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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “West Side High” by Polite Sleeper from their self-released album Turf.
Comprised of three Brooklynites, Polite Sleeper is Jason Orlovich carrying out the vocals and the acoustic guitar,Tim Wilson keeping beat on the drums, and Michael Curtes on keyboards and piano. Curtes joined in after the debut EP was released on the Germany-based Sabotage Records. Their debut full-length, Seens was released in 2008 also on Sabotage, but this time in 2011 they took matters into their own self-sufficient hands and recorded Turf over multiple sessions with Nick Stumpf and Phil Palazzo who have had their hand in engineering such delights as French Kicks and Ted Leo respectively.
The tunes from Polite Sleeper focus on a strong rhythm section, yet carry it out sans bass. It’s a gritty version of folk, and a decibel shattering lo-fi. “West Side High” is a song less interested in vocal clarity than the driving rhythm carried out by the guitar and the pounding drums — in fact, there is a sense of competition between Orlovich and mates as to who can be louder. Close your eyes, imagine the live act, and you can see the veins popping out of his neck as he talk-sings with all his might reminiscent of a cleaner, younger, Isaac Brock. As short and sweet as they make it, it’s rousing, fist-pumping, and a little off-kilter.
Polite Sleeper is cruising around Europe for their winter 2011 tour, and you can keep up-to-date with their whereabouts via their website and even follow along with their tour blog, which is full of fun and interesting adventures and tidbits of insight into the Polite Sleeper world, like how they got evicted from their rehearsal space the night before their tour. For now, here’s a video of them performing live in Paris back in 2009: