I was pleasantly taken aback by the sight of half-a-dozen Neumos employees milling about the Hazlewood in Ballard last night. I love the staff at that Capitol Hill club, but I almost never see them off Hill, let alone in Ballard on a school night, so it was a nice surprise. The field trip was prompted in large part by the appearance at the Sunset of Salmon Thrasher, the new-ish trio fronted by Neumos' soundman Justin (note to bands: please, for the love of all that is sonically redeeming, start listing your goddamn last names on your MySpace pages). I had to be told the group's name three times before I believed I was hearing it right. "It's a bit of a deceptive name," said one employee, subsequently suggesting that it sounded like a hardcore band.
It sounded much worse to me--like a moniker for an aggressively directionless hippy band. Unprompted, a friend who apparently shared my views passed me a note (it was skull-crushingly loud inside the Sunset) that said "My only problem with this band is...they absolutely HAVE TO CHANGE THEIR NAME."
Indeed, that name is doing them no favors, but they are a fantastic band that I'll be keeping an eye on. The brash, caustic guitars reminded me of early, Eric Gaffney-era Sebadoh, the clipped, catchy cadence of the vocals recalled the Wipers' Greg Sage, and Tara's drumming is just plain killer--the lady's got swing for days. Salmon Thrasher play the Comet on February 22; check out their demos via their MySpace page.