Western Haunts are a local five-piece fronted by songwriter Jake Witt, and their new three-song EP, Utøya, is one of the most compelling local releases I've heard all year. Intended as a tribute to the victims of the recent tragedies in Japan and Norway (the record shares its name with the Norwegian island where the majority of the shootings in this summer's terrorist attacks took place), the record melds dream-pop, folk, and alt-country but can't be pigeonholed into any of these genres. It's a fully developed and sophisticated listen, and it's currently streaming on the group's Bandcamp page. Look for a review of the EP in November's Reverb Monthly.
Also recommended: seeing the band's album release show this Friday at the Columbia City Theatre. Tickets are a modest $8 and the show starts at 9 p.m.