Five can’t-miss songs from the PNW
Xperience, “Any of Us”
So much to love in this gleaming soul/hip-hop hybrid, starring Xperience, veteran Northwest MC and longtime Macklemore compatriot, and bursting with sampled strings and horns by Midwestern Christian-rap producer Theory Hazit. Reminiscent of the plaintive, urgent R&B of Vic Chesnutt or Raphael Saadiq, “Any of Us” is a bumping bittersweet symphony.
Haunted Horses, “Thee”
Bleak, sludgy, smothering, oppressive—what’s not to like? Haunted Horses is Colin Dawson on guitar and vocals and Mike Pyle on drums making an unholy hell of a post-punk/industrial racket. “Thee” snaps from malevolent ambiance into a semblance of pop sensibility and a definitive form of headbanger catharsis.
Parisalexa, “No Problem”
It’s no slight to say that this song by teenaged Paris Alexa Williams comes straight from the Rihanna School of Pop Mantra-making. Looping and harmonizing with her own voice, swooping sensuously over bouncy, synthy modern R&B production by Mike Illvester (formerly of Fly Moon Royalty), Parisalexa arrives dancefloor-friendly and radio-ready.
The Bad Tenants, “Altitude Check”
Party-starting cuts like “Altitude Check” never go out of style. Along with earnest, good-time vibes, this Bellingham-to-Seattle hip-hop trio brings surprising chops: Matt Goodwin’s big, soulful voice and ripping sax; Casey G’s dextrous flow; DJ Idlhnds’ ‘90s-style cut ’n’ paste breaks. And where’s that funky organ coming from??
Irene Barber, “Awake in Departure”
O vast, unquenchable void! Reaching out from some deep, warm well of feeling, Irene Barber’s voice is a luminous tendril surrounded by all-engulfing, synthesized reverb: “Our love’s on the other side/We shy away.” Every sound here, even the lub-lub drums, is as diaphanous as a cloud.