Song of the Day: Peter Matthew Bauer - Philadelphia Raga

Song of the Day, The Midday Show w/ Cheryl Waters
10/01/2014
Jacob Webb
photo by Amber Zbitnoff (view set)

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, selected by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Philadelphia Raga” by Peter Matthew Bauer from the 2014 album Liberation! on Mexican Summer/Kemado Records.

Peter Matthew Bauer - Philadelphia Raga (MP3)

Upon the early 2014 dissolution of the beloved NYC indie rock The Walkmen, Peter Matthew Bauer wasted no time establishing a new, bold musical identity as a solo artist. Initially gaining notice as a member of The Recoys, he and bandmate Hamilton Leithauser joined three members of the New York indie rock outfit Jonathan Fire*Eater to form The Walkmen, who released seven albums during their 13 year run. In late 2013, Bauer announced that the group was going on "extreme hiatus", and along with Leithauser, immediately embarked on a solo career. Bauer's solo debut, this year's Liberation!, reflects both his new-found musical independence and the album's themes of truth and spirituality.

Today's featured song, "Philadelphia Raga", dives deep into those ideas with a languid pace and stream-of-consciousness lyrics that evoke a restless soul pushing forward wearily. Bauer's delivery is both relaxed and focused as he entrancingly walks the line between introspection and navel-gazing ("I'm drunk with John Wesley Harding/I'm lying in an Easter garden/I'm not afraid of death/I'm talking to his mother's mother"). Just as The Walkmen dove deep into themes of parenthood, legacy, and romantic longevity on their brilliant swan song Heaven, "Philadelphia Raga" goes headfirst, but not fearlessly, into a difficult to articulate subject, and as Bauer surfaces from looking for eternal truth, he seems more beautifully human than ever.

Bauer was in Seattle this past summer and currently has a string of East Coast tour dates opening for Delta Spirit and The War On Drugs this month. Keep an eye on his Facebook and website for any new music or tour news, and watch him and his band play "Philadelphia Raga" live in studio for KEXP.

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