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 “The Beast” by Laura Marling from the 2011 album A Creature I Don’t Know on Ribbon Music.
Laura Marling is one of the rising young stars of the UK “nu-folk” scene. Born in Hampshire, England, she is the youngest of three daughters of a music teacher and learned guitar at an early age. Her father, who ran a recording studio, introduced her to folk music and shaped her musical taste. Her low, light voice and subtle guitar-driven melodies are reminiscent of some of Britain and America’s finest folk artists of the past. She dabbles primarily in the indie folk genre and has worked closely with bands like Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale. For those who enjoy guitar-driven, lyrical, singer-songwriter folk genre, she is clearly one of the most exciting new musical talents from across the Atlantic.
Laura Marling’s 2008 debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, was written and recorded when she was just 17 years old and was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in the UK, an award given annually for the best album from a British or Irish artist. She was only 18 at the time. Her sophomore release, I Speak Because I Can (2010), is a striking collection of literary and emotional homespun tales delivered in swirls of melody. The album’s release brought her further critical acclaim including another Mercury Music Prize nomination. In 2011, Marling won the NME Award’s “Best Solo Artist” statuette as well as the hotly contended Brit Award for “Best British Female”. Laura Marling’s third and latest album, A Creature I Don’t Know, was recorded with producer Ethan Johns and should only prove to further punctuate her extraordinary talent both as a songwriter and performer. With such lofty credentials and expectations, nothing seems to phase this rising star. Laura Marling makes it sound easy.
To hear more from Laura Marling, head over to her website. She’s currently on tour selling out venues in Europe and Australia, but hopefully she’ll be back here in the States soon enough. For now, here’s the video for “Sophia,” the first single from the new album: