In late 2012, Tangerine came into contact with Swoon Records. Though they were still a young band, Tangerine were ready to record their first EP—in fact, they managed to lay down all four tracks over the course of one weekend in the studios of Swoon Records. This lends a certain sense of immediacy to Pale Summer. From the first, thumping bass lines and galloping guitar on opener “Clarence,” Tangerine set a lively tone that carries into the sunny, tremulous “Lying in the Yard.” “Dreadful” finds Tangerine most explicitly exploiting their sweet-and-salty side, Marika Justad's sugary voice ringing out over a crunching backbone of fuzzy guitars. Album closer “Lake City” sounds like a performance from a long-lost Midnight Special episode—dark, romantic, and lonely, a dance floor cleared of all but the most melancholy extras.
On Rail Car, Patrick Doherty takes time off from fronting his jagged indie rock outfit, Wheelies, to showcase himself as a singer-songwriter. Rail Car's indie folk-pop is a new direction for Doherty, and one that allows him to stretch his legs and show off what he can do once all the fuzz is stripped away. As a singer, Doherty's deadpan vocals are laidback and unforced, giving the impression of a late-night acoustic jam amongst friends around a kitchen table. Featuring contributions from Tacoma's finest, like the Nightgowns' Kyle Brunette, Makeup Monsters' Jay Clancy, and Wheelies' Joseph Yohann, Rail Car is a time capsule not only for Doherty, but for Tacoma itself.
Opening track and standout, “Dirty Paws,” is a bouncy, light-as-a-feather mission statement for Doherty's excursion into folk-pop. The brief, affecting “Sleepy Streets, Long Freeways,” explores the strange relationship between love and long distances, over a bed of chimes. Finally, the title track is a driving gem that evokes other singer-songwriters known for noticing the sad humor in the little things, like Jonathan Richman and Stephen Merritt.
Having made a name for himself over the years in bands like the electro art-pop outfit Umber Sleeping, frontman James Jenkins has completed his transition from the garage to the studio with his new project, People Under the Sun. On their debut release, Burgundy Mountain Morning, Night Train Night, People Under the Sun displays an analog synth-drenched shimmer that bridges the gap between classic Tacoma psych and the romanticism of '80s New Wave. Inspired equally by the eclectic punk of bands like the Only Ones and Television, early electronic pioneers like Kraftwerk, and the sweeping melodrama of Echo and the Bunnymen, Burgundy Mountain Morning, Night Train Night embraces pop songcraft even as it finds new avenues through which to express these familiar sounds.
Standout tracks such as the sighing "Jamie Says," with its bed of chiming guitars and woozy swells of synths; the bouncy, yet deceptively nervy "Let Us Be Nothing;" and the melancholy swoon of "It's Much Too Late For Nothing Now," encapsulate the lush invention of People Under the Sun's debut LP.
After a three-year pause, the Nightgowns released their long-awaited follow-up to their celebrated debut LP, Sing Something. Bonita's batch of five new songs finds them stronger than ever as they take their irresistibly catchy brand of indie electro-pop and begin to embrace the darker edges of '80s New Wave. Trevor Dickson's inimitable croon is once again placed front and center, this time buoyed by the Nightgowns' strongest and most daring production design, yet. Lyrically and musically, the band is at its most mature, delivering a set of tunes that explore the gaining and losing of love in a refreshing and unexpected way.
Bonita gets its hooks in you from the very first song, the tender and sunny title track—which nods sonically to the Nightgowns' earlier catalogue even as its combination of synth-pop and Caribbean flavor hints at the EP's ambition. Other standout tracks like the driving, New Order indebted “Tomorrow Girl,” and the overwhelming pulse of “Away Away Away,” point to a new and exciting direction for the Nightgowns.
Less than a year after releasing their debut LP, Burgundy Mountain Morning, Night Train Night, People Under the Sun are back in the studio recording songs for their follow-up. According to frontman James Jenkins, these songs are intended for a new LP, and are being written in the studio. As opposed to Burgundy Mountain, which was comprised of tunes from Jenkins' extensive well of collected songs, these tracks are being composed specifically for the new album—the release of which we'll be sure keep you informed of.