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. Each Friday spotlights local musicians. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Steel on Steel” by J. Tillman from the 2009 album Vacilando Territory Blues on Western Vinyl.
You may know today’s artist J. Tillman as the drummer for one of Seattle’s hottest exports, the Fleet Foxes, but Mr. (Josh) Tillman has been making music on his own since 2004, though most have been as a limited self-release (i.e. if you have one, hang onto it!). This album (his fifth solo effort) is the first to be released via the Austin-based label, Western Vinyl, and he seems he has found a good home for his sparse, introspective and weary-beyond-his-years music. He is joined on several tracks by his Fleet Foxes bandmates Casey Westcott and Christian Wargo among other collaborators. Tillman joined the Foxes last spring in what can only be called a beautiful marriage of hair, incredible vocal talent, and penchant for creating unbelievably moving music. Today’s song, “Steel on Steel,” brings to mind a long drive you take when you have a lot on your mind. Tillman’s lyics, lonely and vulnerable at times, pose questions that seem to be on everyone’s mind these days. Luckily, he’ll have some time to figure things out as he is currently on tour with labelmates, Pearly Gate Music, but is heading back to the states next month for a few SXSW gigs. Keep an eye on his MySpace page for some hometown dates. Plus, it looks like a new album and an upcoming tour with Blitzen Trapper (including a stop at the Gorge for Sasquatch) will keep Josh and the rest of the Fleet Foxes busy for quite some time.
Here’s the video for “Firstborn” from Vacilando Territory Blues: