Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “No Hell” by Cloud Cult from their forthcoming album, The Seeker, to be self-released on Earthology Records on February 12th, 2016.
If “The Seeker” were a title earned or an honor bestowed, then Craig Minowa would rank summa cum laude. While it’s truly the title of the latest LP from his band, Cloud Cult, it’s certainly an archetype the Minnesota-bred band leader has embodied, over the past twenty years and through nine studio albums, as a kind of Johnny Appleseed of orchestral indie rock, literally planting trees as he strives to leave the world a better place for his having trod on it. Minowa even established his own label, Earthology Records, through which all items are produced from 100% postconsumer recycled or certified organic materials, and is sustained through geothermal and solar energy. Instead, Cloud Cult, the band, leaves a lasting impression through emotionally impacting songs that draw legions of fans to shared moments of wonder at the divine mysteries and natural beauty of life, and, as Minowa reminds us in today’s featured song, “No Hell”, the first single from the forthcoming, and tenth, studio album, to observations that its miseries are often of our own devising (“someone tell the devil we don’t need no hell / we’re all pretty good at beating up ourselves”). Like pretty much all Cloud Cult songs, though, “No Hell” is ultimately cathartic, providing hope amid the turmoil, both lyrically (“we’ve been cut but we do what needs doing / we’re just rainbows dreaming we’re human”) and musically, in the song’s swelling orchestration, impassioned delivery and anthemic choruses.
Accompanying Cloud Cult’s tenth LP, The Seeker, is a feature film, starring Josh Radnor and Alex McKenna, depicting the album’s central theme, “humanity’s search for the meaning of life and the divine”, as it “chronicles the life story of a girl who undergoes great loss at a young age and her life journey to find herself”. Both album and movie will be released on February 12th, 2016. The band is currently offering behind the scenes previews and weekly downloads to those who pre-order the album via Pledge Music. (Hint: this aptly titled LP could be career defining work for the band.) You can find out more about Cloud Cult on their website and Facebook page. If you’re not yet swayed, check out the homemade lyric video for today’s featured song, “No Hell”: