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 “Play That Song Again” by Chuck Prophet from the 2012 album Temple Beautiful on Yep Roc.
Chuck Prophet’s last album was a product of its time. Intended to be “a political album for non-political people,” 2009’s ¡Let Freedom Ring! was recorded in Mexico City, more as an escape from his native political climate than as any kind of cultural exchange. Chuck’s new album, though, is a product of its place. Temple Beautiful is a rock ‘n’ roll paean to his adopted hometown, San Francisco. Songs like “Castro Halloween,” “Willie Mays Is Up at Bat,” and “Emperor Norton in the Last Year of His Life” namecheck the places and people of the City by the Bay’s past and present. The title track, “Temple Beautiful,” itself is named for a now-defunct, synagog-turned-punk-club that resided next door to cult leader Jim Jones’s temple. This convergence of Prophet’s own musical upbringing and the city’s sometimes seedy past is the perfect symbol for the entire album. Today’s featured song, “Play That Song Again,” opens the album at full throttle. With its sing-along chorus and chiming guitars, the song is a rousing call to all music lovers and makes you want to hear each consecutive song on the album again before you’ve even listened to them for the first time!
On February 22, Chuck Prophet will bring Temple Beautiful to Seattle when he plays the Tractor Tavern. Check his website and Facebook page for more dates, videos and songs. For now, you can check out a handful of videos of Chuck Prophet on KEXP’s YouTube channel, like this video of Chuck performing “Let Freedom Ring” backstage during the 2010 No Depression Festival at Marymoor Park, as well as his new video for Temple Beautiful‘s “White Night, Big City,” but here’s the first part of a mini-doc featuring Chuck Prophet giving his own “Temple Beautiful” tour of San Francisco: