Song of the Day: The Features – Lions

The Features

Tom Burns

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 Richards, is “Lions” by The Features from their self-released album Some Kind of Salvation.

The Features – Lions (MP3)

It’s surprising to think that even though The Features have been churning out music this good for nearly eleven years (including a stint on a major label) they haven’t found a larger audience for their melodic brand of churning pop. That’s not to say they haven’t been trying. Started in the eighth grade as a salve for the oozing boredom of smalltown Pelham, Tennessee, The Features recorded their first EP back in 1997. After several unreleased and self-released efforts over the next seven years, like 2001’s The Beginning EP, they finally released their excellent full-length debut, Exhibit A, on Universal. Although they had garnered a healthy audience across the pond in the United Kingdom, they were unceremoniously dropped by Universal a few years later and have since continued on their own. Shocking is the proper word to describe the fact that this greasy pop band’s latest album has yet to find a new label, especially with songs as entertaining as “Lions.” The crunchily distorted power chords that crackle behind Matt Pelham’s crystal clear vocals bring to mind a combination of Kings of Leon (former tour mates) and Cold War Kids. Their obvious delight in the doo-wopping shouts that bookend the track, and Pelham’s monotone recitation of the chorus, creates a truly catchy track. Hopefully, the strength of “Lions” and other album standouts like “GMF” will bring The Features the appreciative crowds they rightly deserve.

Only a few shows are listed on the band’s website and MySpace page, mostly near their hometown of Nashville, but you can catch them at SXSW in March. For now, here’s a live video for a song you’ve probably heard around KEXP for some time now, “Me and the Skirts,” from 2004’s Exhibit A:

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  1. susie
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I have been a big fan for a long time and feel that the day is coming when they will be “The Next Big Thing.” I have watched them perform before all ages and seemed to get everyone moving. There upbeat songs are a cure for depression.

  2. susie
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I have been a big fan of The Features for a long time and feel that the day is coming when they will be considered “The Breakout Band.” I have watched them perform before groups of all ages and they seemed to get everyone moving to their energetic beat. Their upbeat songs are a cure for doldrums.

  3. Sean Meehan
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    Got to agree with susie, these guys deserve to be in everybody’s record collection. I’ve followed them since about 2002 i reckon and whilst i’m pretty much a magpie when it comes to collecting new music, there is never a day passes when i haven’t been playing something from Matt Pelham. I don’t skip a track in favour of another. Every song infects your brain. Genius!!! Please return to the UK very soon?

  4. Posted May 29, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    i recently saw the features in Boston, MA. It was one of the best shows I have seen in the longest time! It is very hard to understand why it is that they are not bigger than they should be. Anyone who plays music, whether that be a instrument or just the radio, should deft. listen to The Features. They have brought back the real meaning to great music.

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