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. This week, we’re featuring songs exclusively from artists playing the 2013 Capitol Hill Block Party. Today’s song, premiering exclusively on KEXP, is “Blacktide” by Wild Cub, a 2013 single on Big Light Recordings.
In a city defined by its musical exports, Nashville’s Wild Cub have made a name for themselves with top-notch songwriting, a tight-as-a-drum live band, and well, not sounding like they’re from Nashville. Formed just over a year ago, Keegan DeWitt and Jeremy Bullock’s brand of darkly-tinged new wave recalls elements of the youthful abandon of John Hughes soundtracks, the baleful allure of Greg Dulli, and the clockwork electronics of New Order’s middle period. Wild Cub’s debut album, last year’s aptly-titled Youth, is far removed from anything else to come out of Nashville in recent memory, and although it has some of the ’00s indie sensibilities that are running wild in Brooklyn right now, the duo’s romanticism is executed without a hint of irony or sexlessness.
“Blacktide”, the group’s first release since Youth, is a glowing, neon-lit synth burner that showcases the band’s penchant for marrying interpersonal lyrics with sweeping, beautiful soundscapes. Formed around a Peter Hook-style guitar line and a flurry of vintage synthesizers, the song is delivered through that enrapturing setting by DeWitt’s pining vocal. As the band shouts, “Oh, we couldn’t keep that love”, over a thundering snare in the chorus, it’s only a prelude to the devastating lyric that follows – “we were young.” Both literally and figuratively, “Blacktide” is the afterword to Youth. DeWitt says that “Blacktide’ is “the big question at the end… Every time I read a review that said Youth was all dreamy nostalgia about how great being young is, it mad me want to write ‘Blacktide’, as the final period of the sentence. Or maybe a question mark.” “Blacktide” is more than just a closing statement, it’s a mature, revealing snapshot of a band that’s artistically growing by leaps and bounds.
Wild Cub are playing Saturday of Capitol Hill Block Party, along with Waxahatchee, Bellamaine, STRFKR, and many more. Weekend passes are sold out, but single-day tickets are still available here. Keep up with Wild Cub at their website and Facebook, and check out the artwork for “Blacktide” below, followed by a live performance of former Song of the Day “Colour” live at SXSW 2013.