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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “My Life With the Living Dead” by The Secret History from their 2010 debut album The World That Never Was on Le Grand Magistery.
Technology has certainly allowed us to create a world with no frontiers in that access to information now seems almost infinite. Because of that, our interest in knowing more about past decades has also increased, and we look to certain conduits to learn more about the style, fashion, and music that defined past years. Today’s featured band, The Secret History, is just that: a time machine that takes you back with its strong sentiment for 70’s glam, 80’s rock and post-punk, 90’s techno, and a lot more.
One of the reasons for the band’s success at mining music of the past is its own long history. Five members of The Secret History performed as New York band My Favorite from the early 90’s through mid 00’s and only broke up after vocalist Andrea Vaughn quit. The remaining members found two new vocalists, Erin Dermody and Lisa Ronson, daughter of David Bowie guitarist and Morrissey producer Mick Ronson, and thus formed The Secret History. Their debut, The World That Never Was, released last month, sets a context that refers to the decade of the synth-pop, legwarmers and big hair through sound that assembles elements of glam rock with a mixture of synthesizers and wistful but thoughtful lyrics.
“My Life With The Living Dead” is an example of this feeling of melancholy that goes along with the dynamic and organic melody composed on keyboards, guitar, bass and drums, ironically, to tell a little story of a life that turned into routine emptiness after the departure of a lover. As if zombies weren’t already a direct referential to automatic living function among other things, this song expresses the loss of an awakening emotion that hopes for a new day, where life seems to only make sense when love is present, as the sad poetry of these lyrics recall:
I took a job at a factory
when I realized you were not coming back […]
My life with the living dead.
All dressed up in nightmare,
they took me to dance […]
The man thinks I sold my soul for rock and roll,
but God only knows I sold it for the black of your hair.
The Secret History is performing occasionally on the East Coast, with no dates set for this side of the country yet. For further information about the band, visit their MySpace page. For now, enjoy the official video for “Johnny Anorak,” another song from the new album: