Song of the Day: onDeadWaves - California

Song of the Day
04/07/2016
Scott Kulicke
photo by Cat Mook

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 Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “California” by onDeadWaves from their forthcoming self-titled debut, due May 20th on Mute.

onDeadWaves - California (MP3)

Folk-pop duo onDeadWaves are, as we speak, in the midst of their breakout. Their signing to Mute records - Yeasayer and Goldfrapp being the top-marquee names on a roster thick with indie cred - turned some heads, and their first singles "Blackbird" and "Blue Inside" confirmed the hype. Their sound is relatively hi-fi compared to some of their stylistic peers, a cleaner pop approach to songs that other bands would feel deserved a breathy, quiet, bedroom aesthetic. But their third release, "California", was meant for sing-along drives: a snare hit comprised of a full crowd's worth of clapping and an anthemic chorus that cheerily belts "we're all dead in California." It's pure sunshine rock befitting its name, streamlined pop so well-crafted that it could have spawned in a lab - a rebuttal to anyone that says using The Formula can't yield surprising results. The song is astonishingly short, a relic of song structure that we haven't seen since the days of AM radio, but as the last trailing delays and echoes bounce out into the abyss underneath a final whispered "California," the song begs for a rewind, and therein lies the magic: succinct, head-rush potent pop that fits right at home in whatever summer playlist you're in the middle of crafting.

onDeadWaves won't be hitting California, or anywhere else just yet, as they currently do not have any tour dates announced. Hopefully, after the release of their debut, they'll hit the road and swing by Seattle. Until then, check their website and Facebook page for updates, and watch the official video for "Blue Inside", another song from the forthcoming LP:

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