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 song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “What I Want Most” by Beat Mark from the 2013 album Howls of Joy on Ample Play.
Formed in Paris in summer 2009, Beat Mark (the band’s name is a reference to a William S. Burroughs quote) mixes C86 jangle pop with the rough aesthetics of the ’90s lo-fi movement to form a raw and sugary sound that was seemingly made for cassette. Consisting of drummer Chloe, guitarist Gaetan, and vocalist/keyboardists Julien and Chloe, the four members had known each other from the small-but-tight Paris music community for some time before forming Beat Mark. After writing some songs and putting them to (limited edition cassette) tape, the band is now writing more songs while looking into international touring opportunities. If William and Jim Reid spent less time trying to kill each other and more time in the sunshine, the result would probably sound “What I Want The Most”. Carried by a wave of fuzzed-out guitars and charming boy/girl vocals, the album’s opening number is, like all good jangle pop, a deft mix of sunny and cloudy tones that fits in a burst of emotion in just over two minutes. Like their contemporaries Veronica Falls, Beat Mark’s melancholic allure isn’t the result of meticulous studio crafting or precise technical performance: it’s pure and honest emotion as unpretentiously recorded and shared as the tape that inspired the group in the first place.
Beat Mark isn’t on tour at the moment, but you can hear about any future dates and keep track of them on their Facebook and the Ample Play Tumblr. Watch the video for the Howls of Joy track “Purple Glow” below.