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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “Self Preservation” by Places To Hide from their 2013 self-released album, Almost Nothing.
Admirably sloppy and endearingly blunt (sample lyric: “the summer is so hot/and I just want to have sex with you”), Atlanta’s Places To Hide put forth a sometimes brutally honest portrayal of twentysomething malaise in their garage-crafted tunes. Led by singer/guitarists Kyle Swick and Deborah Hudson, and backed up by the rhythm section of drummer Gavin Caffrey and bassist Steve Valero, the band has spent the last two years traveling primarily around the Southeast, self-booking gigs and crowdfunding recordings in a strictly DIY fashion. Their debut album, Almost Nothing, was released in June 2013, consisting of 10 pop-structured garage tunes that sonically recall strains of ’90s lo-fi and third wave emo. While many a lo-fi group have gotten stuck on the boilerplate by trying (and failing) to emulate Stephen Malkmus inimitable wit, Places to Hide bypass that problem completely by going in the opposite direction on “Self Preservation”. Swick’s quivering whine (“how I ache for the old days/don’t let me fall asleep/sink back into my old ways/fucked up six days a week”) balances Hudson’s equally-as-desperate response (“you get lost in someone else/knowing you she’s got green eyes/fuck it all, good luck/I’ll be damned if I can’t die”) get carried by the backbone of a subtly great post-punk arrangement – note the Bernard Sumner-style guitar line, confrontational vocals, and militantly urgent drums – and barely manage to not implode during the song’s two-and-a-half minutes. By the end of the song, Swick and Hudson sound defeated, but that’s what makes “Self Preservation” all the more gripping.
Places to Hide are finishing up a Southeastern tour this week, so if they announce plans to continue on up to the Northwest, they’ll announce those dates on their website and Facebook. Watch the band’s video for “Michael Jordan” below.