Five can’t-miss tracks from the PNW
Remember Face, “And Follow Your Insanity”
Most hip-hop doggedly follows trends; some defies them. Remember Face, the duo of MC Chimaroke Abuachi and producer Andrew Savoie, does the latter, and this opening track from their eponymous debut album is a satisfying slap to the back of the head.
Raven Matthews, “Front Steps”
In fact, Seattle is currently bursting with wildly original hip-hop and Raven Matthews’ latest album Disco Christ demonstrates just how pliant and expressive the genre can be. With its singsong hook and chugging momentum, “Front Steps” might be the most accessible tune from this collection of introspective experimentation.
Yirim Seck, “We Call It (Murder)”
With a haunting song about a haunting subject, veteran activist/rapper Yirim Seck describes the conflicting modes of perception between oppressed and oppressor and the resulting empathy gap that allows injustice to continue. The accompanying video is a crucial document from Seattle’s Black Lives Matter movement.
My Brothers and I
, “Na Na Na (Cathode Remix)”
On their own, Portland soul-pop quintet My Brothers and I are squeaky clean. LA production duo Cathode completely reimagines the band’s original, sugary ballad as a sensuous hip-hop-inflected burner: wonky, funky and edgy.
Sleeping Lessons, “Lovely People”
“I surround myself with lovely people/They stare at screens and live in holes/They show only what they wanna show.” The chorus to this addictive indie-pop anthem from Sleeping Lessons’ debut LP neatly summarizes the strangling narcissism of the Instagram age.
Photo of Raven Matthews by Ivan Mrsic.