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 Afternoon Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Smother” by Daughter from the 2013 album If You Leave on Glassnote Records.
Sincerely raw and direct, Daughter’s spartan arrangements and visceral lyrics leave little to the imagination, but singer Elena Tonra, guitarist Igor Haefeli, and drummer Remi Aguilella’s ruthless delivery of the few musical elements they do incorporate leaves little to be desired. Initially formed in 2010 as a solo project in her bedroom, Tonra eventually “got a bit bored of just me and my guitar”, recruiting Haefeli and then Aguilella to augment her recordings. A pair of EPs followed in 2011, and by Spring 2012, the London-based trio were signed to 4AD in the UK and Glassnote in North America. In the first chorus of “Smother”, a sparse, delicate track that recalls Wild Beasts’ 2011 masterpiece of the same name, Tonra sighs “In the darkness I will meet my creators/And they will all agree I’m a suffocator”. It’s never clear exactly what “creators” Tonra is referring to, or even what a “suffacator” is, but her cutting vocal performance and Haefeli’s tension-building guitar lines meld to create an emotional tour de force that sounds like the tortured love child of Foals’ “Spanish Sahara” and PJ Harvey’s “To Bring You My Love’.
Currently, Daughter only have a run of European dates on their itinerary, but if they announce a return to North America, you’ll hear about it first on their Facebook and website. Read DJ Shannon’s review of their show at Barboza last October here and watch the band play a five-song session for KEXP live at CMJ 2012 below.