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. This week, we present songs by artists performing the 2014 Iceland Airwaves Festival. Today’s featured song is “Jackie O” by Mono Town from the forthcoming album In The Eye of the Storm.
Much like Snorri Helgason, the artist we featured yesterday, Mono Town doesn’t sound distinctly Icelandic. In fact, on first listen of today’s featured song — with its reference possibly to the American icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (or the contemporary Australian personality?), English lyrics and Britpop-meets-spaghetti-western sonic influences — you might think they resided somewhere within the Commonwealth or its former colonies. But the trio of Bjarki Sigurdsson (vocals, guitar), Börkur Hrafn Birgisson (guitar) and Daði Birgisson (piano) rose from the ashes of a former Icelandic band, B.Sig, have been playing around Reykjavik since last year’s Airwaves. When we recorded them in 2012 (see video below), the songs that will comprise their forthcoming debut already seemed already fully formed, but the Birgisson brothers happen to also be expert studio producers and engineers and have taken their time to get it right.
Like much of In The Eye of the Storm, today’s featured song, “Jackie O”, builds to epic proportion, from the dramatic tension of its opening thrummed guitar riff punctuated by resonating organ holds, through which Sigurdsson’s defiant voice cuts raw, to a fully orchestrated, chorus-backed climax. Like its title subject, the song itself breaks through, gloriously and defiant. You should expect the new album, as soon its released, to do the same.
Mono Town will perform live on KEXP on Thursday, October 31, at 11AM PST. Find out more about our broadcast during Iceland Airwaves here and more about Mono Town on their Facebook page. For now, here’s a live version we recorded last year of “Can Deny”, another song you can expect on the forthcoming album: