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New Music Discovery with Skylar, Chris and Michael

Above image: Ebony Tusks | photo: Ailecia Ruscin

New Tunes From Our Specialty Show Hosts

Looking for new music? We've got you covered! Read about a handful of new tracks and albums from our specialty show hosts — Skylar Rochelle of The Z Show, Chris Haghirian of Eight One Sixty and Michael Atchison of Revival.

Michael Atchison, host of Revival

Khruangbin – “Mordechai”

When time has no meaning and Zoom calls flatten the perception of physical distance, the feeling is bewildering, and no album from 2020 better captures our shared sense of temporal and spatial disorientation than “Mordechai,” the new release from Houston three-piece Khruangbin

Imagine, if you will, knowing nothing of this record’s provenance. To come to it cold is to wonder both when and where it was made. The slinky-funky single, “Time (You And I),” bubbles with the buoyant East Village energy of the Tom Tom Club circa 1981, while “Pelota” melds a thoroughly modern rhythm with Spanish lyrics and Mark Speer’s hypnotic guitar lines that seem inspired by music from, well, everywhere: a bit of South African Ray Phiri here, some West African King Sunny Ade there, plus echoes of surf-rock, South America, the Middle East and the Thai funk that was Khruangbin’s calling card early on, but which is now just one element in their massive melting pot of sound. Even the vocals seem poised to perplex, with all three musicians — two male, one female — quietly singing minimalist lyrics in unison and creating the apparition of a fourth band member floating through the songs. Throughout the album’s 10 tracks, Khruangbin’s supple textures, languid rhythms and communal spirit deliver in bulk a feeling that’s been sorely absent in this wretched year – bliss.


Chris Haghirian, host of Eight One Sixty

Ebony Tusks – ”Bloodletting” from “Heal Thyself”

Featured on Eight One Sixty on Sept. 29, “Bloodletting” comes from “Heal Thyself,” the upcoming album by Lawrence, Kansas group Ebony Tusks.

I've never heard music that has made me feel so many contrasting things at the same time. The music and the sound beneath it are overwhelming on an all-new level. It's like audio vertigo, in the best of ways, with blasts of sound flying at you from every angle. The loudness of the music and resonance of the lyrics truthfully replicates their powerful live performance in a way I could've never predicted. The message in the songs fills you with rage and at the same time overwhelms you nearly to tears.

This is hard-listening music with no apology. And like so much great art, “Heal Thyself” is hard to digest. Ebony Tusks has given us a piece of transposing art — music that we need right now, as hard-working people struggle and fight for what's right, and elected officials sit back and let the country burn.

Listen to “Bloodletting.” In one breath you'll want to burn something down and in another, you'll want to hug everyone you've ever met. Thank you to Marty, Geese and Daniel for this gift, and cheers to High Dive Records for putting it out.

Eight One Sixty Episode #299: New Music Tuesday Sept. 29

On this week's episode of the Eight One Sixty, it's all about new and recent releases. Also, as today marks five weeks till the election, we'll start the show with some words of wisdom from KC's own Janelle Monáe, and Chris will share his absentee voting story - it's so easy and you (KCMO residents) can vote right now at Union Station.



Skylar Rochelle, host of The Z Show

Merce Lemon – “Moonth”

Since its release in August, Merce Lemon’s “Moonth” hasn’t left my ears. With her witty lyricism and tender twang, you’ll have a hard time finding time to listen to anything else. Her perspective picks up on little moments you haven’t noticed or ever thought anyone else noticed either. 

Exploring identity, the body, memory and relationships, the album inevitably strikes a chord in more ways than one, but unlike any chord you have ever heard before. Taking you out to sea, the rolling instrumentation is both one cohesive body of water, but each song like an unknown wave washes over you distinctly. In-your-face, palpable, rare, and above all, genuine, hold it dearly and listen intently or you’ll miss something you wish you hadn’t.


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