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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Husbands” by Savages from the 2012 7″ Flying to Berlin/Husbands on Pop Noire.
“I didn’t want to write love songs; I wanted to write songs that were more violent.” That’s how lead singer Jehnny Beth described the London post-punk quartet Savages’ genesis in an interview with Pitchfork last year, and like that quote, her music aims straight for the jugular. Evoking traces of the Slits, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey, Beth, guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Ayse Hassan, and drummer Fay Milton’s recorded output is relatively small (on 7″ and a live EP), but the intensity of their live performance (which the group considers a priority over recording) is what gained the band’s first write-ups. Running for slightly over three minutes, “Husbands” is the band’s regular set-closer, serving as a dizzying finale as well as the band’s calling card. Built around a tense, buzzing guitar riff, Beth’s provocative lyrics are only outdone by her delivery, which is so acute that it borders on feverish mania. However, her perfectly timed pitch shifts during the verses and chilling whispers in the chorus show that Beth is clearly in control, and if Savages can successfully continue to capture the potency of their live show on record, the band will be enrapturing a much larger audience in 2013.
After making a splash at CMJ last year, Savages will be returning to North America for SXSW in March, so keep an eye on their website and Facebook for any further tour dates. Watch the band performing live at Pop Noire night @ The Shacklewell Arms, London, last year: