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 and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show Host John Richards, is “So Easy” by The Blakes from their second full-length album Souvenir available on We Are Ok Records.
The Blakes have been a staple here at KEXP since the release of their 2007 self-titled debut album. Fans and DJs alike are drawn to the raw energy and driving beats of their music that is well tinged with the unrefined sexuality their brand of rock ‘n’ roll is famous for delivering. The band has been together for nearly a decade and spends the majority of the year on the road living the lives everyone thinks a touring band lives with all its ups and downs and weird folk you meet along the way. Luckily, much of their exploits are documented on the bands MySpace and Facebook pages.
Earlier this yea, Garnet and Snow Keim took some time away from The Blakes and worked on a deeply personal project that became BEADS. It was during this period they spent a lot of time working with different instrumentation, recording techniques, song structures and lyrical delivery. Although BEADS is entirely a separate project for the brothers, some of what they did with that project inevitably seeped into the songs that became Souvenir. While most of the songs on the album reflect this maturity, they don’t lack the pop sensibilities found on previous releases. Today’s song, “So Easy,” features Garnet’s trademark jangly guitar riffs, easy to remember (i.e. sing-a-long-able) lyrics and an anthemic rhythm provided by bassist Snow and drummer Bob Husak that keeps the song danceable.
The Blakes are currently on the road supporting the new album but took a moment to check in with us earlier this week to talk about Souvenir and life on the road.
Where in the tour are you right now? Any favorite moments from the road thus far?
We just finished our west coast leg and now we’re driving to Texas. Favorite moment so far was probably opening up for Joe Perry (Aerosmith) at The Viper room. He had quite the entourage of the Sunset Strip’s elite: Nikki 6, Slash, Perry Ferrel, Tom Morello and on it goes. It was all together pretty strange.
What do you like best about being on the road? Do you have any superstitions or rituals that you adhere to on the road?
I like the openness and time off to think. I have 7 hours a day of reflection. No rituals or superstitions. Just try to stay calm and patient. There might be an 11 am Chilada ritual developing. If you’re not familiar, it’s Budweiser and Clamato pre-mixed in a tall boy can.
You guys are self-releasing this album via your own record label, We Are Ok. How are things different now that you guys are the record label?
10 times more work and 10 times less stress. It feels easier in ways because it is less pressure. It’s up to us. We’re running our own show.
Was the recording process on Souvenir different from your previous albums?
Yes, it was recorded live straight to tape. The songs on Souvenir were collected from 3 recording sessions over a year and a half. The record has a more diverse sound than the last.
What is the story behind today’s Song of the Day “So Easy”?
The story is in the lyrics. It’s about the loss of friends and relationships... and how quickly those relationships can turn.
How did you come up with the album art?
We were on tour with The Presidents [of the United States] playing at The Troubador in LA. A 16 year old kid showed up with his sketch book and had us take a look at it. We instantly fell in love with his illustrations and knew we wanted to use him for something. A year and a half later he made the art we used for cover. MacAttack Art’s design concept and BENDOW’s illustrations fell together naturally. All of our past records Garnet has done all of the illustrations partnered with MacAttack Art. This is our first time showcasing another artist. We’re really excited about it.
The Blakes should be back home in Seattle sometime after the New Year. You can check them out live on KEXP during the CMJ live broadcasts from New York on October 21st at 10:00 am. Check their MySpace page for tour dates and information. For now, enjoy this video of The Blakes performing “Streets”: