Song of the Day: Born Ruffians – Needle

photo by Vanessa Heins

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, selected by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Needle” by Born Ruffians from the 2013 album Birthmarks on Yep Roc.

Born Ruffians – Needle (MP3)

Born Ruffians formed in 2004 in Midland, Ontario. Comprised of Luke Lalonde (guitar/vocals), Mitch Derosier (bass), Andy Lloyd (guitar/keyboard) and Steven Hamelin (drums), Born Ruffians became widely known in part by recording a cover of Grizzly Bear’s single “Knife” live on KEXP. Birthmarks, released in April, is their fourth full-length studio album (the band has also released two EP’s). They have toured with Franz Ferdinand and Caribou and their second full-length album, Red, Yellow & Blue, was nominated in the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Pop/Rock Album of the year.

“Needle”, the first single off the Canadian group’s 2013 release, features Lalonde’s high-energy vocals matched by the band’s high-reaching harmonies, pristine electric guitar production and bouncing, punctuated rhythms. “I am used to no one,” he sings, “I’m the same as everyone. Spinning underneath the sun. Head between my knees!” The three-minute and thirty-three second song floats in the bright-blue-yellow light of a daydream and is over almost before it begins. Lamenting the inability to know anything clearly, “Needle” touches on the presence of the confusing and the absence of clarity, mostly joyously.

Born Ruffians play May 11th, that’s this Saturday, in Seattle at Barboza, with a show in Portland at the Star Theater the day before. Find more dates on their Facebook page. They had more U.S. dates planned post-Seattle but recently announced the cancelation of these shows via their website, citing “reasons unforeseen and beyond our control” but offering in apology this conciliation: “If you screenshot/take a picture of your advance ticket for any of the cancelled shows (Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, Iowa City, Madison, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit) and email it to, [Born Ruffians will] email you back an unreleased track, called ‘With An Ax.'” Before they go, though, they’ll be playing LIVE on KEXP at 2PM on Saturday. And before you tune in, check out another song from Birthmarks here:

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