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 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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Whirring” by The Joy Formidable from their 2011 release The Big Roar on Canvasback Music.
This now London-based group was conceived by two Wales natives, Ritzy Bryan and Rhydian Dafydd, back in 2007. After Bryan (vocals and guitar) and Dafydd (bass) relocated to London, they picked up drummer Matt Thomas. Conceptually, they wanted to express their transition from the Welsh countryside to the hectic big city of London in a musical way, and through their full-length debut, The Big Roar, they evoke at various times a vast pastoral landscape and and an enormous driving rock force of urban modernity.
Their songs are a barrage of instrumentation, a heady stockpile of scuzzy riffs, dominating drums, and throbbing bass that amounts to sound much larger than the sum of the band’s parts. And yet while the album remains muscular and frenetic, Bryan imbues a certain femininity of cranberries and sweetness to counter the rest of the heaviness that goes on, as in today’s featured song, and their first U.S. single, “Whirring.” As you ease into the catchy opening rhythm, Bryan’s voice lulls you into a gentle complacency just before you’re swept up with the jam-accelerating, tension-building rise to the song’s climax.
You’ll be able to be swept away yourself when The Joy Formidable comes to Seattle on their current tour. They’ll be at The Crocodile on April 12. You can find more dates on their website, Facebook and MySpace pages.
Earlier this month, the band performed live on KEXP during our SXSW broadcast from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin, and easily The Joy Formidable were one of the most exciting bands to watch. Check out the photos here and their performance of “Whirring” here: