Song of the Day: French Style Furs – All The Way Down

photo by Michelle Mosqueda

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “All The Way Down” by French Style Furs from the 2014 album Is Exotic Bait on Frenchkiss Records.

French Style Furs – All The Way Down (MP3)

Spurred on by a desire to release music outside of their primary bands, an otherwise-typical late night jam between drummer Nathan Warkentin and bassist Matt Maust (and, eventually, vocalist Nathan Willett) turned into a full-fledged project dubbed French Style Furs. Rooted in the rhythmic indie rock that carries Willett and Maust’s work in Cold War Kids but with a significant new wave influence, the trio began recording songs inspired by new sounds and the writings of the 20th century Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Gathering a handful of auxiliary musicians for live performances, the trio’s debut album, Is Exotic Bait, was released in July. As both an introductory statement and an album opener, “All The Way Down” succeeds with gusto, arriving boldly and chaotically. Willett’s howling yelp has always worked well moving a mile a minute, and his barking charisma races neck-in-neck with Warkentin’s crashing drums. At one point, Willett yells “And they said I was gone forever/that I was all the way down in Hell” over rumbling bass, buzzing electronics, and haunting backing vocals, and at that moment, the combination of the breathless performances on “All The Way Down” makes a pretty compelling case for believing that Willett crossed into the underworld just so he could come back and say he pulled it off.

Aside from a slot at the Frenchkiss Records CMJ show, French Style Furs don’t have any tour dates announced at the moment, as Willett and Maust prepare to go back on tour with Cold War Kids. Any new tour dates or music will be announced over at their website and Facebook, and watch the video for “All The Way Down” below.

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