Song of the Day: Gibraltar – Death Rays

photo by Andrew Waits

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. Every Friday we spotlight a Northwestern artist. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Death Rays” by Seattle’s Gibraltar from the 2012 self-released EP Storms.

Gibraltar – Death Rays (MP3)

Although true, Gibraltar’s brief-but-effective mission statement (“taking quiet/loud and making it quieter and louder. and then, doing it again”) doesn’t do the Seattle band justice, because the Gibraltar’s sense of dynamics and tension need to be heard to be understood. The band’s fluid rhythm section of bassist Barb Hunter and drummer Jeff Gall anchors lead singer Aaron Starkey’s expressive shout and pianist Holly Houser’s delicately explosive flourishes to create a potent post-punk tempest of, well, loud/quiet/loud dynamics. The first track on the Storms EP, “Death Rays” plays to the band’s strengths. Houser’s piano leads the intro over a tumbling drum run from Gall, but it isn’t long before Starkey’s shimmering chords and electrified Paul Banks-esque yell lead into an expertly crafted anthemic chorus that belies the band’s age.

Gibraltar play a show to celebrate the release of Storms on December 8th at the Highline with Low Hums. Get more information about that show and keep up with the band’s future dates over at the Gibraltar website and Facebook. Listen to the rest of Storms over at the band’s Soundcloud.

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