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 “Donde Esta la Playa” by The Walkmen from the 2008 album You & Me on Gigantic Music.
In terms of indie music, it’s harder to imagine a bigger modern influence than New York fivesome The Walkmen. Over the course of five studio albums, this jangly rock group has helped to shape the indie rock we’ve come to know and love. And over the course of the last seven years, it’s safe to say the group has matured in sound. Where their debut single “The Rat” was a rough-edged explosion of near unkempt indie noise, five albums later the group has, to some degree, mellowed. You & Me manages to maintain The Walkmen’s trademark air of ramshackle rock and roll, but cuts it with a smooth layer of tenuous polish. “Donde Esta La Playa” seems to exist in the monstrous confines of a 1930s movie house, Hamilton Leithauser’s nasally bellow reaching out over the hushed audience. What stands out most about the song is the beautiful way in which it combines a sort of muted nostalgic sound with the angular guitars and sporadic drums The Walkmen are known so well for. It’s a very modern take on a somewhat classic sound.
The Walkmen released You & Me in July and will play the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn on December 16. Here’s The Walkmen performing “Donde Esta La Playa” at The Bowery Ballroom in New York this past summer: