Pegadeth. Courtesy of the artist.

The Best Local Records We Heard This February

Pegadeth, Bujemane, Dude York, and Crater helped us shred through the snow days.

If you survived the surprise snow/hail/lightning/million-mile car-jam clustercuss of 2017, congratulations! Maybe reward yourself by getting that sweet new Zelda game coming out this week. But if you were one of those unfortunate souls stuck inside their vehicles withering away on I-5 due to terminal boredom, my deepest condolences. If I could go back in time and beam this selection of our favorite local albums from February straight into your dashboard aux inputs, I would. But I was too busy reading about that sweet new Zelda game. Better late than never:

Pegadeth | If Grace Was for Sale EP

Back when she was in the army, when she wasn’t playing guitar, Peggy Doyle of Brothers of the Sonic Cloth was toting an M-16. So fellow soldiers started calling her Pegadeth. Years and years later, Doyle’s bringing the name back for an all-woman Seattle hard-rock supergroup, and she’s recruited an incredibly formidable battalion to launch the first assault. Assembling Hozoji Matheson-Margullis from Helms Alee on drums, Lisa Mungo of He Whose Ox Is Gored on synth, Pamela Sternin of Post/Boredom on guitar, and Dana Nicole James on bass, the group’s debut record, If Grace Was for Sale, is a giant leather-boot-in-the-face of an EP. The record’s three tracks, written and sung by Doyle, tonally harken back to Seattle’s grunge roots with their riffs and raspy howls (fun fact: Doyle’s husband is Tad Doyle of TAD, who also recorded and produced the EP). But Grace isn’t a mere throwback—it also bristles with the progressive heaviness of its members’ main projects. The crushing, brute precision Matheson-Margullis brings to Helms Alee rips the record open on the eponymous lead track with a killer drum barrage that doesn’t let up throughout the EP’s 12-minute run time. Lisa Mungo injects He Whose Ox Is Gored’s sense of texture and metal grandeur to the sweeping arrangements, and Sternin’s Post/Boredom post-hardcore squalls add even more weight to the mix. Most musical supergroups end up producing afterthought fluff, banking more on name recognition than quality songwriting, but Pegadeth is the real goddamn deal.

Bujemane | TYTHBAVFE

Buje, we hardly knew ye. TYTHBAVFE (short for Thank You This Has Been a Very Fun Experience) officially marks the last rap record from Federal Way’s Bujemane, aka Austin Howard, a decision he told Seattle Weekly’s M. Anthony Davis came after he grew weary of “rap politics” and the rapper label in general. While we’re excited for his promise to jump into punk rock in the near future, the whole thing is definitely a bit of a bummer, especially considering the exciting new territory Howard treads on this farewell record. Fusing the minimal trap approach he’s explored in the past with a house-music influence makes for an interesting mix, especially given the way Howard interprets “house.” Rather than rapping over 4/4 grooves, he repurposes the form’s shimmering, stabbing chords and breezy, airy vibe, a perfect match for his equally breezy, airy approach to rapping—or as he says in the laid-back haze of “Bad Attitude,” “I ain’t with this rap shit, I just do it for a hobby.” “More” sounds ready for a fashion runway with its demure staccato synths, and “Boolin’ ” throws a fun, subtle bongo hit into the typical hip-hop kit, giving it a smart, understated swing. Bujemane’s music always paid attention to the little things like that—his less-is-more approach is part of what made him stand out so much. How he brings that sensibility to the louder-is-better realm of punk should be equally interesting; but until then, TYTHBAVFE is rich enough to tide us over.

Dude York | Sincerely

As Seattle bands go, Dude York’s always been a little hard to pin down. The band’s scrappy recordings and dedication to playing scuzzy underground venues always placed them squarely in the DIY realm, but the trio’s red-blooded, all-American bombast and swing-for-the-rafters pop bravado bulged at the seams of those duct-tape-sealed confines, more fit for a stadium than for a cramped, clandestine backroom. So which is it? Dude York seemed to ask itself that question during the early stages of its new LP, Sincerely. Dissatisfied with the quality of the initial recordings, done DIY-style in a house, the band tossed them and went back for a do-over. The second time they went full-gloss, enlisting Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill producer John Goodmanson and the Blood Brothers’ Cody Votolato to help produce. We should be thankful they did—Sincerely is an absolute ripper. “Paralyzed,” barreling along with a rush of moody riffage, is the most muscular the band has sounded thus far. The shrieking Guitar Hero solo at the end of the tune might’ve been a head-scratcher if the band wasn’t as completely and fully committed as they are. Similarly, “Love Is,” featuring Claire England’s vocals, goes full-on ’90s power pop. If this song had come from DIY Dude York 1.0, listeners might find themselves thinking “Are they kind of channeling Alanis Morissette here?” But with full-volume Dude York 2.0, you think “Oh, hell yeah, they’re kind of channeling Alanis Morissette here!” Out now on Hardly Art Records

Crater | MYBODY

Ceci Gomez and Kessiah Gordon of Seattle industrial-pop duo Crater released a stellar debut record last year, Talk to Me So I Can Fall Asleep. The album was more inward-facing than out-, critiquing millennials’ tenuous relationship with technology. But when Donald Trump got elected, signing an executive order to defund international Planned Parenthoods in his first weeks in office—and with a recently leaked GOP bill draft promising to massively cut PP’s funding domestically as well—Crater front woman Gomez started writing. The resulting one-off single, “MYBODY,” is the best song the duo has released in its relatively short career, and a brilliant leap forward in the group’s already distinctive songwriting style. The menacing tune is almost less a protest song than a shots-fired stare-down with the androcentric corporatists bleeding our country dry of social services. “I’ve been fooled, once or twice/Do me wrong,” Gomez whispers vengefully over synthetic, metallic whirring and a minimal 4/4 drum-machine rhythm; “I am done, being nice.” Beyond the strength and directness of Gomez’s potent lyrical simplicity (chorus: “My body, my choice” over and over), Crater also levels up here by fully committing to the house/techno tonal palette they’ve been flirting with in their mutant industrial/pop hybrids. The tune’s masterful minimalism—sprinkling in highly effective classic house piano stabs, ominous atmospherics, and an unusual song structure that consistently builds tension without ever repeating itself—is an exciting indication of where the promising duo might go next. But for now, download this song and relish in its quiet rage; 100 percent of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood.

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