Song of the Day: The High Dials – Teenage Love Made Me Insane

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, unrleased songs, and recordings from independent artists our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday, we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Teenage Love Made Me Insane” by The High Dials from their 2010 album Anthems for Doomed Youth on Rainbow Quartz.

The High Dials – Teenage Love Made Me Insane (MP3)

The High Dials recorded the entirety of their fourth album, Anthems for Doomed Youth in an abandoned, and supposedly haunted, naval building in their home city of Montreal. After hearing this and watching the album’s brief, Blair Witch-style teaser (below), you’d think it would be safe to assume that Anthems for A Doomed Youth, which was released November 2nd, is full of music that is, well, dark and haunting. Quite the contrary, in fact, is actually the case. The High Dials neo-psychedelic pop has taken a decidedly groovy and 60s-inspired tone on the new album, which is full of summery, laid-back pop melodies. Since their first album A New Devotion was released in 2003, The High Dials have sounded like everything from the Brian Jonestown Massacre, to The Raveonettes (listen to the first minute of “Space Hobo”, released in 2008, compared to the first minute after the vocals come in on The Raveonettes’ “Heart of Stone”, released in 2009), to The Beatles and The Byrds. The latter two of these comparisons are perhaps most appropriate when discussing Anthems for Doomed Youth, as you can practically see front man Trevor Anderson wearing purple-tinted glasses in front of a Technicolor backdrop as the band plays some of the songs off the new album.

Today’s Song of the Day, “Teenage Love Made Me Insane”, serves as the lead-off track on Anthems for Doomed Youth and certainly can be said to set the tone for the rest of the album. While the song is somewhat more accelerated and percussion-heavy than some of their other dreamy 60s throwbacks, Anderson’s lightweight voice doesn’t fail to instill a buzzing sense of carefree bliss and good times. The song speaks lightly of youthful naivete towards love, but underneath the flowers and sunshine the singer and his love’s plane is crashing (see the album’s cover):

Two pilots in a flaming plane
How could we touch the ground again?
I could not see for smoke
Until two hearts were broke

Despite the somewhat tragic undertones, it’s hard not to feel uplifted by the song’s spring-y tone and Anderson’s seemingly blissful acceptance of this love gone wrong. Sometimes I guess going insane isn’t so bad.

For more information and to hear more tracks off the new album, visit The High Dials’ website or MySpace. Here’s the aforementioned teaser for Anthems for Doomed Youth that was filmed in the abandoned naval building they recorded in:

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