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 “Unknown Fears” by Benjamin Verdoes from his 2014 album, The Evil Eye, on Brick Lane Records.
He used to lead Mt. St. Helens Vietnam band and now plays in Seattle duo Iska Dhaaf, but Benjamin Verdoes also recently released a solo album, which, as it would happen, he’s been working on even before he co-founded the group. The album, which portrays personal stories taken from Verdoes’ own life, was originally meant to be heard by only his girlfriend and, maybe, a handful of friends. But the feedback was so positive and the messages so important to Verdoes that he decided, with the support of those close to him, to release the record. And so now we have it, The Evil Eye. Its metaphoric title, says Verdoes, is meant to point out that while doing what you love and what you want there will always be those looking down on you, judging your decisions.
Thankfully for the listener, Verdoes chose to dismiss whatever evil eyes were staring down upon him and release the record. Today’s featured song, “Unknown Fears”, is a mostly subdued track, beginning with just Verdoes and his acoustic guitar. “I know years are crushing down on me,” he sings. It is this impending difficulty that Verodes seems constantly to be fighting against. “Why do I try to do anything anymore?” he wonders aloud in melody. Maybe we are the ones to answer that question for him. Or at least offer compassion by listening and offering feedback while he continues to navigate through this musical life he’s created. Crescendoing with cymbal crashes, the song is gone seemingly almost as quickly as it began.
Though no dates have been set, Verdoes says he hopes to book some shows in Seattle to support the new record. Iska Dhaaf are also in the process of finishing their latest album and will be releasing it on March 11 via Brick Lane Records. Get more information on Iska Dhaaf here and visit Benjamin Verdoes’ website here. Verdoes doesn’t yet have any videos of his solo work, but here’s a new video by Iska Dhaaf: