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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Vietnam,” the new single from Seattle band Black Whales.
On listening to the latest single by Seattle’s Black Whales, the first thing you’ll notice is how much moodier it is than anything on their 2011 full-length debut, Shangri-La Indeed. Less jangle-pop and more psychedelic rock, Black Whales follow Austinites The Black Angels into the killing fields on “Vietnam.” A haunting guitar line introduces the track before its overtaken by their marching rhythm section and a wave of fuzzed-out vocals from singer/guitarist Alex Robert. The tension of the track builds, only to release and give way to Robert’s muffled cry of “I can’t get out, no I can’t get out of Vietnam!” When the band comes back in, psychedelic and charged guitars fill the track until the band’s kinetic energy yields to Robert’s vocal and a lingering guitar line, much like a flickering candle being blown out after burning all night.
There’s no news yet as to whether “Vietnam” is a one-off or is leading the way for a new LP. The band’s still riding high from last June’s release of Shangri-La Indeed and just opened the Yeti Stage this past weekend to a salivating crowd at Sasquatch! They play their next show at the Tractor Tavern on July 13. Check in with them on their Facebook page and website for more. For now, here they are performing during last year’s Concerts at the Mural series, presented by KEXP and Seattle Center: