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Put ’em on the Map – Four Seattle Bands You Should Know About

Posted by June 12th, 2004 No Comments »

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves . . . . Put ’em on the Map:
Four Seattle Bands you Should Know About
By Paul Hermann & Graham Isaac

The Western States
On The Western States’ as-yet-unreleased album Trouble in the Union, Cameron Elliot’s unique voice and powerful words intertwine perfectly with the group’s loud, distorted guitars, resulting in a huge, melodic rock sound reminiscent of Pedro the Lion’s Control. Themes of America and its faults and victories run through the record’s ten songs. One song in particular, which depicts a group of naïve young soldiers and their experiences in war, shows Eliot may be one of the best unknown songwriters in Seattle.

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves
Anyone who’s seen Jeff Suffering in any of his bands, including the late greats Raft of Dead Monkeys and Ninety Pound Wuss, knows that he’s a consummate performer, throwing himself into his songs emotionally and physically. In his latest act he’s assembled a talented group of musicians that flesh out dark, Nick Cave-influenced tunes with a theatrical glee, diving into relational issues and depression with the sort of sweep and insight for which most indie rockers or indie geeks would sell their left arm. You’ll probably not laugh, though a disturbed smile may cross your face at signature songs like “Sex is Dead” or “All My Friends are on Prozac,” but if you’re not careful, you’ll cry. And no one with a soul will blame you.

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves . . . . Put ’em on the Map:
Four Seattle Bands you Should Know About
By Paul Hermann & Graham Isaac

The Western States
On The Western States’ as-yet-unreleased album Trouble in the Union, Cameron Elliot’s unique voice and powerful words intertwine perfectly with the group’s loud, distorted guitars, resulting in a huge, melodic rock sound reminiscent of Pedro the Lion’s Control. Themes of America and its faults and victories run through the record’s ten songs. One song in particular, which depicts a group of naïve young soldiers and their experiences in war, shows Eliot may be one of the best unknown songwriters in Seattle.

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves
Anyone who’s seen Jeff Suffering in any of his bands, including the late greats Raft of Dead Monkeys and Ninety Pound Wuss, knows that he’s a consummate performer, throwing himself into his songs emotionally and physically. In his latest act he’s assembled a talented group of musicians that flesh out dark, Nick Cave-influenced tunes with a theatrical glee, diving into relational issues and depression with the sort of sweep and insight for which most indie rockers or indie geeks would sell their left arm. You’ll probably not laugh, though a disturbed smile may cross your face at signature songs like “Sex is Dead” or “All My Friends are on Prozac,” but if you’re not careful, you’ll cry. And no one with a soul will blame you.

Dear Darling
Dark Pop? I don’t know if there is such a term. Maybe the undiscerning apply the dreadful term “emo” to Dear Darling’s music, but it doesn’t do them justice. Their music is too intelligent to be lumped in with a loosely defined but extremely limited genre cliché. Dear Darling finds a way to carry their listener with simple music and life seeking lyrics. Traditional guitar, bass and drums are augmented by layers of Rhodes keyboard that add nice layers to the simplistic music. What makes Dear Darling so great to listen to is that when you package all those sounds you get quality rock music that knows when to get loud.

Mindhead
Joe Day and Mindhead have been perfecting their unassuming guitar-pop for the last couple years. They’ve mastered the fine art of solid hooks that never become cloying, acoustic based guitar lines unique enough not to be boring, and electronic undercurrents that don’t overpower the songwriting. Their music grows with each subsequent listen, revealing new layers to the listener. If you like the college rock stylings of REM, as opposed to their slightly greasy adult contemporary side that seems to inspire too many bands, you’ve found yourself your new local favorite.


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