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 during our Summer Fundraising Drive, is “Free All the Monsters” by New Zealand indie-pop pioneers The Bats from the 2011 album Free All the Monsters on Flying Nun Records.
Chiming and melodic, “Free All the Monsters” features all of the hallmarks of The Bats’ sound: jangling guitars, bright vocal harmonies, shining guitar leads, and a tinge of melancholy. As tried-and-true as this is for the band, this 30-year old group’s still-great songwriting and palpable chemistry keep their sound fresh, which is even more impressive considering the plethora of recently-spawned, similar sounding pop-folk bands that have sprung up as of late. Continuing the band’s late-period renaissance (they took a break for 10 years and have released only three albums since their 2005 return), “Free All the Monsters” is both a testament to the band’s lasting influence and a reminder that music still needs these long-running pioneers of the Dunedin sound.
Free All the Monsters is The Bats’ first album in three years and first since returning to the seminal New Zealand record label, Flying Nun Records. The members are currently participating in various side projects, but if there are any plans to celebrate their thirtieth year together, they’ll be announced on their Facebook or website. Watch a video of the band playing “Simpletons” off Free All the Monsters on the New Zealand show Talk Talk below.