Song of the Day: Modern Athletics – Wooden Shoe

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 featured selection, chosen by Morning Show Host John Richards, is “Wooden Shoe” by the Modern Athletics from their self-released album Give Us a Shove.

Modern Athletics – Wooden Shoe (MP3)

Many of our loyal KEXP supporters are recuperating from an awesome week in Austin-whether you took part in the (seared?) flesh or audibly via our live broadcasts SXSW is a great way to take in new music from bands all over the world. But, the new music doesn’t stop now that we’ve put away our cowboy hats until next year. Nope. Enter the pleasing sounds of Seattle power popsters Modern Athletics. They may not provide any insights on performance-enhancing substances or new fangled support technology but they will rock your socks off.

Modern Athletics have been honing their style from countless live gigs including a well-received appearance in the sweaty bowels of the Cha Cha during last year’s Capitol Hill Block Party but only recently recorded their efforts into their debut album Give Us A Shove. Today’s song, “Wooden Shoe” will make it hard for you to contain your inner air-guitarist. From the opening power chords, this band could be the love child of The Kinks and Guided By Voices.

Bassist Allen Murray recently shared some insights and some (embarrassing or badass?) childhood photos of his bandmates.

How did you all meet and how was Modern Athletics born?

I think Allen and Shi Kai got drunk at a party one night and told Mike they were forming a band with him. Mike was sober, but accepted anyways. They practiced together for years until finally angels delivered Adam and his honey-sweet voice to them. Now complete, they went forth and performified.

Were any of you athletes in your younger years?

“If you think playing hockey twice a week is enough physical activity for your child, THINK AGAIN.” – ParticipACTION


Allen is the Salem, OR 1984 YWCA Breakdancing Champion.

And Mike Zak was a swimmer:

What’s your songwriting process and how did “Give Us a Shove” come together?

Songs usually start with a melody kernel and a lyrical stream of consciousness. Sometimes they grow on their own and are birthed into the practice room with all their parts, limbs, fingers and toes, and just need a little calisthenics. Sometimes they are still just baby kernels and we play them together a whole bunch and see where the song grows.

We played all the songs on “Give Us a Shove” for about a year at our live shows before sitting down and recording them, mostly at Avast! Studios and various basements around town. Recording was good lovely fun.

What can you tell me about “Wooden Shoe?”

Mike wrote Wooden Shoe when he first arrived in Seattle. Its subject bounces between old memories of unrealized aspirations and new impressions of unrealized aspirations, and absurdly named parks.

What’s one little known fact about the Modern Athletics?

Adam’s in love. Sorry everyone!

Don’t forget to put April 9th on the ol’ calendar to check out Modern Athletics’ record release show at The High Dive with KEXP faves Motopony and The Solvents. More info can be found on their website or Myspace page

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  1. Rebecca
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Lies! Lies! Everyone knows Mike was a lawn-bowler in his youth. (This band rocks. Keep your ears to the wind!)

  2. kelly
    Posted March 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Adam IS In LOVE! with a brilliant, lovely, silly, wonderful woman who happens to be my goddaughter and niece! Well-played, Burdman…

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