Song of the Day: The Pharmacy – Masten Lake Lagoon

photo by Mike De Leon

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 “Masten Lake Lagoon” by The Pharmacy from the 2014 album Spells on Old Flame Records.

The Pharmacy – Masten Lake Lagoon (MP3)

Vashon Island’s The Pharmacy was the result of longtime friends Scott Yoder and Brendhan Bowers coming together with keyboardist Stefan Rubicz to make experimental-leaning pop music with a distinctly DIY edge. The band’s early activity was sporadic, but following a tour supporting Kimya Dawson, the trio made the band a priority, beginning a consistent run of albums and tours that brought the Pacific Northwestern staples to Europe, Mexico, and all across North America. Across their first four albums – 2005’s B.F.F., 2008’s Choose Yr. Own Adventure, 2009’s Weekend, and 2012’s Stoned and Alone – the trio incorporated lo-fi, psychedelia, garage rock, and ’60s pop into their sound, recording in both full studios and on basic four-tracks not unlike the ones they used at the beginning of their career. The band’s fifth album, the confident and crunchy Spells, also happens to be the band’s final album – the band announced their split and final show the week before the record’s release. “Masten Lake Lagoon” is a snarling, miniature piece of that swan song that rips with what’s retrospectively the band’s last gasp of energy. Yoder’s voice is less sharp and pitchy than it has been in the past, but it’s all the more powerful as he sings like a man possessed. Bowers’ drums and Rubicz’ keys move at a frenetic pace as the trio sprints to the finish of the song’s fourth minute. Viewed in the light of the band’s breakup, “Masten Lake Lagoon” is a clear artifact of how much the band grew over their twelve years together. Not unlike the group themselves, it’s a blurry, melodic song that shines brightly until its wheels fall off.

If there are any posthumous announcements regarding The Pharmacy, they’ll be on the band’s website and Facebook. Below, watch the band’s 2010 video for “WAYDWYL”.

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