Song of the Day: French Kicks – Abandon


photo by Josh Rothstein

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show host John Richards, is Abandon by French Kicks from the 2008 album Swimming on Vagrant Records.

French Kicks – Abandon (MP3)

Shortly before French Kicks released their debut album in 2002, comparisons were already being made to garage rockers The Walkmen and The Strokes. However, each successive album since then has been a move away from that initial sound. Swimming, the band’s fourth album, marks yet another step towards dynamic pop songs, a direction that began with ’04s Trial of the Century. Frontman Nick Stumpf has said the new album is by far the closest we’ve come to getting the sound we wanted. On album opener, Abandon, it appears what the band wanted was atmospheric pop loaded to the gills with lo-fi drums, vocal harmonies, surf guitar/bass lines, and plenty of reverb to fill in the holes. In order to achieve their desired sound, the band self produced the entire album, making every effort to put first recordings directly to tape. The process rewarded the band and listeners with the best French Kicks disc to date. In celebratory fashion, the band played three shows in as many weeks at NYC’s Mercury Lounge. If only Seattle were so lucky. Regardless, the band will be performing 5/16 @ Chop Suey. In the meantime, Swimming is currently available in digital format (check their MySpace page) with the in-store release coming 5/20. The following video shows the band performing three weeks ago at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia:

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