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 Cheryl Waters, is “Black Night” by The Dodos from the 2011 album No Color on Frenchkiss.
San Fran indie rockers The Dodos saw their start as the solo project of front man Meric Long, which he dubbed Dodobird. After picking up percussionist Logan Kroeber, the name was changed, appropriately, to The Dodos, and though they went on to enlist the help of a few others (mainly music school dropout Keaton Snyder), their sound has continued to revolve around the Kroeber’s forceful tribal percussion and Long’s nimble finger picking guitar style. Like many other bands that have sprung up over the last decade, The Dodos are heavily influenced by West African music, as is evinced in the drumming style and Long’s vocals, but what makes The Dodos unique is that their interpretation of the music is far more folk-oriented than the sometimes electronically-angled music of some of their contemporaries; this is where Long’s distinct, energetic style of finger-picking comes in. If you had to compare The Dodos to a Northwest band, Ravenna Woods might not be a bad choice.
By most accounts, No Color, the band’s fourth full-length album which will be released on March 15, sees The Dodos taking a step in a far more energetic direction than on their previous album Time To Die. One listen to today’s featured song “Black Night” confirms this, as well as showcasing the band’s African influence in Kroeber’s steady, emphatic drumming and Long’s vocal style. It’s also definitely not hard to imagine these guys working up a sweat during live performances. If one song is not enough for you, though, and you can’t wait until next Tuesday, you can stream No Color in its entirety via NPR.
The Dodos are currently in the middle of a jam-packed touring schedule. They’ll playing at SXSW in Austin next week and will by Neumos on April 5. They’ll also be playing at the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham on April 4, as well as the Doug Fir in Portland on April 7. Click here for more dates. While we wait a short month for them to come back through the Northwest, here they are performing “Fools” live during the KEXP and Seattle Center presented Concerts at the Mural: