Fountains, “She’s Missing”
Pairing the proud Northwest tradition of ragged shout-singing with an Anglophilic embrace of shreddy guitar heroics, Fountains excel at the kind of bombastic, heart-sleeve barroom rock that keeps a music scene honest. Their debut album Ends hits like two shots of rye.
M. Ward, “Time Won’t Wait”
Even M. Ward’s more upbeat numbers—like this jumpy little jam from his new album More Rain—are laid-back. Credit the Portland tunesmith’s velvety voice, a confident, unhurried instrument that conveys both curiosity and assurance.
Draze, “Ain’t Nobody Talking About No Real Shit”
Central District-born-and-raised MC Draze splits the difference between street smarts and book smarts, backpack rap and gangsta shit. This song is a mission statement describing his new album, Seattle’s Own, a challenge to elevate the discourse that’s aimed at hip-hop and beyond.
Imagine a low-riding, candy-apple-red donk as an adults-only ice cream truck: The jingle bumping from its speakers is “Guava,” a woozy helix of plinking melodies, digital percussion and JusMoni’s layered vocals chanting a chant that sounds a lot like “watermelon Sundays.”
Car Seat Headrest, “Vincent”
The second song of Will Toledo’s second album for Matador Records is nearly eight minutes of guitar pyrotechnics and post-prog monument-building and it is stunning. Toledo, who launched Car Seat Headrest more than ten years ago, when he was still a teenager in Virginia, releases Teens of Denial, his follow-up/answer to/refutation of last year’s excellent Teens of Style, on May 20.