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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Angel Owl” by Little Green Cars from the 2013 album Absolute Zero on Glassnote.
Irish quintet Little Green Cars utilize minimal instrumentation and four-part vocal harmonies to create a sound that can be easily described as “shimmering.” Though they began when they were all at age 15, this group of now 20-year-olds sing in perfect, practiced harmony on songs that are youthful, energetic, lovelorn, hopeful and likely to strike at your heartstrings. Faye O’Rourke, the lone female voice among the rest of the men, adds dramatically to the vastness and complexity of the band’s united vocal sound, characterizing much of LGC’s musical output. Today’s Song of the Day, “Angel Owl,” comes from their debut, Absolute Zero, released last month. Lead vocalist Stevie Appleby’s verses tell the story while a three-part harmony of O’Rourke, Donagh Seaver O’Leary, and Adam O’Regan’s weave in and out during the Appleby’s breaks. When they all sing together for the chorus, the sound is magnificently huge and inspiring. It’s a moment of true beauty that should make you tear up every time. Dylan Lynch’s drumming provides the roadmap for the song and matches the intensity of the vocalists perfectly, rising and falling in ebbs and waves. Taking stylistic cues from Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, and Mumford and Sons, LGC make a sound to be appreciated by both the rock and country crowds. In fact, they’ve played both Strictly Hardly Bluegrass Festival and CMJ Country Music Marathon and wouldn’t seem out of place on something like the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
Absolute Zero was produced by Markus Dravs, who has also engineered albums by Bjork, Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, and Arcade Fire, and is being released on Glassnote Records, which currently has a lot of big and up-and-coming bands on its roster, like Mumford and Sons, Childish Gambino, Phoenix, and Two Door Cinema Club. Unfortunately, if you didn’t see Little Green Cars when they were in town last Monday, you missed them but can listen to their session live on KEXP here. Check their website and Facebook page for other dates, and console yourself with the well-produced music video for “The John Wayne,” featuring a house very similar to one depicted in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.