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 featured song, selected by Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, comes from the fuzzed-out indie surf offerings of Wavves. “Demon To Lean On” is off new album Afraid of Heights, out now on Mom + Pop.
Who in their right mind doesn’t love this current indie rock trend? While the scene as a whole looks back to remember the 90’s, bands like Wavves, Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, and others are each in their own way returning to the early years of alternative. And what happens when king of the beach Nathan Williams turns inward and realizes that life kinda sucks? We get Afraid Of Heights, a collection of emo surf rock anthems via Green Day’s Insomniac and Weezer’s Pinkerton. While Williams may be a bit bummed (the chorus of the title track is, “I’ll always be on my own, f**ked and alone, alone, alone”), this is awesome for us, because Afraid of Heights is the perfect soundtrack to 42 minutes of driving down the California freeway in your crappy car throwing a middle finger to the world. What’s not to love, seriously?
“Demon To Lean On” is one of the funnest offerings of this set, and it showcases the painful paradox of growing up more viscerally than most. Read the lyrics apart from the music and you’ve go a shade darker than most goth tunes. “No hope and no future, we die the same loser. Holding a gun to my head, so send me an angel. Or bury me deeply instead, with demons to lean on.” Wow. Throw in 10 tons of guitar fuzz and a youth anthem of a chorus hook and you’ve got a summer BBQ tune unlike any other. Williams presents such a harsh juxtaposition here that it’s almost unbearable. But as Williams helps us see, that’s what growing up. It is the best of times and the worst of times and even when you feel lower than the ground can go, you’d rather be listening to deafening guitars and driving with the windows down for the breeze to wisp away the tears. Wavves is only getting more interesting with time, and Nathan Williams has a lot left to offer us. But for right now, “Demon To Lean On” is more than enough to tide you over.
Wavves are currently playing a handful of sold out shows on the East Coast (tonight in Philly), but no West Coast dates are listed as of yet. Check their website and Facebook page for updates and more music. For now, watch the video for “Demon To Lean On” below: