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 DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Turn It Off” by Froth from the 2015 album Bleak on Burger Records.
Despite basing their music in shoegazy textures and simple pop melodicism, Froth’s sloshy guitars float and sting with a focus that belies their sonic template’s directness. Unlike most bands, Froth was active as an idea (and a half-baked joke of an idea, at that) long before it was an active band. Dreamed up by singer/guitarist Joo Joo Ashworth and guitarist Jeff Fribourg as an outfit that would blog about their tour adventures and send out publicity material but not actually record any music, Froth became a reality when a band pulled out of a small music festival Fribourg was curating. The band’s first gig was by all accounts disastrous, but its silver lining was that it inspired the band to pursue making music under the Froth moniker. The band’s following (and more rehearsed gigs) were well-received, which made the quartet critical darlings in their native LA ahead of the release of their 2014 debut Patterns. For the band’s second album, this year’s Bleak, the group – now consisting of Ashworth, bassist Jeremy Katz, drummer Cameron Allen, and guitarist Nick Ventura – darkened their sound, moving away from bright, beachy-melodies and towards shifting, crushing walls of sound. Undoubtedly, dark vibes hang over “Turn It Off”, but its ominous fury turns the track’s heaviness into something quite formidable. Ventura’s sirenesque guitar and Ashworth’s dreadful sneer lead the band into a thick growl of haze, building and releasing tension unexpectedly. The song’s secret strength is that it doesn’t rely on its rich textures to create its magnetic sound, but rather its cleverly plotted structure. Like Kevin Parker does on Tame Impala’s best work, Froth lead the listener with just enough pull to keep the song’s gauzy ride moving silver and smooth.
Froth will be live on KEXP on Friday August 14 at 1 p.m. before playing the Sunset Tavern later that night. Get tickets and more info on that 21+ show here, keep up with the band on Facebook and Bandcamp, and watch the video for “Lost My Mind”.