Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 “Alone at Night” by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires from the 2014 album Dereconstructed on Sub Pop Records.
Just because you’re about to dive into examining the social and cultural implications one of the United States’ most contentious periods doesn’t mean you can’t do it while kicking out rowdy Southern rock tunes with the amps up to 11 – just ask Birmingham’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. After playing guitar in the Alabama Southern punk group The Dexateens, Bains went solo without losing a lick of that band’s fury in the process, recruiting a set of Alabaman and Georgian musicians – currently drummer Blake Williamson, guitarist Eric Wallace, and bassist Adam Williamson – as his backing band, The Glory Fires. Bains’ first solo album, 2012’s There is a Bomb in Gilead, showed his Southern pride and ragged musical influences, but behind all of the ruckus was a level-headed, earnest look at his Southern roots.
His sophomore outing, last month’s Dereconstructed, is an even louder, deeper look into Bains’, and the American South’s, history that touches on plenty touchy subjects with a lyrical depth that belies Bains’ hand grenade guitar. Bains starts the record’s opening track with a ripping guitar lick and gospel-style rave ups, before he kicks into a screed against local greed and a juxtaposition of furtive businessmen in the church. His final verse is as jarring as they come – “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,’/On the Mount we heard Him say/’You’ve got to serve either me or him.’/We just turned and walked away.” – and as his voice fades out of the track, it leaves behind an intriguing sense of internal conflict that runs through the rest of Dereconstructed.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are bringing Dereconstructed to the Tractor on Tuesday, June 17. Get tickets and more info on that 21+ show here and keep up with the band at their Facebook and website. For now, watch the Shawn Brackbill-directed music video for “The Company Man”: