Song of the Day: Turnpike Glow – 1986

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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “1986” by Turnpike Glow from the 2012 EP Inflatable Optimism on Trumpton Records.

Turnpike Glow – 1986 (MP3)

The songs of Rome-via-London indie pop quartet Turnpike Glow fall somewhere in-between the garage-funk of The Rapture and the ramshackle melodies of a less-pessimistic Modest Mouse. Formed when band leaders Sandro Schiena and Guiseppe La Mela moved from their native Italy to England a few years ago, the duo found their drummer in a sombrero-wearing subway busker named Anthony J. Hutchinson, and recruited their second guitarist Tom P. Griffiths (likely under somewhat less bizarre circumstances) soon after. The quartet’s spunky, energetic guitar pop eschews any influence of the too-cool indie aesthetic, replacing slick, atmospheric tones with spunky, ragged rhythms and an endearing gawkiness reminiscent of Los Campesinos!. The lead single from their second EP, Inflatable Optimism, “1986” drives like a rougher version of Phoenix’s “1901”. Whereas Thomas Mars and co. carefully layered shimmery guitar lines over pristine synth to create their homage to 20th century Paris, Schiena and his bandmates throw everything – scratching guitars, wobbly synths, a Flaming Lips-esque falsetto chorus – at the wall to pay tribute to indie rock’s less-polished formative years. “1986” is a messy-but-catchy slice of pop that may never be cool enough to be championed by Pitchfork or slapped on the cover of NME, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, which is better than anything press coverage can provide a band in 2013.

Turnpike Glow don’t have any dates booked at the moment, but if they make plans to cross the Atlantic, you’ll hear about it on their website and Facebook. Watch the Mazin Power and Daniel Bariagaber-directed video for “1986” below.

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