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 “Nothing Feels Natural” by Priests, from the album of the same name out on Sister Polygon Records.
It is no overestimation to say that Priests is a force of nature. The four-piece Washington D.C.-based group formed in 2012, quickly earning a reputation for ridiculously tight, intense live performances. The past five years has seen just a handful of releases from Priests, culminating in their 2017 debut album, Nothing Feels Natural, which is out on the band’s own Sister Polygon Records. While previously there remained a slight rift between the visceral experience of a Priests live show and hearing the band on record, Nothing Feels Natural takes the band’s recorded output in a different direction, widening and expanding their sound and creative scope, and also translating the intensity of their live show to the album format.
So essential to the success of Priests’s debut LP is the versatility and charisma of lead singer Katie Alice Greer’s voice, which recalls the energy of punk touchstones like Le Tigre-era Kathleen Hanna or X’s Exene Cervenka. Today’s featured track, “Nothing Feels Natural” is a relative departure from the traditional Priests vibe, Greer given space to showcase her vocal range, sounding at once vulnerable, frustrated, searching, and ultimately triumphant. Greer’s vocals act in contrast to the constantly echoing drums provided by Daniele Daniele, the track reaching a startlingly beautiful peak amidst a wall of noise.
Priests were already in Seattle just two weeks ago, but they’re continuing to tour the US into March, followed by a set of European tour dates. For more information, check out the band’s website and Facebook page. For now, here’s the quite interesting video for album highlight “JJ”: