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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “A Sentimental Song” by Turnpike Glow from the 2013 self-released EP Fünke Pop.
The songs of Rome-via-London indie pop quartet Turnpike Glow fall somewhere in between the garage-funk of The Rapture and the ramshackle melodies of a less-pessimistic Modest Mouse. Formed when band leaders Sandro Schiena and Guiseppe La Mela moved from their native Italy to England a few years ago, the duo found their drummer in a sombrero-wearing subway busker named Anthony J. Hutchinson, and recruited their second guitarist Tom P. Griffiths (likely under somewhat less bizarre circumstances) soon after. The quartet’s spunky, energetic guitar pop eschews any influence of the too-cool indie aesthetic, replacing slick, atmospheric tones with spunky, ragged rhythms and an endearing gawkiness reminiscent of Los Campesinos! The group’s latest release, the Fünke Pop EP (named after exactly who you think it is), picks up where their last EP left off, moving in a sonically rougher but melodically sharper direction. “A Sentimental Tune” achieves the pigeon-toed poignancy that the title promises, but via a cleverly unconventional method. As the rhythm sections rolls along with a hasty urgency, Schiena and La Mela trade off rough guitar licks, but throughout the whole thing, Schiena delivers a muddled vocal performance that, on first listen, only reveals his melodies. However, despite his lyrics being hard to decipher, his vocals are as emotive as they come, which sells the song even harder. (Thomas Mars of Phoenix does a similar thing; most Phoenix lyrics are ostensibly nonsense, yet “Lisztomania” kills every time.) It’s a bold move from a young band, and “A Sentimental Song” shows a band that’s growing more confident and fully-realized with each release.
Turnpike Glow don’t have any North American dates booked at the moment, but if they make plans to cross the Atlantic, you’ll hear about it on their website and Facebook. Watch the video for the Fünke Pop cut “Her Flaming Lips” - which the band directed, filmed, and edited by themselves - below.