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 Midday Show host Cheryl Waters is “Better Trends” by Japanese Motors from the group’s 2008 self-titled album on Vice.
With the boxy nature of modern American-made automobiles, citizens of this great country have taken to internationally built vehicles to find a sleeker look, better fuel economy, and longevity. Is it no wonder American car companies are looking for a bailout? It’s as if they never noticed summer’s record high gas prices and the push to create greener, cleaner cars. Wait, I’ve just been told Japanese Motors has nothing to do with Japanese motors. I suppose education gets in the way again.
As it happens, there’s just as much goodness under the hood of the California-based throwbacks. Much like Richard Swift or The Thermals, Japanese Motors have inserted themselves into wayback machine, transforming the neglected sounds of 60s and 70s surf and garage into catchy ditties firmly rooted in 21st Century presentation. “Better Trends” is the perfect example and execution of Japanese Motors’ intentions, with jangly beach rock akin to the days of Dick Dale ruling the sand and waves mixed with the cool and swagger emanated from modern throwbacks such as The Strokes. “Better Trends” is where greaser can meet hipster, both gleeful to enjoy a bit of rock’s history recited through cheap amplifiers and makeshift Jazzmasters.
Sadly, American shores won’t be graced with Japanese Motors for quite a while — at least according to the group’s MySpace page. So as we dream about catching 50 foot waves as Frankie and Annette cheer us on, let us use footage of the group performing an acoustic version of “Better Trends” (on a double decker bus in Toronto, no less) as our muse.