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 “Limitations” by Black Marble from the 2012 album A Different Arrangement on Hardly Art.
Ty Kube and Chris Stewart, as Black Marble, have created a darkly splendid darkwave masterpiece with their debut full-length, A Different Arrangement. Their pulsing Peter-Hook-esque basslines and stacks of analog synth tracks point to the 80s’ post-punk and moody synthpop groups -- but the Brooklyn group sounds more like they’ve recorded their work in a 2012 bedroom with the sunlight streaming in. Black Marble’s recordings are warm and homemade -- and this hand-crafted feel makes what could be gloomy ultimately heartwarming. The tension between Stewart’s sombre baritone and the bright throbbing beneath each song makes A Different Arrangement such a fresh experience. Black Marble is poised to take their place in the tradition of new darkwave bands -- they’ve already opened for The Soft Moon, Light Asylum, and TRUST -- and even though they’ve hardly been releasing music for a year they have the confidence and originality to chart some new territory for themselves and others in that tradition. The album is precise, humanistic, and original -- and, as the title suggests, it’s like walking in a familiar place at dawn and noticing how it can be so alien and beautiful.
Black Marble are heading out on a tour of the Midwest and the East Coast in about a week. Be sure to check and see if they post any Northwest dates on their Facebook page. For now, check out their video for “Pretender” below -- it’s a collage of found footage from the 1987 film “Flowers in the Attic”. The images of a family wandering in a decrepit mansion and being repressed by a fierce-looking old woman prove strangely fitting.