Song of the Day: Headwaves – Mama

photo by Úna Blue

photo by Úna Blue

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 “Mama” by Headwaves, from their 2016 self-released, self-titled album.

Headwaves – Mama (MP3)While there’s not much argument that 2016 has been a difficult year, for Seattle-based Headwaves 2016 has brought a lot of good. They released their self-titled debut LP in October, toured all over the Northwest, West Coast, Montana, and Wyoming, and finished off the year playing a sold out show at The Crocodile with Helio Sequence. Not a bad start for the newly-formed band, led by Ryan Barber who merged the folk-rock sensibilities of his former project The Horde and the Harem with Larson Haakenstad’s soul-rock leanings from Imagine the Giant to make the lush synth rock of Headwaves, along with Chris Mahlstedt on drums and Farko Dosumov on bass.

“Mama” may seem like a light and bright song but the lyrics tell the story of a lover watching depression consume their partner. They’re trying to convince their partner that things will get better, all they have to do is try again just one more time. “You can’t hide in the hall if you wanna see the future” they tell them. This should be vehemently depressing but instead the buoyant drums, waning synth, and vibrant atmospherics leave you feeling optimistic. You know that this story must have a happy ending. The official video for “Mama” has a similar feeling. As we follow a girl who’s walking around the street alone, as though something is weighing quite heavily on her, occasionally cutting to snippets of old childhood videos where the child version of this girl seems immensely and constantly happy, we’re left wondering why the happiness of our youth can be so hard to sustain in our adulthood.

Headwaves are taking a much-earned hibernation period and currently have no scheduled shows, but thankfully these guys seem primed to take over 2017. In the meantime, check out the video for “Mama” below and keep up with them on Facebook. Don’t forget to support the artists by purchasing their debut album on Bandcamp.

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