Song of the Day: Wolf Alice – Moaning Lisa Smile

photo by Rachel White (view set)

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of 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 “Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice from the forthcoming 2015 album My Love Is Cool on Dirty Hit/RCA.

Wolf Alice – Moaning Lisa Smile (MP3)

Some bands are pretty forthcoming about their ambitions, but across a year’s worth of singles and gigs, Wolf Alice have quietly revealed themselves as a band with the charisma and songs to become the latest in a long lineage of London-based arena-fillers. Named after an Angela Carter short story, the band started as the duo of singer/guitarist Ellie Rowsell and Joff Oddie in 2010. After the addition of drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis in 2012, the quartet began picking up steam locally, and with the release of the single “Bros”, national hype soon followed. Throughout 2013-2014 the band released a pair of EPs that catapulted them to the top of every English tastemaker’s list and a slew of festival bills. In 2015, the band announced plans for their anticipated full-length debut, June’s My Love Is Cool, and embarked on their first proper North American gigs. “Moaning Lisa Smile”, a track originally from the 2014 EP Creature Songs included on My Love Is Cool, was chosen as the band’s introductory single in North America, and as opening statements go, it’s a pretty impeachable one. Prior to Creature Songs, Wolf Alice’s singles had excelled with brawn and hooks, but never at the same time and certainly not with as much precision. Adopting the same loud-quiet-loud dynamic that’s powered countless Pixies-inspired bangers, Oddie and Rowsell’s guitars comprise a tidal wave of a melodic hook that’s only outdone by the staggered vocal hook in the chorus. “Moaning Lisa Smile” clocks in at just under three minutes, and as a crystallization of Wolf Alice’s strengths, it’s nothing less than a massive success. As a festival-slaying, radio-blasting, fist-pumping, ice-cold killer of a rock single in 2015, however, it might just be the best thing around.

Wolf Alice are on tour all summer in support of My Love Is Cool, and will be at the Crocodile tomorrow, May 12th. Get tickets and more info on that all-ages show here, keep up with the band at their Facebook and website, and watch the band play “Moaning Lisa Smile” live on KEXP earlier this year.

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