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 “Rest” by Parts & Labor from the 2011 album Constant Future on Jagjaguwar.
Brooklyn noise rockers Parts & Labor are a curious band, blending melodic songwriting influences with a flair for distortion and sonic destruction. On their latest, the acclaimed Constant Future, they push the boundaries of the so-named “No-wave” movement until they smash through the walls of the otherwise strict palette of sound. Murmured vocals soar over driving guitars and grooving percussion in “Rest,” a clear album standout.
Parts & Labor began in 2002 as an instrumental noise band. Their breakthrough LP, Stay Afraid, pushed them to the forefront of a scene that was still finding its footing, and as such the band found themselves touring with artists as diverse as Battles, TV on the Radio, Deerhoof, Japanther, and Matt & Kim. Despite a slew of lineup changes (mostly at the drummer position), the band has always been just on the verge of breaking it big, and a large part of that’s due to the undeniable pop undercurrent the flows beneath even their most abrasive and experimental tunes.
“Rest” borrows from the modern rock aesthetic of bands like Foo Fighters without sacrificing the HEALTH- or Lightning Bolt-style noise freakouts that Parts & Labor do so well. It’s a remarkable track that represents an album which is arguably the band’s best effort to date — a perfect fusion of rock harmonies and spazzy static insanity.
Below, watch the band perform an intimate cover of No Age‘s “Life Prowler” in New York, as part of Voice Project‘s chain episodes.