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 “Salvajes” by AJ Davila from the 2014 album Terror/Amor on Nacional Records.
AJ Davila may be better known to the casual bystander as the frontman of Dávila 666, the Puerto Rico garage rock band whose stateside appreciation pales in comparison to that they deserve. The group’s last LP came in the form of 2011’s Tan Bajo, a relentless forty minute plateful of badassery that could put them up against the likes of the Black Lips any day. Davila’s solo effort, Terror/Amor, doesn’t lose any punch with loss of numbers — the record is solid gold. “Duro Como Piedra” and “Noches Negras” both showcase the same scorching garage rock we heard at the pinnacles of Tan Bajo, while “Michelle” and “Chica Tinieblas” shows off a noisy softer side that made early Dávila 666 tracks like “Tu” so lovable. Still elsewhere, Dávila debuts a glam-tinged pop side on “2333”, “Lo Que No Será”, and “Ohhh (No Te Encantes)” that gives Terror/Amor its own unique sense of accessibility.
Today’s featured song, “Salvajes”, is a blistering kick in the face to start off the record. The track has heavy surf rock vibes to balance out Dávila’s wanton aggression. The crunchy drums are only out-noised by Davila’s guitars, heavy on the power chords and distortion, all combining to provide a lovable, fuzzy foundation for the powerful vocals. And while it’s a bit buried under all of the static, there is a groovy bass line to boot. Davila’s voice is as enticing and infectious as ever. And towards the end, when he layers two face-melting vocal lines on top of each other, the track reaches levels of spontaneous combustion.
AJ Davila played SXSW last month and starts an East Coast tour next week. Check back to his Facebook page to see if West Coast dates get posted soon. For now, here’s their video for “Dura Como Piedra”, another track from the new album: