In-Studio With KEXP: How all free music should work

KEXP radio out of Seattle regularly posts the best new music on the internet.

For free. (You just gotta dig through the bin a little.)

It comes by way of their live in-studio sessions, usually four songs, performed by just about every near-rock band or person you've heard of with a new album (not Bieber, friends. Never Bieber).

KEXP's method is growing. And there's a reason every band goes there, whenever they're on the west coast...

When a band is great live for four songs it makes me want to buy the album. And that's how free music should work. Easy. Give a little, get a lot (buy the t-shirt).

It's why those of us old enough to know that music can actually be tangible have been making mix tapes and CDs for each other since the birth of transferable sound -- "Please support my/my friend's/this dude who I don't know but love's band. Free samples!"

By this point, KEXP has the studio decorated like a basement party and bands know to bring it. Every session is wonderfully shot and recorded. Everybody knows that any jam could easily click, say, 162,513 hits (Alabama Shakes', at last count). (Alex Turner's (of Arctic Monkeys) session has half a mill.)

Lately I've watched particularly inspired full sessions from The Lumineers, Reptar, Silversun Pickups, Andrew Bird and the incredible session that got me into Alabama Shakes before the album even dropped.

The jams are great. The interviews awesomely informed.

Father John Misty's (aka Josh Tillman) is yet another fantastic live session (dude was also briefly Fleet Foxes' drummer), and another cool chat. I wasn't yet quite aware of his full range of sound from the few songs I'd heard. He's like a more classically rockin/smoother Edward Sharpe with a hint of irreverent blues.

That's a terrible comparison. Just listen, dammit.

I can't stop...

[ KEXP is 90.3 FM if you're out there, and you can find them amidst the webs at ]


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