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Standout Track: With a deluge of reverb-heavy vocal harmonies, “Animals,” the first track released by newish D.C. trio Governess, is a droney surf-pop gem. The idea for the band was first conceived in the winter of 2014, says drummer/vocalist Erin McCarley (who also plays in Pygmy Lush and Hand Grenade Job), after the trio “met through our organizing efforts to start a DIY cooperative preschool in our neighborhood.” After it gained and lost a few members, Governess settled on its current lineup with Kieca Mahoney on bass and Kim Weeks on guitar.

Musical Motivation: Life and death, essentially. The music may sound sweet, but the lyrics are a heavy, sobering rumination on nature. “Animals walk among us / Animals eat their young / And now you’re no one and he is too,” the trio sings in sweet yet slightly melancholic unison. McCarley says that “the song is ultimately about the juxtaposition of beauty and destruction and how those things co-exist.”

The Circle of Life: McCarley says the group’s songwriting efforts are completely collaborative and, around the time the trio was writing the track, a mother sloth at the National Zoo ate two of her cubs. Zoo officials took her in for treatment and concluded she did it because she was in distress, but it “brings up questions about the nature of survival and loss.” The group wrote the lyrics together, which captures the “primitive, biological experience of life and death in the same body.”

Stream “Animals” below: