Review: Rock the Blues Away

New albums by three local bands offer diverse tunes to beat the February blues

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New albums by three local bands offer diverse tunes to beat the February blues

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If you’re starting to doubt spring will ever arrive, take Barsuk Records’ 10th-anniversary re-release of indie band Death Cab for Cutie’s debut album Something About Airplanes as evidence of cyclical rebirth. Originally released on Barsuk in 1998, it was this record that launched the once Bellingham-based, later Grammy-nominated band (now signed with Atlantic Records). The signature low-fi sound is already in evidence here, and a bonus CD—a live recording of the band’s first-ever Seattle show at the Crocodile in 1998—ensures that you can say you knew them when (even if you didn’t). 

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If you believe variety is the spice of life, the cure for gray, blah February may be Come For the Peaks, Stay For the Valleys, the second album from the wildly diverse indie rock band H is for Hellgate. Released in December (on local Scissor City Sound), the album showcases the band’s—and in particular, lead singer Jamie Henkensiefken’s—ability to move seamlessly between punk rants (think Sleater-Kinney), alt-folk ballads (à la Laura Veirs) and the tricky time signatures of prog rock (like The Dismemberment Plan). The surprising mix will keep your ears on their toes.

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Still moping around the house? Try Hello From the Radio Wasteland, the latest from The Whore Moans (released in November on Seattle’s Mt. Fuji Records). A seriously rockin’ punk band that formed in Tacoma and moved to Seattle, The Whore Moans bring it hard, but offer more than strictly punk, blending traditional rock ’n’ roll, rockabilly, a few strings and even an epic rock-opera vibe into the sound. Crank it up to 11, jump around your living room and like magic, it’ll be spring.

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