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 “Sunlight” by The One AM Radio from the 2011 album Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread on Dangerbird Records.
The One AM Radio are a Los Angeles based four-piece making folk-tinged electronic music that walks the line between insomnia and dreams, music meant to be listened to on a long stretch of road late at night. In fact, The One AM Radio’s new single, “Sunlight,” is about driving all night through the empty city, waiting for the sun to come out and bring the chance to start over.
The project began in New England, where Hrishikesh Hirway was studying design and photography at Yale. With a borrowed guitar, a 4-track recorder, and a drum machine, Hirway made cassettes for his friends and his sister to fall asleep to, instrumental lullabies mixed with staticky murmurs of talk radio. Hirway started writing lyrics and singing over his music, and began performing, using what he’d written on the label on the first cassette, “The One AM Radio”, as a moniker.
Ted Leo gave Hrishikesh his real start and his first release after the two played a show together, and invited him to come record in Boston at Radium City, Ted’s home recording studio. Those recordings were released as a split 7-inch with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Surprisingly, The One AM Radio became an unlikely part of the DIY hardcore scene, playing and touring alongside screamy punk bands in sweaty basements. The homemade recordings were released in the form of EPs and 7”s on a variety of hardcore labels, as well as Hirway’s own DIY imprint, Translucence.
Hrishikesh started making Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread, his fourth LP, during sleepless nights. At one point, Hrishikesh’s idea was to make a dance record, and now, he admits, that’s not really how it turned out. Tony Hoffer, who has produced albums for Beck, Phoenix, Belle and Sebastian, and Air, ended up hearing demos of some of the early songs and reached out to get involved with the recording. Hoffer took an the role of an advisor, and Hirway would send him his hand-crafted organic electronic songs. Hoffer eventually mixed the album. Baths and his fellow anticon labelmate alias contributed as well, to the songs “Ticking Heart” and “Weathering (The News),” respectively. Hirway’s new bandmates, Fontaine Cole and Scott Leahy, added to the recordings, as well as Daniel Hart, the violinist for St Vincent.
You can catch up with the band on their website and chat them up on Twitter. The band opens a West Coast Tour in May and is scheduled to play the Comet Tavern on May 14th in Seattle with Houses. The One AM Radio will be live on the Morning Show the day before, on May 13th, at 9:30AM. For now, here’s the video for another song from the new album, “Everything Falls Apart”: