Song of the Day: Martha – The Winter Fuel Allowance Ineligibility Blues

Song of the Day, The Afternoon Show w/ Kevin Cole
photo by Meg Lavender

By Annie Zaleski

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 Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “The Winter Fuel Allowance Ineligibility Blues” by Martha, a single which is available via Fortuna POP.

Martha – The Winter Fuel Allowance Ineligibility Blues (MP3)

There are many ways to express love and affection for someone else. More often than not, however, it's the tiny gestures that mean the most. That's the premise put forth by the Durham, U.K., DIY band Martha on their scrappy 2017 single, "The Winter Fuel Allowance Ineligibility Blues."

The narrator isn't shy about sharing romantic feelings ("My life might be in ruins, but you make it all seem fine"), but backs up these words with actions—namely, flipping on the heat for their beloved: "You know I love you 'cause the heat is on when you come 'round/You know I love you when the boiler makes that funny sound."

In a subtle twist, however, turning on the heat is also a powerful political statement, as the song also rails against the "energy providers" who "bleed us 'til we're dead" with inflated gas and electric prices. Accordingly, "The Winter Fuel Allowance Ineligibility Blues" backs up its activism with punk-pop fury, in the form of a strident rhythmic backbone, rollicking riffs, and howling vocals. Yet in a nod to the song's depth, this doesn't come at the expense of tenderness: Near the end of the song, Rentals-esque backing harmonies coo and hum in the background.

You can keep up with Martha on their Facebook, and watch their video for "Sleeping Beauty" below.


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