Local Love: Bunny n Bear, Echo Ravine, Beatrix Sky and Sweet Creature
You know we love local shows! That's why you clicked this link...right? Well this week we have a show review for you hailing from the Northside. Featuring Bunny n Bear, Sweat Creature, Beatrix Sky and Sweet Creature. Local PNW bands out here trying to make it! Give it a read and let us know what you think!
Bunny n Bear In “Before Bed,” a song off of Tacoma’s Bunny N Bear’s long-player Bed and Breakfast, vocalist Tessy Hanna sings over gentle 8-bit electric piano chords about how—through therapy—she hopes (or expects) to find out “that my thoughts are ugly, but I’m not.” This deadpan, realist outlook is pervasive in work composed by the duo—consisting of Tessy and Kanaday Seward (Bunny and Bear, respectively)—but the context of Bunny n Bear is, broadly, chill and aspirational, pastel-colored and explicit, their songs frank conversations about mental health, sex, shit people, and wanting more from all three because you’re fucking worth it. Standout live track was “Pirolo,” mostly because of the earworm line that goes “don’t touch me, don’t touch me, don’t fuckin touch me,” and the fucked up twee guitar solo that pushed gleefully against the experimental dance-pop foundation that makes this track a low-key banger.
Echo Ravine Similar to Bunny n Bear, whose two precocious members’ intimate bff chemistry put everyone at ease, Echo Ravine’s bassist-vocalist Emily Koo and guitarist Sean Foe have been making music together for ten years (Tim Meinig has been playing with Echo Ravine for three years, and was the original drummer of Band of Horses). Listening to their material online, I felt my (early) Modest Mouse buttons getting pushed, but live Ravine set me straight as they delivered a sound all their own, although their doom-rock groove could be placed next to the dogged, focused plod of Slint. An unnamable energy, like the kind that sends your feet moving on a solitary night ramble, seemed to dictate the head-banging turns taken by Echo Ravine. It was so easy to settle into their urgent but still mid-tempo dirge-groovesthat none of the songs felt long or short (the requisite “last two songs” warning came with the caveat that they would feel like four). I hope that I run into Echo Ravine again in the harmonically gut-wrenching brambles of emotional post-grunge soon.
Beatrix Sky A gloomy low-pressure diva weather system set in on Substsation’s Chandelier Room as Beatrix Sky, whose latest EP Love Drug was the ostensible reason we were all gathered here today, started her set. The band, which included two members of the Portland-based band Motorcoat, waltzed effortlessly through the EP’s four noirish numbers and more, the hookiest of which is the title track, to which Beatrix’s supporters swayed in concert. On “Forget Me,” the punchier tempo pushed Beatrix’s breathy condemnations and funky organ chords into Fillmore ballroom-esque psychedelic rock freakout territory. I only wish her keyboard was turned up in the mix a little bit (there were also feedback challenges in the room). Dirgelike, mournful yet dead serious in her lyrics and moods (one tune is called “Anthem for the unemployed”), Beatrix Sky brought a darkly painted mood to the Chandelier Room (the project is “synthpop/darkwave” according to the Beatrix Sky bandcamp page). The show’s flier, featuring the memeworthy still of Twin Peaks’s Donna Hayward hysterically sobbing, clutching her wrist to her chest, served as a tongue-in-cheek warning: herein lies extreme emotion, measured and meted out for your irrevocably depraved hipster ear holes. Rueful and tuneful, devastating and damning, femme and fatal.
Sweet Creature Sweet Creature’s Esa Hakkarainen was firmly squatted in front of an amplifier for 98% of the closing set, which consisted of looped and superimposed layers of guitar feedback. In the same way that one may drink a skillfully layered cocktail, those with a yen for tensely crafted and distorted guitar noisescapes got to savor the discrete and sometimes sweet sometimes inebriating layers of electric current emanating from Sweet Creature’s “simple” set-up (an amp a guitar and about fifteen pedals) that resulted in, as one Sweet Creature fan put it after the show, a “soundbath.” “I feel like I’m at a house show,” someone else may have uttered. House show or no, Esa’s downer-psychedelic harmonics combined with an experimental and arrhythmic approach to strumming reminded me of the last few seconds of the Jefferson Airplane guitar instrumental off of Surrealistic Pillow, but with a heavy dose of Big Muff nastiness and extended into protracted noise “pieces,” the endings of which were hard to spot but, hey, that’s the magic of art. As a member of the harsh noise band Hair Police once purportedly said to a crowd before launching into their painfully loud and abrasive set, “let’s see who’s here and who’s not.”