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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Luv, Hold Me Down” by Drowners from their self-titled 2014 album on Frenchkiss Records.
They’re named after a seminal Britpop song and swear sonic to allegiance to Is This It, but New York City’s Drowners’ blinding post-punk has a clearly ’80s UK underground-style emotional scope to the narratives that ride their fast-paced tempos. Formed when Wales-born musician Matt Hitt settled in the Big Apple in summer 2011 after spending the previous few years jetsetting around the world as a model, Hitt soon met guitarist Jack Ridley, bassist Erik Snyder, and drummer Lakis Pavlou. After a two-month songwriting stint in Wales to renew his visa, Hitt returned to NYC with a batch of songs that embraced jangling, melodic guitar lines and swooning, dramatic storytelling, the two main characteristics of his self-proclaimed favorite band, The Smiths.
Drowners spent most of 2013 touring and demoing their self-titled debut, a collection of songs that found its narrator going to a club to find someone who really loves him, finding someone who would much rather sleep with him, and returning home alone (ostensibly crying and wanting to die). “In a simple skirt you caused a ricochet/Of courting boys who watched you walk away” - that’s the Moz-via-Cocker opening couplet to “Luv, Don’t Hold Me Down”, a song that, over the course of three minutes, is coy, teasing, yearning, and excited - sometimes all at once. Like the rest of the songs on Drowners, it’s firmly based in a solid, uptempo beat as shining and mellifluous guitar lines dance around Hitt’s croon. Hitt’s tale of parting lovers ends in — spoiler alert — pain, but although its ending is clear from the start, the song’s filled with more than enough charisma and almost-hypnotic melody to make it a solid, intriguing piece of melancholic guitar rock.
Before heading down to California for an appearance at Coachella, Drowners will stop in Seattle on April 6th for a show at Neumos with Temples. That’s one hell of a rocking ticket. Get yours for this sure-to-sell-out 21+ show here, and keep up with the band on their Facebook and website. You can also listen to their recent in-studio session recorded exclusively for KEXP here, and watch the video for “Luv, Hold Me Down” below.