DJ Michele’s Summer BBQ Playlist: Beats, Rock & Soul

summer

My Summer BBQ Playlist has upbeat songs from: Smoove & Turrell, Stevie Wonder, Until The Ribbon Breaks, Dag, Mayer Hawthorne, Leon Bridges, Jill Scott with Jazzanova, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Ramones, Sleater-Kinney, Beach Day, Odesza, DJ Shadow, Major Laser & Deltron 3030.

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP Seattle. A live DJ for select events, she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle New Year’s EveBumbershoot and Doe Bay Festival.

Michele’s produced over 200 radio episodes for KEXP Documentaries. Her book “50 Tips for Artists in the Music Business” has gotten rave reviews from readers. Find Michele’s other writing at The Smithsonian InstituteExperience Music ProjectThe University of Washington and NPR

Categories: alternative rock, dance, electronic dance, new bands, soul | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Electronic Crush: Icy Hot Dance Songs from Röyksopp, Robyn and Zola Jesus

Scene from Röyksopp & Robyn's "Monument"

Scene from Röyksopp & Robyn’s “Monument”

The most memorable music released in the past year includes songs by Zola Jesus and Until The Ribbon Breaks.

Norwegian band Röyksopp also teams up with Swedish vocalist Robyn for one of the best dance floor tracks of the decade.

Röyksopp specialize in lush electronic dance textures. Their 2014 release The Inevitable End is a potent mixture of pop, melody and beats. Starring Robyn on the circulatory opening track “Monument.”

Zola Jesus has always been innovative in her dark, beat-based torch songs. If perhaps a bit too melancholy for my personal tastes, you couldn’t deny this young American girl’s big talent.

zola

Her propulsive song “Dangerous Days” seems to hail a light at the end of the cave.

This just in. U.K. collective Until The Ribbon Breaks storm the scene in 2015 with bluesy, gritty melodies and funky dance beats.

With rave reviews from Pitchfork, NPR and BBC, their first record A Lesson Unlearnt will work for fans of Jon Spencer, Alt-J and The Heavy.

Here’s Until The Ribbon Breaks live at sister radio station WFUV.

DJ Michele Myers hosts Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP Seattle. A live DJ for select events, she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle New Year’s Eve, Bumbershoot and Doe Bay Festival . Michele’s produced over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries and her writing can be found at The Smithsonian InstituteExperience Music ProjectThe University of Washington and NPR

Categories: dance, edm, electronic, electronic dance, videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best New Music: Watch Out for PJ Harvey, Beat Connection, Frank Ocean and More!

PJ Harvey to record album in public

From PJ Harvey performing her next record live in London, to the brilliantly deconstructed path of Kanye West, 2015 promises to be a great year for music.

Here are my top picks for the year to come.

1. PJ Harvey will perform behind a glass wall to a lucky, small audience at Somerset House in London next week.

Whether it’s a catchy, smart rock song you can play on the radio or an edgy experimental piece, PJ is always fascinating. This track from the record Uh Huh Her gives you a taste of her rock side.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/126158319″]

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2. Seattle’s Beat Connection are uncontested leaders of the local electronic sound.

Their uncluttered, storied mix of beats, live instruments and poetic words is stunning and original. Here’s a track from the 2015 release.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/167921594″]

grims

3. For years I resisted the charms of Canadian electro-pop singer/songwriter Grimes. 

As a petite female, I tend to avoid voices that sound cute, chipmunkish or even slightly elven. Songs with substance and depth are king.

Grimes’ vocals are definitely young and girly, but she’s proven herself a heavyweight songwriter and performer again and again.

She’s also a consummate live performer. If 2014 was the year of bands who couldn’t play as well as their recordings, Grimes proves with this live version of the new single “Go” that there will at least be some artists in 2015 who can perform as good or better than their studio computers.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MUFdC16rSv8]

4. Frank Ocean‘s serious pipes, brave vulnerability (he’s gay, beautiful and proud of it) and beyond-his-years wisdom make it a good guess that his next record will be as strong as Agent Orange.

Meanwhile…I’m swooning on this “Thinkin’ Bout You” remix.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/54644991″]

bdiyc

5. London rock band Big Deal, may not be reinventing the wheel, but their genuine, slightly gogo-infused love anthems really step on my gas pedal.

Hoping for more like “In Your Car” on the new record!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/zqiQ4hRd7Fo]

In addition to the above top picks, am anticipating great things as well from:

Northwest electronic rock group Chromatics,

Reunited girl power superrockers Sleater-Kinney. (I get asked once a month about the band name, It’s pronounced Slate-urr Kinn-nee.)

Legendary beat guru Giorgio Moroder (who’s worked with Donna Summer and Bowie) and

the ever-controversial Kanye West, whose brilliance in texture and rebellious experimentation keep me glued to the screen. Who else would write a song titled “I Am a God”?

Stay tuned to Soulful Alternative for the bands I can’t resist writing about. Happy new year everyone!

DJ Michele Myers hosts Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP Seattle. A live DJ for select events, she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle New Year’s Eve, Bumbershoot and Doe Bay Festival . Michele’s produced over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries and her writing can be found at The Smithsonian InstituteExperience Music ProjectThe University of Washington and NPR

Categories: alternative rock, electronic, indie rock, music, new releases | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soul Legend Stevie Wonder

       Stevie Wonder press photo – steviewonder.net.

After a lifetime of being a fan, I’ll see Stevie Wonder tonight. He is not only a master of pop, soul and other styles, a genius keyboardist, smart songwriter and supreme vocalist. Stevie Wonder is a ray of light in the dark halls of music history.

Born in 1950, Steveland Hardaway Judkins grew up sightless yet was so musically talented that he was noticed at the age of eleven by fellow Detroit artist Ronny White.

White took him to Barry Gordy at the Motown label who helped Stevie put out his first live record. 12-year-old Genius dropped in 1963

Just a few years later “Little Stevie Wonder” would be a household name.

At the age of 14 Stevie co-wrote this song “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”.  It hit number one in the R&B and pop charts.


When you see footage of his concerts live, it’s easy to forget that Stevie Wonder is blind. He’s so present with the audience and writes a lot about seeing.

When you hear him sing this song “Boogie On Reggae Woman” it’s hard not to believe him.

In the film documentary Soul Deep you can follow Stevie’s work with synthesizers in the 1970′s. He was only 21 when he  hooked up with a couple engineers who were experimenting with electronic music, Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil.

Bob and Macolm put Stevie in a small recording room and enjoyed trying to get him mad (they thought he played best that way). Stevie would jam on the keys while they turned the knobs. When Stevie liked the sound he’d signal for them to use that setting.

These three  worked full days, holidays and weekends. The engineers knew Stevie so well that they taunted him into singing some of the best vocal performances of his life.

On “Superstition”  Stevie plays on the clavinet keyboard. The result is one of the funkiest dance songs of all time. If there’s a song better performed and written than this one, I’d like to know what it is.

Other Stevie Wonder songs to have for your collection are “Living for The City”, “Higher Ground”, “You Haven’t Done Nuthin” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

Stevie Wonder has sold over 100 million records and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He performs his iconic record Songs In The Key of Life tonight at Key Arena in Seattle!

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM Seattle, kexp.org. Michele will be spinning live sets all night at KEXP’s New Year’s Eve at Seattle Space Needle on 12/31. Music historian and producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. She’s also written scripts, lesson plans and features for The SmithsonianExperience Music Projectthe University of Washington and NPR

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Categories: music, soul | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment