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 “Green and Yellow Basket” by Friends and Family from the 2013 self-released album, Happy, Good-Looking, and In Love.
Friends and Family are one of those epic bands where, upon seeing them for the first time, you find yourself looking right, looking left, and saying, “Where the hell did these people come from?” The eight-piece Seattle group has huge harmonies and huge heart. They can often be found playing with local favorites Julia Massey and The Jesus Rehab and the group shares a drummer with The Hoot Hoots. Lead singer Ben Rowe Violet has a voice that intimates great struggle – perhaps the kind from being thrown in a locker in high school, or knowing that a relative finds you despicable – and yet there is a great bit of strength in his voice too, like when he shouts/sings, “I don’t want to hate from you! Even if this is the end!”
The song “Green and Yellow Basket” rises and falls like the hammer wielded by the giant outside the Seattle Art Museum. Its big swells test the strength of one’s constitution and yet are also somehow like a garden full with aromas and what’s gentle. Violins, snares, French horn, a triumphant bass line – these are the components of Friends and Family. “I don’t want to be the victim of your horrible crime,” sings Ben, who has noted that the song is a response to the nursery rhyme “A-tisket, a-tasket”. “I don’t want to be the dancer in your limelight. I have seen the evil way you treat the people you like. My little sister was a dandelion in your eyes!” We want to know more from them despite not knowing what’s around the shadowed corner. Simply put, we keep listening.
Friends and Family’s next show is Portland for the PDX BIGass Boombox festival on Friday, January 24th. See a clip of the band tap dancing and playing music here: