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 is “Sweet Tooth Bird” by Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny from the 2012 album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose on Mute.
Beth Jeans Houghton’s intoxicatingly fantastical approach to songcraft is just as affecting as it is extravagant. A sharp lyricist and a highly imaginative arranger, Houghton’s musical career began when she started playing shows in 2006. Two years later, she released her first 7″, and after a few years of touring England, the music press caught on, and Mute signed Houghton and her backing band the Hooves of Destiny (drummer Dav Shiel, bassist Rory Gibson, violinist Findlay Macaskill, and trumpeter Blazley Blazley) in early 2011, and the next year, their debut album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose materialized. Clocking in at just over two minutes, “Sweet Tooth Bird” opens Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose with a baroque bang that efficiently introduces the listener to all of Houghton’s musical hallmarks within an impressively concise period of time. Cramming a wave of sounds into the verses, Beth’s vocals control the chaos that surrounds her before launching into an appealingly unhinged bridge where she sings, “Come down/oh please come down” with a quiver in her voice that trembles as much as it screams. A perfect introduction to the English singer, Houghton’s penchant for the off-kilter is her greatest strength, and “Sweet Tooth Bird” delivers colorful chaos in spades.
Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny just finished up the last show of their UK tour this past weekend, but they don’t have any more dates on the docket at the moment. Look out for any upcoming tour dates over at Beth’s Facebook and follow Beth on Twitter and Tumblr for her personal musings. Watch the video for “Sweet Tooth Bird” below.