A couple of bands worth checking out
I can’t for the life of me figure why I’ve yet to express my love for the Moondoggies on this site. Since releasing their debut Don’t Be a Stranger last year, they’ve clawed their way toward being one of the best bands in town. Because comparisons are helpful, at least, I’ll throw out a few: CSN&Y, the Band, Traveling Wilburys. That video above, of course, isn’t the full band, but you can get the basic idea. Their songwriting is hooky and full of easy harmonies. Here they are plugged in, with all their members, live at KEXP:
The other band I’ve been meaning to tell you about for a while is Widower. I’ve mentioned them here in passing, I’m sure. For the past year or so, along with the Moondoggies, they’ve been one of the best emerging bands on the Seattle roots scene. I first saw them last August (2008), I think it was, when they opened for Sera Cahoone – whose openers, I’m realizing as I write this, have reliably been some of the best artists in town. Go figure.
I’ll divert for a moment and list people I’ve discovered when they’ve opened for Cahoone: Widower, Daniel Martin Moore (not a local, but on SubPop), Jack Wilson & the Wifestealers, Betsy Olson, Molly Rose…that may be all, but it’s a notable chunk of the best artists in our vibrant little roots scene. Look them all up; they’re worth checking out.
A rumor started circulating that Widower was toying with heading to splitsville during Reverb Fest – the all-local one-day music festival sponsored by Seattle Weekly. Widower’s MySpace still shows ReverbFest as their one and only come-and-gone show. Sound on the Sound’s Reverb wrap-up put the rumor in print, and I’ve yet to hear anything to the contrary.
Regardless of whether they ever play another show or make a full-length album, the songs on their EP are worth adding to your life. Here’s a link to buy the EP from Amazon, and here’s Widower on MySpace if you want to check out a stream. Couldn’t find anything on YouTube, so that’ll have to do.
It’s always unfortunate to hear about a band splitting up. And, while it may or may not be true in this case, I feel the need to comment in some semi-permanent way on the impression the band has made on me during their short time in the Seattle music scene. They started out in Brooklyn with members who had played with Shooter Jennings and the Exit, among others, before heading out to these parts and teaming up with members of the Maldives – an all-star band of sorts which generally includes at least nine or ten players, but which expands and contracts depending on the night. (Their percussionist/pianist Tomo Nakayama has another project called Grand Hallway, which has been gaining traction as one of the finer alt-pop bands in town, if not the finest.)
Which is all to say there’s little doubt that Widower’s members will cease to make great music if this outfit is, indeed, on the outs. Whatever they do next I, for one, will be eager to hear.
So those are my two recommendations at the moment. What are you listening to?