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 “Boom Boom Boom” by Da Cruz from the 2011 album Sistema Subversia on Six Degrees.
Da Cruz is the marriage of Brazilian tradition and urban electronic chaos. The quartet is celebrating the release of their third album, Sistema Subversia, a riotous collection of dancehall tunes that wouldn’t feel out of place on a compilation with Major Lazer or M.I.A. But what Da Cruz lacks in headlines they make up for in heart, and the former is on course to change; the group’s label, Six Degrees, is responsible not only for introducing Americans to Bebel Gilberto and CéU, but also serves as a home base for favorites The Dø, Michael Franti and The Orb.
Da Cruz first saw the light of day in 2005, when beat maker Ane H. stumbled upon Brazilian singer Mariana Da Cruz performing Brazilian Bossa Nova music in an Irish pub. But instead of moving that classical sensibility over to the producer’s beats, Mariana became frenetic instead of tuneful, sharp instead of sweet. The addition of Pit Lee seemed like common sense: he previously served as the drummer for Reverend Beat Man, the self-proclaimed “Primitive Rock n’ Roll Preacher for Blues and Gospel Trash Singer of the Monsters.” If anyone was going to fit in with the barbed vocals and throbbing bass of Da Cruz, he was. Completing the foursome is guitarist Oliver Hunsmann, a fellow Brazilian whom Ane H. calls “kind of hippie,” who adds dynamic electro-funk riffs to the already dense compositions.
Da Cruz’s appeal lies in their distinctly urban roots — the beats are raw, the synths rugged and blistering. Mariana’s voice trades off harsh rap-singing and playful croons with relative ease, and Ane H.’s beats thunder over crunchy funk-guitars. It’s a flavorful musical explosion that is intentionally disquieting – it was never Da Cruz’s intent to make an easy album. Best representative of this goal is today’s song of the day, the club-ready “Boom Boom Boom” that sounds exactly as bombastic as its title implies.
Currently, Da Cruz is touring Europe. There are no plans yet for a U.S. tour, but you can head over to their website for more information. For now, here’s the video for “Boom Boom Boom,” featuring Mariana getting her electro-punk on in the sun: