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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “Lost Weekend” by Art Brut from their forthcoming 2011 album Brilliant! Tragic! on Cooking Vinyl.
Led by quirky front man Eddie Argos, British four-piece Art Brut came about in the mid 00s on the same wave as bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party. While utilizing the same kind of simple, catchy guitar lines as their more widely accepted contemporaries, Art Brut are set apart by Argos’ staccato, conversational singing style and offbeat lyrics. Because Argos’ eccentricity is the most pronounced aspect of their music, the band hasn’t been able to gain as much widespread attention as other more hook- and riff-centric bands that are otherwise similar. Fitting, then, is the fact that the band’s name is taken from French artist Jean Dubuffet’s term for outsider art.
Brilliant! Tragic!, set to be released May 23, is the band’s fourth full-length LP and second under the direction of the Pixes’ Frank Black, the first being 2009’s Art Brut vs. Satan. If today’s featured song is any indication, the forthcoming release will see Argos and company streamlining their style into more radio-friendly songs, mostly due to the fact that it appears he will actually be “singing” on the record. Instead of sounding like a hopped-up dandy poet, Argos sings in a more subdued and throaty tone, sounding like an appealing combination of David Bowie, Tom Waits, and the guy who sings the Halloween favorite “Monster Mash.” The lyrics also are not as verbose and esoteric as we are used to seeing from the band. Lines like “I’m sorry that I embarrassed you / Said something stupid like ‘I love you’,” and “It was a lost weekend / We turned our phones off, ignored our friends” are easy and relate-able, but no less effective. Combine all this with Art Brut’s typically catchy instrumentation and you have a stellar single that might make Brilliant! Tragic! the band’s most anticipated album to date.
Art Brut are currently touring overseas, but they’ll likely make their rounds around the States at some point after the album is released. Check their website or MySpace page for updates. While we’re waiting for an announcement, enjoy the video for “Lost Weekend,” directed by Alex de Campi: