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 comes from the murderously good German electronic collaboration Moderat. “Bad Kingdom” is the lead single from Modeselektor and Apparat’s second tag team effort, Moderat II, on Mute.
2013 is like 2009 all over again. Everybody and their brother is putting out an incredible album and there is way too much good music to keep track of. Back in 2009, we saw two fantastic electronic artists from Berlin come together as Moderat for the first time, and it blew our minds. The self-titled debut took 2009’s electronic scene by the horns and rattled it to the core. Drawing from the resurgence of dance floor ready underground house and the darker dub developments happening in their own country as well as the UK scene, Modeselektor and Apparat blew away the competition. Now that its been a couple years and the scene has evolved enough for expectations to drop, they are back to melt our eardrums like wax once again. II is every bit as relevant to the current scene as its predecessor was four years ago. Even after the years they’ve put behind them, both artists are still on top of their game, and II perhaps puts forth their most approachable CV. There isn’t a bad track on the album, and the grooves are so continuous you’ll reach the end before you noticed a track change.
“Bad Kingdom”, the album’s lead single, is the perfect taste test of II. It’s not the most rewarding track on the record, nor is it the most impactful, but it is easily the most relentless jam of them all. Starting with a jungle warning cry then crashing headlong into a ocean wall of bass, “Bad Kingdom” doesn’t take long to get your head bobbing. The verse is an intensely dark, epic groove that gains perfect liftoff with the airy, luminous chorus. “This is not what you wanted… not what you had in mind” they sing quietly, as if the adventurer who made it through the jungle in the verse is now questioning whether or not he’ll make it through alive. It’s a super viscous track, and perhaps one of the more visceral and sensual offerings on the record. At the same time, it doesn’t spoil the best material on the record, which you’ll get to discover for yourself after you no doubt fall in love after hearing this cut. Moderat’s “Bad Kingdom” is one we could get used to living in. Here’s hoping for III in four more years.
Moderat plays the Neptune Theater tonight! You should go – it will knock your socks off! Find other tour dates and more information on their website and Facebook page. Right now, though, check out the video below, with artwork by Pfadfinderei (who also did the album art direction):