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 “Ministry of Love” by IO Echo, from their 2012 self-titled EP on IAMSOUND.
Los Angeles is overflowing with bands, but there aren’t too many that can claim to have a personal kimono collection. IO Echo’s Silverlake-meets-Kyoto take on gauzy, atmospheric pop incorporates a distinct Eastern influence in both its music and imagery, but its gripping, industrial conviction is clearly from the City of Angels. (If Trent Reznor [an early fan of the band] had used How To Destroy Angels to indulge his pop instincts rather than his experimental tastes, the result probably wouldn’t have been too far off from IO Echo.) Ioanna Gika and Leopold Ross’ penchant for brooding, gorgeous tones is only matched by their skill at crafting romantic, soaring melodies. Carried by a searing, feedback-filled tension, “Ministry of Love” sounds like the soundtrack to a version of Drive set in Japan. Gika’s melodic moan is elevated by Ross’ think soundscapes, riding a pounding drum pattern that leads into a “Heaven or Las Vegas“-style chorus. A multi-layered, beautiful track that sounds like it belongs just as much in a nightclub as it does in a cathedral, “Ministry of Love” marries pop and shoegaze in a haunting union that bodes well for the duo’s forthcoming full length debut.
IO Echo will be touring behind their debut album, Ministry of Love, this year, including a slot at Coachella 2013, so keep a tab on their website and Facebook to hear more about those forthcoming dates when they’re announced. Watch the sorta-animated, sorta-Instagrammed, completely vibrant video for their 2012 track “Where The Lilies Die” below.