Song of the Day: Cende - What I Want

Song of the Day
05/18/2017
Matthew Howland
photo by Dave Medina

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 “What I Want," by Cende, from their debut LP, #1 Hit Record, on Double Double Whammy.

Cende - What I Want (MP3)Don't hold it against them, but Cende are a very charming band. Formed in the perpetual indie-rock haven of Brooklyn, NY, Cende is built on the dual songwriting talents of Cameron Wisch (of Porches) and Dave Medina (of LVL UP). The band's debut album, the aptly named #1 Hit Record, finds Cende fine-tuning the wired pop/punk of their live show into a more nuanced, mature blend of vintage pop and punk which highlights the band's strengths. Today's featured track, "What I Want," in particular showcases a more reflective side of Wisch and Medina's songwriting, and also has a cameo from indie sweetheart (and recent Sub Pop signee) Greta Kline, aka Frankie Cosmos.

Part of Cende's appeal comes from the band's song structures, which constantly change pace and vibe, but also manage to stay cohesive and not overly complicated. This is well exemplified by "What I Want," which shifts gears tirelessly over the course of five minutes. A buoyant melody sung by Wisch joins gently droning keyboards and drums and a chiming guitar (think The Byrds), which gorgeously doubles Wisch's melody in the song's bridge. "What I Want" finds Cende in the process of establishing their own distinctive pop sound through a conversation with their musical heritage.

Cende will be in Seattle on June 20th, on a stacked bill with Alex G and Japanese Breakfast at The Crocodile. More information can be found on the band's Facebook or Bandcamp. In the meantime, here's a charming video of the band playing a Shins cover in attempt to win a tour van:

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