Primavera Preview: WNXP faves and live-streamed sets from Barcelona

Blending work and play is the name of the game these days and that’s why, when I saw the lineup for Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, I knew I had to get to Spain. But I also knew I wanted to share the experience and so I put together a special Primavera Preview Thematic Static. You can also check out some live streamed sets via Amazon Prime and Twitch (see below and note that the timezone difference certainly works in your favor)

While this week’s #ThematicStatic does not include listener requests, it does highlight some artists playing Primavera Sound 2023 that we’ve previously covered on this station, for Record of the Week and/or live session and/or Top Albums of 2022. Others are simply heavy hitters I’m just oh-so thrilled to see live, including one of Nashville’s own – Be Your Own Pet.

#ThematicStatic Playlist – 6/1/23

Caroline Polachek – “Bunny Is a Rider” – Playing bops from her debut solo record Pang, and many from her addictive new sophomore LP Desire, I Want To Turn Into You (a late winter Record of the Week that got us all geared up for summer), Polachek’s set at Primavera Sound is Saturday and can be live-streamed at 3:45pm Central via Amazon Music Prime Video or Amazon Music Twitch, Channel 1.

Yves Tumor – “Gospel for a New Century” – I’m digging Sean Bowie’s newest singles released as Yves Tumor, but this one from 2020 still sounds as sexy-dystopian as ever and seemed pretty dope coming out of Polachek. Yves Tumor’s set is too late to be live-streamed, I reckon, but I’m hoping to see them at 1:45am on Day 2/morning of Day 3 — if I can hang tough.

Be Your Own Pet – “Hand Grenade” – They’re baaaaaack, babyyyyy! Nashville’s early century darlings BYOP will release Mommy, their first LP in 15 years, in August on Third Man Records and I think it’s incredibly cool they were tapped to play Primavera. ICYMI, Marissa Moss profiled the band for The New York Times just this week and the Music City garage rock wonders will play in Barcelona, Saturday, 7:50pm. I love this paragraph from the NYT piece that includes an interview from front-woman Jemina Pearl:

A new Be Your Own Pet album, aptly titled Mommy and due in August on [Jack] White’s Third Man Records, is music that meets [Pearl], and the band, at exactly this moment: It’s punk rock made by adults old enough to know better but young enough to forget it all when the music calls for a scream — or a power drill.

Marissa Moss for The New York Times

The War on Drugs – “Change” – I’d never lie to you, NXP fam: when I first heard this song in advance of the album release in the fall of 2021, I wept. I expected I Don’t Live Here Anymore would be warmly embraced by audiophiles and existing fans of the band, but that the magic of TWOD’s live show would be the real treat come 2022. That certainly came to pass. Here I gushed about the songs for a Record of the Week. If you like lush, multiple guitars + piano “heartland” rock, you could get expansive with this band’s live-streamed set on Saturday at 3:10pm CST. 

Arlo Parks – “Hurt” (Live at WNXP) – Also performing (and available for streaming at 12noon CST) on Saturday is Great Britain’s absolute sweetest, the Mercury Prize winner Arlo Parks. Our weekend host Dan Digs talked to Parks about this honor back in 2021. She then graced our Sonic Cathedral on a stop in Nashville last summer to play a song she’d written as a young teen (“Angel’s Song”) plus this gem off Collapsed in Sunbeams, which was an early-in-WNXP-history Record of the Week. Parks has just released her second LP My Soft Machine, which includes more of her signature straight-to-the-heart melodic poetry, plus a guest appearance from Phoebe Bridgers.

Yard Act – “The Land of the Blind” – Speaking of Mercury Prize, this band was on a million lists last year, including at the tippy top of WNXP’s Best of 2022, for their fiery debut The Overload. I was clamoring to cover it for Record of the Week when we started spinning the title track on the station. Then, during SXSW in Austin last spring, Yard Act played the Public Radio Stage curated with help from WNXP. Then, with no southeastern U.S. dates on the band’s tour page, I flew my crazy ass across the Atlantic in July to see them at a festival called Tramlines. So — OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN — I’ve organized a summer Euro vacation around a festival featuring Yard Act. I’m sorry to say their Day 1 set won’t be streamed, but you can watch this special video they gifted us, a performance of “The Land of the Blind” featuring James Smith’s very own disappearing act. Cheeky.

Sudan Archives – “Selfish Soul” – The 2022 release Natural Brown Prom Queen indisputably slaps, due in large part to singer/songwriter/composer/musician Brittney Parks’ total dominance over — and real elegance employing — all stringed instruments in her orbit. Justin Barney covered this for Record of the Week, and it was voted #8 record of the year by our team of DJs. Bringing songs like “Selfish Soul” to a live setting, we found out at Basement East last spring that Parks is an absolutely captivating performer, too. I’m excited to catch Sudan Archives again, this time on Thursday at Primavera Sound.

Built to Spill – “Gonna Lose” – It’s only winners that line up with Doug Martsch to make music as Built to Spill. Emily Young and I agreed that When the Wind Forgets Your Name is one of the best BTS records in a long discography dating back to the mid-90s. (It ranked #7 on our year-end list). And that’s why we kinda lost our shit when the current touring band — Martsch, drummer Teresa Esguerra and bass guitarists Melanie Radford — made all kinds of glorious racket in our Sonic Cathedral when touring this newest record. They’ve been back to Nashville since then, making two BEAST stops in single a calendar year, lucky us. But I can’t miss them at Primavera Sound early on Thursday.

Wednesday – “Bath County” – We’re not the only ones buzzin’ about Asheville, North Carolina band Wednesday — they’re so hot right now their early Saturday set will be live-streamed (11:05am CST), and they’ve received all sorts of love for their new LP Rat Saw God, a recent WNXP Record of the Week. But we can and will brag that we’ve been aboard the Wednesday ship from early early on, hosting them in our Sonic Cathedral in the fall of 2021 when they were in Nashville to play small club Drkmttr. Then they opened a sold-out Beach Bunny show in May of 2022, and just recently headlined a show at Basement East. This band rules. We know it, you know it, and now more folks all over the world attending or streaming Primavera Sound will know it. Hallelujah.

My Morning Jacket – “Regularly Scheduled Programming” – The first week of September 2021 would take some disappointing turns for MMJ fans hoping to see the beloved rockers at Bonnaroo — first, when the band had to cancel their sure-to-be-epic late night due to a case of COVID-19, then when the whole damn thing was cancelled due to rain-logged festival grounds. But for WNXP, pre-bummers, the top of that week was super special because we hosted the band in the historic RCA Studio A on Music Row for a recorded session featuring then-new tunes from their then-forthcoming self-titled record.

We released the session and turned my Q&A with bandmates Jim James and Carl Broemel into a Record of the Week highlighting My Morning Jacket. The band got back to their regularly scheduled programming of touring last year, and are making several festival appearances including Primavera Sound (the Barcelona show will be live-streamed Sunday at 12:55pm CST) and Bonnaroo, amid another hot-ticket headlining tour. P.S. They’re also releasing remastered audio and film footage from their 2004 Bonnaroo set, an LP and accompanying documentary called “Return to Thunderdome.”

Kendrick Lamar – “United in Grief” – Since traveling, I’ve met several people going to Primavera Sound in either Barcelona or Madrid (next weekend) solely to see Kendrick Lamar. Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers made it to #4 on our Top Albums of 2022, especially obsessed over by your Nighttime Host Marquis Munson. And the hip hop star is cherished world over. It’s too bad his Primavera set won’t be streamed, but his festival headliner status is cemented with dozens more dates on three continents.

Blur – “The Narcissist” – New music from Blur is coming, and for Brit pop fans, it’s like Christmas in July…or August, as it were. I was already beyond pumped to see them for the first time, but now we know about the forthcoming album The Ballad of Darren so we’ll get some more tasty tunes along with old faves like “Song 2,” “Boys and Girls,” Coffee & TV,” “Parklife,” etc. Pass me another Vodka Red Bull (or a “21-year-old Celia special”) because this headlining set is scheduled for 2:00-3:35am in Barcelona. But YOU can comfortably watch it on Thursday night at the reasonable Central Standard Time hour of 7:00pm. Cheers, mates.

Japanese Breakfast – “Slide Tackle” – ICYMI — and if you like WNXP you probably did not miss it — Michele Zauner was basically Queen of 2021, a year she released a best-selling record Jubilee (an Adam Culver delight of a Record of the Week) and a best-selling memoir called “Crying in H Mart.” The book is now being adapted for film, and the songs from Jubilee like “Slide Tackle” still sound just as sweet on record and live. J Brekkie, featuring Zauner and a talented slate of multi-instrumentalists backing her, perform twice on Friday.

Julia Jacklin – “Too In Love To Die” – Please behold pitch-perfect Jacklin taking sips of breath between stanzas, and her fingers sliding on the steel strings of her acoustic guitar — gah, radio magic! Justin Barney chatted with Australian singer-songwriter Jacklin in-studio at WNXP around the time she released Pre Pleasure (ultimately a WNXP Record of the Week and then a Top Album of 2022) and was playing a show in Nashville. Her set at Primavera Sound on Friday will be live-streamed on Channel 2 via Amazon Music’s Twitch and/or Amazon Prime Video (11am CST).

Christine & The Queens – “To be honest” – I love this experimental French pop artist and everything they represent in indie music: flare, precision, empowerment, freedom. I cannot wait to see what Chris has in store for us live, and you too can check out their set when it’s live-streamed from Primavera Sound Barcelona on Friday at 5:25pm CST.

Primavera Sound Barcelona Live-streaming Schedule

More Primavera Barcelona Recs

Thursday, 6/1: Black Country New Road, Ghost, New Order, NxWorries, Blondshell, Le Tigre

Friday, 6/2: The Beths, Gabriels, Alvvays, Depeche Mode, Four Tet, Nation of Language, Fred Again..

Saturday 6/3: Proteins of Magic (Nashville-based artist from New Zealand!), Surf Curse, John Cale, St. Vincent, Death Grips, Rosalia