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 “Tom Cruz” by Plants and Animals from their 2010 album La La Land on Secret City Records.
Good day, KEXPers. Today’s musical selection comes to you all the way from… Canada! Formed in 2005, Plants and Animals is (shockingly just) a three piece outfit from Montreal best known for its high altitude choral epics that meld elements of classic and post rock with the mellow vibes of symphonic psychedelia. The band, comprised of vocalist/guitarists Warren C. Spicer and Nicolas Basque with drummer Mathew “the Woodman” Woodley, started out as an instrumental project built around folk sounds — and very little structure. As these compositions slowly evolved into what would become the band’s debut LP, Parc Avenue, the addition of vocals suddenly made perfect sense. While certainly flying the “indie-rock” flag, Plants and Animals is one of those bands that defies specific categorization. Okay, maybe that sentence sounds a bit of a cop-out, but fans of the band’s freeform, jam-bandy ways will agree — you can never be 100% sure of where one of these songs will go. Ballad? Space jam? Roots rock? Pigeon-holers and fortune-tellers be damned: Plants and Animals will defy your powers of prediction!
Set for release on the 20th of April (not 4/20!), Plants and Animals’ second LP, La La Land, was primarily recorded in the band’s analog home studio (The Treatment Room) with additional sessions in Paris, and under the warm attention of a group of slightly buzzed engineering nerds. According to the band’s website, today’s song of the day -– an angular mixture of post-rock and pop fuzz — was conceived with a little help from the sauce. Fire Water. John Barleycorn. Hooch. Today’s song, “Tom Cruz,” eventually came out of these late nights. As the Woodman tells it, “it was December, pre-Christmas, so we fueled the session with rum and cokes. They made us feel like Tom Cruise. It gave us killer smiles and made our enemies wither.” Like a goofy college kid on wine-coolers, this jovial positivity permeates the music that inhabits La La Land. The end result is an intelligently eclectic funsplotion (fun+explotion; I made that one up so don’t use it in Bannanagrams) that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Plants and Animals heads west with the release of La La Land, eventually landing in the Northwest for shows in Boise (The Noctilux on 5/20), Portland (Mississippi Studios on 5/21) and here in Seattle (The Crocodile on 5/22). You can find more dates and a link to their new video for “The Mama Papa” on their MySpace page. Otherwise, check out a couple of live videos from their performance for the Brooklyn Vegan/M for Montreal showcase at Austin’s Galaxy Room during SXSW… shot by KEXP!