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 “In The NA” by The Hidden Cameras from the 2009 album Origin:Orphan on Arts & Crafts.
“Gay church folk music” was how The Hidden Cameras founder and sole constant member Joel Gibb described his project to The Advocate back in 2003. The songs on their breakthrough of that year, The Smell of Our Own, like “Golden Stream” and “Smells Like Happiness,” are so joyous you almost forget how dirty their lyrics are… almost. Listeners of all sorts of proclivities found a giddy freedom in singing their subversive lines: As well it is the smell of the cum on the rug/Men walk their dirty feet on/And the sweat from the chest of a man in a leather uniform. The next year’s Mississauga Goddam brought even more members (literally and figuratively) to the band’s orchestral lineup, more comedically explicit lyrics (e.g. “I Want Another Enema”), but also the suggestion of an underlying message as the album title references Nina Simone’s civil rights inspired anthem “Mississippi Goddam,” while 2006’s Awoo saw Gibb leaving the body fluids behind (mostly), choosing suggestion over explicit details: How sweet is the curd of my own written qualities, awoo/I’d rather wallow win the mud of my own imagination, awoo.
So is Gibb maturing with 2009’s Origin:Orphan, a tonally darker album whose most deviant song titles are only mildly suggestive: “Underage” and “He Falls to Me”? If you thought his early lyrics were overly childish, then yes, he’s far less concerned with lurid man-on-man action and bathroom (stall) humor. But if you saw all that as part of his quest to explore existential truths and the facets of human relationships, then Origin is just another step in the direction he’s been pursuing all along. The album’s first single and today’s Song of the Day, “In The NA,” demonstrates the new album’s more keyboard heavy sound while the infectious chorus recalls favorite Camera songs of the past.
The Hidden Cameras kick off their North American tour in October, and you can catch them at The Triple Door on 11/23. Head over to the band’s website and MySpace page for more dates. For now, here’s the Joel Gibb-directed, Python-esque video for “In The NA,” which is visually as darkly humorous as the album: