Song of the Day: Alvvays – In Undertow

Photo by Arden Wray

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 “In Undertow” by Alvvays from the 2017 album Antisocialites, out September 8th on Polyvinyl Records.

Alvvays – In Undertow (MP3)

Toronto’s dreamy shoegaze group Alvvays is a bit of a misnomer: none of the band are actually from Toronto. Vocalist Molly Rankin and keyboardist Kerri MacLellan hail from Cape Breton, Canada and guitarist Alec O’Hanley, drummer Phil MacIssac and bassist Ryan Murphy are from neighboring Prince Edward Island, both of which are about a 15-hour drive from Toronto. Eventually, the quintet all moved west to the capital of Ontario to secure jobs that would let them tour occasionally, leading Rankin to dub Alvvays as a “merging of obscure islands in the east coast.” In their time on the road since forming in 2010, Alvvays has toured with the likes of Courtney Barnett and Peter Bjorn & John, and are gearing up to release their second record, Antisocialites, in September.

“In Undertow” is the first peek at the new record, and rolls in to recount a breakup where there’s no way to fix what’s left of the relationship. “You find a wave and try to hold on for as long as you can,” Rankin calls in the first line of the song, which foreshadows the wavelike repetition throughout the song. The guitars remain fairly constant throughout the first half of the song, letting Rankin’s clever vocals and lyrics take center stage. In the chorus she repeats, “No turning,” in a wavelike fashion, before the guitars and keys become more erratic, mirroring the storm brewing in Rankin’s relationship. The track ends with Rankin admitting “There’s no turning back,” as the song fades into an echo.

Alvvays will be returning to Seattle to headline The Showbox on Saturday, October 28th, along with opener Jay Som. You can keep track of the band via their Facebook and website. In the meantime, check out the space-themed video for today’s Song of the Day below.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted August 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I hope they play again on kexp studios such good songs ! ( i’m from brazil o hope they come here to play and tasty our feijoada :D )
    Good work kexp! with love from brazil o/

  2. John Spoden
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Cheryl-
    Thanks for choosing this gem from Alvvays. Very excited about the new record and bought tix for their fall show weeks ago. Hope to see you there!
    John

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