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 “Bright Whites” by Kishi Bashi from the 2012 album 151a on Joyful Noise Recordings.
Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi has toured extensively with Of Montreal and stands out as one of the most talented musicians of the bunch. If there’s any of the outfit’s members that deserve some time in the spotlight, it’s Kishi Bashi. In addition to being the band’s strings guru and touring member, Bashi also nabbed a producing credit on the band’s upcoming 11th LP, Paralytic Stalks. His time to shine, though, comes with the release of his debut solo album, 151a, on Joyful Noise.
For an introduction into Bashi’s musical universe, turn no further than the track “Bright Whites.” As he is still an Of Montreal member, the music is, for all intents and purposes, off-kilter, particularly the opening chants and swirl of guitar and drums. The middle section, though, takes a more even-keeled approach to pop, balancing the looped whistles with peaceful, yet evocative vocals. Bashi then rides the song to a seemingly natural conclusion: a jumble of sounds and voices.
Kishi Bashi has given us some of the most lighthearted, quirky tunes of 2012 on his debut album, and he’s decided to take those themes to the next level in the video for our featured song “Bright Whites.” Alternately clever, baffling, funny and disturbing, within these four minutes, there are references to different common phrases sprinkled throughout (for instance, at 0:21 there is a “backseat driver” sitting next to a woman holding “hell in a handbasket”) and if not for the bright, realistic lighting, this macabre retelling could have been pulled straight out of a Tim Burton movie. There are 56 common idioms hidden within the video, as well as a handful of his of Montreal bandmates. A magical video, filled with 56 visual puns. Can you find them all?