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 “Lack of Technology Made Me a Killer” by The Ropes from the 2011 EP of the same name, released on SINLO Records.
The Ropes have spent the last several years lurking the shadows of the New York indie scene, releasing a number of EPs and developing a cult following that goes along with a persona that is just as inscrutable as their music. Hoping to learn more about the band’s background, I clicked on the “about” section of their website and was directed to a page containing only two sentences: “We are The Ropes. We want to kill you.” That’s all vocalist Sharon Shy and mulit-instrumentalist “Toppy” seem to want to divulge about themselves, and this standoffish-ness goes well with The Ropes’ dark, minimalist instrumentation and Shy’s brooding, fatalistic lyrics. They might be the perfect band to get acquainted with as the air starts to chill and the clouds begin to roll over Seattle for the winter.
The Ropes’ last full-length release was 2008’s What They Do For Fun, and the duo has yet to make a splash — or even really attempt to — since, while touring minimally and steadily releasing EPs, the most recent being Lack of Technology Made Me a Killer, out last month. The title track is today’s featured song; and, like many of The Ropes’ songs, the lyrics are as dark as the music would suggest. Upon glancing at the title, one might assume the song is a commentary on how one might go insane if deprived of the wealth of technology that pervades contemporary society. When examined closely, however, the song is about coldly and remorselessly judging others, deeming them deserving of death, and lamenting how “A time machine over a gun / Would be my preference / But technology made me a killer.” Vocalist Sharon Shy begins the song in a saccharine tone despite the gruesomeness of her subject matter, but as she hones in on her conclusion, the drums become more pronounced and ominous, the electronics begin to tweak out, and her voice turns flat and sinister as she repeats the song’s title.
The Ropes only have one upcoming scheduled performance (they’ll be playing at Glasslands in Brooklyn on November 10) and only seem to have played a small handful of dates since last August, according to their website. While we’re waiting for the duo to schedule more shows, check out the video for their song “Clubs In Europe Forever,” from their 2009 EP of the same name: