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 “Tenderloin” by Tilbury from the 2012 album Exorcise on Iceland’s Record Records.
Considering their Anglophile moniker, it’s no surprise that Iceland’s Tilbury have a strong British vibe to their dreamy indie pop. According to the band’s founder, Þormóður Dagsson, though, they’re actually name-checking a TV movie based on a short story by Icelandic author Þórarinn Eldjárn. Half-remembered moments from the late-80’s flick, set in a wartime Iceland stationed by British and American troops, have seeped out of Dagsson’s mind and into the songs and even the artwork on the album (created by his brother, Hugleikur). Today’s featured song, “Tenderloin,” the album’s opening track, features a retro-electronic sound, as if modulated synths were part of USO routine, though lyrically it’s more internally reflective and tinged with paranoia: “When I tried the alternative / You pulled me down / Someone’s going to murder me / Oh, no / Will you come and watch / Him take me down.” This sort of play between light and dark makes all the songs on their debut, Exorcise, an engaging listen. That, and the expert quality of the band. Seeing as how Dagsson’s bandmates, including guitarist Örn Eldjárn, keyboardist Kristinn Evertsson, bassist Guðmundur Óskar Guðmundsson and drummer Magnús Tryggvason Eliassen, all perform in other successful bands like Hjaltalín, Valdimar, Sin Fang and Amiina, you might call Tilbury a “supergroup”, if it weren’t so common for Icelandic musicians to perform in multiple projects, but you can certainly call them a “super group” for their sheer talent.
Currently, the album is available in Iceland on the Records Records label (the fine folks who also released Of Monsters and Men), so if you’re anywhere else you’ll have to pick it up as a digital download at Amazon or Iceland’s own Gogoyoko, for now at least. Currently, there’s no plan for an American tour, but stay tuned to KEXP as you might hear from these guys again soon. For now, here’s their official video for “Tenderloin,” featuring scenes from the aforementioned Vidar Vikingsson-directed TV movie: