Friday, October 08, 2010

New blog location. Update your feeds!

Hey all you KWUR fans,

In case you haven't noticed, http://blog.kwur.com/ hasn't been updated in awhile. That's because we have a new website and now you will be able to find our blog on our homepage, kwur.com.

So, now is the time to update the feed address for your Google Reader or any other blog compilers that you may use.

Our new feed address is http://kwur.com/feed/

Thanks, and we'll see you on the other side!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Paul White: An Englishman with strange dreams and sick psychedelic beats

Long story short: if you like hip-hop along the lines of J Dilla's Donuts, listen to the 2009 album The Strange Dreams of Paul White, by Paul White. It's out in the US on Stone's Throw Records, the label Donuts was released on. You can put it on when you're chilling out alone or with a few friends and it will make you happy.


Now. Who is Paul White and why haven't we all heard about him? He's a foreigner whose stuff appears on a first-rate US hip-hop label (Stone's Throw is the home of Madlib/Madvillain and Peanut Butter Wolf among others), and that album, Strange Dreams, got glowing press in the UK. FACT Magazine listed it on their top 40 albums of 2009 (beating Major Lazer) and called him "one of Britain's most promising producers." And yet here in the US, the all-reviewing, opinion-shaping entity that is Pitchfork did not even review any of his albums. He has no Wikipedia page. His discography is a mess of beat-tape style LPs and EPs. He heavily samples 70s prog and psychedelic rock. You can download a slew of radio mixes he's done if you know where to look, and they give the impression that he's a bottomless well of great ideas when it comes to mixing and making beats. Intrigued yet?

He's very much a hip-hop artist making hip-hop beats, not some experimental-minded dabbler fucking around with a cross-fader. But what sets him apart immediately from US hip-hop producers is the different set of samples he draws from, likely due to the English character of his crate-digging activities. A very much intact and recognizable sample of King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man jumps out at the listener on track 3, Uprising of the Insane. I got really excited when I picked out the coughing intro from Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf on one of his radio mixes (the M.A.Hobbs mix for Radio 1 freely available on his Last.fm page). His latest album, July 2010's Paul White and the Purple Brain, is based entirely around the work of "little-known Swedish psych-rock guru S.T. Mikael" according to Andrew Meza of BTS Radio. His DJ set promoting that album on BTS radio (check it out here) ends with tracks by the likes of Pharaoh Sanders and Can.

Despite brimming with new ideas, his work is refreshingly clear and uncluttered. It's catchy enough to be satisfying, but not just about hooks. You can turn it on and zone out, but it pays to listen closely, too. His Band Camp website (http://paulwhite.bandcamp.com/) offers a service for 250 Pounds ($391) whereby you can send him two samples of your own choosing which he will then turn into personalized beats that you own the rights to. His Band Camp site also advises the reader about buying his new album, "This money goes straight to Paul White (once he's paid off his corporate overlords) and is quickly spent on new records, which are then sampled and given back to you. So it's a form of recycling your money, rather than spending it exactly..." Truly inspiring words to come from the hip-hop underground. So enough about Paul White, check him out already. But don't expect the next J Dilla, just an awesome guy on his own crazy trip.

In other news, Mr. White isn't the only Stone's Throw artist making the leap between prog/kraut/psych and hip-hop. Madlib recently jammed out with 70's kraut rock giants Embryo, and they'll be playing live in Berlin together with J Rocc in October, with recorded output also in the works. Kraut rock and hip-hop: two great tastes that taste great together?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Go Back In Time: Stack Sessions

I've just delved deep into the KWUR computers and finally posted many of our past Stack Sessions online. Some were posted previously, but this is the first appearance for several bands such as Pirate Fucking Radio, Jon Hardy & the Public, Hermit Thrushes, and Electric Tickle Machine. You may freely stream all sessions or download them at your leisure. Scan down the list on the right side of your screen for the full list of available bands.

The Stack Session series has been a learning experience for all involved, and we humbly submit our recordings to you, warts and all. These recordings are not professional; they merely offer an informal glimpse into these bands' music. Thanks to Kenny Hofmeister for spending many, many hours recording most of these bands.

Keep your eyes open. More sessions will be added soon!

Labels:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stack Sessions: Art Majors

We had the pleasure to feature St. Louis band Art Majors at our station on the evening of August 16. They played three songs, including 2 brand new ones. We will have the complete session posted shortly, but until then, please enjoy two videos that we shot. They have a new EP out, so check it out if you like what you hear.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Album Review: Beth Bombara and the Robotic Foundation

St. Louisian Beth Bombara has a new band and a new sound on her recent self titled EP Beth Bombara and the Robotic Foundation. With the addition of bass and drums, her sound has matured considerably from her last EP. Expect tight bass lines, smooth drumming, and soaring vocals on every song. On "Not the World" the group proves they can do rocking pop songs as well as they can do mellow organ-driven numbers like "Beautiful You." The instrumentation plays beautifully, but it is still the arching vocal that captures your attention on each song. I understand Beth and Co are working on a new full length, so keep an eye out for that in the coming year.

Your next chance to see Beth Bombara and the Robotic Foundation live is on September 17 at the Map Room in St. Louis.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

STACK SESSIONS: Ava, Wait

Tune in tonight at 9:30ish pm to hear an in-studio with Ava, Wait, a St. Louis-based quartet!

Labels:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Classical new releases at KWUR, 8/2010 edition

More good (actually, much better than good) new classical CD releases have arrived at KWUR, from which I am happy to broadcast for your listening pleasure:

* The Songs of Johannes Brahms - 1, with mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and pianist Graham Johnson (Hyperion CDJ33121), the newest "compleat" song series masterminded by Graham Johnson, Hyperion's resident lieder scholar/pianist extraordinaire
* Britten: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake and other selections, with baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake (Hyperion CDA 67778)
* The Romantic Piano Concerto - 51: piano concertos by Wilhelm Taubert and Jacob Rosenhain, with Howard Shelley as soloist and conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion CDA67765)
* Henri Dutilleux: "D'ombre et de silence": music for solo piano and one selection for two pianos, with Robert Levin (all tracks) and Ya-Fei Chuang (second pianist in Figures de résonances (ECM New Series 2105)
* Thomas Larcher: Madhares: featuring Till Fellner (solo piano in Böse Zellen), Kim Kashkashian (solo viola in Still), Larcher (piano in Still), and the Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies (Böse Zellen and Still), and the Quatour Diotima in Madhares (String Quartet No. 3) (ECM New Series 2111)
* Krysztof Penderecki: Violin Concerto No. 1 and Horn Concerto (Winterreise), with violinist Robert Kabara and horn soloist Radovan Vlatkovic, and the composer conducting the Sinfonietta Cracovia (Channel Classics CCS SA 30310)
* Ferdinand Ries: Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas - 3, with pianist Susan Kagan (Naxos 8.572204)
* Mi Alma Mexicana (My Mexican Soul): music of José Pablo Moncayo, Gustavo Campa, Ricardo Castro, Candelario Huízar, Manuel Ponce, Juventino Rosas, Arturo Márquez, Silvestre Revueltas, Carlos Chávez, Federico Ibarra, Eugenio Toussaint, Mario Lavista and Enrico Chapela, with Alondra de la Parra conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (Sony Classical 88697755552)
* El Nuevo Mundo: Folias Criollas: music from the era of Spain's colonization of the Caribbean lands, with Monserrat Figueras, the Tembembe Ensamble Continuo, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hesperion XXI, led by Jordi Savall (Alia Vox AVSA 9876)

As always, comments and feedback are welcome. Please feel free to drop me a line at classical@kwur.com, or you can IM me during my regular Saturday show (11 AM-2 PM). Thanks for reading.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stack Sessions: The Blind Nils

St. Louis band the Blind Nils joined us in the lounge at the station the other day for a short live performance on the air. They played 5 of their original tunes with eclectic instrumentation including banjo, slide guitar, and xylophone. Take a look the videos below for a peek into their set. Their entire set will be rebroadcast this Thursday at 3:30pm, so don't forget to tune in at www.kwur.com.

If you like what you hear, your next chance to see the Blind Nils llive is on August 23 at Hajari House.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Album Review: Kentucky Knife Fight's "We're All Nameless Here"


Kentucky Knife Fight has been running their garage blues rock all over St. Louis for several years now, and I think it's almost time for the revolution. With the release of their second LP We're All Nameless Here, KKF shows themselves to be the rock n' roll force that it deserves to be. Neither on their new album nor in their live show do KKF mess around. They get straight to the music with amped-up rockers and slow burning blues.

The whole band revolves around Jason Holler's gravelly voice that frequently stretches to its tremulous limits. Holler keys in to the rest of the Knife Fight, providing an incredibly dynamic sound. Besides ripping guitar solos, the music has nice accents from occasional banjo and blues harp, which thankfully takes cues more from Mick Jagger than John Popper.

Besides the blues garage rock that sometimes teeters on the edge of punk, this new album also features some grooving, slower numbers. KKF even touches on gypsy romps on “Always a Bride, Never a Bribe” with the help of the Monads' Matt Shivelbine on fiddle.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Album Review: Fattback's "EEE PEE"


Fattback is a band with a great sense of humor. Lyrical content ranges from taco stands to dinosaurs, and they are equally diverse in their musical ability. On their new EP cleverly titled "EEE PEE," they are adept at rip roaring country-rock, blues, and finger blistering straight rock numbers. Guitarist Dave Hagerty and drummer John Joern share the lead vocal duties, but it is Dave's songs based around goofy lyrics that steal the show. Case in point: Fattback has an "educational" song implying that dinosaurs went extinct due to a blazing hot guitar solo. We also see Fattback's softer, mellower side on "John Greene," which pairs banjo and electric guitar solos. All of this adds up to a band of goofy guys who like to play quirky rock music really loudly. That's just the kind of thing I expect from a bunch of boys from St. Louis.

Oh, I forgot to mention that when you buy the EP it comes with a few extras that you'll never be able to download off the internet. The cd comes with an old school cassette tape copy and a temporary dino tattoo! All packaged inside of a pizza box! Pure awesome? Yes.

Your next chance to see Fattback is at Off Broadway with Deer Tick on August 5.

Labels: , ,