Nada Mucho

Bellingham: The Frozen North (A New Column)

Posted by October 4th, 2005 No Comments »

Bellingham is purty.The Frozen North
Installation # 1: An Introduction
October 2005
By Graham Isaac

Having lived in Bellingham, Washington for three years now, I’ve become acclimated to the quaint, small town life, where activities center around nature, community, and the power of love.

Mainly this means seeing bands at basement parties, purging the smell of smoke from my clothes, and inside jokes involving bizarre drink combinations at which my Seattle friends merely raise their eyebrows. However, Bellingham has a pretty solid music scene going for a town of its size so, in the interest of helping the discerning NadaMucho.com reader disseminate between the awesome and the not-so-awesome, I’ll be keeping this monthly correspondence regarding the hot bands and happenings up here where being eaten by polar bears is a genuine threat.

Bellingham is purty.The Frozen North
Installation # 1: An Introduction
October 2005
By Graham Isaac

Having lived in Bellingham, Washington for three years now, I’ve become acclimated to the quaint, small town life, where activities center around nature, community, and the power of love.

Mainly this means seeing bands at basement parties, purging the smell of smoke from my clothes, and inside jokes involving bizarre drink combinations at which my Seattle friends merely raise their eyebrows. However, Bellingham has a pretty solid music scene going for a town of its size so, in the interest of helping the discerning NadaMucho.com reader disseminate between the awesome and the not-so-awesome, I’ll be keeping this monthly correspondence regarding the hot bands and happenings up here where being eaten by polar bears is a genuine threat.

I’m just going to cover the bands I tend to forget that not everyone down south already knows about; Bands that pack venues, attract audiences, and go on tour.

First off, Idiot Pilot. They’re officially the first band since the Posies to get signed to a major from Bellingham. They’re on Reprise, and just toured with Deftone Chino Moreno’s Team Sleep. If you don’t know about them, you’re probably over the age of 19 and have a sensible haircut. The comparisons generally run something like this– Radiohead meets the Blood Brothers or Massive Attack meets Refused. Lots of skittering beats and pretty vocals that go into post-hardcore screams and riffs.

However, while Idiot Pilot are well-loved by their hometown, their sound isn’t replicated all that often. More indicative would be horror-punks Black Eyes and Neck Ties, whose organ-fueled, guitar-flailing live shows have garnered accurate comparisons to the late Murder City Devils. While the Devils were angry, drunk, and heartbroken, Black Eyes are restless, mischievous, and morbid. Upon the return of their nationwide tour, they’ll be recording a follow up to their debut album Stilletto, which nicely captures their dark, sassy style of ass-kicking.

Also on tour is Racetrack, the indie-pop trio who started as a duo with a crush on Death Cab, then added bassist “Tall Chris“ Rassmussen and honed their sound into a (super)chunky power pop wallop. This served them well in Bellingham where they routinely share bills with much “harder” punk and metal bands. Racetrack’s album, City Lights, is snappy, occasionally bordering-on-grungy pop music with sharp lyrics. If this were a press release, it might be appropriate to mention that they regularly hit Seattle with fellow ‘hamsters The Pale Pacific, as well as Built to Spill, Harvey Danger and others, but it’s not a press release, so I won’t.

Regularly sharing bills with some of the aforementioned bands is USS Horsewhip, whose album …Wants You Dead is one of my favorites of the year. If Horsewhip were a three-way stop, they’d be the corner where Drive Like Jehu, Mudhoney, and Judas Priest meet up. They started out on a slightly more “rawk’n’roll” tip, quickly tired of playing with shitty “ironic” rock revival bands, got into metal, let their Jesus Lizard influence show through, and routinely played shows that left the audience as sweaty as the band.

Lastly, the hip-shaking duo No-Fi Soul Rebellion rarely fails to get the swankiest and skinniest out for a night of un-ironic ass-shaking. Singer Mark Heimer works his charms on the crowd while wife Andrea Heimer plays the “Soul System” – basically pre-recorded original music, but it looks like a guitar and sounds like James Brown meets Prince meets Modest Mouse for some rock-friendly blue-eyed soul. Fun with a capital F.

That’s a primer on some of the basics. All of these bands will be playing in Seattle soon, and they’re better than at least half of the bands hailed as Next Big Thing, so get out and support your frozen friends, and maybe we’ll let you crash on our couch when your band plays up here. The fantastic album cover for Black Eyes and Necktie's "Stilleto."


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2017 Nada Mucho