Five can’t-miss tracks from the Pacific Northwest.
Exit Music (For a Film) Portland Cello Project, featuring Adam Shearer
The song isn’t new, and neither is the concept. What makes this performance notable is guest singer Adam Shearer, who matches the breath and gravel of Thom Yorke, bridging the gap between the lonely-West Americana of Shearer’s band Weinland and the alienation of Radiohead’s more modern world.
Blood on the Highway The Maldives
This first single off Muscle for the Wing lives up to the album’s title with some muscular guitar riffs and soaring vocals from frontman Jason Dodson. The song starts off with our hero grabbing his gun, hangs on the line, “War it ain’t over, till all the killin’s done,” and ends with Dodson wanting to escape it all. Epic stuff.
Kickin’ Out Windows Blue Sky Black Death & Nacho Picasso
Over sparkling and spooky production from Blue Sky Black Death, molasses-mouthed MC Nacho Picasso tells of driving a car that looks like a kumquat, informs a misguided police officer that his member is not a throat lozenge, and bemoans his waning affections for a love interest who’s “thinkin’ limo, but she’s lookin’ like a cab to me.”
Ponytail Chastity Belt
This song by melodic Seattle punk group Chastity Belt is incredibly short and to the point. “I will only date you if you cut off your ponytail,” sings Julia Shapiro, who later compares her suitor unfavorably to her mom, Steven Segal and Thomas Jefferson. “Cut it off, cut it off!”
Pray Ken Stringfellow
It’s a testament to the pop songwriting genius of Ken Stringfellow that he can not only pull off a slow-burning soul side like “Pray,” but that he can do so while making an often clichéd form his own. This song is all sex, drugs and redemption delivered in memorable couplets. “Turned until I had to face it,” he sings. “Life was fucked, I still embraced it.”
Photo by Tarina Westland.