It’s understandable if Wenatchee music isn’t on your radar. Wenatchee is a small rural community in the middle of Washington state, so there’s relatively not much homegrown music to seek out. But as a resident, I can say there is plenty of good stuff around here if you look in the right places. And it just so happens that, right now, Hearingade is the right place! One of Wenatchee’s very most venue-packing bands, Poor Folks Live Well, just debuted a music video this week for “O General” off their 2012 EP, 40 Years of Famine. Give it a looksee; let it rock your face today.
Oh damn, Archie Powell and his trusty Exports have done gone and quaked my heart again. Their new music video for “Only So Much You Can Do,” by Rhapsody Productions, premiered yesterday at Diffuser.fm, and it’s a horror lover’s dream! The sequences are akin to those creepy found tapes in “V/H/S,” full of darkness, fear and gore, as the boys rush through hallways trying to escape some unseen threat. All we know is that it’s oozing some gross gooey gunk and it’s super sneaky. As much as I love those guys, I can’t deny how much I’ve enjoyed watching their blood splattering all over the place.
Surf rock seems to be a genre that’s withstood generations of musical shifts, relentless all through the psychedelic ’60s, the metal ’70s, the synthy ’80s, the alternative ’90s, and straight into the new millennium. Even when it didn’t sound like it rode a wave right onto your speakers’ shores, there’s never really been a time since its inception that it couldn’t be heard in abundance.
So some could say that albums like sister surf rock group Bleached‘s debut full-length Ride Your Heart are a dime a dozen. Especially among established contemporaries such as the Drums, Best Coast, Wavves, Veronica Falls, and Tennis. And those people wouldn’t be totally wrong. There’s certainly been a surge in today’s indie rock banks of this particular style, and at times these melodies can start to all sound very much the same.
But there’s a reason why music like this maintains such a strong presence. Its sound embodies a feeling of freedom from everyday life. In all its potential to be mundane, its mere existence symbolizes an escape from the mundane. Those surf guitars send your mind straight to the beach, which is a common place people consider a break from reality, relaxing in the sun and sand, splashing around in the water to wash your cares right away. You can be just sitting at your desk, but when these songs play, you’re taken there, and it’s such a release.
Bleached doesn’t try to mess with this formula, instead keeping the style pretty classic on Ride Your Heart. At times, Jennifer and Jessie Clavin sound like Joey and Johnny Ramone incarnate — especially on album opener “Looking for a Fight” and the subsequent “Next Stop” — but with more reverb.
Last month, New Orleans-based indie rock duo Generationals released their third full-length album, Heza. This week, they debuted a video for “Spinoza,” featuring vocalist Ted Joyner dashing through the streets of NOLA while Grant Widmer rides around in a truckbed struggling to play his guitar as he slides all over. If there’s a point to it all, I’ve missed it, but it’s certainly a delight to bask in the sights of one of my favorite cities — vendor booths in Jackson Square, iron-fenced balconies throughout the French Quarter, horse-drawn tour carriages. For more views of The Big Easy, check out the band’s video for Heza‘s lead single, “Put a Light On.”
Pop-punk’s pulse beat strong in the mid- to late ’90s, but somewhere around the turn of the century, it seemed to trickle out. That’s not to say it disappeared, but the sound in general grew stale, as new styles of rock (often borrowing from old styles) emerged in the forefront. With Allison Weiss‘ new album, Say What You Mean, that brand sounds fresh again. Weiss doesn’t necessarily bring much new to the table, but something about her interpretation of the genre brought it back to life in my ears. Her solid power chords, classic yet stimulating, and vocals that convey emotion as much as the lyrics themselves probably have a lot to do with it.
Music can be so powerful when its effect on you is not only visceral, but emotional. I think that’s where Weiss won me over with this release, because her heartbreak is so relatable — as heartbreak is wont to be, I suppose. She covers a decent range of scenarios that can come from a rough break-up, using varied levels of sass to drive her point throughout the album.
Say What You Mean opens with “Making It Up,” a relatively light, poppy tune, implementing a bit of synth atop the basic guitar/bass/drums set-up. The song pleads to an ex-lover who’s acting like whatever they had together never happened: “Am I making it up? Was it not what you said? Was I never the one? Was it all in my head?” This juxtaposition of cheerful melody to despondent lyrics is always a satisfying angle, because instead of burying the listener in sad feelings, it uplifts them.
Break out your dancin’ shoes, because !!! is gonna make you wanna move with their new album, Thr!!!er. Nic Offer blends pop music styles like a boss, and it’s all founded on sumptuous bass rhythms that make it tough to sit still. It’s all so obvious in the new music video for “One Girl / One Boy.” Offer dances around in his super-sweet short-shorts while singing about how a song keeps him connected to a former love.
No amount of heartbreak can really separate us from our musical memories of dancing with someone we once loved, and Offer’s plea is that it may not matter anymore, but when that song plays, he can’t help but feel like he’s in that place again, when things were good. Because let’s face it, nothing is bad when you’re dancing. All your troubles dissipate on the dance floor like droplets of water burning off a hot skillet (that’s how I learned to know my pan was ready for pancake batter, anyone else?). The awesome Sonia Moore provides guest vocals on this tune, and I can’t help but be a little jealous that she gets to groove with this fresh gent, because that guy looks like a choice dance partner. And seriously, more dudes need to wear short-shorts. Ain’t nothing wrong with showing a little leg, fellas!