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 “Young Heart Sparks Fire,” by Japandroids from their 2009 album Post-Nothing on Unfamiliar Records.
The Vancouver duo Japandroids (joined, according to their profile, by my sister — who knew?) go where few guitar and drums-based groups dare to venture in the current musical climate: back to the past. Rather than channel the crunch of Death From Above 1979, the metallic decay of Lightning Bolt, or the swamp blues of The Black Keys and The White Stripes, Japandroids do their best to channel The Replacements circa 1985. “Your Heart Sparks Fire” is akin to the unabashed miscreant sorrow found in Tim and Pleased to Meet Me more than it is to the indie rock swing of modern contemporaries. However, don’t expect to find the sort of apathetic lyricism that made Paul Westerberg an icon for bin divers desperate to escape hair bands and post-disco pop — though Japandroids do provide a clever change of pace from the readymade duos eager to pounce on the coattails of the popular modern duo. If we’ve learned anything from Canada’s recent contributions to America’s music pool, it’s that are allies to the north come with something fresh (even if it’s just a unique interpretation of the ‘old’). What the world needs now isn’t love sweet love, it’s Husker Du, X, and Alex Chilton. And a kick in the ass.
Unless you’re ready for a northern jaunt to Vancouver or Toronto, you won’t be catching Japandroids anywhere else but on their MySpace page. To motivate you to buy that plane or train ticket, we offer a the live stylings of “Heart Sweets”: