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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “In The City” by Caveman from the 2013 self-titled album on Fat Possum.
The dreaded “Williamsburg hipster band” tag is one of the moment’s harshest put-downs, but for Caveman, there’s no better compliment for the New York quintet (vocalist Matthew Iwanusa, guitarist Jimmy Carbonetti, drummer Stefan Marolachakis, keyboardist Sam Hopkins, and drummer Jeff Berrall), who proudly wear their Brookyln roots on their sleeves, embracing the city’s multicultural take on art in their music. Formed in 2009 when the members’ other bands all near-simultaneously dissolved, the group established themselves as a local presence, self-releasing their 2011 debut, CoCo Beware, before being selected for national tours with Built To Spill and The War On Drugs and recording their second, self-titled album for Fat Possum. Mixing the art school dynamics of the early New Romantics with tinges of the synthesized euphoria of John Hughes soundtracks, “In The City” is a lush, soaring gem that implies that the band has much bigger goals than headlining another night at the Bowery Ballroom. Led by Hopkins’ gossamer keyboards and Iwanusa’s Merceresque melodies, the track rises with every verse, elevating higher and higher into its own harmonious swirl. Carrying aesthetics of shoegaze and Northwestern indie folk, “In The City” isn’t pretentious, academic, or any other “Brooklyn band”-worthy descriptor. It’s a gorgeous slice of modern indie rock that doesn’t lend any of its sonic elements to any one region; rather, it’s a testament to the band’s songwriting smarts and arrangement skills that’s going to sound great on festival stages in cities everywhere.
Caveman will play their only Northwestern date at this year’s Sasquatch Festival, but if they come back to play a club show, you’ll read about it first on their website and Facebook page. For now, watch the band play “A Country’s King of Dreams” live for KEXP during CMJ 2011: