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 “One Night Stand” by The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir from the 2009 album …And The Horse You Rode In On on Bloodshot Records.
I’m old. It’s official. Bands are claiming Belle and Sebastian as a major influence. I’m toast. Oh well. By the time I finish writing this I will have forgotten the name of my wife and son so you know, it’s fine – I’m no worse for the wear.
Despite frontman man Elia Einhorn birth in Wales, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is actually a band of mostly American, orchestral-pop-happy kids running shop out of windy ass Chicago, Illinois. Initially recording to simple 4-track machinery founders Einhorn and fellow student of music Matthew Kerstein decided — after seeing a string of Belle and Sebastian performances — that in order to be artistically successful the band’s sound needed to move out of the realm of stripped down folk in favor of a larger, more grandiose fullness of sound. Kerstein and original drummer Sam Koentopp moved on from the band in 2005, leaving Einhorn in the driver’s seat of what would come to be more of an independent musical collective than a gospel choir. Over the years the cast has rotated and revolved to include Chicago luminaries like Sally Timms (the Mekons), as well as Chicago underground players like Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley) and cellist Ellen O’Hayer (Bright Eyes) just to name a few.
“One Night Stand,” from their brand new second full-length release, …And the Horse you Rode In On, on Bloodshot Records, is a clear homage to the bands that The Scotland Gospel Choir has sought to link themselves to artistically. While Einhorn has had no bones about his fascination and near copy of Belle and Sebastian (see their first single “Jennie That Cries”), “One Night Stand” seems to transcend Stuart Murdoch and pull from the likes of Morrissey (another of Einhorn’s favs) and The Cure. When I first heard this song, I thought to myself “this is an homage to Robert Smith.” Obvious vocal inflections and word choices aside, the energy of the track supports an icy lovelorn bitterness beneath the surface. One night stands are not the answer — but sometimes we just want to feel something different. Different is not better, but different is not this.
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir are playing a bunch of shows in the Midwest this fall, and they’re playing the Bloodshot BBQ at The Bell House in Brooklyn on September 26. Check their MySpace page for the details. Here’s a special acoustic performance from The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir did for us on a rooftop during SXSW: