By Justin Farrar
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 DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is “Song of the Highest Tower" by Cut Worms, off the 2017 EP Alien Sunset, available via Jagjaguwar.
Cut Worms – Song of the Highest Tower (MP3)
To date, Max Clarke has released just a single (“Don’t Want to Say Good-Bye”) and an EP (Alien Sunset), yet the young Brooklyn singer-songwriter has already shared stages with British tunesmith Nick Lowe. It’s a perfect match as Clarke’s Cut Worms project -- named after a passage found in the William Blake poem “Proverbs of Hell” -- excels at precisely the kind of tender, rock ’n’ roll nostalgia that made Lowe a new wave icon in the late ’70s.
Totally sounding like a song you know you’ve heard before, yet you can’t place the where nor when, the Alien Sunset highlight “Song of the Highest Tower” drips warm reverb all over dreamily strummed acoustic, lightly brushed snare, and harmonies snatched from the airwaves of 1958. Clarke’s deep knowledge of classic poetry is reflected in the emotionally penetrating lyrics adapted from Arthur Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell.”
Boasting a gift for such unabashedly pretty melodies and haunting words, it should come as little surprise then that Alien Sunset was released on the vaunted indie label Jagjaguwar (home to Angel Olson, Moses Sumney, and Sharon Van Etten as well). Though no release date has been set, Clarke revealed in an interview with the Amadeus site that fans should expect his first full-length early in 2018.
You can follow Cut Worms on Facebook here and watch the video for "Like Going Down Sideways" below.