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 that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Careful With That Hat” by Citay from the 2010 album Dream Get Together on Dead Oceans.
Citay is a 7-piece band living and working out of my previous home of San Francisco, California. Have you been there? It’s a beautiful city — alive and kicking with every branch of culture you could ever want to hang from. The city as it is affectionately referred to is a musical mecca of past and present, consistently spawning some of the left coast’s most intriguing new voices. Citay, formed in 2004 by Ezra Feinberg (Piano Magic) and Tim Green (The Fucking Champs), is one of these bands. Built up around some of the hipp(y)er moments of the past Citay’s sound harnesses the core tools of pop music (guitars, keyboards, percussion) to create melodic Beach Boys-esque psychedelic rock that lingers on the fringes of the modern day Haight-Ashbury strip mall. Dream Get Together marks the band’s third proper release ( an additional album of remixes appeared last year) and second for the ever expanding Dead Oceans label (Dirty Projectors, Califone, Phosphorescent). Something of a concept album the title refers to a songwriting project in which band members and friends (Jens Lekman, Bishop Allen & Stephen McBean to name a few) concocted fantastical meetings of folks both alive and dead. This creative framework coupled with Citay’s propensity for drug-rock’s mellowed atmosphere boils down to a record that is both diverse and, well, at times kinda trippy.
“Careful With That Hat” jumps to life immediately with boppily pleasant bongos and happily tapped xylophone keys that act as a calm, cool breeze before the storm of guitars you just know are on the way. Before you can pull out your umbrella fuzzy electric guitars hit you sideways with the confidence of a coked up 70’s rock god. Initially grounded in the nearly twee ethereal female/male vocals “Careful With that Hat” eventually cuts the cord, exploding into controlled abandon replete with meandering layers of synth, GUITAR and percussion that flirt with disintegration but never see it come to pass –- and that my friends is what we call the sweet spot.
Citay start a new tour at the end of the month. No Seattle date yet exists on their MySpace page, but according to the band’s website, where you can follow the progression of Dream Get Together and the Remix project, they’ll be in the Pacific Northwest in May. For now, here’s a live clip from ’08 of their song “Little Kingdom”: