A month ago, Friday Mile stopped moving. Almost for good. Recording their new album, Good Luck Studio, had eaten up the better part of a year. It got expensive. Record labels weren't returning calls. Jace Krause, the lead singer and primary songwriter, was too distracted by the stress of recording to write new material. To make matters worse, band members stopped getting along, especially Krause and Hannah Williams, who shares vocals and plays keyboards."It's almost like in a relationship, when you have your first fight," Williams says. "You're stronger, better, if you make it through."And they did, completing a clean, smartly arranged album with sweet, piano-driven melodies. After the Seattle heavies passed, Friday Mile signed with Portland's Timber Carnival Records. They're celebrating Good Luck Studio's release with shows in Seattle on Friday and Portland on Saturday.If the quintet is stronger now, it's because they learned from the lessons of the past year. For one, Krause stopped worrying about what he calls "the hype machine"—namely, the Americana-styled folk and '80s-inspired electro-pop that has taken over Seattle. Instead, he focused on Good Luck Studio's songwriting and production, not worrying about categorization. "There seems to be a style of the time," he says. "And right now, it's not big pop songs done by a rock band."Neither Krause nor Williams sees a reason to change their songwriting just to attract buzz. "If we really wanted to pop out there, we could put on our skinny jeans and play Neumos. But none of us really are that," Williams says.The creative tension between Krause and Williams has calmed recently, but the two still have markedly different personalities: Williams loves recording, Krause finds it exhausting. Krause is about melody, Williams knows arrangements. Krause is a thinker, Williams is quick to decide. But those differences define Friday Mile's music—her pitch-perfect voice contrasts his rougher vocals on well-balanced songs like "Autograph."It doesn't hurt that they found other creative outlets. Krause is contemplating a solo record, and Williams is planning her own. She started another band, Youth Rescue Mission, to have a project that, unlike Friday Mile, she can lead.Krause has come to accept these obstacles as part of his band's identity. After four years with Friday Mile, he knows that his bandmates may not be perfect and his music may not be hyped, but he'd rather spend his time writing songs than changing people's minds. "A good song is a good song," he says, "no matter what sort of jacket you put on it, whether it's a flannel plaid shirt or no shirt or a vest and a blazer."firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Mile (CD release) Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, tractortavern.com. $8. 9:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 13.