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 “When Did The Lights Go Out” by Pixie Carnation from the 2009 self-released Fresh Poems EP.
Formed in Malmö, Sweden, in late 2007, Pixie Carnation is an amalgam of childhood friends Tobias Helkvist and Ola Pålsson along with a full backing band complete with drums, cellos, violin, and piano. In May of this year, the group self-released their debut EP, Fresh Poems, which features three tracks of Americana-inspired pop.
Opening up with a half minute of a practicing string section in what sounds like an orchestra about to break into a full rendition of a classical piece, “When Did The Lights Go Out” switches directions quickly as the swinging strum of an electric guitar comes in with a kick drum and snare following not too far behind. Immediately you start to think that maybe The Boss has entered the room and you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Helkvist sings of simpler times when we weren’t afraid, didn’t have to look over our shoulder, and didn’t lock our doors; all things that bring Bruce’s imagery to mind. As the song progresses you don’t get any indication that the band is from anywhere but the U.S. as the vocal stylings come through entirely American in a way that even some U.S. bands somehow don’t seem to be able to achieve. Simply structured yet toe-tappingly catchy, “When Did The Lights Go Out” is the kind of rock song that gets its vocal melody stuck inside of your brain but you’re okay with it.
Currently the Scandinavian septet does not have a touring schedule currently posted, but if you happen to reside in the southern reaches of Sweden, keep an eye out for dates in the band’s home town of Malmö. For the rest of us, the band keeps a regularly updated Facebook group as well as a Myspace page where tour dates will be available as they are added. Here’s a quick clip of their performance at the BootBooHook Festival in Hannover, Germany, back in August: