Charlie Hilton “Funny Anyway”
I’m so in love with the solo debut from Charlie Hilton—best known as vocalist for Portland noir-pop band Blouse—that I’m reluctant to pluck a single song from its wealth of dusky, synthy melancholia. This one, floating on wafts of cello and acoustic guitar, best exemplifies Hilton’s sardonic charm: “Even though I’m not laughing,” she coos, “it’s funny anyway.”
Shelf Nunny “Wishful Thinking”
As heard on his new EP on Hush Hush, Shelf Nunny’s downtempo electronica is minimalist but suggestive, bold but fragile—the musical equivalent of spring’s earliest crocus. Nunny, aka Christian Gunning, recently relocated from California to Seattle, and aligns with other naturalist NW producers like IG88 and Manatee Commune.
We last encountered Neighbors via Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? one of 2014’s best NW indie-rock releases. Fronted by José Díaz Rohena—who’s produced albums by scrappy faves Posse, Chastity Belt and Dude York—Neighbors continues its thoughtful, funny, deceptively sophisticated music with its latest, Very Rare Expensive Jewelry, coming in March on Malaka Records.
Dude York “Love Is”
Speaking of Dude York, “Love Is” heralds their sixth LP, coming later this spring. With bassist Claire England on vocals, the bubblegum-punk trio hums like classic Cars, lean and cool and too smart to contain itself on this world-weary earbud anthem.
blesOne “King of Sweden”
Technically it’s a mixtape, but King of Sweden’s contiguous, 25-minute runtime plays like one long ode to joyful golden-era hip-hop. Featuring a slew of inscrutable samples and additional flavor from Don’t Talk to the Cops, this breakbeat symphony is supposedly the swan song of b-boy extraordinaire blesOne.