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 “Dark into Light” by AM & Shawn Lee from the 2011 album Celestial Electric on ESL.
Producers and multi-instrumentalists AM and Shawn Lee come from different backgrounds, with very different sonic styles. While AM works from Los Angeles, Lee hails from London, and while the former fuses pop, soul, folk, R&B, and psychedelia, the latter focuses on ambient and jazz fusion. Both have releases numerous albums on a variety of labels, each garnering acclaim and notoriety. It wasn’t long before the pair had heard of each other, and AM reached out to Lee online. The rest is history.
The duo worked on their debut album, Celestial Electric, from their respective hometowns, employing the Postal Service-proven method of emailing each other tracks and snippets. The resulting pool of creative inspiration blends influences from pop, soul, funk, jazz, Brazilian tropicalia, Turkish psychedelia, and soundtracks and library music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s into a melodic blend of electro-soul that would make even the most hardened hipsters bob their heads. Today’s featured song, “Dark into Light,” most immediately calls to mind a more upbeat Thom Yorke, with a grimy bass over light percussion and gentle but empassioned vocals, strung together with gliding synth swirls and pads.
AM and Shawn Lee will be at the Sunset Tavern in Seattle on September 13 and LIVE on KEXP earlier that same day. Head over to their website for more information. For now, check out the band performing a live acoustic rendition of album cut “Promises are Never Far from Lies”: