Song of the Day: Cock & Swan - Raging Chisel

photo by Angel Ceballos

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. Every Friday we feature a local band from Seattle and the rest of the Northwest. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Raging Chisel” by Cock & Swan from the 2012 album Stash on Lost Tribe Sound.

Cock & Swan - Raging Chisel (MP3)

Bothell, WA, band Cock & Swan is composed of Johnny Goss and Ola Hungerford. From their beginnings, the band has worked with electronic sound mixed with live instrumentation to create a superbly organic ambient/trip-hop sound. Over the years, the development of that sound has taken the form of thicker instrumentation and more obscure songwriting, all the while feeling less programmed and more from the heart. On the recently released new album, Stash, Cock & Swan all but abandon their electronic past to make a record that is ambient at its roots, but gorgeous and melodic in its bloom. On Stash, the band uses a near-acoustic aesthetic, with occasional use of sampling and loops, to make complex and intriguing tunes that reflect the dark beauty of the northwest.

“Raging Chisel” is no exception to this. Opening with a disorienting plucked string loop, the track builds brick by brick into a complicated folk rock tune akin to darker Michigan era Sufjan Stevens. There’s cello in there, along with oboe and another horn or woodwind or two. But the instrumentation only helps to refocus the listener on the gorgeous melody. Ola’s melancholy vocals whisper in and out of the dense layering, but cover any of the dozen other lines going on at one time. “Raging Chisel” is beautiful and complicated, but it deserves dozens of listens, and you are bound to hear something new each time you return to it.

Stash is up for download on iTunes and is available on the Lost Tribe Sound website in a beautiful limited edition CD packaging made of linen cloth, canvas, and banana bark paper. Currently, there are no shows listed on their Facebook page or website, but you can watch the video for another song on the new album called “Tectonic Plates” right now:

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