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 “Quantum Leap” by John Maus from the 2011 album We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves on Ribbon Music.
From Austin, a small town just south of Minneapolis, Minnesota, John Maus has been busy de-composing 80′s synth-pop songs into something bordering on surreal. This summer John Maus will release his third full-length album, We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, his first since 2007, and possibly one of the best new album names in years. The album is coming out June 28 in North America on Ribbon Music, an imprint of Domino Record Co. Unlike the last two albums, Pitiless Censors looks towards the future in all its ridiculousness. The cover itself depicts an airbrushed lighthouse, thrashed by wave after wave, signifying perhaps the beacon of light it provides yet also hinting at the uncertainty of the sea crashing around it. Interrupting the status quo and being radically expressive is what Maus and this new album is all about.
Born in the decade of synth pop, his instruments of choice are synthesizers, drum machines, and bass, all perfectly suited for his wonderful voice, landing him somewhere roughly between Ian Curtis and David Bowie. Those from the lo-fi bedroom camp expecting another James Blake copy should look elsewhere. John Maus is all about dancing, sweating, and fists in the air, all done in a really smart and genuine way that really makes you think about what you’re listening to. John Maus is clearly a rising star.
Read more about this fascinating artist on his website. John Maus will be touring this Summer in support of his new album with the duo Puro Instinct. They are scheduled to play at Chop Suey in Seattle on June 21. In the meantime, enjoy this video for their song “Believer”, the closing track to the new album, and the first official single. The video, produced using rare, vintage equipment, looks like it was recorded on an old VHS tape deck circa 1982, with flickering digital static and rainbow-colored overlays: