Bop Street Records 5219 Ballard Ave. N.W., 297-2232, www.myspace.com/bopstreetrecords.
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Kerry Zettel's got a set of mysterious, melancholy eyes that seem to always contradict his grins. They do, however, work well framed by his long, dark curls and also onstage as he belts out anthemic post-punk as the (often) tight-white-pants-wearing frontman for Das Llamas, one of Seattle's most promising bands of its kind. His deep, throaty vocals—reminiscent of a less gravelly Tom Waits and more expressive than Interpol's Paul Banks—root themselves among frenzied drum fills, ragged guitars, and gothy synths, making for a new-wavey vintage yet en vogue sound that should help get their label, Aviation Records (another Zettel creation), off the ground. AJA PECKNOLD
The cerebral, psychedelic spacemen and Oklahoma transplants who make up Hypatia Lake draw inspiration from such disparate sources as Ennio Morricone, the Swirlies, Harry Nilsson, and less surprisingly, fellow Okies the Flaming Lips. Veritable experts at cutting enchanting, translucent pop with brittle shards of chilly gloom, the local quartet embodies an aural aesthetic that's sure to pleasure Spiritualized or My Bloody Valentine fans, and an adventurous spirit that attracted forward-thinking local producer Scott Colburn (Arcade Fire, Animal Collective) to work with them on their latest album, tentatively titled Angels and Demons, Space and Time and set for an early 2008 release. HANNAH LEVIN
The Kindness Kind
The first time I heard Kindness Kind singer Alessandra Rose, I thought of Blonde Redhead. She's not as chaotic as Blonde Redhead's singer, Kazu Makino, but they share a weird back-of-the-throat tonality that makes them both compelling. Pairing this with ethereal pop instrumentation results in songs that hint at British shoegaze and French pop. It's light and airy, propelled by Rose's voice. Considering it's the kind of stuff KEXP eats up, I bet we'll see some good things happen to this band. BRIAN J. BARR
Throw Me the Statue
Throw Me the Statue are like sunshine, sand, whimsy, and sex all shaken up and poured into a cold, frosty glass. Their
debut record, Moonbeams, runs up against the kind of sound that this area often spawns, but bucks the "overcast" sound in favor of a quintessential summer album chock-full of good old-fashioned fun. Whether it's Menomena-esque art-pop, Sufjan-style brass blaring, or boppy '50s cruising melodies, these guys pedal a sound that's warm and bright enough to give outsiders an idea of what the other three months of the year can be like in the usually drizzly Pacific Northwest. Not that we want them to know. AJA PECKNOLD
Lou Barlow of Sebadoh recently told me he was very impressed with how well-produced today's indie-rock records are. He said he wished his band could have sounded so good. "But Lou," I said. "I think early Sebadoh records were better because they were so messy." He shrugged. For me, there are too many slick records in indie rock. That's why Talbot Tagora are so exciting. Messiness is at the heart of their M.O. Their gear must be held together by duct tape because the band makes a fuzzy, disjointed racket. Reminds me of Scottish post-punks the Fire Engines. Vocals are buried very low in the mix, and it's hard to tell the bass from the drums. A wall of noise, indeed. BRIAN J. BARR
Sleepy Eyes of Death
Taking their name from the classic 1960s samurai film series about a sword-wielding warrior in search of the perfect death, the Seattle five-piece Sleepy Eyes of Death have carved out a couple of cinematic scores (2006's Sleepy Eyes of Death EP and this year's debut full-length, Street Lights for a Ribcage) for their own imaginary sagas. Delicately balancing the analog trajectory of M83's bedroom symphonics and '80s slasher flicks with the driving, future-world narratives of Trans Am and My Bloody Valentine's sheer, metallic walls, Sleepy Eyes have become one of the most intriguing acts in the city. Wielding an arsenal of equipment—including analog keyboards and synths, guitars, drums, strobes, and smoke machines—the band has a dynamically large sound and visuals that engulf the listener from the moment they begin to well after the credits have rolled. TRAVIS RITTER
Yes! Finally someone wrote a song about Adderall, one of the most amazing prescription drugs currently available. In their song "Adderall Nighter," slop-pop group TacocaT (yeah, I agree, that name rules) capture the amphetamine rush and urge to complete a lot of tasks that comes with this pill normally given to people with ADD. "I'm gonna drink 17 beers," squeals singer Bree McKenna, referring to how the little blue pill makes you seemingly immune to alcohol. Good times. And that's what TacocaT are all about. Like a poppier version of local scrap-heap punks the Trashies (with whom they share a member, Eric Randall), TacocaT are not aiming to be serious or be taken seriously. And they especially don't want us to take ourselves seriously, as they sing songs about going to the gynecologist and point fingers at self-righteous urban bicyclists. BRIAN J. BARR