♫♪  Havania Whaal - Elaborate Minor Crisis

A Portland band releases an album on a label based in Tacoma and it sounds like every genre ever played on KEXP mashed into a pulp of noise pop. Yeah, it’s a thing — and hearing Havania Whaal’s third artistic statement, Elaborate Minor Crisis, I’m transported a decade and 2500 miles in the past. It doesn’t hurt the echoed production and noise wall of EMC seems to call to me from the foggy past; an ancient mariner’s song of every musical stereotype of the northwest. But truth is EMC has more going for it than a pile of PNW tropes. The band’s presser name checks bands it rarely touches (Blonde Redhead, Sonic Youth, Joy Division) when the garishly goth trio do better in the same cohort that bred Broken Water and Parenthetical Girls. But aesthetically, sure there’s some women and some darkness that swings into those bigger bands. Where ECM truly distances itself from the PNW rap is “Blow Torch,” where the stilted melody and lyrics creep toward early Aughts NYC, particularly Interpol (Hi Carlos!). Wherever Havania Whaal gathers their inspiration, it somehow whirlpools back to their base of operations. Only the PNW can house a band with this much aspiration and force. So here’s the hoping the juggernaut trio can break out of that location and find some DIY love all across the country.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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