francisco where the squad skateboards, rolls through the streets in go-carts and jeepneys, and has one heck of a meal at FOB Kitchen in Oakland. Watch the video below and catch Toro y Moi on Saturday, July 23rd at Capitol Hill Block Party.

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Jun 16, 2022
Poppy Ajudha - MOTHERS SISTERS GIRLFRIENDS
223

Poppy Ajudha - MOTHERS SISTERS GIRLFRIENDS - from the 2022 self-released album THE POWER IN US

On her debut album The Power In UsPoppy Ajudha displays just that: a fearless force-of-nature, with songs about feminism, colonialism, gender politics, mental health, and other social issues on her mind. Today's Song of the Day, in particular, is a call to action for women's rights. 

"Women don’t have to be just what they are taught to be," she emphasizes, via a press release. "There is so much more to us than Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Girlfriends and our relation to men. I want men to engage more heavily in feminism and really see how their defiance against it only holds both women and men back. There are so many boxes we put ourselves in; I want us all to break out of them."

The South London-born artist adds, "Every song on this album touches on these issues because they are all I think about everyday, all I see around me in my friends and my family. I hope it flips a switch in your mind, like it did for mine.” 

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Jun 15, 2022
Sampa the Great - Lane (feat. Denzel Curry)
162

Sampa the Great - Lane (feat. Denzel Curry) - a 2022 single on Loma Vista.

Today's Song of the Day finds Zambian-born, Botswana-raised artist Sampa The Great taking up some well-deserved space, alongside guest vocalist and fellow rapper Denzel Curry. “We’re not going to stay in one lane, we’re going to create multiple ones,” she said in a press statement. “My truest self encourages me to explore different lanes, and go beyond what I think I know of myself.”

She adds that the song is “about expressing the full range of who you are without being boxed by anyone else’s definitions of you. Connecting to your younger self means connecting to your truest self, and that truest self is not confined by any labels and any boxes. ‘Lane’ is about breaking those boxes, and staying true to yourself.”

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Jun 14, 2022
Alabaster DePlume - I’m Good at Not Crying
204

Alabaster DePlume - I'm Good at Not Crying - from the 2022 album GOLD on International Anthem.

Quirkiness is in the cards with a nom de plume like Alabaster DePlume. The London-based poet/songwriter (real name: Gus Fairbairn) has just released his cheekily-titled sophomore album, Gold, a 2xLP collection, captured chaotically. During the 2020 recording sessions, DePlume invited a different set of musicians each day to record the same songs at the same speed. Two rules were in place: one, that musicians wouldn’t be given enough time to rehearse, and two, that they wouldn’t listen back to the music they recorded. “They didn’t have enough preparation to be able to hide behind this piece of material or skill,” he said via his Bandcamp. “They had to look up and respond to each other, and that’s what we've recorded.”

DePlume then took the recordings, slicing them together seamlessly. “The method is part of the mission. It wasn’t like school. We had mayhem. We were having fun. That’s the story and the process – and I want to live that way,” he adds.

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Jun 13, 2022
Hollis - Burn Burn
197

Hollis - Burn Burn - a 2022 single on AntiFragile Music.

After years as a supporting artist for artists like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and bands like The Flavr Blue, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Hollis (full name: Hollis Wong-Wear) is front and center on her solo album debut Subliminal, out now via Anti Fragile.

"It’s an opportunity for me to sonically chart the spectrum of feelings," she shared in a press release, "from existential angst and the tension of our historical moment, to meditative reflection, to uninhibited joy, that was evoked during the pandemic and into today. I’m so happy to offer this album to the world in hopes that it can provide a space of healing and resonance the way that writing the songs did for me.”

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Jun 10, 2022
Zola Jesus - The Fall
244

Zola Jesus - The Fall - from the 2022 album Arkhon on Sacred Bones.

Zola Jesus returns with her sixth full-length later this month titled Arkhon. The artist, whose real name is Nika Roza Danilova, explains that the title translates to "power" or "ruler" in ancient Greek.

"Arkons are a Gnostic idea of power wielded through a flawed god," Danilova elaborated via a press release. "They taint and tarnish humanity, keeping them corrupted instead of letting them find their harmonious selves. I do feel like we are living in an arkhonic time; these negative influences are weighing extremely heavy on all of us. We're in a time of arkhons. There's power in naming that." 

Today's Song of the Day taps into that power. "I wrote ‘The Fall’ for myself," she said. "It was an exercise in using music as a tool for the sake of my own inner catharsis. I had a lot of turmoil and complicated emotions that I couldn’t process in any other way. I suppose some feelings require you to write a pop song in order to fully understand them. For that reason, this song is very precious to me."

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Jun 09, 2022
The Heavy Heavy - Miles and Miles
243

The Heavy Heavy - Miles and Miles - from the 2022 album Life and Life Only on ATO.

Brighton, UK-based duo The Heavy Heavy channel the sun-drenched sound of the '60s with today's Song of the Day.

“‘Miles and Miles’ is about driving across the country, trying to get from place to place — free and easy but with real energy and motion," band member Georgie Fuller said in a press release. "It was inspired by the landscapes of Easy Rider and Vanishing Point and this fantasy of racing down the highway. It’s fuel for the listeners’ imagination — whatever that may be. For the music video we wanted to create that feeling, and we were inspired by clips of the Stones and the Beatles on roadsides in the ’60s. It’s sun-soaked and fast-paced, and we wanted it to feel like a dream."

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Jun 08, 2022
Porridge Radio - The Rip
176

Porridge Radio - "The Rip" from the 2022 album Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky on Secretly Canadian.

Right before the pandemic shut the world down, Brighton band Porridge Radio dropped Every Bad, their first record on Secretly Canadian that would go on to receive a Mercury Prize nomination as well as a generous amount of airplay on KEXP. While not technically the first album under the Porridge Radio moniker, it felt like an introduction to the band, who blended UK post-punk with anthemic indie rock for a uniquely cathartic sound.

Last month, they released the follow-up Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky which broadens Porridge Radio’s sound without giving up any of their defining characteristics. Our Song of the Day is “The Rip” which is led by soaring synths and roaring guitars, as the song slowly builds and bursts. Frontperson Dana Margolin had this to say about the song:

“‘The Rip’ was the last song to be finished for the album, and we finished it about a week before we went into the studio to record it in March 2021. We wanted it to sound like massive pop, like Charli XCX, but with the instrumentation of bands like Slothrust or Deftones. It took the longest a song has ever taken me to write lyrics for, and they took form over a few years. At the beginning it was a song about a power dynamic where I was in control, by the end it was about one where I had none. My friends always accuse me of making up idioms and using them like they are well known phrases and I think this song is full of those. I love the idea of something being sick at the seams, like it’s disintegrating from its core. I like things that are so simple they are universal. I wanted it to sound like when your heart breaks so badly that your entire body aches. I wanted it to feel like your soul is dropping out of your body.”

The song comes with a video directed by Margolin’s sister Ella which mimics the intensity of the song with Margolin furiously running on a treadmill while menacing figures in papier-mâché masks envelope her. Watch the video at the link below and catch Porridge Radio in Seattle on Tuesday, September 13th at Barboza.

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Jun 07, 2022
Julia Jacklin - Lydia Wears A Cross
242

Julia Jacklin - "Lydia Wears A Cross" from the 2022 album Pre Pleasure on Polyvinyl.

Four years after charming the socks off of us with her 2018 record Crushing, Julia Jacklin is finally releasing its anticipated follow-up. Titled Pre Pleasure, the record was conceived upon returning home at the end of a mammoth Crushing world tour and finished in a frantic few months of recording in Montreal.

Our Song of the Day is the lead single and opening track off the record, “Lydia Wears a Cross.” Harkening back to her Catholic upbringing, a young Jacklin struggles with an understanding of what she’s being fed while deeply enjoying the pageantry of the church. “I'd be a believer /If it was all just song and dance,” she sings on the chorus. In a statement, Jacklin describes the song like this:

“The song is about a lot of things but mainly being a 7yr old Jesus Christ superstar fanatic attending catholic school trying to figure out which way is up. The music video was filmed by my constant collaborator and friend Nick Mckk at Splitpoint lighthouse. I played a show close by recently and asked on stage if anyone could let me film inside. Someone in the crowd knew a guy and that was it. The rest was filmed in the streets of Northcote, Melbourne.”

Pre Pleasure was recorded in Montreal with co-producer Marcus Paquin (The Weather Station, The National) and finds Jacklin teamed with her Canada-based touring band, bassist Ben Whiteley and guitarist Will Kidman, both of Canadian folk outfit The Weather Station. It also introduces drummer Laurie Torres, saxophonist Adam Kinner and string arrangements by Owen Pallett (Arcade Fire) recorded by a full orchestra in Prague.

Jacklin will be embarking on a US tour this August, with a date in Seattle on Friday, September 30th at the Crocodile. Watch her incredible KEXP in-studio performance from 2019 at the link below.

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Jun 06, 2022
These Arms Are Snakes - Camera Shy
242

These Arms Are Snakes - "Camera Shy" from the 2022 album Duct Tape & Shivering Crows on Suicide Squeeze.

Thirteen years after the unceremonious breakup of post-hardcore outfit These Arms Are Snakes, the Seattle band have released the double LP Duct Tape & Shivering Crows. While it’s not made up of entirely new material, the record gives a thorough overview of the band’s expansive experimentations over their seven-year run.

Our Song of the Day is the track “Camera Shy.” Originally released on their 2008 split-LP with Chicago’s Russian Circles, the song utilizes a crisp, throbbing rhythm section as a platform for Ryan Frederiksen to lay his always-intense spacey yowls.

Following These Arms Are Snakes’ reunion shows in Seattle last August, the quartet is hitting the road for a run of five dates in Denver, Chicago, Brooklyn, Oakland, and Los Angeles starting in June. Watch the visualizer for “Camera Shy” at the link below.

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Jun 03, 2022
Introducing "The Runcast with John Richards"
43

We believe that everyone who runs should have a great soundtrack. Not one curated by an algorithm, but one that’s hand-picked by a DJ who runs too. The Runcast with John Richards brings you a dynamic mix of music and inspiration to keep you company and motivate you on your run, no matter what your level.

Subscribe to KEXP's The Runcast with John Richards, wherever you podcast, and enjoy new episodes every two weeks, June 3 - October 7, 2022.

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Jun 03, 2022
Kraus - Anyone
143

Kraus - "Anyone" from the 2022 album Eye Escapes on Mutual Skies.

Will Kraus has been releasing his unique brand of caustic shoegaze under his surname since 2016. Since then, the Dallas musician has released four records, with his latest being 2022’s Eye Escapes. A collection of recordings from 2016 - 2021, primarily from a lost album between Path and View No Country, the 11 tracks were mastered by the legendary Sacramento-based producer Blank Body, who also recently dropped a new record - his first in five years.

Our Song of the Day, “Anyone,” is another excellent addition to Kraus’ discography of lush, dissonant sounds. Anchored by heavy distortion, his soft vocals float angelically yet indecipherably over the semi-caustic soundscapes.

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Jun 02, 2022
The Hunt - I Can’t Stand
228

The Hunt - "I Can’t Stand (Zola Jesus cover)" from the 2022 album Todo Muere SBXV on Sacred Bones.

This year, Brooklyn-based label Sacred Bones Records celebrates its 15th anniversary, and to commemorate this occasion, they've devoted the latest volume of their annual Todo Muere compilation to artists on their roster covering other artists on their roster. 

And who better to reunite for this release than The Hunt? The post-punk duo helped launch the label with their very first release, a 7" single from the band. While both band members — Jasper McGandy & Christian Kount — have sinced moved on to join Cult of Youth, they've reconvened to cover labelmate Zola Jesus for this special release.  

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Jun 01, 2022
Automatic - Skyscraper
238

Automatic - "Skyscraper" from the 2022 album Excess on Stones Throw.

Los Angeles trio Automatic tap into consumerism on their latest single, “Skyscraper,” channeling a materialistic yuppie type, obsessed with consumer culture.

“It’s about spending your life making money and then spending it to fill the void created by said job,” explained bassist/vocalist Halle Saxon, with bandmate Lola Dompé cheekily adding, "Kind of like going to LA to live your dreams." 

The track will be released on their forthcoming full-length Excess, out June 24th. Automatic plays Seattle on September 10th and 11th, opening for Osees at Neumos.

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May 31, 2022
Working Men's Club - Circumference
229

Working Men’s Club - Circumference from the 2022 album Fear Fear on Heavenly Recordings.

UK quartet Working Men’s Club return with their sophomore full-length Fear Fear, to be released July 15th via Heavenly Recordings. Like their first album, Ross Orton (The Fall, Arctic Monkeys) provides production talents; unlike that debut LP, the band have evolved their post-punk sound in a more new wave, synth-heavy direction, providing a stark contrast to their lyrical approach this time around. 

“The first album was mostly a personal documentation lyrically, this is a blur between personal and a third-person perspective of what was going on.” says frontman and songwriter Syd Minsky-Sargeant, in a press release. “I like the contrast of it being happy, uplifting music and really dark lyrics. It’s not a minimal record, certainly compared to the first one. That’s because there’s been a lot more going on that needed to be said.”

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May 30, 2022
MALIA - Undone
169

MALIA - "Undone" from the 2022 album What's After 'I Love You?' on MALIA/Black Sea Music.

Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter MALIA recently unveiled her latest set of soulful R&B tunes with What’s After ‘I Love You.’ Following her 2021 debut Unpolished, the vulnerable album examines a past relationship in the wake of immense heartbreak.

Our Song of the Day is the record’s closer “Undone,” in which MALIA comes to terms with the fact that the relationship is now forever changed and even when her ex asks her to come over, it won’t be the same for her. The damage is done and the magic gone so it’s time to focus on putting herself back together piece-by-piece.

“This is the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my writing and it makes me feel so exposed to share but also empowered because the growth I experienced through this intense pain created the best version of me yet,” MALIA told American Songwriter about the new EP. “Sharing these songs with the world forces me to continue to remain open and live from a place of love over fear. I hope my story reminds people that moments of darkness however painful, actually hold our hand and help us elevate.”

This summer, MALIA will be supporting Corrine Bailey Rae on tour with a stop in Seattle on Sunday, July 17th at the Moore Theatre. Below, watch the visual for What’s After ‘I Love You’ highlight “Only One.”

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May 27, 2022
Jelly Cleaver - Cosmovisions
367

Jelly Cleaver - "Cosmovisions," a 2022 single on Jelly's Jams.

London musician Jelly Cleaver’s otherworldly take on jazz by utilizing her DIY/punk scene influences and integrating political activism within her work makes the century and half year-old genre something entirely new. A recipient of the coveted Steve Reid Innovation Award, a grant that funds outstanding emerging artists of which Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd have also been recipients, Cleaver is on a clear path towards greatness.

Our Song of the Day, “Cosmovisions,” is direct evidence of that. The massive track feels like a constantly evolving organism, with layers of bass, keys, strings, flute, and sax flowing and cascading over each other to extraordinary effect. This track was inspired by Arturo Escobar's book Designs for the Pluriverse, “A beautiful book which describes the ontology of Cosmovisions as a way for humankind to live in harmony with nature and itself,” according to Cleaver.

That focus on harmony begins with knowledge and Cleaver’s been doing her part to attempt to make the world a less racist place. During the lockdown, she helped develop a workshop on Anti-racism that she delivered to Extinction Rebellion groups across the country and presented the workshop at Brainchild Festival. Her newest single, “My People,” dropped yesterday, on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death (as well as her birthday) as a eulogy to all victims of racism and police violence.

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May 26, 2022
Mumu Fresh - Dance Daughter
298

Mumu Fresh - "Dance Daughter" a 2022 self-released single.

For her latest single (and today's Song of the Day), Grammy-nominated artist Mumu Fresh teamed up with the movement 20 Million Women Strong, Planet Restoration, and the Netflix original TV show "We Speak Dance" to craft a special song for Earth Day. On social media, she thanks the organizations for "sharing the healing balm and uplifting energy of dance on behalf of Mother Earth and women, mothers, sisters, and daughters around the world. May we all dance for the planet on this special day and always."

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May 25, 2022
Chronixx - Never Give Up
259

Chronixx - "Never Give Up" a 2022 single on Forever Living Originals.

With his latest single, reggae artist Chronixx sends love to generations of his fellow artists in Jamaica. On social media, he writes:

Give thanks for the Rastafari vibration. The positive vibrations that make it possible for youths here in a seemingly chaotic world to sing from our souls into the soul of the world.  For all the people who are struggling for peace and against systematic oppression. #nevergiveup the fight for the family. Never give up the fight for love.

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May 24, 2022
Quelle Chris - Alive Ain't Always Living
242

Quelle Chris - "Alive Ain't Always Living" from the 2022 album Deathfame on Mello Music Group.

Fresh off co-composing part of the score for the Oscar-winning film Judas and The Black Messiah, rapper Quelle Chris returned last week with his latest full-length, DEATHFAME.

The Detroit-based artist (real name: Gavin Tennille) describes the genre-defying new LP like "an incredible lost tape found at a flea market." Guests include Navy Blue, Pink Siifu, and Quelle's longtime collaborator Chris Keys co-produces a few of the album's tracks. 

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May 23, 2022
Damien Jurado - Taped In Front Of A Live Studio Audience
120

Damien Jurado - Taped in Front of a Live Studio Audience from the 2022 album Reggae Film Star on Maraqopa.

Longtime KEXP-favorite Damien Jurado is on the heels of releasing his 18th album Reggae Film Star this June. The album comes 25 years after his debut album Waters Ave S. and is just one of seven albums the prolific songwriter wrote and recorded during the pandemic. 2021’s The Monster Who Ate Pennsylvania was the first of those to be released.

Our Song of the Day is the short but sweet “Taped In Front of a Live Studio Audience.” Over a softly driving beat and warm, thrumming guitars, Jurado paints a picture of a day in the life of an exhausted working mother, doing her best to keep it together or at least stay awake. With lines like “Who's screaming at the top of their lungs? /Well I don't have time, and my patience is running thin,” the song is a relatable story for those familiar with the comedy of parenting.

Reggae Film Sta is due digitally and on CD June 24 via his own Maraqopa Records, with vinyl arriving July 8. Damien produced it himself alongside multi-instrumentalist Josh Gordon and recording engineer Alex Bush.

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May 20, 2022
James and the Cold Gun - Seven
237

James and the Cold Gun - "Seven" from the 2022 False Start EP on Venn Records.

With a sound that’s miles away from the Kate Bush song they’re named after, the two James’ of James and the Cold Gun - James Joseph and James Bliss - are making blistering rock n’ roll that harkens back to the early aughts alt-rock scene. The duo individually formerly fronted other bands but have been making waves in their Cardiff scene for their balls-to-the-wall pub shows as well as outside of it, touring with bands like Salem and Therapy.

Our Song of the Day, “Seven” is the opening track off their debut EP False Start, released in April. Immediately, the song sets the tone for the searing set of tracks to follow. Stomping drums and fiery, distortion-laden guitars accompany James squared’s howling vocals. The band had this to say about the song:

“‘Seven’ is a song about being angry, but only because you care about something so much. We really enjoy this one, it’s a real thumper—we aimed to write a proper, driving riff.”

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May 19, 2022
Nina Kohout - Moonlight
254

Nina Kohout - "Moonlight" from the 2022 Pandemonium EP on Deadred Records.

When Slovakian artist Nina Kohout released her first single "Blue Sunray" back in 2020, she landed the Newcomer of the Year award from her hometown Rádio FM's annual Radio_Head Awards. More accolades are sure to be on the way with the release of her long-awaited debut EP, Pandemonium. She describes today's Song of the Day as a "Vampiric Waltz" in this YouTube clip

Kohout currently resides in London, attending The Brit School where she studies music production and music technology. (A few alumni of this prestigious institution include Amy Winehouse, Adele, and FKA Twigs.) In an interview with Hudba.sk, she shares, "I'm an intense person. I think a lot, I feel, and so I turn to music as my personal valve," adding, "it is the personal demons with whom we are slowly becoming friends that I explore through music."

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May 18, 2022
alyona alyona - Рідні мої (feat. Jerry Heil)
155

alyona alyona - "Ridni moi (feat. Jerry Heil)," a 2022 single on ENKO.

For Easter this year, Ukrainian rapper alyona alyona shared a plea to celebrate and to uphold traditions with her latest single "Рідні мої." She writes on YouTube:

The warmest memories of most people in Ukraine during their lives are warm family gatherings for Easter. Opportunity to get away from business, to see the closest ones, to visit distant relatives, to take part in creation of Easter eggs, to taste mother's or grandmother's dishes from the childhood, to unite in continuation of national and family traditions...

This year has radically changed us, changed everything around us. Many families will no longer reunite, many grandparents will no longer please their grandchildren, and many ovens will no longer bake Easter cakes. We have changed our values, changed our attitude to many things. But we will always carry the traditions of our nation and our families through the years. May the memory of them be eternal.

This track is about pain, sadness, memories and family warmth. And about that things which unite us all, wherever we are.

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May 17, 2022
Hazel English - Summer Nights
186

Hazel English - "Summer Nights," a 2022 self-released single.

On her forthcoming EP Summer Nights (out June 17th), Hazel English teams up with producer Jackson Phillips (Day Wave) for a "short story"-like collection of songs whose narratives interweave with another. Today's Song of the Day is “about the intoxicating feeling of developing a crush on someone. I thought it would be interesting to explore the buildup of tension sonically because to me, the anticipation is the best part.”

“Jackson and I have such a great flow when it comes to working on music that it was easy to essentially pick up where we had left off,” English said in a press release about the EP. “Our process together is very quick and fun, no second guessing. I also think the pandemic and time at home got me thinking a lot about my past and remembering high school experiences and those kinds of feelings that were so vivid at that time. So I found myself writing lyrics that were inspired by some of those experiences and then I kind of created a whole new story out of it.”

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May 16, 2022
Ben Zaidi - Jerusalem.
349

Ben Zaidi - "Jerusalem" from the 2022 album Acre of Salt on Nettwerk.

“What are you?” is an eye-rolling question people of mixed heritages never cease to get asked and often have no idea how to answer. Seattle’s Ben Zaidi tackles his unique background and the internal conflict of not knowing how to identify in today’s Song of the Day, “Jerusalem.”

Born to a Jewish father, Pakistani mother, and with Muslim grandparents, Zaidi candidly unpacks his familial stories and the complicated feelings surrounding them in the downtempo guitar strummer. “Sometimes I feel like Jersualem /There’s three religions trickling through my veins,” sings Zaidi in the chorus. “By the time they sort it out /There’ll be nothing left to claim.”

“It is a strange fate being of mixed heritage in the whitewash of America,” Zaidi explains of the song. “Often it feels like the many cultures of my ancestors have been diluted, and I have been left with no heritage rather than many... I am starting, however, to see this disorientation as an identity of its own. Manzur Zaidi was my grandfather I never met. He and his family were Pakistani, and lived through the partition of India... I use their Arabic family name and my Hebrew first name to try to combine the two lineages that most describe my parents. It was only later that I discovered 'Ben' means 'son.' and that 'Zaidi' is also a Yiddish word, for 'grandfather.'"

The song comes from his upcoming debut album Acre of Salt, set for release on June 3rd. Produced by Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Peter Gabriel, Beck), the record was recorded at Los Angeles' Sound City Studios along with backing band members Ethan Gruska, Sebastian Steinberg (Fiona Apple,) saxophonist Sam Gendel and Kane Ritchotte (Portugal. The Man). Watch the video for “Jersualem” at the link below.

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May 13, 2022
Fontaines D.C. - Roman Holiday
267

Fontaines D.C. - "Roman Holiday" from the 2022 album Skinty Fia on Partisan.

In April, Irish post-punkers Fontaines D.C. released their third studio album Skinty Fia. Their first record since relocating to London, the album title is an Irish phrase that translates to “the damnation of the deer" and delves deep into the minds of transplants reckoning with their feelings around identity and belonging.

Our Song of the Day, “Roman Holiday,” really drives that home with a bittersweet ode to discovering a new city while in the midst of young love. One of the many surprsingly downtempo songs on the record, wailing guitars provide a bed for Grian Chatten’s wistful croons about weddings, high heels, and getting stoned to lay upon.

“‘Roman Holiday’ makes me think of the wide streets of north London in the summer and the urge to discover them at night time,” explains Chatten. “The thrill of being a gang of Irish people in London with a bit of a secret language and my first flat with my girlfriend.”

Fontaines D.C. will be in Seattle this Saturday, May 14th to play Showbox SoDo with Just Mustard. They’ll be stopping by KEXP that afternoon to play a live in-studio at 12:30pm. Watch their 2019 KEXP in-studio performance at the link below.

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May 12, 2022
Say Sue Me - 꿈에 To Dream
269

Say Sue Me - "꿈에 To Dream" from the 2022 album The Last Thing Left on Damnably.

South Korean dream-pop quartet Say Sue Me will release their third LP The Last Thing Left this coming Friday, May 13th via long-time label Damnably. The group states the new release "has the theme of some realization, eventually the realization of love. Love in relationships, love for oneself, and the ultimate love gained after realizing those two things!”

On today's Song of the Day, they surrender to slumber, with vocalist/guitarist Sumi Choi explaining in a press release, “I dreamed that everyone was alive, and I came to think that there might be no end. One day everyone will come back and meet somewhere.” 

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May 11, 2022
Camp Cope - Running with the Hurricane
255

Camp Cope - "Running With the Hurricane" from the 2022 album Running with the Hurricane on Run For Cover.

Melbourne, Australia-based trio Camp Cope find the calm within the storm on their latest full-length Running with the Hurricane

While their 2018 album How to Socialise & Make Friends channeled the intensity of '90s artists like Alanis Morissette or Courtney Love, the new LP takes a quieter approach. During the pandemic, guitarist/vocalist Georgia Maq returned to her post-rock world of nursing. Her work in COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration had an impact on her songwriting. As she explained to NPR, "Before when we'd made records, it was just like, 'Let's just record us live so that when people see us live, they won't be disappointed.' This was more like, 'Well, we're all gonna die of coronavirus, so let's just try to make something quite beautiful.'"

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May 10, 2022
Gracie Gray - Happiness
240

Gracie Gray - "Happiness" from the 2022 album Anna on Hand In Hive.

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Gracie Gray looks back on her youth on this wistful acoustic track off her latest LP anna. The accompanying music video features VHS footage from her family's archive, alongside footage of her today. (Watch below.)

"'happiness' is about longing for childhood innocence," she explained in a press release. "It's something that can never be fully recaptured, but the video shows that these younger versions of ourselves are still alive inside of us." 

"I think 'happiness' is going to mean different things to me as time goes on," she continued. "When I wrote it I was processing a lot of hard memories. When I finished it, I felt like I was just beginning an ugly process of letting go. I am really proud of how we were able to resolve the song sonically."

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May 09, 2022
Moon Palace - It's a Shame
248

Moon Palace - "It’s a Shame" from the 2022 self-released Love Lost EP.

We’ve written about Moon Palace a number of times since the release of their 2017 self-titled debut. In fact, today marks the third time that the Seattle band has received the Song of the Day treatment! If they get to five, they get a jacket! (Or, at least, should. In my opinion.)

Today’s Song of the Day “It’s a Shame” is actually quite a departure from the rambling psychedelia Moon Palace has released over the past five years. Slow and sensual, the song is led by a throbbing bass riff while twin sisters Cat and Carrie Biell croon about a torrid experience with an elusive sweetie.

“With this track we took our dreamy psychedelic garage vibes to the disco club,” explains Moon Palace in the song’s Bandcamp description. “We slowed way down and summoned the sultry lyrics Carrie wrote about having a chance encounter with a mysterious babe at our local Seattle lesbian bar, The Wildrose. Inspirations were Solange, Taylor Swift & Prince.”

The song comes from the Love Lost EP, released today, May 6th. Moon Palace will be playing with Tomo Nakayama and Coral Grief at the Tractor Tavern on Friday, June 3rd.

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May 06, 2022
Night Shop - Let Me Let It Go
248

Night Shop - "Let Me Let It Go" from the 2022 album Forever Night on Dangerbird Records.

Night Shop is the solo project of Justin Sullivan, who can often be seen hitting the skins as the touring drummer for Kevin Morby, in addition to playing with Waxahatchee, Hand Habits, The Babies, Anna St. Louis, and LA post-punk outfit Flat Worms. This past February, he unveiled Night Shop’s debut album Forever Night via Dangerbird Records which saw a lot of these prior collaborators give back to their favorite drummer.

Early single and Song of the Day “Let Me Let It Go” features Meg Duffy of Hand Habits on guitar, Jess Williamson, Anna St. Louis and Woods/Purple Mountains’ Jarvis Taveniere providing engineering and co-production alongside Sullivan so it truly is a family affair. The rollicking horn-laden track its inspiration from Dante and Beatrice’s love and “the concept of courtly love,” according to Sullivan. “A journey to hell, the pursuit of art, the Shangri-Las, and finding peace in what is, not how we think things should be.”

The video for the track sees Sullivan fleeing directors Jeff Davenport and Cooper Kenward, sprinting through the streets of LA. “I think we just wanted to offer a sense of escape and abandon that comes with both loving someone and also surrendering our attachment to a certain outcome in regards to that love,” Sullivan explains. “I'm just trying to get at the proper expression of a feeling; in this case, a deep yearning. So I think visually, you want to complement that sense. A desire to see and feel everything and escape from the smallness of your own thoughts.”

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May 05, 2022
Spiritualized - The Mainline Song
357

Spiritualized - "The Mainline Song" from the 2022 album Everything Was Beautiful on Fat Possum.

Long-running space rock pioneers Spiritualized return with their ninth studio album, the appropriately titled Everything Was Beautiful. Founding and sole constant member Jason Pierce (aka J. Spaceman) plays 16 different instruments on the recording, which was done at 11 different studios (not including his home), and employing 30 different collaborators. 

“There was so much information on it that the slightest move would unbalance it," he admits in a press release, "but going around in circles is important to me. Not like you’re spiraling out of control but you’re going around and around and on each revolution you hold onto the good each time. Sure, you get mistakes as well, but you hold on to some of those too and that’s how you kind of... achieve. Well, you get there.” 

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May 04, 2022
Death Of The High Street - Synergy
232

Death Of The High Street - "Synergy," a 2022 self-released single.

Midlands-based post-punk band Death Of The High Street hit the scene last year with a very strong vote of confidence: their debut single was released by Creation Records empresario Alan McGee, on his new label named It’s Creation Baby. Their latest single continues their reign of dark, driving, pulsating sound. 

“Synergy is a mantra. A reminder that the collective struggle is more important than the individual," the band shared in a press statement. "We should remember, no matter the importance we place on the person, no matter how much the powers that be attempt to single us out and turn us into consumerist automations, we will only really know ourselves properly when we interact with those around us.”

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May 03, 2022
Dazy & Militarie Gun - Pressure Cooker
171

Dazy & Militarie Gun - "Pressure Cooker," a 2022 single on Very Loud Sounds.

Combine the talents of LA-based hardcore band Militarie Gun and James Goodson's punk/pop project Dazy, and what you get is "Pressure Cooker," a collaborative single out now. A conflict of interest? Perhaps, as Goodson also serves as Militarie Gun's publicist, but the creativity could not be contained. 

“Ever since I met Ian [Shelton, frontman of Militarie Gun], we’ve had a tendency to veer off into long conversations about songwriting, but when he suggested we should try to do something together I thought he was just being friendly,” Goodson shared in a press release, that maybe he wrote. “He kept bringing it up so finally I showed him a song I’d been working on, and in no time at all he was sending back vocals and new ideas. I’m always blown away by the amount of energy and personality that Militarie Gun can pack into a song, and it was really cool to work together and see that happening in real time.”

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May 02, 2022
Rigmor - Det er lige meget
176

Rigmor - "Det er lige meget" from the 2022 album Glade blinde børn on Mermaid Records.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, spotlighting artists playing the SPOT Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, May 6-7th. 

This past February, two years after they dropped the Rebel EP, Danish indie pop band Rigmor unveiled their debut record Glade blinde børn. In English the title translates to “Happy Blind Children” which is telling of the poetic melancholy the band paints through their lyrics and dramatic, airy soundscapes.

Our Song of the Day “Det er lige meget” translates to “It Doesn’t Matter” but rather than being a narrative of cynicism, it’s simply admittance that, when looking out at the stars and nature and the vastness of the universe, our petty little bullshit is just not that important. Frontwoman Sarah Wichmann’s celestial vocals paired with shimmering guitars serve well as angelic advisors, whispering in our ears, “It doesn’t matter.”

The song comes with a video directed by Peter Sørensen in which our protagonist seemingly has this revelation. Watch it at the link below.

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Apr 29, 2022
La Dame Blanche - Mata Sede (feat. Amanda Magalhaes)
196

La Dame Blanche - "Mata Sede (feat. Amanda Magalhaes)," a 2021 single on Nacional.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, spotlighting artists playing the SPOT Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, May 6-7th. 

Cuban singer, flautist, and percussionist Yaite Ramos Rodriguez makes a distinctive mix of cumbia, hip hop, dancehall, and feminist lyrics as La Dame Blanche. The daughter of the artistic director of the Buena Vista Social Club orquestra and a loving mother who imparted incredible wisdom upon her daughter, it was inevitable that Rodriguez would become the rebellious powerhouse musician she is.

For “Mata Sede,” the Paris-based artist teamed up with Brazilian actress Amanda Magalhães, of the immensely popular Brazilian series 3% for a sweet ballad of sisterhood. The downtempo track was produced by Babylotion, the Paris-based producer, beat maker, and sound engineer who mans production for the majority of La Dame Blanche’s music. Magalhães had this to say about “Mata Sede”:

“It’s a song about the longing to love nowadays. It’s an honor to sing alongside an artist whose work I admire so much. La Dame Blanche has a special way of composing and this musical encounter was special for me. ‘Mata Sede’ is about love. It speaks of us.”

La Dame Blanche’s latest full-length was 2020’s Ella, which was made as a tribute to her mother as well as women everywhere. At the link below, watch her Live on KEXP At Home session from November 2021. 

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Apr 28, 2022
Lydmor - Nevada
231

Lydmor - "Nevada" from the 2021 album Capacity on hfn music.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, spotlighting artists playing the SPOT Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, May 6-7th. 

Danish artist Lydmor [real name: Jenny Rossander] examines the space she's in on her fourth album Capacity, a Björk-inspired expression of futuristic electro-pop. On today's Song of the Day, she's joined by Faroese singer Eivør on guest vocals.

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Apr 27, 2022
Les Filles de Illighadad - Eghass Malan
289

Les Filles de Illighadad - "Eghass Malan" from the 2017 album Eghass Malan on Sahel Sounds.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, spotlighting artists playing the SPOT Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, May 6-7th. 

Hailing from the secluded commune of Illighadad, located in central Niger, Les Filles de Illighadad tap into their "desert blues" heritage on their most recent album, Eghass Malan. The band breaks the mold of the typical male Tuareg guitarist with lead vocalist/musician Fatou Seidi Ghali, the first professional female Tuareg guitarist, and still one of a very few in general. 

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Apr 26, 2022
Verdens Sidste Idé - Marianne
272

Verdens Sidste Idé - "Marianne" from the 2022 self-released album Strå.

This week's Songs of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, spotlighting artists playing the SPOT Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, May 6-7th. 

Danish pop band Verdens Sidste Idé [translation: The World's Last Idea] is a seven-member orchestra led by songwriter/frontman Asbjørn Hvelplund. They debuted with the full-length Den Indre By [translation: The Inner City] at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, but forged ahead during the global lockdown to create their sophomore full-length Strå [or Straw], just released in February. 

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Apr 25, 2022
K!MMORTAL - K I'm Mortal
220
Apr 22, 2022
Missy D - Case Départ
186
Apr 21, 2022
Robert Glasper - Why We Speak (feat. Q-Tip & Esperanza Spalding)
379

Robert Glasper - "Why We Speak (feat. Q-Tip & Esperanza Spalding)," a 2022 single on Loma Vista / Concord.

In 2012, jazz pianist Robert Glasper's fifth album, Black Radio, was a breakout success. It landed him the Grammy for Best R&B Album, while at the same time, hitting #1 on the Billboard jazz charts. The following year, Black Radio 2 was met with similar success, winning the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance for the track "Jesus Children of America" featuring Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Now, in 2022, he's released the latest installment, Black Radio III, where he continues to defy categorization and embrace collaboration. Featured guests include India.Arie, Meshell Ndegeocello, Killer Mike, Common, Ty Dolla $ign, and on today's KEXP Song of the Day, Esperanza Spalding and Q-Tip.

“When I’m working on Black Radio, I’m not interested in who’s the hot new artist at the time,” Glasper told Relix. “It’s more about people who are open to pushing the music. I’m interested in, ‘Are you actually talented? Do you actually work on your craft?’ Black Radio has become a bar. If you’re on Black Radio, you have to be a certain thing. Who really has something to say?”

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Apr 20, 2022
Sarah MK - MITTOS (Make It To The Other Side)
272

Sarah MK - "MITTOS (Make It To The Other Side)," a 2022 self-released single.

Montreal-based soulstress Sarah MK shares an uplifting new single, the first from her sophomore full-length Wax & Gold, out later this month on April 27th.

“I wrote this song a few years back for a friend of mine going through a difficult time in her life,” Sarah MK told the Tinnitist. “I just wanted her to know that no matter what she’s facing, she’s going to get through it and make it out. The song seems just as poignant now speaking to the whole world as we try to navigate living through a global pandemic.”

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Apr 19, 2022
Rell Be Free -$FreeMunny
179

Rell Be Free - "$FreeMunny" from the 2022 self-released album Sow What? (Phase 3).

South Seattle-based musician/educator/entrepreneur Rell Be Free (real name: Jerrell Davis) returns this month with Sow What? (Phase 3). On this latest installment of the series, he teams up again with local producer Noah Coinflip for their atmospheric, mysterious sound. 

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Apr 18, 2022
Mala Suerte - Habla Mierda de Mi
139

Mala Suerte - "Habla Mierda de Mi" from the 2022 album Mala Suerte on Freakout Records.

Back in October, KEXP shared the debut single from brand new PNW meets MEX supergroup Mala Suerte. Made up of members of Carrion Kids, Acid Tongue, Los Honey Rockets, and Grizzled Mighty, the band is an international fusion of spirited sounds and talents.

Our Song of the Day, “Habla Mierda de Mi” takes the psychedelic sounds of Acid Tongue, the bluesy riffs of Grizzled Mighty, the grittiness of Carrion Kids, and firey intensity of Los Honey Rockets and throws them in a blender for a song that smacks you in the face. Sung en español by Miguel Servin, the title translates to “Talk Shit About Me,” which is exactly the kind of bratty, no-fucks-given attitude that you’d expect from this quartet.

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Apr 15, 2022
Crows - Garden Of England
129

Crows - "Garden of England" from the 2022 album Beware Believers on Bad Vibrations Records.

London-based quartet Crows released their sophomore dark and fuzzy post-punk record Beware Believers in early April. Written during the summer of 2019, Song of the Day “Garden of England” takes its inspiration from the complicated and controversial Brexit elections.

“This is straight-up our Brexit anthem,” frontman James Cox explains. “Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t care less which way you voted, your vote, your choice. I just hated how much Brexit had become so ingrained in our day to day life. First thing I’d hear about when I woke up and the last thing I’d read before I went to sleep at night. It became all people spoke about. ‘Garden of England’ is more of a comment about the divisiveness it caused, splitting families, friends, widening the north-south divide and empowering nationalism. Public figures’ ability to lie publicly and not be held accountable, it’s just dangerous dog-whistle politics that doesn’t belong in the UK.”

The song is accompanied by a video directed by Joe Hoffman and Phoebe May, with Hoffman explaining, “When chatting with a boxer mate one day, he mentioned a friend at his club who was a career ‘Journeyman’. He explained this was a boxer who was not skilled enough to go pro, but was all the same good enough to fight around that level. The Journeyman makes a career by being paid, often weekly, to lose fights (unbeknownst to many of the crowd). When up-and-coming boxers are looking to progress to the next stage of their career, they need an unbroken streak of say 12 wins. When they are nearing this streak after maybe 10 wins, the coach often doesn’t want to risk them losing at this point so they will employ a Journeyman to put on a good show, and ultimately lose the fight.”

“I found this to be a fascinating concept,” he continues. “As I imagine it to be a real battle of the psyche for a Journeyman. They love the sport, but to partake and make a living in it they must fight to lose, and with this often lose the respect of their peers too. Many Journeymen work hard during the week, as low paid labourers or similar, and then will be paid a few hundred quid at the weekend to step into the losing ring. I’m sure it must be a battle in their head, but ultimately it will put food on the table and get them in the ring. The idea that he is a loser out of choice, and the fact he gets paid for it, brings into question who in this story is the actual loser? Is it the Contender? Is it the Journeyman? Or is it the crowd? I think maybe it’s all of them and none of them.”

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Apr 14, 2022
Francis of Delirium - The Funhouse
255

Francis of Delirium - "The Funhouse," a 2022 single on Dalliance Records.

Fronted by 20-year-old dynamo Jana Bahrich, the Luxembourg-based band Francis of Delirium brings a moody, yet driving alt-rock sound to today's Song of the Day. On their latest single, Bahrich says she was inspired by the disarray we experience daily. 

“'The Funhouse' is largely about how we are adapting to the chaos that is present in our everyday lives," she shared in a press release. "The way it can feel that the world is crashing down around us and in order to protect ourselves, we become numb to the sheer terror of it all. Sort of like walking through a funhouse and attempting to remain unphased by the mayhem that surrounds you.”

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Apr 13, 2022
Chaka Gettz - Incinerate for KG
305

Chaka Gettz - "Incinerate for KG" from the 2022 self-released Daytime Eraser EP.

Ukrainian band Chaka Gettz admits: "If someday a series is made about us 🎬, then the beginning of the first series (our 2-year activity before the release of the first track) will not be very dynamic in visual terms. Probably, the director should just turn on the camera and shoot at an accelerated pace, as we play, compose, change and improve our songs day after day, sitting in our cozy studio in Kharkov (Ukraine) and looking for our sound 🎸."

The young trio released their first single in late 2021, and have since self-released their debut EP Daytime Eraser, featuring three fun, frenetic '90s-inspired songs. It's no surprise that today's Song of the Day is dedicated to none other than indie-rock icon Kim Gordon. 

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Apr 12, 2022
Hello Mary - Sink In
238

Hello Mary - "Sink In," a 2022 self-released single.

Today's Song of the Day comes from Brooklyn trio Hello Mary, who formed when band members Helena Straight (vocalist/guitarist), Mikaela Oppenheimer (bassist), and Stella Wave (drummer/vocalist) were still teenagers. They released their debut album Ginger back in 2020. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to premiere this latest single, along with its sister song "Stinge." As KEXP's Tia Ho reported, the singles were produced by Bryce Goggin, who brought his experience working with '90s guitar-heavy bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement to the studio. 

Wave told KEXP, “‘Stinge’ is a passion-filled, sad/angry song focusing on the polarizing emotions and back and forth feelings that come with nearing the end of a relationship (friend, romantic partner etc.), “Sink In” puts the relationship to rest. The feeling is less angry, and more accepting of the new state of things.” 

She added that the two new tracks are "more mature on all fronts," adding, "Most of the songs on Ginger were written when Helena and Mikaela were 14 years old. The song writing, even though it can be catchy and fun, is pretty amateur in comparison to the new songs. Our ‘sound’ has become more unique since we have been playing together for longer. It’s more Hello Mary.”

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Apr 11, 2022
The Black Tones - The End of Everything
191

The Black Tones - "The End of Everything," a 2022 single on Sub Pop.

Seattle twin sibling duo The Black Tones made a splash in 2019 with their gritty debut full-length Cobain & Cornbread which saw Eva and Cedric Walker utilize blues, soul, and grunge to explore topics both light and heavy. While “Ghetto Spaceship” and “Mama! There’s a Spider in My Room” veered towards the former, songs like “The Key of Black (They Want Us Dead)” swung so dramatically towards the latter that it was clear the Walkers have important things to say.

Since then, they’ve been using their art primarily just for that - to voice their concerns about the issues, be it political or personal, of the present moment. The George Floyd protests inspired them to write “My Name’s Not Abraham Lincoln” in the summer of 2020 and, most recently, the culmination of two years of personal anxieties, grief, and anger led to our Song of the Day, “The End of Everything.”

Named after the book The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack, the song confronts the fact that, whether it’s the second coming of who or whatever you believe in, this will all end. A variety of gods and religious symbols - Jesus, Buddah, Allah, Confucious - are shouted out in the sludgey ‘90s-indebted scorcher that features vocals from former Talking Heads backing singer and member the 1970s disco group The Ritchie Family, Edna Holt.

“This song is not a jab at religion or anything like that,” Eva Walker told American Songwriter in an interview. “This song is saying, it doesn’t matter what you believe in, the second coming of whoever or whatever, this is all going to be over and it feels like humans might be speeding up that process.”

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Apr 08, 2022
Quinton Brock - There For You
134

Quinton Brock - "There For You," a 2022 single on Shadow Panther.

With an ambitious goal to “change rock music forever,” Quinton Brock is clearly not shy about his pursuits. The former singer of the bluesy surf rock duo The Get Money Squad has been slowly releasing singles under his government name over the past couple of years that prove he just might do it too. With a penchant for breezy R&B-tinged indie rock that’s typically played by artists of a paler complexion, Brock is on an ever-growing list of black artists reclaiming rock.

Highly influenced by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the lost godmother of rock and roll, who melded spiritual lyrics with electric guitar (shredding long before Elvis gyrated his way to becoming to the “King” of rock n’ roll), Brock similarly fuses genres. Our Song of the Day, “There For You,” utilizes surf rock guitar tones with R&B production for a sunny ditty about love.

“This song is so close to me,” explains Brock. “An ode to a past love. The song fades out in the end the same way love sometimes fades away. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.”

Watch the video for “There For You,” directed by Allen Jiang, at the link below.

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Apr 07, 2022
Magdalena Bay - Secrets (Your Fire)
246

Magdalena Bay - "Secrets (Your Fire)" from the 2021 album Mercurial World on Luminelle Recordings.

Electro-pop duo Magdalena Bay share their struggles with social media on today's Song of the Day.

“‘Secrets’ is about interconnectivity, privacy, and digital anxiety,” band members Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin shared in a press release. “It’s also about a need to keep sharing, to keep giving up more and more of yourself to faceless strangers in the hopes of making friends or fans.”

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Apr 06, 2022
Congotronics International - Where's The One?
230

Congotronics International - "Where's The One?," a 2022 single on Crammed Discs.

Congotronics International is truly a global affair: this supergroup comprises members of Konono Nº1, Kasai Allstars, Deerhoof, Juana Molina, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, and Skeletons’ Matt Mehlan. Their forthcoming full-length, Where’s The One (due April 29th via Crammed Discs), was crafted over ten years, with files being emailed across four continents, sent from Kinshasa DRC, Buenos Aires, New Mexico, New York, Stockholm and Brooklyn. 

“There was no rational explanation behind what was going on, it was just direct, immediate experience on both sides. Things you think are impossible just happen,” Vincent Kenis of Crammed Discs said in a press release (Kenis is the co-founder of Kasai Allstars and curator/producer of the Congotronics series).

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Apr 05, 2022
TV Girl x Jordana - Jump the Turnstile
222

TV Girl x Jordana - "Jump the Turnstile" from the 2021 album Summer's Over on Summer's Over.

Los Angeles-based group TV Girl have a long history with NYC artist Jordana. The pair have toured together, and a collaborative EP seemed like a natural next step. Titled Summer’s Over, the seven-song release combines Jordana's heavenly voice with the west coast trio's sample-heavy style. 

TV Girl set off for their first headlining European tour later this year, and Jordana releases her debut studio album, Face The Wall, on May 20th via Grand Jury.

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Apr 04, 2022
ODESZA - The Last Goodbye (feat. Bettye LaVette)
360

ODESZA - "The Last Goodbye (feat. Bettye LaVette)," a 2022 single on Foreign Family Collective/Ninja Tune.

In Early February, ODESZA returned from a four-year hiatus to drop the cinematic soulful single, “The Last Goodbye.” Featuring reworked vocals from Bettye LaVette’s 1965 soul/R&B track “Let Me Down Easy,” the track is a six-minute spine-tingling epic blending the Grammy-nominated duo’s electronic grooves with LaVette’s heartwrenching vocals to stirring effect.

“This song was born out of the concept of trying to bring these lasting, defining musical pieces like the 1965 release of “Let Me Down Easy” by Bettye LaVette into a modern and contemporary electronic setting,” explained Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills of the song.

“The idea of bringing two worlds together, that at first seem distant, has always been something we’ve been drawn to. It was an absolute honor to be able to work with Bettye’s voice over the course of writing the track. She’s able to convey emotion with her vocal work unlike any other. To date, this has been one of the more fulfilling songs we’ve had the chance to work on as artists.”

The song comes from ODESZA’s forthcoming fourth studio album of the same title, which according to a press release, is said to be their most ambitious and personal album to date and includes contributions from a number of notable artists including Låpsley, Ólafur Arnolds, Julianna Barwick, Izzy Bizu, and Charlie Houston.

The video for “The Last Goodbye” artfully highlights the power of the instrumentation (including KEXP’s Eva Walker on bass!) and features archival footage of LaVette performing “Let Me Down Easy.” Watch it at the link below.

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Apr 01, 2022
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - The Way It Shatters
238

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - "The Way It Shatters" from the 2022 album Endless Rooms on Sub Pop.

In early February, Australian rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever announced their third studio album, Endless Rooms, due out May 6 via Ivy League/Sub Pop. Following up 2020’s acclaimed Sideways to New Italy, the record is described by the band as “almost an anti-concept album,” with the title reflecting “our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities.”

The first room to be shared by Rolling Blackouts C.F. and today’s Song of the Day is “The Way It Shatters.” Automatically, it’s clear that the extra time the band had during lockdown to work on their new record has paid off because the song is an expansive new step. Adding synth for the first time into their usual jangle-rock, the song is blistering but also has darker lyrical undertones, dealing with the human race and our various places within it. 

The band had this to say about the song:

“It’s about how ending up in your particular situation in life is the result of absolute randomness. If you happen to be born into wealthy Australia or happen to be born into a war zone in Syria. That’s just the way it shatters. So it’s when this good luck is mistaken for a sense of pride in one’s self or their country they become confused and deluded about what’s important. It’s when those on the other side of the luck scale are completely othered and considered not worthy.”

The song comes with video by Nick Mckk, who also worked with RBCF on the videos for “Sideways To New Italy,” “Cameo,” “Cars In Space,” and “She’s There.” He had this to say about the video:

“The new album has a night time feeling, so we wanted to explore shooting the whole thing from sundown. Fran [Keaney, vocals/guitar] had the idea of revisiting memories, of resetting groundhog day style, but each time we come back the world is a little different. The attraction of light works as a narrative device, coaxing Joe into this house of memories, and back out again.”

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are, at long last, embarking on an international tour this summer, with dates in the US starting in August. Catch them in Seattle on August 18th at Neumos. Watch the video for “The Way It Shatters” at the link below.

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Mar 31, 2022
Body Type - Buoyancy
190

Body Type - "Buoyancy" from the 2022 album Everything is Dangerous But Nothing's Surprising on Poison City Records.

You never know when creative inspiration will strike, and for Australian quartet Body Type, it was over text. 

“'Buoyancy' started as a playful text message exchange between Annabel and me," bassist/vocalist Georgia Wilkinson Derums said of her bandmate, guitarist/vocalist Annabel Blackman. "In many ways, the song is about grappling with internal inconsistencies and moral ambiguities in an incoherent style. It’s had a few iterations – when I brought it to the group it had more of a slow Big Star spirit. Soph and Annabel made it more angular, more tongue in cheek with the guitar, which further injects the song with distorted meaning. It’s also a personal reminder that when certain things are rendered uncertain those you love are an eternal rudder.”

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Mar 30, 2022
Mitski - The Only Heartbreaker
185

Mitski - "The Only Heartbreaker" from the 2022 album Laurel Hell on Dead Oceans.

Mitski's latest album, Laurel Hell, went through a few different phases during its creation. "This album has been a punk record at some point, and a country record," she told Rolling Stone. "Then, after a while, it was like, 'I need to dance.' Even though the lyrics might be depressing, I need something peppy to get me through this." Today's Song of the Day definitely fits the bill. "I needed that Breakfast Club dance-sequence music."

Today's Song of the Day also marks the first time Mitski has teamed up with another songwriter: Dan Wilson, formerly of the band Semisonic. "I was just sitting on it forever. I have so many iterations of it. Nothing felt right," she told Apple Music. Wilson was able to give her the guidance she needed. "It turned out he's really good. He helped me solve so many of the problems and kind of lead me out of the labyrinth of it. And yeah, I'm really glad that I took that chance with him."

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Mar 29, 2022
Fresh off the Spaceship: The Story of the Black Constellation
304

What is the Black Constellation? If you know, you'll want to listen to this podcast. If you don't, you'll want to listen, too.

"Fresh off the Spaceship" is the newest podcast from KEXP, telling the story of the highly influential yet scarcely documented artist collective. The Black Constellation has included such varied musical acts as Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Ya Tseen and Porter Ray.

Hosted by KEXP's Larry Mizell Jr. and Martin Douglas, each episode in this 10-part series takes listeners on an audio journey connecting the stars of the Constellation, shedding light on their art and their ethos along the way.

New episodes come out every Friday from March 18 - May 27, 2022. Find out more at KEXP.org/fresh-off-the-spaceship.

Watch a video version of the trailer and explore more work from the artists of the Constellation on KEXP's Fresh off the Spaceship YouTube playlist.

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Mar 28, 2022
Sudan Archives - Home Maker
232

Sudan Archives - "Home Maker," a 2022 single on Stones Throw.

Leave it to Sudan Archives to make domestic life sultry and seductive. After making the move from Cincinnati to her current home of Los Angeles, the acclaimed violinist/vocalist/producer (real name: Brittney Denise Parks) turned to home making to feel more grounded. Her first new single in three years reflects that.

“It took nesting — building a home, investing in partners that were worth my investment — to shake my anxiety and depression,” she said in a press release. “For me, homemaking is a service to mental health and coping with fear and isolation. This song is about the effort put into making a relationship work and giving love a place to live.”

Check out the video at the link below, directed by Jocelyn Anquetil, and revisit her 2019 KEXP session, filmed at THING! Fest in Fort Worden, WA. 

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Mar 28, 2022
Acid Tongue - Take Me To Your Leader (feat. Death Valley Girls)
153

Acid Tongue - "Take Me To Your Leader (feat. Death Valley Girls)" from the 2021 album Arboretum on Freakout Records.

This past November, local chairmen of psych-rock Acid Tongue dropped their celebrated third record Arboretum. Their most fully-formed album to date, Arboretum is a joyful, intoxicating psychedelic glam rock opus that employs the many friendships Guy Keltner and Ian Cunningham have made in the music scene for a highly collaborative effort.

Our Song of the Day, “Take Me to Your Leader,” sees L.A.-based psych-garage group Death Valley Girls jump in for one of the most rousing tracks on the album. Furious and rollicking, the song blazes in with a message that essentially says, “If the country’s burning down, we might as well have fun while it lasts.” Something I can certainly get behind.

Watch the VHS-style, cult-themed video by CULT NUG at the link below.

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Mar 25, 2022
King Hannah - Big Big Baby
182

King Hannah - "Big Big Baby" from the 2022 album I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me on City Slang.

While the duo that make up King Hannah - Craig Whittle and Hannah Merrick - hail from Liverpool, the music they make feels more fitting for the deep American south. Taking inspiration from the dark, mystical elements of that region, the band makes smokey, heavy Americana with tinges of dusky, rambling post-rock.

Our Song of the Day, “Big Big Baby,” epitomizes this, utilizing slow, ominous drums, fuzzy guitars, and Merrick’s sultry vocals for an ominous effect. But these tones belie the song’s darkly humorous lyrics. Lines like “I heard you got a lady pregnant, well I can only wish her well /‘Cause soon you’ll have a bigger baby, in the family than yourself” and “I hope you choke on a dumpling, at least that would be mildly fun” read as the punchlines of some harsh burns.

The video for the song leans into the elements of the songs sound rather than lyrics, with Merrick slow dancing in a dark, slighted distorted room. The clip was directed by Whittle, proving the duo are a creative force to be reckoned with. Watch it at the link below.

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Mar 24, 2022
The Lazy Eyes - Fuzz Jam
267

The Lazy Eyes - "Fuzz Jam" from the 2022 self-released album SongBook.

Australian psych band The Lazy Eyes chose a fitting title for today's Song of the Day: the song is, indeed, a fuzzy jam, making it a fitting introduction to their forthcoming debut full-length SongBook, to be released on April 22nd.

In an interview with Happy Mag, vocalist/guitarist Harvey Geraghty remembers the genesis of the track. "I’ve got a pretty random story about how this song started. I was brushing my teeth at home, and I was looking in the bathroom mirror and I was just like beatboxing to myself. I don’t know if anyone else does that, but like, you know, when people sing to themselves, I was just doing a bit of a beatbox."

"And then I started doing that like rhythm, which is what the bass line is. And then I think I just went to my room and recorded it on the guitar. And then maybe a few days later, recorded a GarageBand demo to show the boys. But yeah, the bass line, it’s all based around the bass line. No pun intended."

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Mar 23, 2022
Death Valley Girls - When I'm Free
180

Death Valley Girls - "When I’m Free," a 2022 single on Suicide Squeeze.

Earlier this year, Seattle's Suicide Squeeze Records released a split single featuring two bands off their roster: Death Valley Girls and Le Butcherettes. Side A features the Guadalajara-based Le Butcherettes covering an old DVG song titled "The Universe," and side B features a brand new track from Death Valley Girls, the psychedelic, introspective song "When I’m Free."

In a press release, frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden shares, “We’ve talked a lot about trauma, mental health, and how hard it is to live in a human body! One concept that has really been helping during the daily struggle is the perspective shift – that things aren’t ‘happening to me,’ they’re ‘happening for me.’ Sometimes if you can, squint your eyes, alter your view, try to see experiences as opportunities to learn and grow! Sometimes that’s the best we can do!”

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Mar 22, 2022
Bambara - Birds
216

Bambara - "Birds" from the 2022 Love On My Mind EP on Wharf Cat.

Brooklyn-based band Bambara — a trio of twins Reid and Blaze Bateh with their childhood friend William Brookshire on bass — have just released their six-song mini-album, Love Is On My Mind, in advance of their European tour with IDLES. 

On today's Song of the Day, Reid shares in a press release, “‘Birds’ compresses the events of many months into three and a half minutes, spanning time when the couple we follow throughout the record are growing closer. On the train, they fall in and out of sleep, reliving shared moments. Then a childhood memory bubbles up to the surface of the protagonist’s mind, revealing his complex relationship to the idea of love.”

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Mar 21, 2022
King Khazm - Gone Away From Here (feat. Abstract Rude, Moka Only & Myka 9)
282

King Khazm - "Gone Away From Here (feat. Abstract Rude, Moka Only & Myka 9)" from the 2022 album Return of a MAD on Fresh Chopped Beats / MADK Productions.

For over 25 years, King Khazm has been using hip hop as a means to amplify not just his voice but the voices of many in the Seattle community. A multifaceted artist, community organizer, performer, and educator, Khazm first rose to prominence in 1995 when he founded MAD Krew, a hip hop crew that quickly evolved into an influential multimedia production company.

While his prevalence on the scene has been long-lasting, full projects from the emcee have been slow to be unveiled. His last record, 2016’s Diaries of a Mad took nearly a decade to drop which is what makes his most recent release, Return of a MAD, all the more thrilling.

Our Song of the Day, “Gone Away From Here” is a posse cut featuring Canada’s Moka Only and Los Angeles-based rappers Abstract Rude and Myka 9 and produced by Third Eye Bling (an incredible artist name, if I’ve ever heard one). The quartet take their turns on the mic to speak on their experiences with oppression and struggles to live within a racist society. The song comes with a video directed by Will Lemke that sees the emcees in the studio while pulling their influences off the shelves.

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Mar 18, 2022
A. Billi Free & The Lasso - Thrive, Despite
181

Billi Free & The Lasso - "Thrive, Despite" from the 2022 album Holy Body Roll on Mello Music Group.

Holy Body Roll, released this March, is a collaborative record between New Mexico vocalist A. Billi Free and Michigan producer The Lasso that leans into the duo’s love for funk, pop, hip hop, and R&B for a record that’s free-flowing and boundaryless. Joined by The Lasso’s studio team made up of saxophonist The Saxsquatch, cellist Jordan Hamilton, and pianist Grayson Nye, Holy Body Roll is meant to serve as a “groove-filled guidebook for healing, the soundtrack to help you move from tear-streaming breakdown to full-body boogie.”

Our Song of the Day, “Thrive, Despite,” embodies this both in title and spirit. Led by a jazzy piano line from Nye, the song morphs into a downtempo R&B track that has incredible warmth as A. Billi Free croons, “I know you carrying this weight /This thang so deep can’t touch the base /After you take a little break, get up and face another day.”

“We’ve been building this project since late 2020,” explained Free in an interview. “We used this record to process difficult personal/collective feelings and embody the celebration of little victories with honest lyrics, layered vocals and a unique sonic homage to R&B, funk, rock and pop using our shared love of hip-hop as a foundation.”

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Mar 17, 2022
Samora Pinderhughes - Masculinity (feat. Immanuel Wilkins)
339

Samora Pinderhughes - "Masculinity (feat. Immanuel Wilkins)" from the 2022 album GRIEF on Stretch Music / Ropeadope.

GRIEF is more than just an album — it's a third of "The Healing Project," a multimedia effort from composer/artist Samora Pinderhughes, which also includes a forthcoming digital archive and an exhibition, opening on March 24th at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in San Francisco. (Watch the accompanying film below, directed by filmmaker Christian Padron, and inspired by the black-and-white photography of Roy DeCarava.)

A Juilliard-trained musician, Pinderhughes wrote all the songs on the LP, inspired by artists from the '60's and '70s, like Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, and Curtis Mayfield. He tells Bandcamp, “What I love about Nina’s Pastel Blues, and Dylan’s first three or four records, is that when you listen individually, each song is a whole world about different ideas. But when you put them together, you get a picture of the time period.”

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Mar 16, 2022
K.ZIA - JFMB
188

K.ZIA - "JFMB" from the 2022 album Genesis on Groove Attack.

Born in Berlin to a father from Martinique and a Belgo-Congolese mother (Marie Daulne, of the acclaimed Zap Mama), K.ZIA brings a worldliness to her debut full-length, Genesis. Not only does she adopt the alter ego of "Zia," a feistier version of her own self, but she sings for the first time in French, like on today's Song of the Day "JFMB" or "J’Fais Mes Bails."

"So I’d translate J’fais mes bails into 'I do my thing,'" she told Essentially Pop. "Zia is someone that lives unapologetically. She knows her values and will not bend herself to try to explain or justify her ways to ignorant or close minded people who criticize and downgrade when they don’t understand the other. That’s the vibe of the song “des fois je fais des choses qui ne sont pas trop acceptés, je connais mes valeurs je ne vais pas m’éxcuser” – Sometimes I do things that aren’t quite accepted, I know my values I won’t apologize for it. While growing up in France very often I was perceived as strange, coming from an artistic background and having grown in foreign countries. Younger, i would try so hard to blend in, and detach myself from all these eccentric traits. Today, I no longer do that, this is what 'JFMB' is about."

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Mar 15, 2022
Yugen Blakrok & Kanif The Jhatmaster - Pedestal
214

Yugen Blakrok & Kanif The Jhatmaster - "Pedestal," a 2022 single on I.O.T. Records.

Hailing from the Eastern Cape, rapper Yugen Blackrok shot to stardom with her 2013 debut album Return of the Astro-Goth, landing three nominations in the South African Hip-Hop Awards for Best Lyricist, Best Newcomer, and Best Female Artist.​ Here in the States, she was a stand-out on 2018's Black Panther: The Album, appearing on the track "Opps" alongside heavy-hitters Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples. Earlier this year, she returned with the single "Pedestal," which finds her reunited with long-time producer Kanif the Jhatmaster. In a press release, she states: 

Concepts. Idols. Civilizations. We build and we destroy. ‘Pedestal’ is about building oneself and breaking the mould. Growing, expanding and still remaining true to the spark. The pedestal is a physical framework for the senses. Civilization after civilization, it carries the weight of great symbols and the foundation of cultural and social edifices.

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Mar 14, 2022
Arlo Parks - Softly
189

Arlo Parks - "Softly," a 2022 single on Transgressive.

This week's Song of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, in honor of International Women's Month. Re-listen to our kick-off day of programming, and explore articles and live sessions from some of our favorite female artists here

Last year, Arlo Parks - the musical nom de plume of Anais Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho - released her highly anticipated debut record Collapsed in Sunbeams. The intimate, compassionate lyricism combined with earworm pop musicality made the album an instant classic that was a KEXP favorite of 2021.

Parks recently returned with the single “Softly,” which while bubbly and upbeat in tone, is, in reality, a heartbreaking story of a relationship on the verge of cessation.

“‘Softly’ is a song about yearning, about how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you’re still desperately in love,” the Grammy-nominated singer - who’s up for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album - explained in a statement. “The song is about how it feels to brace yourself before the blow of a break up and reminisce about the days where it all felt luminous.”

The song was released alongside a video by Zhang and Knight that sees a cityscape disintegrate behind Parks. The directorial duo had this to say about the video:

“For us ‘Softly’ explored the idea of wanting something that was once perfect to end in a gentle way, and we wanted to express this using the world surrounding Arlo. We were instinctively drawn to the warm toned, hazy nostalgia of the 1960s, as we loved the idea of something universally romantic being slowly stripped away throughout the film. We based the colors of the bricks, trims and doors on mid-century painting in order to bake this romanticism into everything. The production itself was a huge challenge, as everything was captured in-camera with each piece of the set built on wheels operated by several production crew. However, we knew it was all worth it when we saw the skyscrapers dancing around Arlo for the first time.”

Arlo Parks will be in Seattle on Wednesday, March 23rd to play the Paramount supporting Clairo. The 64th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 3rd. Watch the video for “Softly” at the link below.

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Mar 11, 2022
50 Foot Wave - Staring Into The Sun
316

50 Foot Wave - "Staring Into the Sun," a 2022 single on Fire Records.

This week's Song of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, in honor of International Women's Month. Re-listen to our kick-off day of programming, and explore articles and live sessions from some of our favorite female artists here

Two years after the long-awaited 10th studio album from Throwing Muses, frontwoman Kristin Hersh is back with a new record from her heavier side project 50 Foot Wave. Titled Black Pearl, the record is out April 15th and follows the 2016 EP Bath White.

Our Song of the Day is Black Pearl’s lead single “Staring Into the Sun.” Joined by Throwing Muses member Bernard Georges on bass and drummer Rob Ahler, Hersh creates a massively lush and gloomy soundscape for their first new music in six years. Featuring throbbing, droney, distortion-filled riffs, “Staring Into the Sun” is 50 Foot Wave at their most metal.

Kristin Hersh is doing a long run of solo shows starting this March at SXSW and then jumping over to the UK and Europe into early Summer. Check out a full list of dates here and watch Hersh’s KEXP in-studio session from 2017 at the link below.

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Mar 10, 2022
Adwaith - ETO
248

Adwaith - "ETO," a 2022 single on Libertino Records.

This week's Song of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, in honor of International Women's Month. Re-listen to our kick-off day of programming, and explore articles and live sessions from some of our favorite female artists here

Post-punk trio Adwaith have announced their sophomore full-length Bato Mato will be out July 1st via Libertino Records, their eagerly-awaited follow-up to their Welsh Music Prize-winning 2019 debut Melyn. The album's first single (and today's Song of the Day) was written the day after performing at the UU.Sound festival in the city of Ulan-Ude, Siberia in 2020. “We really wanted to write a heartfelt song about being infatuated with someone," the band said in a press release. "This isn't something we normally write about and we wanted to approach this song differently to our other ones. We felt inspired to write a big pop song."

In fact, the entire album is colored by that impactful trip. Vocalist Hollie Singer shared in a press release, "Our journey through the Siberian and Mongolian wilderness influenced the writing and sound of the album to be as open and big as the limitless sky around us there." Bassist Gwenllian Anthony added, "It was a life changing trip that really inspired us to write this album. The barren landscape and brutalist architecture really seeped into these songs and the use of world instruments was heavily inspired by this journey."

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Mar 09, 2022
LOTTA - Léonard
208

LOTTA - "Léonard" from the 2021 Seafarer EP on Deadred Records.

This week's Song of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, in honor of International Women's Month. Re-listen to our kick-off day of programming, and explore articles and live sessions from some of our favorite female artists here

On her debut EP, Seafarer, Slovakian singer/songwriter LOTTA (real name: Dagmar Mišíková) presents four songs inspired by the seasons, with today's Song of the Day capturing the fading days of autumn. The release is a collaboration with producer/multi-instrumentalist STROON (real name: Dalibor Kocián), who says via a press release, "Some moments of cooperation were so inspiring and informative for me that I approach my work even more experimentally... I feel a personality about it. It's not structured pop, it's stories.”

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Mar 08, 2022
Clarissa Connelly - Holler
206

Clarissa Connelly - "Holler" from the 2020 self-released album The Voyager.

This week's Song of the Day were selected by KEXP DJ Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time, in honor of International Women's Month. Re-listen to our kick-off day of programming, and explore articles and live sessions from some of our favorite female artists here

Combining the technology of her Korg M1 synthesizer with inspiration from ancient lands, Copenhagen-based artist Clarissa Connelly crafts beautiful baroque pop songs, highlighting her diaphanous melodies with lyrics that sow the seeds of Celtic folklore. In fact, the album was released simultaneously with an app named Vandringen that spotlights these foregone Danish locations, not viewable on Google Maps. 

"Many of the places are forgotten to some extent, at least when I was there back in 2018," Connelly told The Wire last year. "Since the pandemic, people’s interests have turned back to what’s around them in a really beautiful way. But I’ve always been interested in how the landscape was formed, either by humans or by the ice age pushing the soil back and forth creating mountains, or ice holes that become a lake two ice ages later. Imagining that timespan gives me a huge feeling of wanting to create. I’m fascinated by old buildings in cities – like a church, looking at the stones and wondering who built it – but they’re only maybe a thousand years old. Looking at these more ancient sites, the burial mounds and Viking fortresses, that’s even further back into history. I just get awestruck and want to sing or write about it."

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Mar 07, 2022
BRoc - Black Rainbow (feat. Porter Ray)
127

BRoc - "Black Rainbow (feat. Porter Ray)," a 2022 self-released single.

Brian Ovalles, AKA BRoc, is a Seattle-based producer and DJ who’s worked extensively with Central District Seattle MC Porter Ray. He is a part of the label/collective called Intratecque, family to the Black Constellation.

Read the full post on KEXP.org

Take a journey through the Black Constellation on KEXP's new podcast, Fresh off the Spaceship (coming March 18)

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Mar 04, 2022
Sevdaliza - High Alone
229

Sevdaliza - "High Alone," a 2022 single on Twisted Elegance.

It's been two years since her stunning sophomore release Shabrang, but Dutch-Iranian artist Sevdaliza re-emerges on the new EP, Raving Dahlia. On today's Song of the Day, she continues to explore the gothic electronic sound of those earlier releases, adding cinematic elements like the spoken-word piece against an ethereal harp background. 

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Mar 03, 2022
Fly Anakin - Ghost (feat. Nickelus F)
200

Fly Anakin - "Ghost (feat. Nickelus F)" from the 2022 album Frank on Lex Records Ltd.

Described by Madlib as "one of the illest MCs," anticipation has been high for the debut full-length from Richmond, VA-based rapper/producer Fly Anakin. On March 11th, that release will drop, titled Frank, via Lex Records. He notes the album draws inspiration from the "classic R&B and Soul" his dad played for him when he was a child. 

Today's Song of the Day features guest vocals from his "hero and mentor", as well as a fellow Richmond resident, Nickelus F, a seven-time "Freestyle Friday" champion on BET's weekly hip-hop show 106 & Park. Together, with Grammy-nominated producer Like (of Pac Div), they deliver a somber track befitting of the title "Ghost." 

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Mar 02, 2022
High Pulp - All Roads Lead To Los Angeles
282

High Pulp - "All Roads Lead to Los Angeles" from the 2022 album Pursuit of Ends on ANTI-.

With today's Song of the Day, Seattle's experimental jazz septet High Pulp share a sneak preview of their forthcoming full-length Pursuit Of Ends, which will be released April 15th via ANTI- Records. The album draws inspiration from "bebop, punk rock, shoegaze, hip-hop, and electronic music," and came together in spite of the pandemic.

“Having to start working remotely actually allowed us to try things that I don’t think we ever would have otherwise,” keyboard player Rob Homan says in a press release. “The process enabled us to walk the line between our more freewheeling, improvisatory jazz instincts and our more highly composed, electronic impulses, and what we ended up with was a really satisfying balance between the individual and the collective.”

“We’re a bunch of outsiders who refused to be kept out,” adds drummer Bobby Granfelt. “We’ve never had an academic approach to jazz as most of us grew up playing in DIY bands, so it was the rawness and the energy and the absolute freedom of the music that called to us in the first place.”

Check out the video at the link below (directed by Sara Jade Alfaro and starring Zaahira Joseph), and revisit the band's 2020 in-studio performance, filmed before the global shut-down.

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Mar 01, 2022
Blue Lab Beats - Motherland Journey (feat. Killbeatz & Fela Kuti)
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Blue Lab Beats - "Motherland Journey (feat. Killbeatz & Fela Kuti)" from the 2022 album Motherland Journey on Blue Note / Blue Adventure.

London-based duo Blue Lab Beats released their Blue Note Records debut last week with Motherland Journey, an album they described as "extremely special album to us." 

“This album took us two-and-a-half years to finish, our longest process to make an album, but it was so worth it," they explain in a press release. "On this album you’ll hear many fusions of genres and inspirations that we gathered throughout that time frame and especially to work on so many of the songs during the first lockdown it was a test in itself. We had to figure out so many different ways to achieve what we exactly wanted sonically and having Blue Note to help us achieve that was an absolute blessing. Many of the vocal features and instrumentalists on this album are great friends of ours and it’s just so amazing to have family on this album.”

Today's Song of the Day spotlights one of those amazing finds: the vocals of the late Afrobeat-pioneer Fela Kuti, taken from his song “Everything Scatter.” 

“When we got confirmation to have Fela Kuti‘s vocals from his publishers in Nigeria we were honestly blown away that he could really feature on our tracks," they continue. "An absolute dream come true. When we got [collaborators] Poppy [Daniels] and Kaidi [Akinnibi] to play the horn line then we definitely got the song we wanted.”

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Feb 28, 2022
F!RES - The Lonely Sea
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F!RES - "The Lonely Sea" from the 2021 self-released album High Tide.

Ballard-based band F!RES pay tribute to the late Shawn Smith on today's Song of the Day. The local legend had lent his distinctive vocals to bands like Brad, Satchel, Pigeonhed, and The Twilight Singers, as well as his solo material. And he also appears on the new F!RES full-length High Tide.

"High Tide really is a love letter to Seattle and to the memory of our friend @shawnsmithsinger," the band wrote on their Instagram account. "Shawn was so giving of his talent and we were honored that he wanted to join us in the studio on some of the tracks."

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Feb 25, 2022
Cloud Cult - One Way Out of a Hole
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Cloud Cult - "One Way Out of a Hole," a 2022 single on Earthology Records.

After a six-year hiatus, Cloud Cult return with the album Metamorphosis, to be released March 4th via their own Earthology Records. Like all albums from this orchestral-folk-rock group, nature plays a big role in the LP. Founding member/frontman Craig Minowa wrote and recorded the new album in the remote woods of Wisconsin, tracking the album from an old Amish cabin he converted to a recording studio. The sounds from outdoors can be heard throughout the songs on Metamorphosis.

Cloud Cult return to Seattle on Saturday, August 27th at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral. Check out the video for today's Song of the Day at the link below, and enjoy a Throwback Thursday to the band's 2014 KEXP in-studio session. 

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Feb 24, 2022
Yard Act - The Overload
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Yard Act - "The Overload" from the 2022 album The Overload on Zen F.C.

This might be the debut album from Leeds band Yard Act, but its members have been kicking around the scene for a while — frontman James Smith in Post War Glamour Girls, and bassist Ryan Needham as a member of Menace Beach. They're hardly the latest post-punk band to come out of the UK, but Smith brings a sarcastic sense of humor and gift for lyrics that sets them ahead of the pack. 

"‘The Overload’ serves as an overture to the album," he says of today's Song of the Day to NME. "It’s written from the perspective of someone sitting in a pub overhearing snippets of all these different conversations from different characters and acting as a vessel, a medium even, for their own thoughts and opinions. That cut and paste approach means it’s hard to decipher where one person’s musings end and another’s statement begins, and that feels like a fairer representation of why human existence is at the point it is right now. Society doesn’t prevail because of the absolute, it struggles on in spite of it. It’s our ability to compromise which helps us to coexist."

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Feb 23, 2022
Dehd - Bad Love
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Dehd - "Bad Love" from the 2022 album Blue Skies on Fat Possum.

Post-punk trio Dehd return this spring with Blue Skies, their fourth album overall, but their first for Fat Possum Records. Today's featured track finds the Chicago-based band channeling an '80s new wave vibe, calling to mind The Jesus & Mary Chain led by Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. 

“‘Bad Love’ is about recovering from love addiction and making a decision to stop choosing and aligning with people who aren’t your energetic match,” said vocalist Emily Kempf in a press release. “I wrote it for myself and for everyone who needed to hear a song about choosing new forms of love. It’s about chasing a relationship with oneself rather than an unhealthy one, one that just doesn’t quite fit, or a codependent one. Everyone experiences loneliness and everyone needs connection. I wished to reclaim loneliness for myself and others as something not embarrassing or to be a kept dark secret. I wanted to embrace loneliness and being alone, alchemizing it with friendship and behaviors with self that don’t involve romance or sex.”

Blue Skies hits store shelves on May 27th, preceded by a May 5th appearance at Neumos in Seattle. Check out the video for the song at the link below, and revisit their Live on KEXP at Home session from 2020.

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Feb 22, 2022
The Head and the Heart - Virginia (Wind in the Night)
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The Head and the Heart - "Virginia (Wind in the Night)" from the 2022 album Every Shade of Blue on Warner.

Beloved local band The Head and the Heart return this spring with their fifth full-length, Every Shade of Blue, recorded at Studio Litho here in Seattle, where they made their first two albums back in 2011 and 2013. “It was almost like coming back home,” guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Russell told Consequence of Sound. “We used the same engineer, Shawn Simmons. There was this balance of old and new, being familiar with the studio but bringing somebody much newer in his relationship with us.”

On today's Song of the Day, Russell pays tribute to his home state. "Being from Virginia, for me this song represents a long and winding relationship to place – a place that is grounding. I’m often drawing on my life through symbolism as a way into someone else’s psyche,” he said via a press statement. “It’s part of my search for a deeper connection without having to compare our experiences directly. There is a reason this song has two titles. One is literal and one is symbolic. Not everyone is from Virginia, I know that. But I bet you have walked home and heard the wind in the night.”

The Head and the Heart perform two nights – August 12th and 13th – at Marymoor Park.

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Feb 21, 2022
Weep Wave - Synthetic Dreams
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Weep Wave - "Synthetic Dreams," a 2022 self-released single.

Over the five years since we first covered Weep Wave, a lot has changed for the Seattle band. They went on to release their debut album, S.A.D., in 2019, a concept album based on the changing seasons and corresponding moods that take place over the course of a year in the Pacific Northwest, that KEXP’s Martin Douglas had a lot to say about. Since then, a series of lineup changes have occurred but the band, led by Dylan Fuentes, continues to constantly churn out a new single at least every six months or so.

One of Weep Wave, currently a quartet,’s most recent singles is the synth-fueled, “Synthetic Dreams.” Putting aside their signature Modest Mousian guitar riffs for this one, the song is a stripped-down version of the band, utilizing ‘80s style synthesizers and a thrumming analog drum machine for a haunting and altogether different sound for the band.

“It was interesting to write and record a style of song that’s pretty different from what we would normally do,” explains Fuentes. “With the synth there’s a lot of textures and tones that I can’t do with the guitar.”

Weep Wave has big plans for 2022 including releasing a new EP and going on tour. Keep up with release dates and tour announcements here.

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Feb 18, 2022
Warpaint - Champion
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Warpaint - "Champion" from the 2022 album Radiate Like This on Heirlooms/Virgin.

After six long years, Los Angeles quartet Warpaint are set to release a new album. Due out on May 6th, the heavily anticipated Radiate Like This follows 2016’s Heads Up. Alongside the announcement, the band shared the lead single “Champion,” which is just too good to not be our Song of the Day.

“Champion” continues Warpaint’s penchant for brooding anthems, with a slow-burning smooth groove leading the way with angelic harmonies floating amongst the thrumming beats for a haunting soundscape. The final minute builds the groove into a slightly rollicking post-rock instrumental for a cinematic ending.

“Being a champion to oneself and for others,” is the band’s description of the meaning of the song. “We are all in this together, life is too short not to strive for excellence in all that we do.”

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Feb 17, 2022
Widowspeak - Everything Is Simple
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Widowspeak - "Everything is Simple" from the 2022 album The Jacket on Captured Tracks.

Brooklyn-based duo Widowspeak are gearing up to release their sixth studio album, The Jacket, on March 11th via longtime label Captured Tracks. Initially intended to be a concept album based on a fictional band, The Jacket morphed into a more personal and biographical meditation on performance and past lives.

The record’s lead single, “Everything is Simple,” is a gentle alt-folk strummer that sees frontwoman Molly Hamilton wistfully ruminate on constantly shifting perspectives. “Everything is simple 'til it's not,” is the phrase that Hamilton hauntingly bookends the song with, describing a whole variety of possible situations. She had this to say about the meaning behind the “Everything is Simple”:

“At the beginning of something (a relationship, a project, a job, a new place) you have this very pure feeling toward it. Everything feels less complicated because you’re oriented wholly toward that potential. It’s undefined, and that makes it easier to understand, because you can’t see the problems yet. As time goes on, you learn more, you experience more, and you see where the limitations exist: not even necessarily ones imposed upon you, but where you draw your own lines. Maybe you can’t see what was holding you back until it’s in the past, and by then others’ perspectives contradict your own. Everyone is constructing their own versions of reality. The song was originally going to feed into the drama of the imaginary band, but it’s about our own band too. I was thinking about how I’m an inherently unreliable narrator about my own life, and at the same time maybe there are no ‘true’ stories.”

The song comes with a bullriding-themed video directed by OTIUM. Watch it at the link below.

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Feb 16, 2022
The Devil and Her Chauffeur - Never Let Me Go
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The Devil and Her Chauffeur - "Never Let Me Go," a 2021 self-released single.

Seattle-based duo The Devil and Her Chauffeur was a project born out of the pandemic and the necessity of creative projects to stay sane. Jacqueline Kasbohm was in-between recording with her proper band Echodrone and brought in a revolving door of collaborators to flesh out her ideas. Now two years into the band, the string of singles released show a strong affinity for ‘90s indebted shoegaze and atmospheric post-rock.

Our Song of the Day, “Never Let Me Go,” is dreampop gold, with densely interwoven vocal layers, spacious synths, and dreamy guitars. Kasbohm’s Rachel Goswellian vocals are light and airy, initially leading the song but then settling amongst the instruments as just an additional layer in the thick wall of sounds. The track was initially recorded with Daniel Dieters handing guitars and percussion but now has Virginia-born, Bay Area-based musician Tosh Enders handling that load.

The Devil and Her Chauffeur are currently working on their first full-length album with producer and fellow musician, Fran Lora from the Saville, Spain band Flu Flu and is set to be released by end of summer 2022. Watch the video for “Never Let Me Go” at the link below.