Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Lions of Least” by Pontiak from the 2012 album Echo Ono on Thrill Jockey.
Echo Ono is Pontiak’s 9th record. Virginia band of brothers Jennings, Van, and Lain Carney have been playing music together as Pontiak since 2004 and have done good work carving out a unique sound for themselves. Blending blues and rock with psychedelia, Pontiak is a hard rock band that you can love for their trippy vocal harmonies and off-kilter chord progressions without sacrificing your head bang.
“Lions of Least” is perhaps the most straightforward rock cut from Echo Ono. It’s two minutes of pure face-melting gold. The track opens with a murderous guitar hook that fades into heavy bass and an anticipatory drum break. That only last for a couple seconds before the song explodes into the first verse. The bass breaks in between are a much needed breath of air between each verse’s submergence. The jam is just so awesome that you almost need a break. The dynamic, building guitar through the whole track keeps the energy building until the last second. Throw in some lyrics about lions and the sky splitting open and fire and you’ve got the cut. And the genius of it all is that it’s short enough that you’ll want to hit repeat about a dozen times. I haven’t felt this much like blaring a rock song on my stereo driving down the highway with windows open since I heard “Black Dog” for the first time.
“Lions of Least” is a great cut from a great album. Check out Echo Ono, out on Thrill Jockey records now. The brothers Pontiak are on tour but headed home, wrapping up in Virginia early May. Keep your eyes peeled for new dates at their website, and check out the seriously epic video for “Lions of Least” below: