Alaska quintet The Modern Savage make brash, melodic indie-rock. Today we bring you their newly-released track “Dead Presidents,” the third single from their upcoming full-length Unwilling Participants, which drops on January 27th. 

The record was produced by James Frazee (Beck, Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten) and explores vocalist Jenni May Toro’s marriage and tumultuous divorce.

Formed in 2011, the Anchorage band has shared the stage with Jane’s Addiction and Silversun Pickups and was named “Best Indie Band” by the Anchorage Press for five years straight.

The group’s moniker seems apropos to both their sound and their native state: As Toro recently told She Shreds Magazine, “I’m captivated by powerful front-women like Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and Karen O. Watching videos of and reading books about these iconic women has been a huge source of inspiration for me while living in such a remote location as Alaska.”

The Modern Savage

As to the album’s signal material—the joy of marriage and the agony of its dissolution—Toro has the following advice to those in similar straits: “Talk about it. Be vulnerable. In our idealistic, social media based projection of happiness it’s easy to feel intimidated by life’s imperfections. Life is imperfect. People want to help. They want to offer their support and love.”

“Dead Presidents” lurches forward at a frenetic pace from its opening bars, bringing an onslaught of chiming, angular guitar work. Unexpected chord modulations and half-time breakdowns mark the song’s choruses, with Toro’s forthright vocal meandering above the fray. It’s infectious, heady, compelling stuff.


In addition to the audio for “Dead Presidents,” below, we also feature two earlier pre-release songs from Unwilling Participants, “Straight And Narrow” and “Shake.” Enjoy.