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, comes from Denver indie pop act Tennis. “Never Work For Free” hails from their upcoming third LP, Ritual in Repeat, out this September through Communion.
Tennis is one of those bands that can kind of trick you into thinking they’ve been around for a lot longer. The husband and wife duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley put out their first LP Cape Dory only three years ago, with LP #2 Young & Old hot on its heels the next year. Between the two, we saw Tennis grow unnaturally quick from a cheery surf pop nostalgia act to a complex pop contender, with a hefty portion of forward surf rock energy, sprinkled with bits of Beach House psychedelia and the rougher, more vibrant edges of Dum Dum Girls. For a young band, Tennis seem to be working through growing pains pretty easily, as their sound is only getting stronger and easier to fall in love with.
The above could not be truer for the band’s new single “Never Work For Free”. One of our first offerings from the band’s third full-length effort, it’s a beautiful teaser if there ever was one. The new record Ritual In Repeat is getting the production treatment from indie rock veteran Richard Swift, who in the past couple years has helped other great acts with a surf sensibility like Cayucas and Gardens & Villa reach a new comfortability with their sound. The trend continues with Tennis, who take the laid back surf pop jangle of Young & Old to full throttle here. A strong bass line and a driving drum section give Alaina the foundation she’s always needed to let her incredible vocals soar to new heights. And soar they do – “Never Work For Free” sees Moore throwing all precautions to the wind with her vocals, and the chorus is one of the best hooks the band has put together thus far. Like the best Tennis material, there is a perfect balance here of youthful naivety, playful sensuality, and nostalgia for those simpler times that everyone talks about that no one can ever seem to track down. Tennis have given us another hit ready for endless radio rotation, and today, you can grab it for free.
Tennis will tour in support of the album, and you can catch them at Neumos with Pure Bathing Culture on October 20. If that’s not a match made in heaven for a lineup, I don’t know what is. Tickets are available here. Visit their Facebook page and their website for more dates (or to play Minesweeper). Ritual In Repeat isn’t out until September 9, but you can watch the trailer for the new album now: