Juliana Barwick – That Magic Place
Using a loop pedal and a wellspring of creativity, Brooklyn-based songstress Julianna Barwick spins out a set of boiling, ethereal choral tunes live on KEXP. Single woman angelic choruses. If these don’t transport you, you may be glued to the Earth. For fans of innovative and non-traditional sounds and composers, such as Zoe Keating and Steve Reich.
Junip – Junip
Jose Gonzalez’ Swedish trio Junip and their slow-rolling folk-pop-psych. Just enough variation. An album that is rumbling, inviting, cohesive, warm, and that asks you to remain conscious, through gentle prodding.
Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record
So good. Songwriting that stands alone, but happens to be accompanied by waves of driving guitar pop. The confidence and originality reminds me of Patti Smith. Stands apart from all of the “confessional” songwriting that confesses only angst and confusion.
Even if you hadn’t caught her 2011 solo debut, Last Summer, you’d know at first listen to the vocals on her latest album, Personal Record, who Eleanor Friedberger is. Hers is the unmistakeable nasal drawl that characterizes the songs of The Fiery Furnaces, which Friedberger comprises with her brother, Matthew. As the two have taken time apart to pursue solo careers, Eleanor’s own path has led her to collaborate with a band of excellent musicians and with a lyrical partner in Wesley Stace, a.k.a. John Wesley Harding, who co-wrote (but doesn’t appear on) the new album. In touring Personal Record, Eleanor Friedberger stopped by KEXP recently to share some of these new songs of love and woe. Watch videos from the session here:
The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
An album that demands to be heard while you are in motion, whether in your car, on your bicycle, or merely on your feet, but preferably driving on an open road.
Philadelphia-based band The War On Drugs puts together a wonderfully unique and progressive mix of Americana, guitar drones, synths, chugging rhythms and more. They go live in the KEXP studios playing tracks from the full-length record “Slave Ambient.”
Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down – We the Common
Thao With The Get Down, Stay Down – We Brave Bee Stings
SF’s own Thao Nguyen stretches out into Populist-mode with We the Common. We all could use more “we” and less “I” at the moment. Catchy, indie-pop that feels kind of related to Odelay-era Beck and the more rootsy indie-rock of 2000. Love it.
Beat Connection – The Palace Garden
Beat Connection – Surf Noir
Seattle’s Beat Connection makes dance music that somehow enhances melodies and rhythms, rather than drying them up. Incredibly hook-driven and melodic songs that will stay in your head. Perfect for driving along San Francisco’s Great Highway, running along the Pacific Ocean.
The Dodos – Carrier
The San Francisco-duo veer into more ambient, sometimes somber, yet beguiling sounds on their fifth (hard to believe, seems like yesterday they were playing 12 Galaxies at the Noise Pop Festival, but I guess that was 2008!)
Their single, “Confidence,” from KUTX:
Gold Panda – Half of Where You Live
Minimalist electronica from a Londoner with a composer’s sensibility and a taste for solitude. “Brazil,” is a favorite.