Hel Mary, “The Rising”
Hel Mary’s four-song EP arrives just in time for Halloween, its spooky barroom noir the soundtrack to a disturbing postmodern Western we can only imagine. On this lead single, bandleader Rachel Angerman appears as part avenging angel, part anguished ghost, her voice a coffin nail driving through her backing trio’s gusty electro-acoustic stomp.
Watch Rome Burn, “Consumed”
Hella Seattle rock bands grasp at grunge lineage that’s maybe technically there in downtuned guitars or thrift-store amps. Then there’s Watch Rome Burn, who embody the damaged, disaffected spirit of the sound. Their new Vox Heretic LP bristles with gnarly bro energy—literally; WRB is two brothers—rightly focused and frustrated and even kinda playful.
Kyte Mika, “In Passing”
Dwelling in the moody nexus of ambient, electronic and classical, Kyte Mika normally rolls solo for their minimalist piano excursions, building drama via electronic drums and propulsive progressions. Here they partner with cellist Brian Sanderlin and overlay jazzy drum samples for a lovely sliver of tiny grandeur.
Robin Bacior, “A Story in the Times”
In an act of near-magical balance, this elegant meditation by Portland-based multi-instrumentalist Robin Bacior is built of piano, flute, backwards masking, group vocals and Bacior’s own honey-sweet voice—and yet sounds as clear and unencumbered as a morning sunrise. The entirety of Bacior’s latest album, Light It Moved Me, evokes similar alchemy.
Floating Forest, “Disconnection”
Vertiginous bass drops, disorienting flange shifts, frenetic drums: The hallmarks of peak-hour EDM are all over Inner Space, the new album by Floating Forest, aka producer Ryan Fralick. But even swarmed by inscrutable synthetic sounds, Fralick’s music remains calm, almost reserved, telling stories with sound rather than rattling teeth.