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 “Amber Hands” by S.C.U.M from the 2011 album Again Into Eyes on Mute.
Perhaps compensating for the gloom that UK natives S.C.U.M encounter weather-wise this time of year — as do we in Seattle, for that matter — today’s song is bright, cascading and colorful in sound. With clear influence of 80’s new wave, some darker tones and a modern mechanical spin to the whole, S.C.U.M embodies a distraction. Lyrically, “Amber Hands” avoids heavy issues, yet amdist the sonic atmosphere and freedom it emulates carries a twinge of darkness.
As far as acronyms as band names go, S.C.U.M take their name from the SCUM Manifesto, written by Valerie Solanas, Andy Warhol’s would-be assassin. Thomas Cohen (vocals) and Bradley Baker (machines) formed the Society for Cutting up Men in 2008, cheekily referring to the extreme feminist pamphlet with an all male band. But their modern, atmospheric sound attracted additional members in Melissa Rigby straight out of drum school, Huw Webb (bass), and Samuel Kilcoyne (Moog), who kicked the sound into more electronic, no wave territory, taking up more space on the stage and more space on your ears. Mute scooped them up, and the UK band got the star treatment in production working with Jim Scalvunos (Grinderman, Nick Cave, Sonic Youth), Ken Thomas, and Jolyon Thomas (M83, David Bowie, Sigur Ros). September marked the release of their debut, Again Into My Eyes. Funnily enough, Nick Cave’s novel The Death of Bunny Munro was allegedly influenced by Solanas’ diatribe as well.
Currently, S.C.U.M are touring Europe and Japan with The Horrors. For more info on their touring activities, watch video, or read their blog check, out their Facebook and MySpace pages. If you could hear with your eyes, “Amber Hands” is stunning, so the group made a video that perhaps encapsulates the visions the music might evoke. Check it out now: