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 our eclectic Morning Show host John Richards, is “Bear Trap” by Ten Kens from their 2008 self-titled EP on Fat Cat Records.
Ten Kens are a fresh new Canadian band recently signed to Fat Cat Records (also home to Animal Collective, The Twilight Sad, Sigur Ros). While it’s unclear where the misleading name came from — there’s not a single Ken in the band, and there certainly aren’t 10 of them — they certainly do make enough noise! This rockin’ Toronto 4-piece made up of Dean Tzenos (guitar), Dan Workman (vocals), Lee Stringle (bass), and Ryan Roantree (drums) doesn’t follow the same formula as some of their Canadian brethren (Black Mountain, Arcade Fire), but their sound certainly puts them in the same conversation. Ten Kens don’t waste any time trying getting their point across; there’s no need to impress anyone with fancy lyrics and new wave synths because the band is on a lo-fi mission with a unique and innovative sound. Today’s track “Bear Fight” is definitely one of the “louder” songs on their new EP; maybe this was where the “Ten” came from. The song sounds like it was put through a large echo chamber/reverb machine with its cool throwback retro sound, yet it manages to stay modern at the same time. It’s a great effect with the vocals and guitar and a perfect Fall mix of old and new.
As of yet, Ten Kens haven’t officially toured the U.S., but hopefully they will after they return from their UK tour with A Place to Bury Strangers, which begins November 28th. Check the band’s MySpace page for updates. While we wait for their return, let’s all enjoy this video for “Bear Fight”: