Song of the Day: Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs – Tough


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 “Tough” by Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs from the 2017 album Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs on Burger Records.

Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs – Tough (MP3)

Toronto sextet Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs made a name for themselves in the Toronto punk scene playing lo-fi, rowdy punk rock. The group refined their sound on their 2017 self-titled release, polishing their edges and in the process conjuring the sounds of 70’s power pop. While many of the new tracks may lead listeners to believe the group has spent more time listening to Springsteen than causing mayhem in grungy garages, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs expertly show that those two things need not be mutually exclusive. The group certainly pays a nostalgia-inducing tribute to power pop greats of the past, but still manages to never stray too far from anarchy. This flexibility in their sound is highlighted by their willingness to go from a neck breaking punk pace to a ballad of a chorus in the course of a song, expanding their sound while maintaining their punk pedigree in the process.

This is demonstrated wonderfully on today’s Song of the Day “Tough” which starts with a punching punk instrumental that seems to be begging to be let loose into pandemonium. But Sam Coffey and crew reel it back, and Coffey’s deep vocals give way to a layered chorus prime for a sing-a-long. The band exercises a new-found patience in the track, using their mastery of noise to frame a fun vocal melody, instead of just blasting listeners with it. If the growth shown on “Tough” and its corresponding album are any indication, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs are just getting started.

You can catch Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs in Seattle when they play the Timbre Room on Saturday, October 14th. Until then, keep up with the band on Facebook and their website and check out the video for Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs track “Talk 2 Her” below:

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