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 song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Will Be Arriving” by Brokeback from the 2013 album Brokeback and the Black Rock on Thrill Jockey.
Although it started as merely a moniker for leader Douglas McCombs’ solo performances, Brokeback evolved from a solo project to a duo to its current incarnation, a four-member group that produces atmospheric instrumental music. After expanding to include bassist and touring partner Noel Kupersmith, Brokeback began touring and recording more frequently – in between McCombs’ bass playing duties with Tortoise – until the end of the tour behind 2003’s Looks At The Bird. Afterwards, the band only played sporadically until late 2010, when McCombs recruited bassist Pete Croke, drummer James Elkington, and guitarist Chris Hansen to form a new lineup of Brokeback. Their first album in eight years, Brokeback and the Black Rock, finds the quartet embracing a full, expansive sound across its eight tracks. The first track on the John McEntire-produced album, “Will Be Arriving” is a bold return for McCombs and company. Across its nearly seven-minute runtime, “Will Be Arriving” evolves from a sparse introduction to a Calexico-style desert crawl to its final peak as a monumental instrumental not too unlike something from the less-dramatic section of Explosions in the Sky’s catalog. It’s a track that emphasizes the emotional grandeur that can be produced by nothing more than four skilled players and a veteran producer who knows how to capture it.
Brokeback begin a tour behind Brokeback and the Black Rock next week, but they don’t have any Northwestern dates booked at the moment. Check on the band’s page on Thrill Jockey for any future updates or tour dates and watch a video of the group playing “Gold!” for WBEZ in Chicago below.