Song of the Day: Charms – Siren

photo by Laura Rodriguez

photo by Lauren Rodriguez

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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “Siren” by Charms from their 2017 debut album, Human Error, on Killroom Records. 

Charms – Siren (MP3)

There are few bands that are as loud, manic, and inventive as Charms. Over the past few years, the band has built up a reputation for their fiery live performances, complete with visuals by projectionist Kevin Blanquies, and for a while, that was the only way to hear the band’s music. The band had released the Hillary EP in 2013, but that was another lifetime ago when they were still playing more conventional indie rock with jangly guitar tones. They wiped all the recordings they could of that off the internet, forging their new sounds in basement shows across the city. Steadily the band got more menacing, embracing noise and distortion until they locked into their current piercing and pummeling sound. Earlier this year they released their debut LP, Human Error, finally giving fans some of that brutal energy to take home with them.

The album’s lead single, “Siren”, does an apt job of capturing what the band is about. In many ways, it’s the quintessential Charms song. Opening with the chime of vocalist EJ Tolentino’s guitar, the song quickly devolves into madness. The rumbling synth-bass swarms around the clattering drums, both escalating the tension more and more until the song feels like it’s ready to snap. Then it does. Again and again. Even Tolentino’s shivering vocals feel like they’re dodging the shrapnel from the band’s dense instrumental.

Charms are about to embark on a west coast tour, kicking off at Vanfest VII on August 19. You can keep up with Charms and other future dates by following their Facebook page. In the meantime, check out the video for “Siren” below.

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