Song of the Day: Downpilot – Chelsea Turnaround

photo by Studio Ogalthorpe

photo by Studio Ogalthorpe

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 Midday Show Host Cheryl Waters, is “Chelsea Turnaround” by Downpilot from their album They Kind of Shine available on Tapete Records.

Downpilot – Chelsea Turnaround (MP3)

Many artists and musicians hate to be pegged in a certain genre. That is definitely true of today’s artist –Paul Hiraga with his solo(ish) project Downpilot. You may be familiar with Hiraga from one of his past efforts including the post-punk outfit Breaking Circus, or possibly the short-lived, Minnesota-based, power pop trio The Mings, or even from earlier Downpilot releases and still not know what to expect from him. This incarnation leans heavily on roots/Americana for inspiration and will fit nicely with comps that have Wilco, Zoe Muth, and Nick Drake.

“I felt the harmonies of Garfunkel, the intimacy of Drake, the solitary drive of McCartney (on his first solo outings) so I just went with it and played as much as I could stand to hear back without feeling TOO self-indulgent.” Paul Hiraga

Prior to starting the recording, Hiraga spent a considerable time studying classic recording studio equipment and constructed his own analog studio. Many musicians are rediscovering the beauty of recording “straight to tape” and this technique is well suited for the openness of Hiraga’s tunes. Today’s song “Chelsea Turnaround” features simple percussion, a roaming lapsteel, and lyrics that feel familiar like a pair of warm socks.

Downpilot had a couple of shows to debut the new album including an on-air performance at KEXP but don’t have anything stateside scheduled in the near future. They are currently touring throughout Germany where there label is based. You can check out their myspace page for dates and keep an eye on the KEXP archives for their recent in-studio.

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