Song of the Day and Video Premiere: American Wrestlers - Kelly

KEXP Premiere, Song of the Day
04/22/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Bridgette Imperial

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. With today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, you get a bonus! Not only do we offer a podcast of “Kelly” by American Wrestlers from their 2015 album, I Can Do No Wrong, on Fat Possum, but we're also presenting the premiere of the video for "Kelly" as well.

American Wrestlers – Kelly (MP3)

After moving to the United States to live with his wife, Gary McClure found himself without any musical collaborators for the first time in twenty years, so he recorded songs to an eight-track at his house and released them under the moniker American Wrestlers in late 2014. A decade earlier, McClure was a core member of the Manchester group Working For A Nuclear Free City. After that band went on hiatus in 2011, McClure recorded and released a solo album, 2013's Wreaths, but was discouraged by its lukewarm commercial reception. McClure met his now-wife around the same time, and opted to move back to the States with her. American Wrestlers was released in late 2014 and found immediate critical acclaim from music blogs, which resulted in Fat Possum picking up the album for a wider release. "Kelly" was one of the first songs released from the sessions that resulted in American Wrestlers, and it's easy to see why: it's a song that's packed with hooks wrapped up in warm lo-fi production. From the muffled vocals to the trebly guitar solo, everything about the song sounds charmingly rough except for the titular hook, which ties the other elements of the song – the unassuming drum machine, McClure's scratchy guitar, and wheezy harmonica – into a song with as much sinaglong potential as tunes with 100 times McClure's budget. Even if a musical reboot is what it took to move forward, "Kelly" sounds like McClure is finally able to project pop instincts that match his ambitions and he's more than following through on the execution.

McClure has yet to announce any more shows as American Wrestlers, but keep an eye on his Facebook and Bandcamp for any announcements.

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