Every Monday through Friday, we offer a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, 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 “Crazy Rulers of the World,” by Surf City from their 2010 album Kudos on Fire Records.
Surf City are a New Zealand four-piece band that was formed by guitarists Josh Stoddard and Davin Kennedy in 2004 after they met at a party. Though, as their name might suggest, they do exhibit several surf elements, their music’s defining characteristic is the distorted, atmospheric guitar work of Stoddard and Kennedy, making bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, and the Jesus and Mary Chain obvious comparisons (their name was even taken from a Jesus and Mary Chain b-side called “Kill Surf City”). Though their sound seems tailored for famed New Zealand-based record label Flying Nun (who released many of Pavement’s records in conjunction with Matador), they weren’t able to strike a deal with the local label. They eventually released their self-titled EP in 2008 on Arch Hill Recordings. Kudos, their debut full-length, was released earlier this year on Fire Records.
Today’s featured song, “Crazy Rulers of the World,” begins with nothing but a quick surf drum beat before a gigantic wall of distorted guitar appears out of no where. This guitar is sustained throughout the entirety of the song, and over it (or under it) Stoddard’s washed-out voice cries out with the help of some ahh-ing vocal harmonies.
According to their MySpace page, all of Surf City’s scheduled tour dates seem to be taking place down under, but hopefully Kudos will gain enough traction in the States to justify a tour. For now, here they are playing their song “Dishshakers Union” live from the Cutting Room Studios NYC on KEXP: