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 during the 2013 Fall Fundraising Drive, is “Shake” by The Head and The Heart from their forthcoming album, Let’s Be Still, on Sub Pop.
The Head and the Heart’s earnest folk-based songwriting and energetic live performances have made them perhaps the biggest Seattle export since Fleet Foxes. Formed through a series of open mic nights at Conor Byrne in Ballard, singer/guitarists Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell, violinist/vocalist Charity Rose Thielen, bassist Chris Zasche, pianist Kenny Hensley, and drummer Tyler Williams spent 2009 writing their self-titled debut, which they sold sold 10,000 copies of before signing with Sub Pop. Tours with a who’s who of indie heavyweights and prime festival spots continued through 2012, before the band retreated into the studio for their sophomore effort, Let’s Be Still. “Shake”, the lead single from that record, is probably the most direct song they’ve written yet. Carrying itself with a country groove and an electric (!) guitar, Johnson’s intriguing growl leads the verses in increasing tempo before Thielen’s bridge harmony brings it all home. “Shake” isn’t just a huge leap ahead for the band’s songwriting, it’s also the closest they’ve come to capturing their enrapturing live performance on record.
The Head and the Heart played three nights at the Gorge opening for Dave Matthews Band and MFNW a few weeks ago, but they’ll be back in the Pacific Northwest sooner than later. (For those who can’t wait that long, there are still tickets for their December 2nd show at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.) Keep a tab on their website and Facebook to see about when they’ll be back, and watch Johnson, Russell, and Thielen play an in-progress version of the Let’s Be Still track “Fire/Fear” live from KEXP last year.