This week, we are experiencing an insane avalanche of new music from Seattle—get your headphones out and prepare to jump in:
Special Explosion Go Topshelf on New EP
Since releasing its preternaturally catchy debut single "Lifeguard" in 2012, Seattle's Special Explosion have been very busy. They released an excellent 7" last year featuring some righetous screaming—and now, in the middle of a month and a half long tour across the country, the band's Topshelf Records debut The Art of Mothering EP comes out today.
Andy and Lizzy Costello, the siblings who co-front the band, have grown their back and forth vocals into a much leaner machine—resulting in harmonies more consistent and dynamic than anything they've done in the past. Songwriting-wise, these proud children of the 90s bare their love for the decade's alt-rock plainly on their checkered sleeves. Blaring distorted guitars warble and bend with a shoegazey haze, weaving in and out of intricate structures remniscent of Built to Spill's knotty compositions. That might be partially due to Steve Fisk's production—the man did engineer Nirvana and Soundgarden after all.
While none of the songs are nearly as immediate as "Lifeguard" was, The Art of Mothering is a transitional record. Special Explosion are still a young band—Lizzy, the oldest member of the group, is 21 years old—and this is only an EP. The Art of Mothering is full of markedly more complex song structures and an ambitious ending song arc split into two separate parts ("The Art of Mothering Pt. 1 & 2"). Given the band's newfound road-warrior status and the support of an established label like Topshelf, it's not hard to imagine Special Explosion's abundance of new ideas getting honed even tighter in the near future.
But flashing back to the present, The Art of Motheirng is still a wonderful effort, one that will make you happy if you like Joanna Gruesome as much as you like Pearl Jam.
Constant Lovers Drop Two New Tracks From Experience Feelings
Good To Die Records' Constant Lovers has always been something of an oddball in Seattle's heavy rock scene—as you can tell from the photo above. Never one for straightforward riffing, the band has always had a bit of an artier side, marked by uniquely punishing drum driven songwriting full of guitar squalls and obtuse yelping. With Helms Alee's beefy armed Ben Verellen taking over on drums now, frontman Joel Cuplin is freer than ever to howl his face off about "boogaloos" and "feeling like a Pez dispenser." The band's Experience Feelings LP comes out March 18th, but check out two tracks ahead of time: "Mush Teeth" via Soundcloud and "Amazon Tickle" below.
Iska Dhaaf's "Sullen Eyes" Puts That Old Farfisa To Use
"Sullen Eyes," the latest single from one of our Bands to Watch for 2014, Iska Dhaaf, gives its organ quite a workout. Lacking a proper bass player, Ben Verdoes often pulls double duty in the two-piece's songs, playing both drums and Farfisa bass lines at the same time. "Sullen Eyes," the poppy, upbeat psych number from the band's upcoming LP Even the Sun Will Burn, sounds like it features Verdoes playing with a magical third or fourth hand—the keyboard skitters across melodies, hooks, basslines and rhythm seemingly all at once, as Nate Quiroga coos "What do you see with your sullen eyes?" The band's LP comes out March 11 on Brick Lane Records.
RA Scion Starts Over with Vox Mod on "Fixed"
After a bummer legal battle with Rodney Hazard, the man who produced last year's The Sickle & The Sword, local rapper RA Scion was forced to give away the album for free or face a lawsuit. Rather than give up on the album completely, RA Scion decided to solicit new producers to essentially remix the entire album, keeping the vocal tracks but adding in new beats underneath.
Vox Mod, Seattle's foremost acid-tinged electronic artist, won the raffle and earned the right to redo RA Scion's mystical would-be masterpiece. Below is the first iteration of that collaboration, a fractal, spaced out new cut of The Sickle & The Sword's "Constant," coyly renamed "Fixed."
Stream Pillar Point's Self-Titled Debut
Scott Reitherman made a name with the sad-guy pop of Throw Me The Statue, whose melodica and glockenspiel heavy earworm "Lolita" was Seattle's catchiest song of 2007. Flash forward to 2014, and Reitherman's new project Pillar Point is looking to one-up that pop-proficiency by taking a distinctly more electronic route than before. Polyvinyl released Reitherman's self-titled Pillar Point today, check out the full album stream below.