Song of the Day: Widowspeak - Dog

Song of the Day, The Morning Show w/ John Richards
09/07/2017
Jasmine Albertson
photo by Colby Perry (view set)

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 “Dog ” by Widowspeak, off the 2017 album Expect the Best, recently released via Captured Tracks.

Widowspeak – Dog (MP3)The album cover for Widowspeak's latest album Expect the Best features a glowing lava lamp lighting an otherwise dark and seemingly empty room. It's an apt photo for the lyrical content behind their fourth full-length, which spends much time focused on isolation, discontent, and a "grass is always greener" mindset that any human can relate to. Which is why Molly Hamilton expresses her jealousy over the simple life and mindset of her dog, who doesn't overthink their place in the world or next move, in the album's lead single "Dog." Written while Hamilton was taking a reprieve from her life in Brooklyn to move back to her hometown of Tacoma, she used the time for self-examination, which is why this record feels the most personal and honest.

“In the past, I’ve felt compelled to write songs that are more optimistic than I’m actually feeling,” she said in a statement. “As if I could make it true, as if everything in the past was significant or beautiful in a way, even if it was painful. But the truth is that not everything makes sense, and not every day of your life is an experience of clear cut emotional clarity. I struggle with this compulsion to pull away from people, pull away from the things I enjoy doing, and sometimes literally picking up and moving away when I am feeling uneasy and anxious about my future in a given space, physical or mental. Social media these days can exacerbate that as well.” The influence of her Pacific Northwest dwellings are apparent, with a much more lush, shoegaze-y sound added to their previous alt-country meets dream pop aesthetic that the band is calling "cowboy grunge." The inclusion of touring members drummer James Jano and bassist Willy Muse in the process of creating the album rather than the typical arrangement of Hamilton and lead guitarist Robert Earl Thomas forming the songs is most likely a factor. Expect the Best is their most rich and atmospheric album to date while speaking to the restlessness of human existence.

Widowspeak will make a stop in Seattle on their upcoming tour, playing at Barboza on Saturday, September 23 with Clearance. Until then, keep up with the band on Facebook or download Expect the Best on Bandcamp. Watch the moody, dream-like video for "Dog" below.

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