Monday, January 7, 2008

The New Northwest Sound

Quadrillion (formally Boy Crush) rockin' out at the Monkey Pub

I was a big fan of Portland-based band The Exploding Hearts before their tragic van wreck. They seemed to have a great combination of '70s punk, power pop and garage rock--all sounds I love. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say the next big sound coming out of the Northwest is gonna be in a similar vein with bands that can pull off catchy sappy power pop songs one minute, then effortlessly transition into punchier punk tunes a song later. It's not the polished Green Day kind of pop punk the dominated the airwaves in the '90s, but more music that hearkens back to the blurry line between punk and new wave from the late '70s/early '80s when bands like The Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello, The Nerves, The Jam and The Real Kids created music with punk energy and pop sensibilities. Right now there are a ton of Northwest bands that all seem to be diggin' on that same sound, enough to make it seem more like movement, rather than a random act of bands with good taste all playing around the region at once. Check out bands like The Pop Machine (Seattle), The Clorox Girls (Portland), The Shy Ones (Seattle), Red Dons (Portland), The Cute Lepers (Seattle), The Tranzmitors (Vancouver BC), The Boss Martians (Seattle), The Pranks (Seattle), Avenue Rose (Olympia), Suspect Parts (Portland), The Girls (Seattle) and Quadrillion (Seattle). Granted some of these bands have been around for a while, but it seems like even with bands like The Clorox Girls and Boss Martians, their sound has definitely taken a few steps towards pop in the past few years.


Anonymous said...

to be honest I'm feeling a little burned out on this stuff, although I do like some of the bands ya mentioned.

it should be noted, though, that this is not really a NW thing, there are alot of good "poppy-but-not-pop-punk" bands springing up all over.

in particular, I like just about anyting on Douchemaster Records puts like Carbonas (Atlanta) Black and Whites (MS), Busy Signals (Chicago), Apache (SF), Baby Shakes (NYC), Gentleman Jesse and his Men (Atlanta).

there's also a really cool resurgence of GOOD pop punk happening, after like a decade of that phrase being an automatic turnoff: The Ergs! (NJ), Copyrights (IL), Chinese Telephones (WI), This Is My Fist (CA), Teenage Bottlerocket (WY), Off With Their Heads (MN), Steinways (NY), The Measure (NJ), Future Virgins (FL), and tons more.

in other words, this is good time to be around music if you like poppy stuff.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything about THE GREATEST HITS in here! What is going on with that???

Dan 10Things said...

The Greatest Hits are a fun band, but I don't think they have the same sound I was talking about in this article that is sorta a combination of late-70s punk and power pop. They are more glam rock.