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 Waters, is “Wicked Blood” by Sea Wolf from the 2009 album White Water, White Bloom on Dangerbird Records.
Alex Browne Church is Sea Wolf. Sea Wolf is a band that takes it’s name from a novel by the brilliant Jack London (see his illuminating memoirs on alcohol, John Barleycorn). Sea Wolf got its start in much the same way Elliott Smith started putting out his own records -- Church was a member of the Los Angeles based band Irving -- but a great many of the songs that materialized up inside his mind didn’t seem to fit the mold of his current project, in much the same way Smith’s subdued work didn’t meet the requirements of Heatmiser. This comparison is in no way meant to draw any kind of musical comparison betwixt the two musicians. Sure, there’s a Northwest link (Smith/ Slim Moon and Portland, Church/Phil Ek and Seattle) but it’s thread people. I was merely trying to illustrate the history the band. And mention Elliott. And there you have it. Done and done.
Church received a bit of buzz as they say when the undeniably catchy Beckish “You’re a Wolf (from debut album, Leaves in the River)” was featured in a General Motors killing machine, ahem... car commercial. Yeah, that’s a good song but I’m still riding my bike. Wait no I’m not my wheels were stolen. Ok, give me a Malibu. Like how I was all bike-snobby then went for the muscley, gas-guzzler? Ha. I am an endless vat of bubbling hypocrisy. Back and forth back and forth. ANYWAY, Sea Wolf’s sound is fun and indie poppy. You’re going to like it, I swear. Ladies (and gentlemen), Alex Browne Church is far more handsome than I and looks less like someone from LA than someone from NYC.
“Wicked Blood” opens Sea Wolfe’s September 2009 -- and their second LP on Dangerbird Records (Silversun Pickups, Division Day, The One AM Radio) -- with a lush blanket of cello acoustic guitar and piano, none of which really shatters the ears but instead tucks them beneath some kind of musical beanie of warmth, lobes poking out just above a woolen scarf of lyrics that hint at sadness and trauma but also joy and bliss. The first act of this song props the subject of Church’s story with airily loving keystrokes awash with squinting, angelic memories – all the while building toward a crescendo of revelation that only rearview mirrors can bring. At the end we are not devastated or even particularly hurt. Hell, all that happened some time ago. This is me telling you about her from a place separate from the whole experience. The reflection is clear and numbing.
these lines were here/ long before we came ‘round
Someday everything that stabs us will appear like this -- inside our minds -- there will be a beginning a middle and an end. Objects will be closer than they appear... instead of the other way around.
Sea Wolf is currently on tour and will be in Seattle on September 23 at The Sunset Tavern. Check their MySpace page for more dates. For now, here’s the song you’re likely to remember from Sea Wolf’s debut EP: