Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists our DJ’s think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Laura Palmer’s Prom” by You Say Party! We Say Die! from their 2010 album XXXX on Paper Bag Records.
We haven’t heard much from Vancouver B.C. New Wavers You Say Party! We Say Die! (aka YSP!WSD!) in a while, but you could hardly call it their own fault. In what you might call another tragic Canadian band/border paperwork SNAFU, founding member and bassist Stephen O’Shea was actually banned from playing in the U.S. for five years. Though that was only four years ago, after good behavior or just talking to “a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy,” they’ve been able to string together a list of U.S. tour dates starting in Seattle at Chop Suey on March 9th and working their way down to SXSW this year.
Now you would think that a delay like this would probably have crippled most other bands, but it seems to have actually brought YSP!WSD! together. In fact, the five-piece has barely stood still since forming in 2003 at one time spending over four months touring overseas without a break. Following lengthy overseas tours in China and Japan, the band came home and recorded their latest album XXXX with the help of producer Howard Redekop (The New Pornographers, Tegan & Sara). The title of the album is said to represent the word “love” and fans of the band will recognize the familiar characters evident throughout their previous three releases.
XXXX is a great re-introduction to the classic synth riffs you remember from your youth, mixed with a little pop-punk ingenuity and the amazing female vocals of lead singer Becky Ninkovic. A good example of the new album’s somewhat slower, but no less burning, approach, “Laura Palmer’s Prom,” the band’s first single, features dreamy keyboards (taking a note, or several, from The Cure) swirling above a pumping bass and Ninkovic’s plaintive vocal line, “My heart needs a love dance.” Other songs on the album, like “Dark Days,” similarly transcend YSP!WSD!’s dance-punk roots in favor of more heartfelt, but still quite danceable, melodies. If your heart needs a love dance too, XXXX is for you.
You can find out more about the band on their website or listen to additional tracks on their Myspace page. Their U.S. tour will end in Chicago on March 31st. For you to follow along, the band has been documenting their tour quite humorously on their YouTube channel. Here’s the first segment: