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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “When It Builds” by Shadows on Stars from their 2012 self-titled album on Crooked Engine.
Portland’s Shadows on Stars were formed as a result of what producer Brian Vincent saw as a flood of similar-sounding bands, and along with singer Randa Leigh, the duo seeks to create unclassifiable music that fiercely discourages any potential imitators. The opening track on their debut album, “When It Builds” begins as a slow burn with pulsating electronics, but after the titular build, the track explodes into a tumbling burst of energy. Once they release the tension, Leigh’s bright vocals erupt, switching between a dreamy coo and a playground cheer over Vincent’s twinkling beat. It’s a diverse (but never incoherent) introduction to an album filled to the brim with different stylistic fusions.
The band don’t have any tour dates currently booked, but you can hear about any future shows (and stream their debut album) at their website. Watch their video for “Here” below: