Welcome Home, KEXP

Welcome Home, KEXP

There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought KEXP’s new home was a frivolous idea. Writing that sentence is pretty much blasphemy in this town, I know.

Not that long ago, my thinking was that KEXP’s home on Dexter wasn’t good enough, but a state-of-the-art facility costing at least $15 million (!) was a swing way too far the other way.

The issue is not that I don’t like KEXP or support it. It has it’s flaws (we all do) but there is nothing else like it in this world. The role is does and can have in music and the future of music is beyond tremendous. I do support KEXP. I love it. KEXP is the reason I got into local Hip-Hop (Street Sounds, specifically).

At the same time, musicians are struggling to sell records and get people out to shows. Those same supporters should help chip in $15 million so KEXP can have a fancy-ass new home? What about the artists?

My reasoning was damn simple: Do you guys need all that square footage, a shower room, a sleeping room and all the other bells and whistles? All this shit is great for those mid to big name touring acts that already have your favor, but how will all of this shine and perks and spending help local other up and coming bands? Will you guys remember the community when you’re sitting in your shiny new palace?

But that was then. Recently, I’ve changed my opinion.

Last week when the KEXP family marched to the new facility I realized that they are the community. KEXP has gotten big and elements of it are suffering from the size and prestige, but these people are as much a part of this city’s musical community as anyone else. And they flippin’ love KEXP. They are falling out of their chairs they are so excited for the new home. They can barely speak they’re so excited.

And it’s not just that, it’s also this: For all of it’s other worts, no one else is doing anything close to what KEXP does for emergent artists. They care. They want musicians to succeed. The support and love they’re poured into local, regional, national and global music communities cannot be questioned. KEXP gives a damn about music, and know they have the home to match their heart and vision.

KEXP’s role in music goes beyond entertainment. It even goes beyond art. To me, the most important thing they stand for is community and Seattle’s is better off now that they have a physical space worthy of their ambition.

So, here’s to KEXP, music, art, community and all of the people who have helped create this beautiful anomaly and keep it running. I love that my son will know KEXP not as a radio station but as a crusader for art, music and community.

Thank you KEXP and here’s to a magnificent 2016 and beyond [clinking beer mugs emoji].

Local Holidays – Hollis and Kris Orlowski

Local Holidays – Hollis and Kris Orlowski

This week, local Seattle natives Hollis Wong-Wear and Kris Orlowski placed a neatly-wrapped pre-Christmas gift on our laps in the form of “Is This Christmas” and the The Christmas Cheer Pack.

This collaboration between a favorite singer-songwriter and the busiest woman in Seattle music comes at a time where we begin remembering how bittersweet holidays can be. As mentioned by Jonathan Zwickel in City Arts yesterday “The older we get, the more mixed emotions are roused by traditional celebrations and this song zeros in on that very adult ambivalence the holidays can bring”.

Personally, I love Christmas. I am half Kermit the Frog in a flailing YAY wearing a Santa hat and half Will Ferrell running through a revolving door. That being said, even as a self-prescribed superfan of the 25th of December, the season doesn’t come without twinges of melancholia. Those twinges can be louder than any carol when remembering family members and friends that are no longer here to celebrate with us, how much life change fits itself between each holiday, or merely thinking about what holidays can mean for others.

This weird feeling that we seem to all face during this month could possibly not be articulated any other way than music – and for that I thank Hollis and Kris. Acknowledging that we’ve probably all at some point felt that cognitive holiday dissonance reminds us to continue celebrating together.

Sappiness aside, this song is damn good, and can be bought with other Flavr Blue andOrlowski classics on their bandcamp page. I highly recommend throwing down those 2 Washingtons and I look forward to future work from these two.