Sound & Vision


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 Oct 26, 2019
Very informative and expansive discussions on music, life as a musician, and Seattle.


The Sound & Vision podcast from KEXP features interviews, panels, reporting and commentary that digs into the stories behind the music, with in-depth discussion of the most important issues facing music and arts communities. New episodes are published on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with bonus features throughout the week. Sound & Vision is hosted by Emily Fox and John Richards.

Episode Date
Joy Division's Legacy
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Joy Division frontman, Ian Curtis. In just two years, Joy Division recorded three albums worth of material and performed 120 shows. Curtis tragically died by suicide at the age of 23, the night before Joy Division's U.S. tour, leaving behind a wife and a child. Curtis had struggled with epilepsy and depression. KEXP DJ Kevin Cole says Joy Division pioneered the post punk genre. In today’s episode, he discusses Joy Division’s legacy with Jon Savage, author of “This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: The Oral History.” Support the show.
May 28, 2020
Seattle Musicians Remember Filmmaker Lynn Shelton
Seattle Filmmaker, Lynn Shelton died May 16th at the age of 54 from a previously undiagnosed blood disorder. Her breakout movie, 'Humpday' won an award at Sundance Film Festival. She also directed for TV on the shows 'Mad Men,' 'New Girl' and 'Fresh Off the Boat' among others. Even after national acclaim, Shelton stayed in Seattle. Tomo Nakayama is a Seattle musician who appeared in Shelton’s 2013 film 'Touchy Feely.' “Her images are so expressive and so distinctively Northwest. The scenes of Seattle and Nature. There’s just something about her that you could recognize,” Nakayama says. Shelton rarely, if ever built a set for a movie, she instead filmed her movies in Washington State. Even when she began taking trips to work in L.A, she kept her permanent residence 1,100 miles to the north in Seattle. Nakayama remembers Shelton for this and her warm and open demeanor. How she would throw her head back and laugh at a joke. Her embrace of others. “She changed me forever,” Nakayama says. “And in talking with her friends and stuff, we keep saying the same thing—that she made us better.” Shelton did eventually move to L.A. within the last year. She collapsed in her home earlier this month and was taken to the hospital. Support the show.
May 26, 2020
Moses Sumney and Jonah Mutono on Inhabiting the Space Between
Moses Sumney is out with the second part of his album, ‘græ.' Sumney, a Ghanaian American, was born in Southern California but spent portions of his childhood in Ghana. He spent the early half of his career in Los Angeles before moving to quiet solitude in Asheville, North Carolina. With different experiences and lives lived across the world, he is not a product of any of these places, but instead a product of a space not bound by geography. Like Sumney, ‘græ' doesn’t come from a clear musical lineage or space, rather it explores the multiplicity of feelings and influences one can have. ‘græ' is a rejection of black and white thinking and instead, a look at the spaces between.  “It’s essentially all about greyness, about the in between or marginal identity and not living on either side of an extreme,” Sumney says. We also hear from Jonah Mutono about his new record, ‘GERG.' Like Sumney, Mutono has lived in a lot of places in his life, including the UK, Uganda and the US all before graduating high school. Mutono now lives in California and has released an album under his full name, after previously releasing music under the alias, Kidepo. This album explores his journey through immigration and his sexual identity. Support the show.
May 21, 2020
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s New Album Addresses Vietnamese Heritage and the Trauma of War
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down released their fifth full length album, ‘Temple,' on May 15th. Frontwoman Thao Nguyen talks about how her latest album is about coming out to her Vietnamese family and processing her family’s story of war. “It’s about the idea of existing as my full self and that full self is also acknowledging my heritage and who I come from and my culture,” Nguyen says. Nguyen’s family fled the Vietnam war and came to the US in the 70s. Their story is addressed in the title track of the album, “Temple": I lost my city in the light of day Thick smoke Helicopter blades Heaven on earth I've never moved so fast You'll never know the fear your mama has I know your father can't call anymore He never meant to be a man of war But we found freedom what will you do now Bury the burden baby make us proud Nguyen’s father was a helicopter pilot for the south Vietnamese army and her mother worked for the south Vietnamese embassy. Nguyen says that’s “why they truly fled for their lives and they would have been at the very least forced into reeducation camps.” Nguyen also discusses her powerful track, “Phenom," which addresses Asian American stereotypes and being a woman of color, with lyrics like “first of the secondary class” and “I’ve been so politely at the bottom.” She describes how she was able to make the music video for this song entirely on Zoom Meeting. Support the show.
May 19, 2020
Allen Stone on 'Building Balance’ and COVID-19
Allen Stone is a soul singer and an actual son of a preacher. He started his music career in Seattle, but now with a wife and child in tow, he’s re-located to eastern Washington. His latest record, 'Building Balance,' was written in his family cabin in his tiny, one-stoplight hometown of Chewelah. KEXP caught up with Stone to talk about his karaoke music tour, having to cancel his album tour on his birthday due to COVID-19, how some of his songs have new meaning while under social isolation, and how he was, indeed, able to find balance through making his latest record.   “This whole record, Building Balance is really my journey towards center,” Stone says. “I went through several years of my life, growing up in the church and my ideology and world view had been kind of formed through that scope, and then I completely rebelled against that and left the church and was dancing with the devil for many years. Through the process of this record and the evolution of becoming a father and a husband and really an adult, I’ve managed to cultivate my own garden and find my own recipe to that life salad.” Watch Allen Stone perform Live on KEXP Support the show.
May 14, 2020
From Nirvana to Dina Martina: Memories of Seattle’s Re-bar
Seattle’s 30-year-old Re-bar venue announced on May 9th that it will permanently close its location on Howell street in Seattle. The plans are to reopen in the fall of 2021 at a new space in South Seattle, where it’s more affordable. Re-bar owner, Dane Garfield Wilson says Re-bar has been at risk of closure because his building has been for sale for months. He’s also been having to pay $10,000 a month in rent and operation fees with no income for two months because of COVID-19. KEXP’s Sharlese Metcalf brings us an audio profile of what it felt like to be at Re-bar on a Sunday night. KEXP DJ Riz Rollins takes us through a history of the venue, including DJing for a Nirvana album release show.  We also check in with Seattle’s Clockout Lounge, Tractor Tavern and The Crocodile to see how their independent music venues are faring under the extended "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. Support the show.
May 12, 2020
Parisalexa on Body Positivity, the Music Biz and Being Genuine
Seattle’s Parisalexa is out with her first full-length album, '2 REAL.' She’s in her early 20s and is already cowriting songs for other artists in LA and has appeared in NBC’s songwriter show, ‘Songland.' Parisalexa reflects on the lessons she’s learned from the music industry, talks about staying genuine in her songwriting and on social media and about the representation and body positivity reflected in her songs, "Chocolate" and "Slimthick." “Hearing all the people that ‘Slimthick’ and ‘Chocolate' encourage is amazing,” Parisalexa says. “I think one of the best stories I’ve heard from ‘Chocolate' was a girl who told me that she is a dark-skinned Filipino girl and that in Asian culture there’s a lot of colorism. When I wrote 'Chocolate,' I was talking about me. But she says every time she hears that song, that’s her anthem, because she’s dark skinned and she’s felt different from everyone else and that song empowers her and makes her feel so proud to be who she is.”  Read more about Parisalexa and her experience in the music industry Support the show.
May 08, 2020
Rufus Wainwright on Postponing His New Album
Rufus Wainwright was scheduled to release a new album on April 24th, but because of COVID-19, that album release has been moved to July. Part of the reason for the delay is that physical copies of the album couldn’t be pushed out in time. “All the hard copies, the vinyl and the CDs are all locked up in a warehouse,” Wainwright says. He also talks about his recent “Robe Recitals,” or “Quarantunes," where he performs songs from his repertoire for fans online daily, and how he fuses pop, classical, opera and musical theater into his music. Support the show.
May 07, 2020
Preventing Copyright Cases in Music
The Library of Congress is launching a tool this summer that will make its massive audio collection of public domain works available to DJs, hip hop artists and others to sample in their music for free. The project is called "Citizen DJ." It’s led by the Library of Congress’ “innovator in residence,” Brian Foo. Foo talks about how the project works and the music he’s already been able to make from the library’s archive. Attorney Damien Riehl and coder Noah Rubin explain how they are creating algorithms to document every melody that can exist and putting those melodies into the public domain to minimize copyright infringement cases and give more freedom to artists. Explore Citizen DJ's online tool Learn about the copyright and melodies project Support the show.
May 05, 2020
Damien Jurado on the Mystery of Songwriting
Damien Jurado released his 19th (!) album today, titled 'What’s New, Tomboy?' Jurado talks about his songwriting process. He describes songwriting as reading stories from a teleprompter– they just show up in front of him without him fully knowing what they're about. “I just answer the call of the songs that show up in my life,” Jurado says. Jurado also discusses how his struggles with addiction have led him to remove smartphones, computers and technology from his life, and how he prefers making money by being a prolific songwriter, rather than spending his time touring on the road. Support the show.
May 01, 2020
Ben Gibbard, Deep Sea Diver and Seattle Opera Tenor on Getting Creative During COVID
Seattle-based band, Deep Sea Diver has been getting creative with their weekly live stream performances on Instagram Live. Each week they give fans a “stem”—a drum beat or guitar riff to play with and create a song out of. The best songs get featured in Deep Sea Diver’s entertaining live stream sessions. Deep Sea Diver even used their own stems from the project to create their single, “Stop Pretending.” We also hear from a Seattle Opera tenor who is spending his weekday evenings singing opera arias to his neighbors from his front lawn. Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard talks about his Live from Home concert series he’s been doing since mid March and why it was important for his performances to be benefit shows that give back to local Seattle-area organizations and charities. Support the show.
Apr 30, 2020
Laura Marling on Her New Album, ‘Song For Our Daughter'
Laura Marling has been releasing albums since she was 18. Now at the age of 30, she has released her seventh studio album, 'Song For Our Daughter.' Despite the title of the record, Marling admits she isn’t a mother herself.  “The title, ‘Song for our Daughter,’ was clearly a figurative consideration about what it would be like to raise a daughter given the experience of being a woman that I’ve had and what culture is going through at the moment, this kind of shift in empathetic relationships,” Marling explains.  She also talks about releasing her album early due to COVID-19, her guitar tutorials on Instagram, what she’s learned about trauma while pursuing a Master’s degree in psychoanalysis and the women’s stories she tells in the record. Support the show.
Apr 28, 2020
Lido Pimienta on How Racism, Beauty Pageants and National Identity Influenced Her New Album
Lido Pimienta is a Toronto-based, Colombian-born musician who won Canada’s biggest music prize, the Polaris Prize, in 2017. Her latest album, ‘Miss Colombia,' combines cumbia, reggaeton and latin folk with orchestral production and electronic beats.  In this interview, Lido talks about the inspiration for the album, from pageant culture’s racist and nationalist undertones to being teased about her hair in school. She also discusses her experience being of Indigenous Wayuu and African descent and learning to celebrate this mixed heritage through her music.  "Since I've been born, I've never known peace. I've never known respect for a culture. I've never known empowering of Indigenous communities. I don't know what it's like to see Black people truly free in my country.” Lido is doing her part to change that. Read more about one of the tracks, "No Pude," on KEXP's Song of the Day feature Support the show.
Apr 23, 2020
Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien on His First Solo Album
Radiohead guitarist, Ed O’Brien talks about his first solo album, EARTH. It was inspired by global travel, music festivals, spirituality, and the words of Walt Whitman and Carl Sagan. Support the show.
Apr 21, 2020
A Cosmic Journey with Shabazz Palaces
Ishmael Butler of the Seattle hip hop duo, Shabazz Palaces takes us on a cosmic journey through his new record, 'The Don of Diamond Dreams.' Support the show.
Apr 17, 2020
Waxahatchee on the Clarity and Challenges of Sobriety
Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee discusses how her struggle with addiction and codependency influenced her latest record, 'Saint Cloud.' Crutchfield has been sober for two years now, and although sobriety presented new challenges to her songwriting process, the result is her truest and most hopeful record to date. Support the show.
Apr 16, 2020
Thundercat on Mourning, Loss and Humor
Thundercat’s latest album, 'It Is What It Is,' touches on the loss of rapper and producer Mac Miller who died from a drug overdose in 2018. The album also showcases Thundercat’s profound sense of humor, an underrated feature throughout much of his music. Thundercat discusses the new record and how music and humor can be healing in times of adversity. Read the full interview on Support the show.
Apr 14, 2020
Northwest Classics: The Postal Service
As part of our Northwest Classics series, KEXP DJ Marco Collins talks with music journalist Charles R. Cross about the legacy of The Postal Service and how the group’s method of producing music remotely is relevant during COVID-19. We also hear Ben Gibbard’s new track, "Life in Quarantine." Support the show.
Apr 09, 2020
Music Venues at Risk of Permanent Closure Amid COVID-19
Many Seattle-area venues say they can only muster 8-9 weeks of being closed amid coronavirus until they have to shut down permanently. Washington State’s governor has extended shelter in place orders until at least May 4, which will put local venues at about the eight week mark. Even if venues can open on May 4, they won’t have performances ready. Venues often have to book performances months in advance and many musicians have cancelled their tours completely for 2020. Members of the newly formed Washington Nightlife and Music Association talk about the current state of music venues and the five steps that need to happen in order for them to survive. Plus we hear from listeners about the songs that make them hopeful. Support the show.
Apr 07, 2020
M. Ward on Migration Stories
M. Ward has just released a new album called 'Migration Stories.' He talks about his family's personal story of migration and the other migration stories he's been told or read about along the way that inspired the new record.  Support the show.
Apr 03, 2020
Taking Music and Art Online Amid COVID-19
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, musicians have cancelled their tours and venues have closed indefinitely. This episode explores how musicians and artists are taking their craft online to reach their audience. We report on how Twitch, a platform most known for streaming video games, has become a place for musicians to monetize their livestream performances. Musician Hollis Wong-Wear talks about how her performances and presentations at SXSW were cancelled due to COVID-19 and how she’s now taking her music and “Hollis Does Brunch" series, where she combines food and performance, to Youtube and Twitch. Meanwhile, Seattle choreographer Kate Wallich has found great success taking her “Dance Church” classes online amid COVID-19, with 10,000 streams a class. We also hear what songs are helping listeners get through social isolation. Check out Hollis Wong-Wear's "Hollis Does Brunch" series on YouTube or Twitch Catch one of Kate Wallich's "Dance Church" live streams Support the show.
Mar 31, 2020
Musicians & Their Day Jobs

We explore the stories of three musicians who work day jobs to supplement their work as artists. First is Lesli Wood, who fronts the band Skates! As a lawyer by day, she used to have to hide her tattoos and neon hair in court in order to be taken seriously. Then, we meet Mark Arm of the iconic Seattle grunge band, Mudhoney. His day job is stuffing records and managing the warehouse for the record label his band is on, Sub Pop. Lastly, we talk to Geo. He’s best known for his Seattle hip-hop group, Blue Scholars, but his main job now is running two acclaimed café/bars in Seattle called “Hood Famous."

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Mar 24, 2020
Bikini Kill on Riot Grrrl Movement, Remembering Richard Swift

Bikini Kill talks about their role in the feminist punk rock, Riot Grrrl movement in the 90s and how some of their songs are still relevant today. Yuuki Matthews of The Shins talks about the side project he’s released called Teardrops. He created the project with the late Richard Swift. Richard Swift was a solo artist, producer and played with The Shins and Black Keys. He died in 2018 from complications from alcoholism.

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Mar 17, 2020
COVID-19 Is Impacting Venues and Musicians

On March 11, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a prohibition on events of more than 250 people and added criteria for events smaller than 250. The owners of Seattle music venues The Royal Room and The Crocodile discuss how this will impact their business and the music scene. Local writer Ijeoma Oluo talks about starting a Go Fund Me campaign to support artists struggling with cancellations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Two musicians in Italy talk about how COVID-19 has impacted their country and music scene.

Read KEXP's Guide for Artists and Fans to Support Music During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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Mar 13, 2020
Women’s Day: Soccer Mommy, Phantogram, Best Coast, Paid Family Leave and Music

In celebration of International Women’s Day, this episode is dedicated to some badass women making music. Rachel Stevens reports on how Washington State’s new paid family leave law is impacting musicians in the gig economy. Soccer Mommy takes us through how she organized her latest album by different colors and moods. Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast talks about how her journey to sobriety has made her happier and helped her connect more to music. Phantogram will talk about their new album and how one song was a reflection on seeing so many suicides, overdoses and school shootings on the news.

Related stories:

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Mar 10, 2020
LGBTQ Music and the South, Jamila Woods on the Artists Who Inspired Her Album

The southeast region of the US is home to the highest percentage of LGBTQ people in the country. KEXP's Bee Egan spoke with three LGBTQ musicians from the south to find out how southern culture and their sexuality impacted their upbringing and ultimately their music. Musician and poet Jamila Woods talks about how all of the tracks off her latest album were named after black and brown artists, musicians and writers and how Woods sees herself in each of those artists’ stories. Mike Dixon and Kris Dorr of Mobile Vinyl Recorders talk about how the fire at Apollo Masters Corp. will impact the vinyl record industry. KEXP’s Hans Anderson reports on producer Kearney Barton who captured and helped develop the Pacific Northwest sound when he recorded artists such as Ann Wilson of Heart, Quincy Jones, The Sonics and more. Icelandic musician Ásgeir Trausti talks about his songwriting process, how his poet father writes some of his lyrics and why he switches between singing in Icelandic and English.

Listen to KEXP’s Music That Matters mix featuring Jamila Woods

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Mar 03, 2020
Northwest Classics: Heart and Soundgarden

Sound & Vision’s series, “Northwest Classics,” dives into the stories behind iconic records from the Pacific Northwest. In today’s edition, KEXP DJ Marco Collins and music journalist and author, Charles R Cross discuss Heart’s album, ‘Dreamboat Annie’ and Soundgarden’s record, ‘Superunknown.’

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Feb 25, 2020
Cancer and Music

Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie, the Microphones) wrote two albums following the death of his wife, Geneviève Castrée. Castrée was a musician, illustrator and cartoonist who was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer four months after giving birth to her first child. She passed away the following year. This week, Elverum discusses the odd enhanced recognition he got from his albums that were written about death. KEXP DJ Kevin Cole talks with an old friend, former radio station program director and musician Jay Mathews about how he used music to cope with his terminal cancer diagnosis. KEXP DJ Cheryl Waters talks about her ongoing recovery from tongue cancer. Listeners share their personal stories of music and cancer.

Read the full interview with Phil Elverum

Read KEXP's piece about the life and works of Geneviève Castrée

Read Kevin Cole's interview with Jay Mathews

Thoughts on what you love about this podcast, or how it could be better? We’d love to hear from you! Submit your feedback to

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Feb 18, 2020
Climate Change and Music

On February 7th, KEXP celebrated “Clash for Climate” as part of International Clash Day, a holiday KEXP invented in 2013. The Clash stood for many important issues, including environmental justice, which is why KEXP chose to focus on climate change for this year's theme. In this episode, Morning Show host John Richards explains the origin story of the holiday and highlights his favorite songs and messages from The Clash. Weyes Blood explains the themes behind her song, “Wild Time” and why she's moving from awareness to activism. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 19-year-old climate activist and musician talks about how hip hop has allowed him to spread urgent messages surrounding climate change and its effects on his generation. Listeners share their most meaningful Clash song memories and Washington governor Jay Inslee tells us why music matters.

Watch Weyes Blood perform live on KEXP

Read the full interview with Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Read KEXP's interview with Governor Jay Inslee

Thoughts on what you love about this podcast, or how it could be better? We’d love to hear from you! Submit your feedback to

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Feb 11, 2020
Josiah Johnson, Poliça, Guayaba and Non-compete Clauses

Former Head and the Heart member, Josiah Johnson talks about his new single, "World's Not Gonna End" and his struggle with addiction that led him to leave the band, get on a path to sobriety and start a solo career. Channy Leaneagh of Poliça talks about how she almost gave up on music until she fell off her roof shoveling snow, and how the accident and her recovery process inspired many of the songs off the new Poliça album, ‘When We Stay Alive.’ Guayaba discusses their new record, ‘Fantasmagoria,’ which draws influence from trap, opera and bossa nova. They explain the themes in the record and how they were inspired by nightmares, trauma and fear of death. We learn about Washington state’s new non-compete law and how it will impact performers, venues and music festivals. Lastly, we dive into answers from our listeners about which songs they feel capture a certain moment in history.

Watch Head and the Heart perform live on KEXP

Watch Poliça perform live on KEXP

Watch Guayaba perform live on KEXP

Thoughts on what you love about this podcast, or how it could be better? We’d love to hear from you! Submit your feedback to

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Feb 04, 2020
Michael Kiwanuka on race, music, and 'Big Little Lies,' Gender & controversy at the GRAMMYs and CMT

Michael Kiwanuka talks about race and music, and how having his song selected as the intro music for HBO’s Big Little Lies pushed his career forward. Musician, activist and new GRAMMY voter, Madame Gandhi talks about the latest controversies surrounding the GRAMMYs and issues around gender and racial parity in the music industry. Leslie Fram of Country Music Television talks about why CMT pledged a 50/50 gender split on the videos played on their channel and why so few female artists are played on country radio.

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Jan 28, 2020
Nissim Black on faith and hip-hop, how The Sonics helped invent grunge and punk in the ‘60s

Nissim Black (formerly D. Black) talks about growing up in Seattle amidst crime and drugs. He describes how his music and his life have changed since converting to Judaism and moving to Jerusalem. This week’s edition of "Northwest Classics" profiles the debut album of Tacoma-based band, The Sonics. Music writer Charles R. Cross explains how the band influenced the sound of punk and grunge decades before the genres had names.

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Jan 21, 2020
FKA twigs, Jimi Hendrix’s legacy, songs from Iran

FKA twigs talks about dance, feminism and the impact of her recent health complications. We launch our “Northwest Classics” series, where we’ll discuss iconic albums that came out of the Pacific Northwest. We start off by talking about the life and legacy of Jimi Hendrix through his album, ‘Are You Experienced,’ with KEXP’s Marco Collins and Hendrix biographer, Charles R. Cross. KEXP’s Darek Mazzone, host of Wo’ Pop, shares a variety of music from Iran in response to current events.

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Jan 14, 2020
KEXP's favorite songs of 2019

KEXP DJs share their favorite songs of 2019. We also hear interviews with some of the station’s favorite bands of the year, including a conversation with Fontaines DC about using music and poetry to document gentrification in Dublin and a discussion with Combo Chimbita about how music is allowing their all-immigrant band to find a new identity in the US.

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Dec 31, 2019
Jewish composers behind top Christmas songs, best non-traditional Christmas tunes and Christmas covers

We hear how Jewish composers wrote many of the most popular Christmas songs, including "White Christmas," "Let It Snow," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and more. KEXP’s Brian Foss shares his favorite non-traditional Christmas songs and KEXP’s Owen Murphy and Troy Nelson share their favorite covers of Christmas songs.

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Dec 24, 2019
Angel Olsen, ‘Switched on Pop’ and cover songs

Angel Olsen discusses her latest album, ‘All Mirrors,’ how her rising fame has tested her closest relationships and the strength of learning to be on her own. Producer John Congleton breaks down the production of Angel Olsen’s song, “All Mirrors.” The hosts of the ‘Switched on Pop’ podcast break down the musical elements of some of the decade’s top pop hits as discussed in their new book, ‘Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters.’ KEXP’s Owen Murphy and Troy Nelson talk about how some of the best songs came about accidentally in recording studios, and how Miya Folick takes Death Cab For Cutie’s song, “I’ll Follow You into the Dark” to another level in her cover version of the song.

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Dec 17, 2019
The dark side of K-Pop, SYML on overnight pop stardom, Madame Gandhi on the power of femininity

The coauthor of Bloomberg’s story, “K-Pop’s Dark Side: Assault, Prostitution, Suicide and Spycams” talks about how the K-Pop music industry functions and how it’s been riddled with controversies this year. We learn how a suburban dad became an indie pop star overnight under the name SYML, and what that name means to him. Madame Gandhi talks about misogyny in pop culture and why it’s important to value feminine energy in leadership. We explore why Vashon Island off the coast of Seattle is home to so many big name musicians.

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Dec 10, 2019
“We breathe in melancholy and we breathe out joy” ­­– Highlights from Iceland Airwaves 2019

John Richards talks about his favorite performances at Iceland Airwaves and the financial struggles musicians are facing in that country. Icelandic musicians discuss how the harsh weather impacts their creativity, why there seems to be such a high concentration of musicians in the small country and how so many musicians collaborate across bands and projects.

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Dec 03, 2019
Brittany Howard, Thunderpussy, Mary Lambert and Hollis Wong-Wear on channeling their experiences through music

Brittany Howard says her song “Goat Head” is about society’s reaction to her parents’ interracial marriage in Alabama. She also talks about the “gay R&B song” she wrote about musician Georgia Anne Muldrow. Thunderpussy talks about female empowerment and diversifying their sound on their new EP, ‘Milk It.’ Mary Lambert says her experiences of mental health and sexual assault weave through her latest album, ‘Grief Creature.’ Hollis Wong-Wear talks about how poetry and her mother’s hustle starting up a Chinese restaurant as an immigrant inform her music career.

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Nov 26, 2019
Death and Music

We share stories of loss and how music can help us heal and process our grief. We’ll hear stories from listeners, musicians and John and Amy Richards.

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Nov 19, 2019
Iceland’s DIY music scene

KEXP’s Dusty Henry talks about Iceland’s DIY music scene and how it’s more about doing it together than doing it yourself. A panel discusses Iceland’s music culture, music's impact on Iceland’s economy, and how Iceland helps financially support musicians. Panelists are: Sólveig Matthildur, from the band Kælan Mikla; Hlynur Guðjónsson, the Icelandic Trade Commissioner for North America; and Sigtryggur Baldursson, managing director for Iceland Music and founding member of the Björk-fronted Icelandic band The Sugarcubes.

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Nov 12, 2019
“No Music for ICE,” why only 2% of music producers are women, industry fallout of Lil Peep’s death

Sudan Archives shares why she fuses violin with electronic beats on her latest album. Minnesota rapper Dessa describes spending two years working with neuroscientists to train her brain to get over her ex. We’ll explore why only 2% of music producers are women and how some indie artists are working to buck that trend. Macklemore protégé Travis Thompson will talk about collaborating with three generations of Seattle hip hop artists on his latest album. Seattle musicians past and present will weigh in on why they signed the “No Music for ICE” pledge. Pitchfork’s Marc Hogan will talk about a court case that blames Lil Peep’s overdose death on the rapper’s management, and what that would mean for the music industry.

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Nov 05, 2019
The mysterious disappearance of musician Jim Sullivan, Rudy Willingham talks samples

Jim Sullivan was a struggling LA singer/songwriter in the 60s and 70s. In 1975 he left for Nashville to see if he could catch a break there. But on the way, he disappeared in the New Mexico desert and was never seen again. Matt Sullivan of Light in the Attic records talks about the mysterious disappearance and how he discovered Jim Sullivan’s music and rereleased it decades later. Seattle’s Rudy Willingham talks about how he uses collage in both art and music, and discusses how he finds the samples he uses in his songs. This week’s “Day Job” segment features Lindsey Kaghan of the band Salt Lick speaking about her job at a barbershop.

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Oct 29, 2019
Vagabon, Kim Gordon and Jónsi

Vagabon will talk about her latest album and the meaning behind her song, “Every Woman.” Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon will fill us in on how materialism, LA culture and her “trashy aesthetic” influenced her first solo record, ‘No Home Record.’ Jónsi & Alex talk about touring on their 10-year-old album, ‘Riceboy Sleeps,’ after their recent romantic breakup. Jónsi (also of Sigur Rós) discusses moving to LA to make pop music. In this installment of our series, “Day Job,” we speak with a musician who works at a call center for their 9 to 5. We hear about how the Austin-based organization Black Fret is coming to Seattle to help financially support musicians.

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Oct 22, 2019
Behind the music of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Indigenous musicians will talk about joining traditional cultures with hip hop, jazz, funk and dance music. Calina Lawrence of the Suquamish Tribe will talk about using the Lushootseed language in a hip hop song of hers. A Tribe Called Red describes their song honoring John T. Williams, a Native American woodcarver who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2010. Musician and glassblower Preston Singletary talks about fusing his native Tlingit culture into contemporary works. And on this week’s edition of “Day Job,” Hozoji Roseanne Mathison-Margolis. By day she’s a shellfish diver for the Puyallup Tribe, by night she plays drums in the nautical inspired rock band, Helms Alee.

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Oct 15, 2019
Kurt Cobain's House, Wilco's new album, Octo Octa on nature and gender

The second installment of our “Day Job” series explores how a musician’s encounters while bartending end up being inspirations for songs. Electronic DJ and producer Octo Octa explains how nature inspires her music and discusses her gender transition. Jeff Tweedy talks about Wilco’s new album. Kurt Cobain’s biographer shares his idea on what should be done with Cobain’s Seattle home that’s now for sale. Seattle’s Parisalexa talks about breaking into the national music scene before graduating high school. We’ll also hear a new perspective on why it’s so hard for international bands to tour in the US.

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Oct 08, 2019
The New Pornographers, musicians’ day jobs, music & wrongful imprisonment

We kick off a new series called “Day Job.” The first story in this series explores how Chong The Nomad finds musical inspiration during her day job as a line cook. Carl Newman of The New Pornographers talks about how the state of America influenced the band’s latest album. We explore music of wrongful imprisonment, including a conversation about a new Broadway musical on the subject, the story of how Pearl Jam and Metallica helped get one man out of wrongful imprisonment, and a band made up entirely of exonerees. We also hear how 47SOUL fuses traditional Arabic music with electronic beats.

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Oct 01, 2019
Australia invests in music, why musicians love Nashville, Vivian Girls and Chastity Belt talk new albums

Australia’s federal government will spend more than 3 times what the US will on artists and musicians this year. We hear how the Australian-based band, Haiku Hands is benefiting from their country’s funding model. Chastity Belt and Vivian Girls talk about their new albums. We hear why four Seattle musicians moved to Nashville and what that music city has to offer.

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Sep 24, 2019
Music Heals: Mental Health; A Tribe Called Red on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and music

SassyBlack discusses how mental health and Afrofuturism feature on her latest album. A Tribe Called Red talks about how the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls comes up in their music and Abigail Echo-Hawk of the Seattle Indian Health Board discusses how Seattle has the highest numbers of MMIWG in the nation. The Seattle-artist ZEMBU talks about how her song, “Human” is about her mother’s suicide. We hear stories of how music has helped listeners through their struggles with mental health.

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Sep 17, 2019
Highwomen, Bon Iver and music venues at risk

Natalie Hemby of the supergroup, Highwomen says their new album pushes for more female representation and narratives in country music. Sean Carey and Jenn Wasner of Bon Iver talk about the band’s change in sound. Plus, a panel discussion about how many music venues in Seattle are at risk of closure. (Panelists include Dana Sims of El Corazon/Funhouse, Dane Wilson of Re-Bar and James Keblas, former Director of Seattle’s Office of Film and Music.)

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Sep 10, 2019
Jeff Tweedy, Noah Gundersen, Jay Som, and Black Belt Eagle Scout talk new music; From “Presidents” to Pre-Schoolers

Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Black Belt Eagle Scout and Jay Som talk new music. Noah Gundersen on how he’s getting away from the sad male singer/songwriter trope with his most personal album to date. Former frontman of The Presidents of the United States of America, Chris Ballew says he feels more himself now that he's writing music for kids.

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Sep 03, 2019
ODESZA, The Head and the Heart, Imogen Heap, AURORA and iLe

ODESZA discusses their songwriting process, The Head and the Heart, iLe and Aurora discuss the themes in their new albums, Imogen Heap talks about her ideas to transform the music industry with technology.

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Aug 27, 2019
Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Portishead, issues with international artists touring in the USA

Carrie Brownstein talks about Sleater-Kinney’s latest album, The Center Won't Hold, Portishead reflects on the 25th anniversary of Dummy, and a panel discussion on why it’s so hard for international artists to tour in the US.

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Aug 20, 2019
Love, Loss and Copyright

We’ll hear how the song “Nothing Arrived” by Villagers connected with one woman and helped her process her loss after a miscarriage. Weyes Blood will talk about how love and movies influenced her latest album, Titanic Rising. The band Lemolo will talk about their new single about self love and vulnerability. We’ll hear about the copyright infringement case involving Katy Perry’s 2013 hit Dark Horse and what it means for producers and songwriters moving forward.

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Aug 13, 2019
How “Old Town Road” breaks the mold; Cherry Glazerr and John Van Deusen on Songwriting

Lil Nas X of the country/trap song, Old Town Road was able to break the record for longest running #1 song on the billboard charts. (It’s been there since early April.) Yet billboard has denied the song from the country chart. We’ll hear what race might have to do with that. We'll also hear what has made the song a hit. Cherry Glazerr will talk about her songwriting process and John Van Deusen will talk about how issues with depression, the church and social media influenced the songs on his latest album.

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Aug 06, 2019
Of Monsters and Men, Art & Immigration, LA vs. Seattle

Of Monsters and Men discuss their latest album, musicians who have lived in larger cities discuss if Seattle's growing population and cost of living is really that bad, KEXP DJ Darek Mazzone talks about how extreme vetting is making it harder for international musicians to tour in the US, Washington State's Poet Laureate talks about how her experience fleeing El Salvador's civil war impacts her writing.

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Jul 30, 2019
Cover songs, Seattle grunge and using art to influence rap

KEXP's Owen Murphy and Troy Nelson break down a cover song for Mariah Carey's Fantasy. Frontman of the band Sky Cries Mary talks about rubbing elbows with the rising stars of the Seattle grunge scene in the late 80s and going on to make treehouses for the rich and famous. Rapper Perry Porter discusses how visual art influences his music and how black artists have been largely ignored from the art world.

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Jul 23, 2019
Streaming impacts song lengths and billboard charts, is LA or Seattle better for musicians

Nate Sloan (Vox Media's Switched On Pop) discusses how streaming has impacted song length and formats, Chris Molanphy (Hit Parade Podcast, Slate) talks about how musicians are gaming the billboard charts in the streaming era through "bundling." We explore the differences between Seattle and LA’s music scene by chatting with a musician who moved from LA to Seattle (Jessica Dobson of Deep Sea Diver) and talk with another who left Seattle for LA (Jenn Champion).

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Jul 16, 2019
Ben Gibbard, Amanda Knox, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Imij

The first episode of KEXP’s Sound & Vision podcast features: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, on the role that distance running has played in his life and struggles with alcohol abuse. Exoneree Amanda Knox, on the role music played during her time incarcerated in an Italian prison. US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, telling the story of her life, activism and political career through music. Seattle-based rock band IMIJ, on navigating the music industry as an all-Black rock act in the 1990s, as interviewed by Eva Walker of The Black Tones.

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Jul 09, 2019
Drag Queens & Gay Cowboys

This week's episode is all about drag queens and gay cowboys. We'll hear from the first openly gay country band, Lavender Country and hear how that band influenced the country music of Orville Peck today. We'll also hear about the controversies around Drag Queen Story Time.

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Jul 09, 2019
Sound & Vision Trailer

Get a preview of Sound & Vision, the new podcast from KEXP featuring interviews, panels, reporting and commentary that digs into the stories behind the music, with in-depth discussion of the most important issues facing music and arts communities. Sound & Vision is hosted by Emily Fox and John Richards.

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Jul 01, 2019