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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Words” by Seattle band Secretary from their 2013 self-released, self-titled EP.
You don’t find a whole lot at 5,600 feet above sea level. But before moving to Seattle in 2012, you could have found Secretary band members Craig Michael Gurwich and Em Maslich that high up, honing their songwriting craft. The two were toiling away for six years more than a mile above ground level in southern California, writing and recording music that would, eventually, become finished Secretary songs. Upon their relocation to Seattle, Craig and Em met Max McSimov sifting through records at Easy Street and soon after enlisted Jill Zirkle and drummer Jack Chandelier. In March of 2013, the band played Seattle’s Tractor Tavern and haven’t looked back. The band that started in a small mountain town now aims to continue playing gigs all around the Pacific Northwest.
“Words” from the beginning is a mellow, eclectic production. It begins with a simple beat and it builds and builds ever so slightly with dreamy guitar strums. Gurwich’s voice is reminiscent of Tom Yorke’s. It is sweet and sad all at once. The song withholds - so much of it is in the space between lyrics or bass plucks. “There’s something I can’t reach all night,” Gurwich sings. “Ain’t it right, there’s something I can’t see - what’s left behind.” A searching guitar lead follows, strangely reminiscent of something Carlos Santana might have played in a dark room wearing sunglasses. It’s clear that Secretary understands a kind of mystery ad writes their music around it. It’s enticing.
The band plays on November 13 at the Tractor Tavern with The Strange Kind and play the following two days at the Adrift Hotel in Long Beach, WA. Check out their website and Facebook page for more information.