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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Licorice Pizza” by Crystal Antlers from the 2013 album Nothing Is Real on Innovative Leisure.
Since their 2006 formation, Long Beach’s Crystal Antlers have been aggressively hard to pin down, dipping their toes into garage rock, neo-psychedelia, and lo-fi while consistently reconfiguring their lineup. The core members of the band - drummer Kevin Stuart, bassist/vocalist Jonny Bell, and guitarist Errol Davis - formed the band in late 2006, and began recording early the next year while gigging around Long Beach. Late that year, Davis was replaced by Andrew King, and the band’s first, self-titled EP emerged a few months later. The then-quintet (with percussionist Damian Edwards and organist Cora Foxx) recorded 2011′s Two-Way Mirror and toured behind it until earlier this year, when the core trio of Bell, Stuart, and King stripped down for the loud and fast Nothing Is Real. “Licorice Pizza”, a two-minute burner that finds the band at their most ferocious, suits the now-trio well. All three members are mixed fuzzily on top of each other to create a brutal-sounding tone that seeps through Stuart’s breakneck pounding, Bell’s shouted vocals, and King’s messy-but-effective riffs. If their latest trick was to burn it all down just to start again, it was the right one for Crystal Antlers, because “Licorice Pizza” hits harder and more directly than anything the band has put out to date.
Crystal Antlers are on tour behind Nothing Is Real for the rest of the year, and they’ll be making a stop in Seattle at the LoFi on November 11th. Get tickets and more information about that 21+ show here, keep up with the band on their website and Facebook, and watch the band play “Andrew” live on KEXP all the way back in 2009.