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 “Take Off Your Sunglasses” by Ezra Furman & The Harpoons from the 2008 album Inside the Human Body on Minty Fresh.
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - Take Off Your Sunglasses (MP3)
Long before he was wondering the dormitory halls of Tufts University in Boston, he was simply Ezra Furman, Chicago native and day dreaming poet. Testing out his song writing skills at a young age after receiving a guitar as a Bar Mitzvah gift, he innocently stumbling into what would one day be his destiny. The puzzle was complete once Ezra relocated to Boston for collegiate studies and connected with fellow bandmates, guitarist John Sood, bass guitarist Job Mukkada, and drummer Adam Abrutyn, and the quartet have since found themselves self-releasing an album (Beat Beat Beat) they recorded while still in the college dorms, hitting the streets of New York to play acoustically in between their sets at 2007′s CMJ Music Marathon, and recording in Chicago at Engine Studios with the help of famed producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine). Inside the Human Body, their second on Minty Fresh, maintains the bright-eyed energy and affecting innocence of two previous albums and has already received massive amounts of critical acclaim. “Take Off Your Sunglasses” is a particularly lively track, vocally recalling the oft-name checked Violet Femmes and the more closely contemporary Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Musically, though, it’s a grab bag of influences: you might hear a bit of Neil Young in the harmonica, The Plimsouls in the jangling guitar, The Pretenders or Tom Petty in the melodies, Jonathan Richman in the lyricism, and much more. At a mere 20 years old(!), Ezra Furman, like so many of these free-spirited songwriters, knows how to rock you vigorously but gently with lyrics aimed to make you laugh and break your heart.
There’s not much on the forefront for the band in January. Ezra, sans Harpoons, will perform an acoustic set in Evanston, IL, this Friday and then at an Inaugural party, (no, not the Inaugural Party) at American University in Washington, D.C., on January 24. Check out the band’s impressive website and MySpace page for updates. For now, here’s an early version of “Take Off Your Sunglasses” performed performed at Pianos in NYC just over a year ago: