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 “Colours” by Grouplove from their 2011 self-titled EP on Canvasback Music.
I know it’s early, but 2011 already seems to be shaping up as the year of American bands opting for the proper English spellings of words that can go both ways (you know, like “flavour” instead of “flavor,” or “humour” instead of “humor”). OK, maybe “the year of” is stretching it, but at least the current week of KEXP Song of the Days is shaping up that way. UK-inspired Austin band Ringo Deathstarr kicked off the week with their song “So High” from their album...wait for it...Colour Trip, and now Wednesday’s featured song is “Colours,” by the Los Angeles quintet Grouplove, who recently released their debut, self-titled EP on Canvasback Records (Fanfarlo, The Joy Formidable). Unlike Ringo Deathstarr, however, Grouplove’s use of the “u” is justified, as though they are based in LA, the band came together in Greece and features members from everywhere from California to New York, to, yes, the UK.
On their five-song EP (which you can stream here or on their MySpace page), Grouplove, as their name might suggest, relish the use of vocal harmonies to produce a sound that is comfortable, conversational, and centered around playing with different vocal techniques. Instead of concerning themselves with rhyme, meter, or any of that garbage, they just say what they’re going to say and make it work. Vocal riffing during verses is usually followed by soaring, impassioned, and oftentimes harmonized choruses, sometimes causing them to sound like a bit like a less-febrile version of the Pixies. The most obvious comparison, however, is Modest Mouse, and it only takes a few seconds of listening to today’s featured song, “Colours,” for the Isaac Brock comparisons to hit wave. The MM comparisons extend to Grouplove’s instrumentation as well (especially on a song like “Gold Coast”) to produce a Moon + Antarctica sense of vastness, expansiveness, and, oftentimes, desolation - themes that contrast with the band’s seemingly cheer-y demeanor. I think this press shot says it best:
Grouplove will kick off a tour of the US and Canada with a performance Live on KEXP on Wednesday, March 16, during our SXSW broadcast from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. Tune in at 4:30PM Austin time (2:30PM PST), and also catch them at The Crocodile in Seattle on April 12. For a complete list of dates, head over to their website, MySpace or Facebook page. For now, here’s the video for today’s featured song: