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. Every Friday, the Song of the Day podcast spotlights local musicians. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Faster” by Dept of Energy off their second full-length album of the same name available on Roam Records.
With the abundance of talented musicians in the Northwest, it’s not hard to believe that Seattle’s Dept of Energy came together rather by accident as Robb Benson was trying to reform the much beloved Dear John Letters. Intending to play with DJL bandmates Cassady Laton and Richard Davidson, he booked a show one night, but then Davidson’s current project, The Young Sportsmen, got added to the same bill, forcing Benson to pull together a different configuration to keep his slot on the bill. Benson grabbed Cassady and keyboardist Ty Ballie (Kim Virant, Truly) after seeing him perform and knowing instinctively he had to work with him. In the end, it all worked out and Dept of Energy was born. Now, the band has been through the recording process three times with the release of their second full-length, Faster. With masterful producer and former Dear John Letters bandmate Johnny Sangster (The Tripwires, The Whore Moans, Mudhoney, The Posies) at the helm, the new album carries on the band’s intelligent, narrative-driven style of melodic pop fronted by Benson’s lyrics. Says Benson:
Believe it or not, this is the first record I have been a part of (13 in total now) where I penned every lyric on this record. It is a proud moment for me, and was a bit of a challenge. The lyrics on this album were inspired by a lot of abstract ideas. Time, perception, dreams, nightmares, addictions, and the way we relate to each other as humans, and exploring our personal differences. I wanted to challenge my own deeply rooted belief systems and philosophies a bit. Some people might say I have some pretty crazy ideas about the way things are in life, so beyond just reiterating my perspectives, I wanted to dig the drama out of these concepts, and attempt to see the world through opposing views.
Today’s Song of the Day and title track is a commentary on how we view and process information in today’s hectic world. According to Benson, it covers the “theatrical ups and downs in a world where information is traveling so quickly it can become less tragic, mostly because yesterday’s news is often forgotten by the time the next news cycle starts. However, that also means that in the moment things feel even more intense. Everything seems to be speeding up. The world keeps moving faster.” The song starts out with a lackadaisical guitar melody and smooth drum beat but climaxes with more forceful guitars and frenzied keyboards which are accompanied throughout by Benson’s angsty voice. But indeed the show does go on and you can catch the Dept of Energy at The Sunset Tavern on April 3rd with Llama. Keep an eye on their MySpace page for more dates and information.
Here they are playing “Tuning Out” at a recent performance at The Tractor Tavern with frequent supporter Jeff Fielder: