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 Cheryl Waters, is “Sunset-Moonrise” by The Ocean Blue from the 2013 album Ultramarine on Korda.
Formed in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in 1986 The Ocean Blue’s dreamy mix of atmospheric breeze and jangling melodies merged two of the ’80s most distinctive styles into a seamless, earnest hybrid. Signing a record deal when the band’s original four members - singer/guitarist David Schelzel, drummer Rob Minnig, keyboardist Steve Lau, and bassist Bobby Mittan - were still in high school, the group scored a series of college radio hits in the late ’80s and ’90s. Adding second guitarist Oed Ronne in 1993, the band’s sound began to shift away from the airy, synthesized sound and towards more guitar-driven songwriting, but after another record, the group began taking a backseat to the band members’ personal lives. The group returned with a new record, entitled Ultramarine, earlier this year on Schelzel’s Korda Records and toured for the first time since 2006. Featuring a silvery mix of synthesizers and guitars, “Sunset-Moonrise” finding the group’s signature strengths intact. Carried at a steady, mid-tempo pace, Schelzel’s deep Sumner-esque croon is washed over by the band’s instrumentation which, true to their nature, is deep and aqueous. Perfectly vintage without being overly nostalgic, “Sunset-Moonrise” finds a band that, after spending a few years off the road and even more out of the studio, hasn’t lost a step, and wouldn’t have sounded too out of place had it been played on KCMU.
The Ocean Blue played Seattle in February in support of Ultramarine, but if they come back through the Pacific Northwest, they’ll post those dates on their website and Facebook. Watch David Schelzel play an acoustic version of “Sad Night, Where Is Morning?” in KEXP’s studios earlier this year.