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 “Magazines” by Western Haunts from the 2014 self-released album Western Haunts.
As their name implies, Western Haunts’ music conjures sounds and sentiments that may have occurred long ago (shoegaze and ’70s folk rock tones are key touchstones), but their still-resonant features continue to swim in the musical bloodstream. Across two EPs and their recently-released debut album, the Seattle quartet of singer/guitarist Jake Witt, keyboardist/guitarist Michel DeBauge, bassist Sam Tyner, and drummer Nathan Witt have slowly sharpened their sweeping harmonics into something that’s nothing short of gorgeously gauzy. Witt’s high-soaring voice recalls Harvest-era Neil Young in its tone and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell in its reflective beauty, but he’s only a piece of the band’s languid majesty. The slow-burning rhythm section and DeBauge’s shimmering keyboards are just as crucial in forming the band’s sound, and the four musicians’ chemistry is on full display on “Magazines”. With a rhythmic intro that recalls “Machine Gun” in its steamrolling build, “Magazine” wastes little time in allowing the members to expand the song into a nearly six-minute flood of sound that balances its charging verses with a pair of echoing breakdowns and the clever employment of spacious vocal call-and-response sections. While “Magazines” is clearly indebted to early ’90s shoegaze, its secret is that it exchanges any noise or experimental tendencies for ones rooted in acoustic songwriting, forming a song that grows in allure as it passes, glisteningly twisting and turning into new sections before simply fading out.
Western Haunts will play live on KEXP on Thursday, March 20th at 1:00 p.m. Before that, the band will play an album release show with The Trouble Starts (who are also celebrating the release of their album) at Barboza on February 26th. Get tickets and more info on that 21+ show here, keep up with the band at their Facebook and Bandcamp pages, and below, watch the band play “The Green Room” and “Magazines” at the Vera Project.