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 you get a bonus selection: “1904” by The Tallest Man On Earth from the forthcoming 2012 album There’s No Leaving Now on Dead Oceans.
It seems like it was 1904 back when we first started playing Tallest Man on Earth — actually it was 2006 — but since that time, so much for him has changed. Back then, on the release of his self-titled EP (on Gravitation), so little was known about him. Who was he? Where was he from? Was he really tall? Even by the time we featured a song from it, “Walk the Line,” as a podcast, we still had only a few clues. Ok, his name is really Kristian Matsson, and despite his rustic sound, he’s not from the hills but really the dales, or literally the region of Dalarna (“the valleys”) in Sweden. And we knew that he was too tall to fit in the picture frame, at least according to the scant photographic evidence. Over the next few year and during the course of two incredible albums, 2008’s Shallow Grave and 2010’s The Wild Hunt, The Tallest Man on Earth has become more famous than his real life counterpart (who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is still Turkey’s Sultan Kösen). He now sells out shows quickly no matter where he plays and the video of “Where Do My Bluebird Fly” from the session he recorded for us in 2008 (back in the early days of KEXP video) is one of our most popular of all time. All this for a guy who kind of sounds like Bob Dylan and plays only an acoustic guitar? You know it! There is nothing like witnessing Matsson perform live. Sure, he really isn’t tall, but he commands the stage like ten of himself. And on album, he’s pretty great also.
Today’s bonus featured song, “1904,” is the first peek at the There’s No Leaving Now, due June 12. Following on his previous release, the 2010 EP Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, Matsson turns again to the electric guitar, which he recorded for the first time on that EP, but on the new song, it’s only a light touch on the surface of its mostly acoustic sound. If “1904” is any indication of the rest of the album, you can expect a much lighter mood than on the brooding 2010 EP and the same swoon-inducing romanticism of his earlier LPs. Give it a listen and prepare to be moved unlike any time “since they shook the earth in 1904.”
Right now, there are only a few scheduled and nearly all sold-out dates on TMOE’s MySpace page. No doubt, the new album will bring Kristian back around for a proper tour, but for now, you can listen to more music on his Dead Oceans artist page and watch this fan-favorite video from our broadcast at the Doug Fir in Portland during MusicfestNW 2010: