Song of the Day: Ultimate Painting – (I’ve Got) The Sanctioned Blues

photo by Juan Jose Ortiz

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 “(I’ve Got) The Sanctioned Blues” by Ultimate Painting from the 2015 album Green Lanes on Trouble in Mind Records.

Ultimate Painting – (I’ve Got) The Sanctioned Blues (MP3)

Earlier this year, UK duo Ultimate Painting stopped by the KEXP studios. During the session, DJ Cheryl Waters lamented how their self-titled debut had come out late in 2014, and just missed ending up on her Top Ten Albums of the Year list. But then the boys — Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls) — revealed a new album was on the way… and now here it is!

With their sophomore full-length, Green Lanes, Cooper and Hoare continue to craft languid psych-pop, combining their voices with wistful harmonies. It’s no wonder Cheryl chose “(I’ve Got) The Sanctioned Blues” for her Song of the Day as the boys conjure comparisons to the Velvet Underground with their retro, rhythmic guitars and mellow melodies. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cooper explains the song was inspired by the harsh political situation in the UK. “Someone who’s found themselves unemployed has to jump through a variety of hoops to receive a jobseeker’s allowance; a paltry amount of money to help support themselves… If you’re late for your meeting or you fuck up some paperwork, they slap you with a sanction and the tiny amount of money you’re getting by on gets taken away. It’s straight out of Catch 22.” He adds, “Songs that borrow the imagery and rhythms of the railway are as old as the railways themselves. We didn’t really set out to fit in with that tradition, but I suppose that’s where it’s at.”

Ultimate Painting have just announced a North American tour, including a stop at The Vera Project on Tuesday, October 6th. You can follow the band on Twitter and Tumblr. If you missed their aforementioned KEXP in-studio session earlier this year, watch the full performance below:

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