Cumulus: Song of the Day + Video Premiere

photo by Marybeth Coghill

Since forming in 2007, Seattle’s Cumulus – comprised of Alexandra Niedzialkowski, Lance Umble and Leah Julius – have only recently released their debut album, I Never Meant It To Be Like This, last month. But the wait was well worth it! The record is tight and rife with cheerful pop music, from singer Niedzialkowski’s luminous voice, to the sizzling guitar rhythms and precise drumming. While the band plays mostly joyous pop tunes, they still have their share of thoughtful, slower-paced songs like “Ocean” on the LP, where Niedzialkowski sings solemnly, “I let the ocean swallow me whole.” Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla was so impressed by what he heard from the band that he contacted them and offered to put out their debut on his own label, Trans- Records.

Today, we are offering you two ways to experience I Never Meant It To Be Like This, through our Song of the Day podcast and an exclusive video premiere:

Cumulus – Hey Love (MP3)

“Hey Love” is the first big punch of the album, and it just so happens to be today’s Song of the Day podcast, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole. The song contains Cumulus’ signature moves: punchy melodies, hand claps, big fuzzy guitars, and Alexandra Niedzialkowski’s pixy voice. These are the things you notice as soon as the song comes on the speakers: “Every time I catch my breath, you’ve just got me running!” she sings – and it’s true... it’s like we’re chasing the band members in some beautiful comedic scene through pillars, ship yards, sky scrapers, office hallways, laughing and running all the while. Then, all of a sudden, we’re nearing the end of the song, with big booming tom hits and repeated “Oh Oh”’s. As the song finishes with a single guitar strum, it’s as if to say: “Hey Love! Let’s do it all over again!”

“Middle” is the latest single from the new album, and we are offering it here as an exclusive video premiere. By comparison, the song is more melodic than “Hey Love” but never loses that big rock sound, particularly from Niedzialkowski’s and band co-founder Lance Umble’s two-guitar attack, which overtake the song and drive it to its satisfying conclusion. It’s hard not to think of Pixies and even My Bloody Valentine at times. The video for “Middle” is a story if its own. Whereas the song itself seems to call to an outsider to come back in (“Why don’t you come along / Why don’t you get in the middle”), the main subject of the video should be applauded for getting out. Combining scripted and live footage from the Oyster Run, a NW motorcycle gathering in Anacortes, WA, director Randy Walker follows a middle aged woman who trades the confinement of her staid wheelchair-bound life for the freedom of an afternoon. Perhaps it’s still the same message though, only it’s her misguided yet worried husband who should hear it: We all need to be with each other.

Get with Cumulus when they play The Shakedown in Bellingham on December 13 and then at Caffe Mela in Wenatchee the following day. Check their Facebook and Bandcamp pages for more information.

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