Author Archives: djmichelemyers

About djmichelemyers

Radio DJ on KEXP, Seattle every Saturday 3-6pm. Freelance writer, producer and voiceover artist. Michele has produced over 200 radio documentaries for KEXP. She's written scripts, articles and lesson plans for NPR, the Smithsonian, the University of Washington and KEXP. Check out her DJ page and record collection here: http://kexp.org/dj/MicheleMyers To book Michele as a club or event DJ, or to suggest an article send to djmichelemyers@yahoo.com.

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 2015: 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.

beat

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.


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What Grandpa Taught Me: A Musical Memorial

pup

Grandma and Gramps met in the 1940s at a friend’s party. They both loved to dance.

Her nickname was “Snake Hips” and everyone called him Fritz. He went off in World War II and came back a changed man.

My gramps was not transformed the way many men were by the war. He came back determined to have a good time.

In our travels together, I watched my grandfather enjoy everything and everyone.

Grocery shopping was a pleasure for him and going to church too. He wasn’t the best singer but he was the most impassioned.

He and Gram ran a food bank in a poor part of town and treated everyone there like part of the family.

familywestview1965

My dad, uncle, older brother, gramps (holding baby) and grandma in 1965.

I wasn’t blood-related to my Pup. My mom was adopted.

Still, he treated me like I belonged to him.

When someone loves you, you know it. There is no doubt.

My grandfather lit up every time I came in the room. He couldn’t wait to show me his garden and new projects in the garage.

Growing up, my childhood home was rough and chaotic. Pup was someone I could count on.

He took time with me. Taught me not only to be kind and compassionate, but that our actions make a huge difference to those around us.

When I was nine Grandpa took me on his postman route in downtown Pittsburgh. He knew the name of every building and every person working in those buildings. Pup knew little facts about everyone.

He said you should always treat the janitor the same way as the president.
That our real work in this life is how we are with other people.

He taught me that everyone deserves respect.

“Besides,” he said with that grandpa twinkle. “That janitor might be the president someday. You never know!”

Pittsburgh in 1974. From WikiCommons.

Pittsburgh in 1974. From WikiCommons.

In my teen years Gram and Pup drove way across town early Sunday mornings. They probably suspected that I was more into the community aspect of their church than the words of the bible. They were just happy I was there.
They both conducted themselves so graciously. I was proud of them. A lot of people talk about religion, but my gram and pup were actually kind and inclusive to everyone.

When you love someone they become part of you.

Though I live in Seattle now my Pup is with me. When I garden or sing a song. In the grocery store…

At this point I think he’d want me to mention how handsome he was. Fred Bach was dashing!

He also had great taste in music. Here’s the Andrew Sisters with “Rum and Coca Cola.”

At his funeral I asked the room how many had felt my grandfather’s love.

Most everyone in the crowd raised their hands.

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM Seattle, kexp.org. Music historian and producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. As a Party DJ Michele has performed at Seattle Space Needle  on New Year’s Eve, Doe Bay Festival, Seattle Art Museum and Bumbershoot. She’s written scripts, lesson plans & features for The SmithsonianExperience Music Projectthe University of Washington & NPR.
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Top Dance Tracks of 2014 (So Far): Jack White, Sharon Jones and More

On the air Friday night on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle. Photo by Eve Cooke.

On the air Friday night on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle. Photo by Eve Cooke.

Every Friday I spend all day looking through new releases to find uptempo, dance-worthy songs for my show on KEXP.

There are lots of emo (slow, sad) songs in alternative radio, and though many are good, I’m looking for propulsive tracks. My favorite have soulful vocalists or lyrics.

I play every show as if it might be my last. Never saving the best music for later.

Although it’s an art to put the different music styles together, it’s really the artists that are coming through with circulatory, smart or melodic tracks that are magnetic and strong.

Whether you’re jumping around your living room like a fool (I do this every Saturday when I re-listen to the show), partying with friends or sailing under the moonlight, this music brings us all together.

Here are some of my favorites of 2014.

I’ve also listed classic or alternative songs that go well with these new tracks in sets. Can’t give you all my secrets, but try these new songs with an open ear. I believe you’ll find them satisfying.

1. Jack White – “Lazaretto”

Say what you will about Jack White’s personality, he is undeniably one of the great artists of our time. This rock song is the climactic point (and the title track) to his new full-length Lazaretto.

Jack doesn’t fill his music with solos or layers, it’s retained a raw, spacious quality that invites you in.

Play with hard-hitting rock: The Black Keys – “10am Automatic” or Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero.”

2. Karol Conka – “Vo La”

We don’t see many masterful female rappers. I’m not sure why, since girl singers  and writers seem to be everywhere.

Brazilian artist Karol Conka brings in the heavy guns with a warm, rhythmic voice and a mix of world-savvy styles that lean hard into hip-hop.

Play with international dance beats: Manu Chau – “Me Gustas Tu” or Alt-J – “Fitzpleasure.”

3. Bloc Party – “Ratchet”

Suggested by a Twitter friend from London, this song by Bloc Party is their most catchy to date. The interesting thing about this band is that they ride the line between club beats and new wave like no one else.

Play with club beats: Chemical Brothers’ “Song to the Siren” or Underworld’s “Dirty Epic.”

4. Trust – “Icabod”

If I had a quarter for every neo-80s band that comes into the station, I’d be a rich DJ.

Most of seem to be copying the great new wave groups. But once in a while a group comes through with melodies that impress and lyrics that are truly personal.

Trust’s Joyland record is easily my favorite of 2014 so far. This song “Icabod” haunts my dreams in a good way. No, they’re not quite as good as Joy Division, and don’t do Ian Curtis’s trapped butterfly dance, but Trust has their own style going on.

Play with brilliant new wave classics: Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” or The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

5.Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – “Stranger To My Happiness”

Daptone Records in Brooklyn is bringing out some of the best soul artists of the decade: Lee Fields, Charles Bradley and my girl Sharon Jones.

Their concert at Seattle’s Showbox Theater was the best of the year so far.

The new record Give The People What They Want has many great dance tracks.

My favorite of the bunch is “Stranger To My Happiness.” Oh, those horns!

Play with classic or newer soul: Al Green’s “Here I Am” or Jamie Lidell’s “Multiply.”

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM Seattle, kexp.org.

Music historian and producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. As a party DJ she’s performed at Seattle Space Needle’s New Year’s Eve, Bumbershoot and private events. This year she’ll spin dance sets at Doe Bay Fest and The Black Cat Halloween Bash. Michele runs Soulful Alternative Marketing and has written scripts, lesson plans and features for The SmithsonianExperience Music Projectthe University of Washington and NPR.

Categories: alternative rock, dance, electronic, electronic dance, hip-hop, indie rock, music, new bands, new releases, soul, videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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