Episodes

  • 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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  • 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 titleis 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 toldRelix. “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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  • 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 theTinnitist. “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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  • 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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