Song of the Day: DeVotchKa - How It Ends (Live with the Colorado Symphony)

photo by Victoria Holt

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‚Äôs selection, featured on the Morning Show with John is “How It Ends” by DeVotchKa from the 2012 album Live with the Colorado Symphony on Cicero Recordings, Ltd.

DeVotchKa - How It Ends (Live with the Colorado Symphony) (MP3)

Here in Seattle, we got a little taste of the delights found here this summer. At City Arts Festival, DeVotchKa performed with the Seattle Rock Orchestra, taking their eastern European influenced tunes to new heights with lush arrangements making use of additional layers of strings. If Devotchka’s wonderful melodies didn’t tear at your soul enough already, with the added harmony, their tunes were near angelic. But on their new live record, recorded with the Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver, we see the full realization of all that DeVotchKa has to offer. Their gypsy anthems have a whole camaraderie of romantics, all belting out the heaven and the heartbreak at full volume. Anybody can write orchestral arrangements of rock songs. But Devotchka was meant to be accompanied by a wall of strings so that the listener really understands the full emotional impact their tunes are meant to possess.

“How It Ends” is in every way the pinnacle of this set. It serves as the finale to the album and the emotional climax of the night. “How It Ends”, as we’ve known since it dropped in 2004, is one of Devotchka’s greatest, giving the soundtrack to perhaps life’s ultimate realization. Whether it broke your heart on the record of the same name or captured it in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine, no one can doubt that “How It Ends” is one of the great songs of our time. Here, we hear it once again, but this time, with brand new string arrangements and all of the melodrama that the band intended for it and more. Words can’t really describe how painstakingly gorgeous this fresh look at this already wonderful song is. DeVotchKa has done it again, to none of our surprise.

Through the end of the year, DeVotchKa will perform a a couple of shows in LA tonight and tomorrow and then a New Years Eve gig in Anchorage, Alaska. Find out more on their website and Facebook page and after you grab “How It Ends” above, make sure to check out the rest of Live with the Colorado Symphony, out now on iTunes and at the DeVotchKa store on CD. For now, here’s an album teaser:

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