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 “Why” by Mas Ysa from the 2014 album Worth on Downtown Records.
Eclectic Canadian wunderkind Thomas Arsenault, a.k.a. Mas Ysa, swung by KEXP a little over a month ago to give us an excellent in-studio performance before taking the stage at Barboza later in the evening with Lawrence Rothman. The guy has lived a few very different parts of the world apart from Canada, including a long stay in Brazil and current residence in upstate New York. The spread of his globetrotting and an adolescence fueled by late 90s techno has led his own music to embody a very unique spirit. There are bits of techno, Europop, new wave, samba, ambient choral music, all topped with a whole lot of emotionally overpowering songwriting. As a result, Mas Ysa gives us a wonderfully unique and altogether refreshing offering in the pool of new talent.
“Why” is the song Mas Ysa introduced himself with last year after a well-loved CMJ set. Throughout its six minutes, Arsenault builds a brutal, heart-wrenching story of love lost that belongs in the books next to the best of them. What sets Mas Ysa’s take apart is that he throws his tale through Underworld, Prince, and everything in between. Losing the love of your life has never sounded more hopeful or enjoyable, and its that paradox that comes to define a lot of the heartache seen on Mas Ysa’s record, Worth. The mixture is enjoyable 90% of the time, and in the 10% where it hurts, you have a pop hit that sticks with you 100% more than the rest.
Mas Ysa will be touring later this year opening for EMA, but Northwest dates not been posted at this time. During his recent in-studio, he promised another Seattle date, so keep checking his website and Facebook page for updates. For now, watch the official video for “Why” here: