Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different songs 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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “An Apple For An Apple” by Miles Kurosky from the 2010 album The Desert of Shallow Effects on Majordomo.
Being injured is tough. Physically, mentally -– hell, the former often begets the latter leaving you lost in a whirlpool of super-sucking toughness. No one knows this cycle better than former Beulah maestro Miles Kurosky. Following the release of their final LP, Yoko ( 2003 on Velocette Records) and a subsequent tou,r Kurosky severely injured his shoulder leaving him unable to do that thing he’d done for over a decade: play guitar. Multiple reconstructive surgeries to repair a torn rotator cuff and damaged cartilage made the simple act of strumming his guitar an unbearably painful activity, forcing him to hang it up completely for over a year. Can you imagine losing your only creative outlet for a year? Oh yeah, AND Kurosky was also diagnosed with an intestinal disease that required TWO MORE surgeries. Have you ever had a surgery? Omg, it sucks. So then to recap: Kurosky had four surgeries in the six years that has elapsed since Beulah’s last album.
As you might imagine these lay-ups afforded Kurosky an immense amount of time to reflect. He married his longtime girlfriend. He thought about the demise of his band and the future of his songwriting. He wrote and recorded song sketches without the use of his arms, often singing a cappella into a Dictaphone -- slow, small steps toward a new record.
Out this week on Majordomo, The Desert of Shallow Effects marks Kurosky’s return to pop prominence. Fans of Beulah can rejoice: this solo stuff doesn’t diverge terribly from his work with a full band --– in fact, all but one (Bill Swan) of his former brethren make appearances on Desert. In a way this record, six years in the making and technically a Miles Kurosky solo effort, forms a collection of songs that could really be a fifth Beulah record.
Even though Kurosky himself has dismissed his importance to the Elephant 6 collective (Beulah’s first LP, Handsome Western States, was on E6) “An Apple For An Apple” certainly recalls the fairy tale feel of the crew. Perhaps it is the inclusion of horns (always makes me think of E6) or the happy sing along (it’s easy to imagine Kurosky gimpy and singing this one into his Dictaphone) or the non-traditional song structure that seems to jettison in a million directions while firmly planted in story -- regardless, the resulting song is a lovely mix of happy sounds, triumphant rebirth and joy. How can that be wrong?
Fortunately, you’ll be able to see him in person as Miles Kurosky comes to the Northwest and plays the Tractor Tavern on April 10. You’ll find more dates on his MySpace page. While you’re waiting for him to wind his way north, check out the new music video for “Dog In The Burning Building,” also off The Desert of Shallow Effects: