CD Reviews: Fin Records’ Latest

As we officially welcome summer this week, Every Local Release thought it best to take a tip from the eternal beach bum himself, Jimmy Buffett, with some words from his 1979 hit “Fins.” The Parrothead croons, “You’ve got fins to the left/Fins to the right”—and though he’s no visionary, his words ring eerily true considering local label Fin Records’ output of late. Here’s our take on five recent releases (and though it may finally be boating season, there’s no yacht rock here). Check them out at

Brent Amaker and The Rodeo, Year of the Dragon: Seattle’s signature cowboys are back with their latest mix of country and experimental rock. Channeling a rumbling Johnny Cash, Amaker’s honest lyrics work in some comical “la la”s and “hoo-hah!”s between verses. “Country Sky” showcases all the album’s high points, as the simple mesh of keys and guitar make just the right combination of twang.

*Cali Giraffes, All My Life 7˝: This collaboration between Kim Warnick (Fastbacks) and Mikey Davis (Alien Crime Syndicate) yields two power-pop gems, one sung by each. It’s got that familiar Fastbacks sound, only with a bit of Evan Dando thrown in (the former Lemonhead named the band). It’s the perfect soundtrack to kick-start your summer.

Jack Endino, Rumble 12˝: The Seattle producer extraordinaire serves up a rocking, three-song preview of his upcoming solo record. The A-side is a down and dirty version of Link Wray’s instrumental classic “Rumble,” while the B-side includes two tracks: “Set Myself on Fire,” the riff-tastic title track from his forthcoming album, as well as a bonus track that won’t be on it, a 1996 Crocodile Cafe performance of “How Much Time” by Endino’s Earthworm.

*Long Distance Poison, Gliese Translations: This Brooklyn-based drone band offers three variations on the “signal” theme (side A is home to “Signal I,” and the B-side features “Signal II” and “Signal I/II”). Members Drew McDowell, Steve Moore, and Shawn Parke harness and maintain minimal experimental sounds with an even keel, as in “Signal I” (not your typical single, topping over 19 minutes), which slowly builds on evolving, layered synth tones. “Signal II” is organic and lively, with a melody like rippling waves or steady rain.

Pigeonhed, The Power Come Over Me 12˝: Local luminaries Shawn Smith and Steve Fisk preview a song from their “lost” third LP. The track is a soulful six-and-a-half-minute electro-pop tune anchored by an Afro-Cuban drumbeat, vintage synths, and Smith’s falsetto vocals. The B-side features an instrumental version of the same song.

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