Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Appreciation! KEXP, the radio station to end all radio stations

One of the main ways I get through the work day is by listening to some sweet tunes. More often than not, my soundtrack for the day is a live online stream of KEXP. KEXP is a Seattle-based listener supported radio station that plays alternative, independent and eclectic music, like Harvey Danger, Kings of Leon, The Long Winters, Interpol, The Hold Steady, My Morning Jacket and TV on the Radio.

KEXP began in 1972, broadcasting from the University of Washington campus. Since then it has grown from a 10-watt to a 720-watt award-winning radio station with fans and supporters all over the world.

John Richards (aka. John in the Morning) and Cheryl (the afternoon show DJ) not only present an amazing playlist but provide the listener with an adequate amount of on-air banter. Sometimes sharing a bit too much information, the DJs seem to truly care about the music and the artists they play all day long.

Their website is truly expansive and features a live playlist, a blog (with live show reviews and band profiles), a donations page, concert calendar and information about its djs (even pictures of John Richard's son, Arlie). In addition to regular programming, there are frequent on-air Live at KEXP performances, countdown lists (like the Top 90.3 albums of 2008 and Top 903 albums of all time).

Although they focus on a lot of Northwestern bands, like Point Juncture, WA and Elks, KEXP also has a connection to New York. John in the Morning can be heard on 91.5 Radio NY from 9-12 a.m. Recently a program called To The Five Boroughs was launched. Also hosted by John Richards, it is broadcast from Radio NY's Brooklyn studio and features music from local New York bands old and new.

The beauty of KEXP is its interactivity. If you request a song, chances are they will play it (or at least respond to your inquiry). Also (and probably most importantly), KEXP serves as one of my main resources of finding new and interesting music, usually via the KEXP "Song of the Day" podcast. This free podcast features a song each day, selected by the DJs and staff that they deem as a standout. Some of the bands featured on the podcast have been Neko Case, Nada Surf, Miles Anthony Benjamin Robinson, The Gaslight Anthem and Ra Ra Riot.

Now here is a list of 15 bands I have recently discovered by listening to KEXP (with links to their respective myspace pages):
  1. Airborne Toxic Event link
  2. A.C. Newman link
  3. The Bird and the Bee link
  4. The Boy Least Likely To link
  5. Deer Tick link
  6. Elvis Perkins link
  7. The Felice Brothers link
  8. J. Tillman link
  9. MGMT link
  10. Noah and the Whale link
  11. Parts and Labor link
  12. Plants and Animals link
  13. The Rosebuds link
  14. School of Seven Bells link
  15. Vetiver link
This week they are doing one of their tri-annual membership drive. I donated $15. I will be getting a membership card and a free bumper sticker. How much will you donate today?

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