Song of the Day: Jonquil – Fighting Smiles

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 offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Fighting Smiles” by Jonquil from the 2010 EP One Hundred Suns on Dovecote Records.

Jonquil – Fighting Smiles (MP3)

Lo-fi Bedroom antics seem to be all the rage Stateside for the past several years, so it should come as no surprise that a few UK bands have figured out the formula and are putting their own twist on things. Oxford, UK’s Jonquil are one of those acts. Consisting of Hugo Manuel, Sam Hudson Scott, and Robin McDiarmid, the three-piece wears obvious influences from the Tropical/Calypso/Afro-Pop scene proudly on their sleeve (complete with the retro album cover ala Vampire Weekend), and have been self-described as “Paul Simon’s take on The Smiths,” a rather fair and flattering comparison. Part of Oxford’s wonderfully talented Blessing Force Collective, Jonquil are certainly doing their best to stand out in a city filled with such great bands and a rich music history. Today’s featured song, “Fighting Smiles,” is a delightful collection of percussion, catchy synth lines, crafty guitar work, and those great falsetto vocals from frontman Hugo Manuel. Fans of Vampire Weekend, Beirut, and Mogwai should definitely take note.

You can listen to more from the band on their MySpace page and get even more information from their blog. There is only one UK show date announced so far this year, but hopefully we’ll be seeing Jonquil on this side soon! For now, here’s Jonquil performing today’s featured song live at the Roxy Art House in Edinburgh this past May:

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