Song of the Day: Dessa – Call Off Your Ghost

photo by Dave Lichterman

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 Doomtree veteran Dessa. “Call Off Your Ghost” comes from their 2013 album Parts of Speech, out now on Doomtree.

Dessa – Call Off Your Ghost (MP3)

Time and time again, the Minneapolis hip hop collective known as Doomtree brings us underground hip hop offerings unlike any other. For more than a decade, the group has combined an eclectic sphere of influences to make for a cold but inviting experience. Whether it’s P.O.S. sampling and rapping about Fugazi songs or Dessa bringing her wintery combination of rap and pop songwriting, or anything in between, Doomtree has it all. Dessa (Margret Wander) is a business cornerstone of the Doomtree group (CEO, to be exact), but she’s also a powerful fighting force of theirs artistically. This year, Dessa gives us her third LP, Parts of Speech. “Call Off Your Ghost” is one of two singles off the record, along with “Warsaw”. Here, we find Dessa’s writing stronger than ever.

The situation we find her in here is one far too relatable – seeing a former lover in the throws of newfound love and learning to deal. Dessa tiptoes around the protocol with crystal clear clarity. “You said if we were just careful”, she whispers, knowing full well the pitfalls that await the end of statements like that one. As the story sends shivers down your spine, the warm, piano and melodica hook clicks forward. Doomtree’s track arrangement is always in a world of its own, and this track is no exception. When the final break starts in, the track turns in to a heart-felt pop wonder. “We’ve been living too long, too close, and I’m ready to let you go. I’m ready, so call off your ghost.” It’s a brutal song, but it’s gorgeous, and Dessa couldn’t handle the situation any better. Plus, we got a great track out of it.

Dessa is on tour in support of Parts of Speech now along with Sombear, but she’s already come through the Northwest. You can watch videos from her recent session at KEXP here, and and be sure to keep checking the Doomtree website for future updates. For now, here’s the version of today’s featured song, performed live on KEXP:

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