Song of the Day: Tomten - Mother Minnow

Local Music, Song of the Day
08/29/2014
Jacob Webb
photo by Michael Willis Peters

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Mother Minnow” by Seattle band Tomten from the 2014 album The Farewell Party on Veriscolor.

Tomten - Mother Minnow (MP3)

Bright and melodic, Tomten's charming brand of baroque indie pop draws equally from the bright pop sounds of the power pop groups of the'70s and the more orchestrated indie rock of the late '90s. Formed by singer/keyboardist Brian Noyeswatkins, bassist/songwriter Lena Simon, and drummer Jake Brady while they were in college, the band built a reputation for their dream pop-influenced tunes while playing shows around the Pacific Northwest and producing two albums, 2010's self-titled effort and 2012's Wednesday's Children. Recorded with producer Jason Quever (Papercuts) in San Francisco and Sacramento, the band's most recent album, The Farewell Party, finds the band – now consisting of Noyeswatkins, Brady, and bassist Dillon Sturtevant – sharper and more direct than ever, showing off an expanded range of songwriting and orchestration. The Farewell Party's "Mother Minnow" winds and turns through a run of glistening pop melodies with a natural ease. Although the song is carried by warm keys and Brady's crisp drumming, a bittersweet melancholy runs underneath it all ("Give me a reason/tell me why/let me forget my failures/let me sigh"), giving the tune a layer of emotional depth that augments the band's knack for gossamer sounds. Unabashedly poppy and smart without pretension, "Mother Minnow" shows the band firing on all of its bright, harmonious cylinders, laying on hook after hook before fading out as gracefully as when they started the song.

Tomten is currently on a North American run in support of The Farewell Party, and although they've already completed their West Coast dates, you can keep up with the band's travels on their Facebook, Bandcamp and Dillon's blog. Below, watch the video for the band's 2012 track "So So So".

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