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 Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Always the Same” by The Legends from the 2009 album Over And Over on Labrador Records.
A quick perusal of Labrador’s label page for The Legends describes the band as “nine persons that play drums, guitars, tambourine, organ, bass and sing… [many of which] have never before played their instruments. ” One must assume this is either painfully out of date or just a bit of Swedish tom-foolery as Johan Angergård (Acid House Kings, Club 8, Pallers) is the principle if not the real only member, and has released three proper albums and countless singles since the band’s inception way back in 2003. Even I could master the tambourine in six years!
The Legends earned national attention, and a high Pitchfork rating, with 2004’s Up Against The Legends (KEXP listeners are sure to remember “Call It Ours“). In the years that followed, they’ve released two more full-lengths and several EPs. Their latest release, Over and Over, is hazy and densely layered while remaining bright and melodious. While Angergård clearly draws from the 60’s — Beach Boys, The Beatles, and even Krautrock — he continues to mash these influences together with the experimental noise pop of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth to birth songs that are both familiar and unique.
“Always the Same” is a perfect example of this familiarity in action. The female vocals had me flipping through the mental rolodex for at least 20 minutes — trying to place the likeness… was it Isobel Campbell (Belle and Sebastian, Gentle Waves)? Rose Melberg (Go Sailor, Tiger Trap, The Softies)? Amelia Fletcher (Heavenly, Marine Research)? All three of these voices are somehow melded together here to create some three-headed twee monster (a cute kind of monster) reinforced by an army of distorted guitars and a seriously punchy bass line. Angergård’s understated vocals join the foray so delicately they’re almost imperceptible. “Always the Same” is (dare I say it) a juxtaposition of upbeat happy music and introverted lyrics. Sarcasm with a smile. And earplugs.
Typically, Johan Angergård is at home in Sweden running Labrador Records, but New York listeners are in luck because The Legends are performing at Santos Party House today, The Bowery tomorrow, and The Studio at Webster Hall on Friday. Check out their MySpace page for other dates. Catch ‘em while they’re in the U.S.! For the rest of us, there’s this new video for today’s Song of the Day: