Song of the Day: WATERS - Stupid Games

Song of the Day
03/04/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Sydney Root

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Stupid Games” by WATERS from the 2015 album What's Real on Vagrant.

WATERS - Stupid Games (MP3)

After the dissolution of his prior band Port O'Brien, Van Pierszalowski directed his efforts into the energetic pop of WATERS. Pierszalowski began the project in Oslo, Norway (where, as he later admitted, he was "romancing a particular girl") but eventually refocused his efforts in his native California. Recruiting guitarist Brian DaMert, bassist Greg Sellin, drummer Andrew Wales, and keyboardist Sara DaMert to complete the band's live incarnation, Pierszalowski took his first batch of songs as WATERS, 2011's John Congleton-produced Out In The Light, out on the road. WATERS soon became road dogs, touring extensively across the next few years while working on new music. Those songs eventually arrived in the form of 2014's It Might All Be OK EP and the forthcoming sophomore effort, What's Real.

Produced by Grouplove's Ryan Rabin, What's Real finds Pierszalowski revisiting his earliest musical influences to find that beneath their lovelorn anguish are strong pop sensibilities. Today's featured song, "Stupid Games", captures the spirit of the anthems that soundtracked Pierszalowski's adolescence; there's a sense of drama in its synth-driven sweep that feels essentially ephemeral in a can't-look-away sense. It's unafraid to simultaneously aim for both the cheap seats and the front row – as any song with a gang vocal-laden chorus and subsequent whoa-ohs should be – so it connects like it's being blasted from a car stereo in June (even if it's really coming through laptop headphones in March.) "Stupid Games" doesn't reinvent the wheel, but since it nails marrying a big sound with a big heart, it doesn't need to.

WATERS will be on tour throughout April and May with Matt and Kim, and although there aren't any Pacific Northwest dates announced right now, keep your eyes on the band's Facebook and website – they're probably not far off. Below, watch the band play "I Feel Everything" live in the KEXP studio last fall.

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