KAFM Music Blog

KAFM Music Blog

FRESH TRACKS - February 24, 2017

February 27, 2017
Every week Tori, the Music Director here at KAFM, has a new music spotlight show called Fresh Tracks.
Each Tuesday TONS of music goes into radio rotation, and Tori tries her best to keep a finger on the pulse.
Let's check out the featured artists and tracks this past week!

1. Sinkane - U'Huh - Life & Livin' It

Born Ahmed Gallab, to two college professors in Sudan, and moved to the US at 5 to Ohio. Worked as a studio musician for Eleanor Friedberger, Of Montreal, Yeasayer, and more. Also the band director of the Atomic Bomb! Band, which includes David Byrne, Jamie Lidell, Dev Hynes, and Joshua Redman, just Quick read more or view full article to name a few. This is his 6th studio album as Sinkane, out on City Slang records.

2. The Luyas - All of Everything - Human Voicing

From Montreal, formed in 2006. This band is known for using a wide variety of instruments, including a Moodswinger, swung my singer/guitarist Jessie Stein. A Moodswing is an electric 12 stringed zither. This is their 4th LP, called Human Voicing out on Paper Bag Records

3. Maggie Rogers - Dog Years - Now That The Light is Fading EP

Since I mentioned more about how she came to music in the last post, I'll put a piece of her own personal bio on Facebook "Dear listening ears/reading eyes, For a long time, I've introduced myself as a banjo player from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I'm a hiker and an environmentalist. I'm an optimist. I'm loud. I'm still all those things, but I went quiet for a few years. I cut my long hair short. I got a cat named Cat Stevens. I fell in love. I moved to New York, to France, and back. Inevitably, I found my space in the place between knowing who I was and finding out who I am."

4. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Fireproof - The Tourist

Project of Alec Ounsworth, based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Started in 2004 and really hit it big on the internet, with no real help from a record label. But their bio on Facebook keeps it short and sweet, "We formed several years ago. We have made 4 albums. We plan on making 300 more."

5. Leif Vollebekk - All Night Sedans - Twin Solitude

From Montreal, his new album Twin Solitude reflects on how the music he started making didn't make him feel saved like other music he loved, and his journey to creating the music he needed. Out on Secret City records.

6. The Orwells - They Put a Body in the Bayou - Terrible Human Beings

From Chicago, IL, this is their 3rd album out on Canvasback Records. Playing blues in the background of all their garage rock power, and whining about girls.

7. Dude York - Life Worth Living Pt. 2 - Sincerely

(not the song featured on the show, but a good song off of the album!)
A trio out of Seattle, WA, they say this album "Sincerely is a loud, sweaty rebuke to those moments in life when it seems like nothing's working, a testament to the power of friendship, staring problems directly in the face, and finding solace in art." Out on Hardly Art Records.

8. The Right Now - That's Enough - Starlight

Soul band from Chicago, that say their music confronts the darkness of modern times head on, and they utilize their music as a beacon to navigate to safer ground

9. Xiu Xiu - Wondering - Forget

An experimental art-rock band from San Jose, California. Fronted by Jamie Stewart. 13th album since 2002. Stewart says that Xiu Xiu was formed as an answer to feeling off, wanting to dance away the negative emotions, and realizing that club music made you feel just as bad - so he made his own.

10. Middle Kids - Your Love - Middle Kids

From Sydney, Australia, with a huge debut under their belt without even releasing the EP yet. After two singles they've been all over the radio, so now with their full EP, out on Domino, there's no stopping this trio.

11. The Matinee - Dancing on Your Grave - Dancing on Your Grave

From Vancouver, Canada, "Just a bunch of good 'ole boys, never meaning no harm" out on Light Organ Records.

12. Old 97's - Good With God - Graveyard Whistling
Alt-country band from Dallas, TX, formed in 1993. Playing along with the likes of the Drive-by Truckers, The Jayhawks and Whiskeytown. This is their 10th studio album out on ATO Records.
(PS. Fake interview comedy bit with Fred Armisen before the song :p)

13. Sinkane - Telephone - Life & Livin' it
  Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

2016 - PJ's Finest Hour

February 20, 2017
2016 - The Finest Hour, by PJ - programmer for the KAFM Desert Canyon Music show on Sunday night.
Aspiring on-air programmers for KAFM sit in on an orientation program conducted by our Program Director, Coach. Aspiring programmers get a rundown of the dos and don'ts associated with representing the station on air.  Obviously it's not appropriate to rave about the soup at your brother's restaurant, but I was taken aback by one point: Coach was adamant that KAFM is not an oldies station.  We want fresh programming he insisted, and said his expectation was that at least 30% of the music we play should be new releases.  I dutifully accepted, not realizing that the door to a golden Quick read more or view full article musical opportunity was about to swing open.
Three years later, a Desert Canyon playlist routinely includes nearly 50% new material.  Music distributors send KAFM new releases from artists, asking only that that we play them.  Given our lack of musical obligations at KAFM such as a requirement to play hits, we are uniquely positioned to support these artists by giving them air time.  We like them.  They like us.  It's really great to be part of such a positive relationship.
To celebrate the work of these modern day artists, I present my list of the "finest hour" of new music added to the KAFM library in 2016.  I employed a one song per artist ground rule in developing this list. There is so much material, I only heard some of what was available.  Your top hour would surely be different.  Here's mine.  
15.   Waiting for the World to End  - All Night Live, Vol. 1 - The Mavericks  The spectacular "Mono" CD hit the KAFM new wall in 2015.  They went on tour in 2016, and I had the great fortune to catch one of their high-energy good-time shows on the shores of Lake Superior.  It is hard to imagine a better summer evening, so I was thrilled when a disk of their live CD showed up  at the station.  Frankly this recording is a little fuzzy.  It is a problem easily remedied by adjusting the volume upward.  Do it!
14.  The Do Without - Not Gonna Worry - Bob Rasero  It's fun to pair Howling Wolf's "Do the Do" with Bob Rasero's "The Do Without."  It helps that Bob Rasero is an exceptional acoustic lead guitar player, song writer and vocalist.
13.  Afraid - Love and Sabotage - David Star A Cedaredge local artist, David Star played at the KAFM Radio Room in early 2016.   His guitar work on "Afraid" is cutting edge both with regard to the acoustic rhythm, the slide, and wah wah lead.  JJ Cale would have loved this guy.
12.  Find Ourselves - Devin Allman - Ride or Die  Greg Allman's son Devin has definitely found himself as a musical talent.  I'm sure his name is both an obstacle and an advantage depending on the circumstance, but check him out on youtube and he looks like he was born to play that cherry sunburst Les Paul.

11. Boulevard Six - Jim Duffy - Pale Afternoon  This is just one example of a jazz record that is consistently bright and upbeat.  I'd like to go to New York with Booker T, and watch Jim Duffy play keyboard.
10.  Comes a Time - Coral Creek - Coral Creek  Ever listen to a song and think, hey this better than the original?  This Neil Young cover is so cool!  The song is bluegrass rooted for sure, but with a pleasing drum beat.  Try to categorize them and they'll break out a saxophone, or perhaps launch a mean electric guitar solo.  Their vocals are always excellent.
9. She thinks I Still Care - Eric Lindell - Matters of the Heart  Reminiscent of Eric Stewart of 10cc trying to convince himself he's "Not in Love,"  Eric Lindell wants us to know he doesn't still care.  Of course he does.  This is nifty song writing - nicely implemented.
8. Belly of the Sea - Darcy Malone & the Tangle - Still Life  Blues rock with a great saxophone, great vocals and unique songwriting make this a special tune.
7. Maybe I'm A Rose - For The Sender - Love Letters From Vietnam  The tempo change when this song switches gears is quite the hook.  She says, "Maybe I'm a Rose, but first I'm your girl."  Lucky guy.
6. Leave This Town - Stewart Lindsey - Spitballin'  Stewart Lindsey, the former other half of the Eurythmics, excels in this rockin' tune that showcases his guitar skills more than the heavily produced Eurythmics material.

5. Jacqui Juice - The Jimmys - Live In Transylvania Like the Mavericks, the Jimmys feature an impossible to indentify genre that moves from jazz, to country, to big band swing, then good old fashion rock and roll.  It's a sweet niche they occupy together, and they do it with gusto.  The all instrumental Jacqui Juice is a round trip through that splendid niche, with bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone, guitar, and keyboards alternating and blending to carve out a wonderful song.
4.  Cathy With The Curly Hair - Eleanor Friedberger - New View  Eleanor trends toward non flashy, but she conveys a down home groove that really works.  This song captures from the outset and keeps me interested until it fades away.
3.  Lessons Learned - Three Beards - Lessons Learned  At a KAFM music board team gathering in the spring of 2016, I pulled a CD from the mail bag that had this adult coloring book looking skull on the cover.  I reluctantly agreed to review it.  In my hand was a five song EP that includes three of the best rock and roll songs I've heard in years.  Lessons Learned is one of them.   Gentlemen, it's time to release another CD.
2.  The Pain Around Me - Toronzo Cannon - The Chicago Way  I can just feel the personal commitment inherent in this incredible song.  Toronzo Cannon still drives a bus for the Chicago Transit Authority.  Somehow that fact seems to personify the music business.  How could this man possibly still need his day job?  I guess that just sums up why I like to play Toronzo's songs on KAFM.  They're great, and he deserves to be recognized.  It's an honor to have the opportunity.
1. Rita - Gnarly Feat - Gnarly Feat I play a lot of songs for people.  Come over to the house and chances are you'll be asked to listen to one.  People love this song.  And why not?  It has incredible guitars, biting lyrics, sweet vocals and a rhythm line that flows like a river.  Looking at the videos, I doubt any of these guys are twenty.  I can't wait to hear their 15th CD.  Oh, and I do have some fatherly advice.  If you boys ever write another song as good as Rita, make it longer than three minutes and 20 seconds.


  Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

FRESH TRACKS - February 10, 2017

February 14, 2017
Every week Tori, the Music Director here at KAFM, has a new music spotlight show called Fresh Tracks.
Each Tuesday TONS of music goes into radio rotation, and Tori tries her best to keep a finger on the pulse.
Let's check out the featured artists and tracks this past week!


1. Justice - Fire - Woman

French Electronica duo, consisting of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay. Nominated in 2007 for best electronic/dance album, and won the grammy for best remixed recording, for their remix of the MGMT song, "Electric Quick read more or view full article Feel" in 2009. This is their third album, in the works for 2 years, out on Because Music. Justice combines cut up or slapped basslines with compressed and distorted synth sounds.

2. Strand of Oaks - Salt Brothers - Hard Love

Timothy Showalter - originally from Goshen Indiana, and I recently found out I know his cousin - but now resides in Philadelphia. This is his fifth album, out on Dead Oceans records. Dude has suffered some trauma - his wife bailed on him when he was on tour, and when he came back his house had burnt down. Between sleeping on park benches and borrowing guitars, he found a lot of inspiration for his music. 

3. All Them Witches - Bruce Lee - Sleeping Through the War

Psych rock band from Nashville, TN, and started in a very DIY way - recording their initial EP with 2 mics straight to a tape recorder. Their third album, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker kind of put them on the map. The new album is called "Sleeping Through the War" and it's out on New West records. 

4. Greyface - What Did You Lose - Greyola

From Los Angeles. First album, from what I can tell, and I love the name. Granted, couldn't find a ton about them on the interwebs - let's see what else comes from Greyface!

5. SOHN - Conrad - Rennen

AKA Christopher Taylor, is an English Singer/songwriter based out of Los Angeles, where is he also a producer for artists like BANKS. This is his second album out on 4ad Records, who picked him up rapidly after he put out his EP in 2012. He was known as "Trouble over Tokyo" from 2005-2012, but dissolved that project and reintroduced himself as SOHN, which apparently worked much better for him. New record is called "Rennen"

6. Shelles - Carousel - Landfill

Built around the solo work of Stuart Edwards, this 5 piece advances his compositions into a larger, sweeping Southern Gothic affair, with rhythms and tonal nuances interacting underneath the witty, hauntingly melodic, sometimes eviscerating verse of Edwards. Out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

7. Less Than Jake - Welcome to My Life - Sound the Alarm

The biggest names in ska fueld self deprication are back with their 9th album. From Gainsville FLA. Rumor has it that back in their formative years, Vinnie Fiorello's family dog, Jake, was treated better than anyone else in the household - hence their name. 

8. Hidout - Doctor - So Many Hoops, So Little Time


Side project of Gabriel Rodriguez, a core member of the band Cults. This is the second album Gabriel and his rotating contributors.

9. Nikki Lane - Highway Queen - Highway Queen

Born in Greenville, South Carolina and dropped out of high school there. Powered by fashion she moved from LA then to New York, and then broke up with the country musician she had been dating, who left her to record an album in Alabama. This all inspired her to begin writing country music, too. Lane, who now lives in Nashville, also owns and operates a clothing store called "High Class Hillbilly". This is her third album, called Highway Queen out on New West Records

10. Moon Duo - Creepin' - Occult Architecture, Vol. 1

Their genre on facebook is "Repeat-o rock." From Portland, Oregon. This album is actually a 2 parter - occult architecture vol 1 and 2. 2 is set to release later, focusing on the brighter side of Moon Duo's music, so yes, that means vol.1 is the dark side. Out on Sacred Bones records.

11. Strand of Oaks - Radio Kids - Hard Love

12. Justice - Randy - Woman
  Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

FRESH TRACKS - February 3, 2017

February 7, 2017
Every week Tori, the Music Director here at KAFM, has a new music spotlight show called Fresh Tracks.
Each Tuesday TONS of music goes into radio rotation, and Tori tries her best to keep a finger on the pulse.
Let's check out the featured artists and tracks this past week!

1. Angelica Garcia - Orange Flower - Medicine for Birds

A graduate from the los angeles school for the arts, living in Richmond, Virginia - this is her debut album, and it's out on Warner Bros. She says "Just a lil tangerine doin' her thang. Singer and Songwriter chuggin' through RVA" on Facebook. 

2. Honus Quick read more or view full article Honus - Oh No!  - Use Your Delusion

Front man of the band MAN MAN, Ryan Kattner, who has been splitting his time between songwriting and side projects like screenplays, a long-outlined graphic novel, music supervision gigs, a bizarro children’s record called ‘Booger Bubble,’ original scores for plays and TV pilots, a monthly column, even a little acting and directing. But for the first time - he endeavored on a solo-album! His claims on Facebook that his genre is "apocalypse pop" and it's not hard to see why.  

3. Sleater-Kinney - Oh! - Live in Paris

Formed in 1994, this band was near the front of the RIOT GRRRL movement - which combined feminism, punk, and progressive politics. Disbanded in the early 2000's, now back together and have been putting out music since 2014. This live album showcases that they're still on top of their game and shredding the rock scene. FUN FACT: if you like the TV show Portlandia, this is Carrie Brownstein's band!

4. Charlie Cunningham - Minimum - Lines

Not much to say about this guy, and not because I don't want to - I just can't find it! A British singer/songwriter, and Q magazine thinks what the same as I do - "Despite his 5.7 million spotify plays, he remains a mysterious moody figure."

5. Dead Man Winter - Am I Breaking Down? - Furnace

David Simonett, who plays guitar for Trampled by Turtles, an all acoustic group. Well, this band is his electrified band! New album about his choice to end his marriage - "it felt like I killed someone" - a cleansing fire.

6. Ty Segall - Break a Guitar - Ty Segall (2017)

Prolific fuzz guitar master. This album "Ty Segall" is his 9th studio album since 2008, and the 2nd self titled album. Basically an album a year. Supported by Thee Oh Sees (Fuzz magicians) and their label Castle Face.

7. Japandroids - True Love and a Free Life of Free Will - Near to the Wild Heart of Life

PROLIFIC performers - 2-3 shows (500 total) a week on average for 4 years in 44 countries from 2009-2013. Then took 3 years off - now they're back! The title, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, comes from a passage in the novel A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce: "He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life."

8.The Dig - Astronaut - Blodshot Tokyo

From New York City, the front men, Emile and David, have been playing together since they were 10, and have opened for the lumineers, the antlers, and the walkmen! This is their third LP.

9. Dolly Spartans - Time Sides with No One - Time Sides with No One EP

New York garage pop band, call their genre "sea shanties" on facebook - sike. And on their bandcamp page it says "boasting sophisticated instrumental work and immediate, unforgettable melodies," and to be fair, they're not exactly lying.

10. Once & Future Band - How Does it Make You Feel? - Once & Future Band

Like King Arthur, right? Out on Castle Face (like Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees). This group of guys have been playing together for 10 years in other projects, but they have convened as Once and Future Band "with the purpose of performing and recording Joel's massive library of songs before they are lost to the ages after the Great Hard Drive Crash of '12." according to their Facebook page. Castle Face says they're "Making prog cool again, again, and then slightly more complicatedly, again."

11. Angelica Garcia - Bridge on Fire - Medicine for Birds

Because one wasn't enough of her voice! Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

'The Outer Vibe’ Shines Like A Diamond At The Radio Room

February 1, 2017
Another magical musical moment last night as KAFM’s Radio Room concert series presented Grand Rapids MI regional favorites, the multi-faceted five piece gem, ‘The Outer Vibe”.  With an energy that demanded attention, positivity flow lit up the Radio Room with sunny “Cinematic Surf Disco”, that featured scorching surf guitar riffs, shimmering keyboards, lead solos of sustained and staccato trumpet, a funk\disco dusted rhythm section and some of the best pure male lead vocals in the business powered by front man, Sean Zee.  Playing to an obviously appreciative audience, a well-planned playlist mixed it up with TOV originals, occasionally throwing back to some R&R classics from ‘The Beatles’, ‘Dick Dale’, ‘The Rolling Stones’, and even some ‘Led Zeppelin’.  Masters Quick read more or view full article of their profession (quite literally as several of the band members have up to master’s degrees in, or are professors of, music theory, performance, classical voice, and recording technology) the quintet showcased their individual multi-instrument talents, often switching front and center stage positions to perform their technical expertise solo while still enjoying space to improvise on a musical mélange of past, current, and developing collaboratively written works.  Clearly a band with a plan, TOV recently moved to Nashville to better enhance their goal strategies.  Wrapping up in Colorado after a western states tour, TOV heads back to their native turf before traveling south to Austin for SXSW Showcase performances in March.  If you missed it or just want to relive TOV live, check out this performance of 'Shining Like a Diamond' ....

Band Members:
  • Sean Zee (Sean Zuidgeest ) – Lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica
  • Nick Hosford  - Guitars, vocals
  • Lisa Kacos  - Keyboards, trumpet, ukulele, drums, percussion, vocals
  • Andrew Dornoff ( aka “Wonder”) -  Bass, vocals
  • Noah Snyder -  Drums, vocals

Releases to date:
  • Games We Play
  • Pretty Good
  • Hoka Hey
  • Monster EP – CD and Vinyl
  • Full Circle – CD and Vinyl
  • Surf Disco Compacto Vol. 1

Set List: (sample listening here)
  1. Angry Young Man
  2. Pink Moon 
  3. Why Don’t You Listen
  4. Fionna
  5. Kitchen Dancer
  6. Under My Thumb
  7. Rose Colored Shades
  8. Take It Slow
  9. Full Circle
  10. Big Bad Machine
  11. Misirlou
  12. Hoka Hey
  13. Sweet To The Rind
  14. Pure Gold
  15. Rock and Roll
  16. Waits For Me
  17. Sold My Brain
  18. Shining Like A Diamond
  19. Crossroads of Desire
Special thanks goes out to KAFM staff and volunteers for “making it happen!”

  Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>
On Air:
Up Next: