Song of the Day: Au – RR vs. D

photo by Pat Kehoe

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. This week we are featuring songs from bands that will be performing at Engine Studios during our broadcast in Chicago on July 16-18. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Cheryl Waters, is RR vs. D by Au from the 2008 album Verbs on Aagoo Records.

Au – RR vs. D (MP3)

Even today, with fewer and fewer bands sticking to one genre, there’s got to be a young upstart who pushes the limits. Such is the case with Portland’s Au, the brainchild of Luke Wyland. The album’s first single, RR vs. D, opens with a modern classical piano line only to break into hand claps and enough vocals to rival I’m From Barcelona. One circus interlude later and we’re back to the hand claps. You get the idea. Verbs marks Wyland’s second effort, his first with a more permanent band. Some regulars include Jonathan Sielaff (Parenthetical Girls), Mark Kaylor (Hamor of Hathor), Dana Valatka (Jackie-O’Motherfucker), Becky Dawson (Saw Whet), and Sarah Winchester (A Weather) to go along with about two dozen other eager volunteers. With such a plethora of resources, Verbs has ample moments of experimental vigor, but it’s the range exhibited that makes the album breathtaking. Much like Sigur Ros’ songwriting, Wyland has a knack for extremes — dwelling in dream-like minimalism only to burst into controlled, emotionally intense anarchy the next. Au performs live from Engine Studios 7/16 @ 1PM CST. According to the band’s MySpace page, they’ll be hitting the road this fall with The Dodos, currently set to hit the East Coast and Midwest. The following performance of Boute comes from Au’s recent album release show at Portland’s Holocene:

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