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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Snakes!” by Gibraltar from the 2015 album Elegant Alibis on Factory Belt Records.
Gibraltar’s shifting dynamics and penchant for emotive, post-punk precision fuels their roaring rock songs. Led by frontman Aaron Starkey (and currently joined by Barb Hunter, Holly Houser, and Jeff Gall), the band has emerged as a Seattle staple across the last three years alongside the release of their two first releases, 2012’s Storms and 2014’s The New Century. Earlier this year, the band released the Elegant Alibis EP, which features some of their heaviest songs yet, as well as a snarling cover of Madonna’s “Justify My Love”. The EP’s opening song, “Snakes!” rattles with a chaotic urgency, not in the least because Starkey sounds like he’s trying to exorcise himself of some long-lying demon. As caustic as his performance is, it never outshines his bandmates’ fragile tension, the backbone of the tune that keeps it sounding explosive without losing its pace. To say that “Snakes!” lacks the silver agility of the titular creature is an understatement, but its stop-start dynamics have a force that end up sounding more heavy and affecting than anything more nimble could have.
Gibraltar next takes the stage at Substation on September 18. Get more info on that 21+ show here, keep up with the band at their website and Facebook, and watch the band play “Cold” live on KEXP below.