Song of the Day: The Cave Singers – Have To Pretend

photo by Renata Steiner

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‚Äôs song comes from Seattle band The Cave Singers. “Have To Pretend” is a splendid cut off their new record Naomi, out now on Jagjaguwar.

The Cave Singers – Have To Pretend (MP3)

The Cave Singers have carved an interesting corner for themselves in the Seattle folk/Americana rock scene. On their fantastic last record, No Witch, a caveman sense of raw energy drives the record forward without ever giving it too harsh of an edge. Without a live bass player at this point, The Cave Singers’ live sound is shrill and shrewd, but the melodies and strong sense of 70s southern rock give the band ground for their sound. With Naomi, out this month on Jagjaguwar, The Cave Singers continue down this path towards better use of their sparse instrumentation and cleaner songwriting to make for a really memorable record spanning one end of 70s Americana to the other. Pete Quirk’s vocals are strong and passionate whether they are forming a charming melody or howling at the moon. In this balance, a new record by The Cave Singers is always an exciting endeavor.

“Have To Pretend”, the lead single off of Naomi is the best of both worlds. It tends towards the emotional center of the record, never getting too raucous but always driving energy forward. Morgan Henderson is back with them recording on this record, so the extra manpower adds to the lush layout of the track. Quirk’s lyrics are desperate, examining each passing day and wondering how to make the best of difficult times. But a bright guitar and a hopeful theme carry throughout, creating a relatable contrast that will sit with you. “Something weighs me down,” Quirk cries. It’s a weight you can taste on the track, but it’s place on the record is perfect, creating a wonderful conflict and rising action to be addressed towards the middle of the record. “Have To Pretend” is a great sampler of what Naomi has to offer and gives us great evidence that The Cave Singers are nowhere near done giving us songs to ponder and to love.

The Cave Singers are currently on tour but will be back in Seattle on May 4, performing at Showbox at the Market! Find out more tour dates and listen to more music on their website and Facebook page. For now, here’s a video we shot of The Cave Singers in the woods at Pickathon last year:

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