Honcho Poncho, “32 & 33”
Who’d guess that five scruffy young Seattleites in 2016 would sound like America (the band) circa 1975? This rangy jam’s ambling tempo and goodtime delivery belie singer Sam Gelband’s underlying anxiety about late-onset adulthood. Nimble lead guitar by Owen Proto, complex but effortless composition and a soaring crescendo deepen the easy appeal of this modest masterpiece.
Explode into Colors, “Eyes Hands Mouth”
One of Portland’s great underground bands reunited in late October for two shows benefitting all-ages music. Concurrently, Seattle’s Cassingle and Loving It label patched together EIC’s smattering of singles into a new album called Quilts, highlighted by this propulsive dub-funk excursion.
Moon Duo, “Cold Fear”
More subterranean sounds from PDX: Moon Duo, whose roaring motorik jams melted stages at this summer’s Pickathon, here teases the two full-lengths they’re readying for 2017. “Cold Fear” sounds like its title—icy drum machine and synth, distorted guitar looming overhead, production oversized and pressurized. Welcome to the dark season.
Brand-new duo Occlusions is a genre-bending enigma. Their warped synths and lo-fi beats flash back to late-’00s chillwave, while Monica Thomas’ vocals simmer with soul, classic but wounded. This just-released first peek provides more woozy, sexy vibe than succinct statement of intent; we’re excited to hear more.
Chinchilla, “Aurora Nights”
One final two-piece this month. Though it grooves most righteously, most of Chinchilla’s eponymous Bandcamp debut hews too closely to Ratatat’s patented micro-arena-rock bombast, pairing electric-guitar swagger with drum-machine syncopation. “Aurora Nights,” however, swerves through some intriguing prog-rock byways over its seven-minute course, like taking a moody midnight drive to nowhere in particular.