Song of the Day: The Mynabirds - Wildfire

Song of the Day
09/09/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Jessica Ewald

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Wildfire” by The Mynabirds from the 2015 album Lovers Know on Saddle Creek.

The Mynabirds - Wildfire (MP3)

The moniker of Washington D.C. songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laura Burhenn, The Mynabirds' consistently travels from one musical ground to the next, with Burhenn's subtle pop instincts serving as the single link between the project's releases. The Mynabirds' genesis lies in Georgie James, the mid-2000s experimental pop group that Burhenn formed with Q and Not U's John Davis. Although that project only released one album, Burhenn stayed with the band's label, Saddle Creek, which laid the groundwork for connecting her next batch of songs – a straightforward, soulful collection of songs – with producer Richard Swift. That album, 2010's What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood, served as the first proper Mynabirds LP. After stints as a touring member of Bright Eyes and The Postal Service and a second LP, 2012's political GENERALS, Burhenn embarked on an extensive period of traveling, which heavily influenced the interpersonal themes of her third album as The Mynabirds, this year's Lovers Know. "Wildfire", like the rest of Lovers Know, takes on a more synth-leaning style than anything she's done in the past, but Burhenn's magnetic presence remains at the heart of her music. Built over steadily rising keyboards and drums, Burhenn gives a superbly subtle vocal turn, forgoing the rallying cry she's often used in her work for a performance that speaks volumes in its tone. "Wildfire" is triumphant but not loud, pensive but never navel-gazing, and romantic without being sappy. In other words, it's a radiant slice of carefully-crafted pop that shows that no matter what stylistic frame she's in, Burhenn's musical voice remains an entrancing one.

The Mynabirds will be live on KEXP (with streaming video) on Thursday, September 10th at 1:00 p.m. PT (that's tomorrow!). Later that night, they'll play the Sunset Tavern. Get tickets and more info on that 21+ show here, keep up with Laura at her website and Facebook, and watch the band play "Generals" live at Pickathon 2012 for KEXP.

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