While Seattle’s KEXP may have a state-of-the-art studio that broadcasts around the world 24/7, there’s one thing the independent music station doesn’t have: a disco ball. And for L.A. instrumental interstellar disco quartet Circles Around The Sun, that’s a problem. So the band’s new KEXP session had a BYODB policy: bring your own disco ball.

KEXP host Troy Nelson got into the spirit by wearing a disco ball t-shirt, introducing the band for a free-flowing five-song, 35-minute set live on the air. In addition to bringing their own mirror ball, CATS also came strapped with songs from their new album, 2023’s Language, beginning with the opening “Away Team”. The resulting jam ultimately moved keyboard psychonaut Adam MacDougall to explore his sizable arsenal of percussive gewgaws before charting an expedition to the “Outer Boroughs”.

The band also threw it back to their 2020 self-titled album, the last to feature founding guitarist Neal Casal who died by suicide the previous year. Coloring the band’s groove-laden compositions now with his Fender Stratocaster is guitarist John Lee Shannon, who took over six-stringed duties following a stable of ringers including Eric Krasno and Scott Metzger who stepped in following Casal’s death.

Circles Around The Sun ultimately wrapped the performance segment of their session with a conjoined “Saturday’s Children” > “Tacoma Narrows”. The patient, nearly ten-minute odyssey took its time to develop from a low rumble centered around an interminable groove into an explosion of space funk pushed by MacDougall’s clavinet and bassist Dan Horne‘s mission control of special effects (plugged into his Alembic bass).

After over half an hour of playing, Circles Around The Sun took a few questions from host Troy Nelson. Among the things fans learned was that the band’s name comes from the opening line of Gus Cannon‘s “Stealin'”, an early cover for the Grateful Dead in the mid-1960s, “Put your arms around me like a circle round the sun.” CATS first came together at the behest of Justin Kreutzmann (son of Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann) to create PA music for the 2015 Fare Thee Well shows, original compositions later released as Interludes for the Dead.

Related: Circles Around The Sun: Adam MacDougall Talks Losing Neal Casal & Finding A Path Forward Without Him [Interview]

One other interesting nugget came when Nelson ran down the band’s résumé of interesting performance locales ranging from a van to a forest. When pressed for what far-out location they wanted to play next, Shannon chimed in with the most perfect answer, “We really want to play a planetarium, we need to do a planetarium tour.” Here’s hoping for a CATS in Space tour in the new year.

Watch Circles Around The Sun’s career-spanning full performance on KEXP. The band recently announced a joint tour with harpist Mikaela Davis & Southern Star, featuring nightly collaborative sets. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit CATS’ website.

Circles Around The Sun – Full Performance (Live On KEXP)