Five can’t-miss tracks from the Northwest’s best songwriters.
“Warm Body,” by Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band After a tumultuous two-year hiatus, Benjamin Verdoes and his band return with a radical departure from their past. Gone is the asymmetrical, careening, bombastic pop rock. In its place is something much more devastating. It’s linear, it’s quiet, it’s beautiful and it’s heartbreaking.
“Where I’ll Be,” by Horse Feathers On this track from the Portland folk quintet’s fourth album, Cynic’s New Year, lead singer Justin Ringle sings about a train while his band subtly mimics its sound. Strings whine like a lonesome horn, guitars clickity-clack like wheels on the track.
“Start Over,” by Rocky Votolato No one can plead in a song like Rocky Votolato. In this plaintive number from his latest, Television of Saints, Votolato makes his final arguments before signing some life-changing papers, a pen in one hand and his acoustic guitar in the other. “I’ve got no more fight left,” he sings, “but I won’t let go.”
“House Shape,” by Mt. Eerie Recorded in a giant Anacortes cathedral, “House Shape” fittingly sounds like a deconstructed organ hymn. The song moves effortlessly, maintaining a mellow countenance while building in intensity. It’s unnerving in the most pleasing way possible. Classic Phil Elverum.
“Shangri-La,” by YACHT Yacht released its latest album Shangri-La last year, but it wasn’t until last month’s announcement that the band had moved to LA that the meaning of the title track became clear. The sing-along chorus isn’t a joke; the former Portland band really means it: “If I can’t go to heaven, let me go to LA.”
Click on the song titles for links to the songs. For future recommendations, follow @TheSongShow on Twitter.
Picture above: Phil Elverum