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 “Somewhere Else To Be” by Wormburner from the 2014 album Pleasant Living in Planned Communities on Dive Records.
Drawing from the sounds of the ’80s American rock underground, Wormburner takes those tones and uses them to paint vivid character sketches electrically delivered by frontman Hank Henry. The Hoboken-via-NYC, the sextet – Henry, guitarist Paul McDaniel, bassist Terry Solomone, guitarist Alec Senese, guitarist John Hastings, and drummer Jim Spengler – have roamed the streets of NYC for the better part of half a decade, collecting details and sketches of local color for their songs as they became a local staple. The band’s three albums – 2006’s A Hero’s Welcome, 2010’s Placed By The Gideons, and this year’s Pleasant Living In Planned Communities – are the collections of those stories, with characters ranging from veterans from multiple US wars, New York prostitutes, and con artists on the latest album alone.
While “Somewhere Else To Be” is, at face-value, a lament from someone who thinks that life has, geographically and otherwise, passed him by. And while there’s probably little real-life similarity between the song’s protagonist (Daniel, an increasingly unsuccessful, formerly Catholic gay prostitute) and his creator (Hank Henry), there’s a certain affinity for Daniel that Henry’s narrative and performance radiates, and that connection projects an idea that’s hardly universal to either person: while a person’s goals, self-perception, and status are often in flux, there’s a value in resolving to move forward with your life’s work, and in Daniel’s case, career paths. And while that’s an idealistic, somewhat sappy idea on paper, when it’s shot through Marshall stacks with a mammoth three-guitar assault and a fiery frontman, it’s hard not to buy into it.
Aside from their annual holiday show at the Mercury Lounge in New York City, Wormburner don’t have any additional tour dates announced. Keep up with the band on their website and Facebook, and watch the band play “The Interstate” live on KEXP back in 2011.