Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of 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 “Take Us Alive” by Other Lives from the 2012 EP Mind The Gap on TBD Records.
Originally formed in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as the instrumental band Kunek in 2004, Other Lives’ intimate and sweeping folk songs transcend their melancholy tones to create an enrapturing and uplifting atmosphere that’s driven home by singer Jesse Tabish’s haunting vocals. Upon the release of their second album, the fuller and more orchestrated Tamer Animals, the band vastly expanded their audience when they embarked on tour opening for Bon Iver and Radiohead in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Tabish and co. must have been taking a note from their remix-happy tour partners when writing the Mind The Gap EP, because where Tamer Animals had an organic, slow-burning gloom filling its musical space, “Take Us Alive” is constructed with a brooding tension, buoyed by its electronic elements and insistent violin loop. When Tabish sings “they’ll never take us alive” in the chorus, it comes off not as rebellious, but desperate; clinging to something that’s holding the song (and himself) together before it collapses in on itself in a beautiful disintegration.
Other Lives just relocated to Portland, where they’re working on their third record. They don’t have any tour dates at this time, but keep up with the recording process on their website and Facebook, and watch a video of the band playing Tamer Animals’ title track live on KEXP in 2011: