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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Headspins” by Splashh from the 2013 album Comfort on Kanine.
Based in London but led by an Australian and a Kiwi, Splashh’s scuzzy guitar pop incorporates the more melodic elements of some of SST’s ’80s roster and the current lo-fi surf rock movement into one buzzing, fuzzed-out package. Formed in February 2012, the quartet of vocalist Toto Vivian, guitarist Sasha Carlson, bassist Thomas Beal, and drummer Jacob Moore gigged around Hackney, London for a few months before releasing their first music on Luv Luv Luv. More touring and recording continued, before the band signed to U.S.-based Kanine Records for a domestic release of their debut Comfort ahead of a busy summer playing a slew of gigs during U.K. festival season. Pairing a Pixies-esque rhythm section and scratchily melodic guitars, “Headspins” is a hazy, Madchester-tinged slice of florescent lo-fi. Moving at a brisk midtempo, Carlson’s Joey Santiago-style leads carry the song’s melody as Vivian wails and moans through his filtered microphone. Disorienting verses lead to an anthemic chorus - the deceptively simple “Woo! Yeah, yeah yeah!” - as the band. Despite oozing slacker vibes, “Headspins” has enough pop smarts and atmospheric drive to show that Splashh isn’t sleepwalking through their songs, but rather, emitting an effortless, faded neon cool.
Splashh only have plans to tour in Europe this summer, but if they come back to North America, you’ll find that announcement on their website and Facebook. Watch the Errol Rainey-directed video for the Comfort track “All I Wanna Do” below.