Song of the Day: DIIV - Bent (Roi’s Song)

Song of the Day
01/26/2016
Jacob Webb
photo by Sandy Kim

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 “Bent (Roi's Song)” by DIIV from the 2016 album Is The Is Are, due February 5th on Captured Tracks.

DIIV - Bent (Roi's Song) (MP3)

Led by the charismatic and ambitious Zachary Cole Smith, DIIV's gauzy lo-fi glide led them to becoming one of the most promising upstarts of the early 2010s. Before starting what was then known as "Dive" as his solo project in 2011, Smith was a touring guitarist with Beach Fossils and Darwin Deez, but once he'd settled into a group of like-minded musicians – guitarist Andrew Bailey, bassist Devin Ruben Perez, and drummer Colby Hewitt – Cole's dreamlike guitar-driven reflections began to become a constant presence in Brooklyn venues. The band's 2012 debut Oshin was a critical success, leading DIIV to spend most of the next year touring. In the meantime, DIIV became a constant presence in music news headlines, sometimes quite infamously. Despite the band's internal and legal struggles – multiple members have been to rehab within the last two years and Hewitt was replaced by Ben Newman due to a reported drug addiction – Cole continued to work on the band's sophomore effort, Is This The Are, which will finally see release next month.

"Bent (Roi's Song)" has plenty of the silverly tones that made their debut dazzle, but moreso than the songs on that record, "Bent" is built with subtly-layered hooks. From the rolling low end of the rhythm section to Cole's half-mumbled, half-sighed vocal performance to the skypiercing Robin Guthrie riffs that propel the chorus, the song sounds more confident and effortlessly enveloping than perhaps anything else the band has done to date. Cole has said that "Bent (Roi's Song)" is about "our struggles along the path to clarity, sanity, and sobriety", which is undoubtedly a pretty broad stroke, but the song's swirling crunch and Cole's contemplative whispers come together with just enough ghostly appeal to make these six minutes come admirably close to encapsulating that massive idea.

DIIV will celebrate the release of Is This the Are with residencies in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in February and March. If they announce a set of more extensive tour dates, that news will be at their website and Facebook. Below, watch the band play "How Long Have You Known" at CMJ 2012.

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