Maybe with Couple Skate’s recent signing of Seattle shoegaze punks FF, Seattle’s noisier underbelly will show its sludgier side again. The Pacific Northwest has a music history that barely needs to be discussed anymore–sometimes it seems like every group making guitar rock today is going to cite Nirvana or Mudhoney or K Records as an influence in one way or another. Maybe it’s because I’m over on the East Coast, but I haven’t heard to much from Seattle until very recently. First it was FF, and now it’s Trashlord, a band with very little to their name except a singular cassette and a principle songwriter named Dylan Hanwright. Their debut is aptly titled One, and was just released on Broken World Media.
One opens with “Hair of the Dog”, drenched in Dinosaur Jr. fuzz with Hanwright narrating an equally fuzzy story about characters named Chelsea and Zachary, perfectly content with their mundane existence. “Rot Closet” is similarly sludgy, but Trashlord never lose a sense of melody—this is music that you can sing along with as you headbang or mosh about. Even though there’s a sense of underlying unease, the music is still tempting, engulfing (especially when it’s turned up incredibly loud). This is particularly true of One‘s standout track, “Swamp”. It flirts with shoegaze’s wall of sound but stops short, bass louder in the mix than guitar, punching away with enough anger to suggest disillusionment from any scene that would dare celebrate itself. The lyrics use drowning in a swamp as a metaphor for Internet obsession: “Follow me to the swamp/Where you’ll drown in scum.” There’s enough shit around to get lost in it, and Trashlord’s making us all aware of it, just in case the name of the band wasn’t enough of a reminder of the dirtier side of things. The cassette ends with “Lord of Trash”, an unsettling pop song with the nature of the ’90s best alternative music; catchy, but really fucking weird.
As a debut, One is incredibly promising. And given that the whole thing was self-recorded, produced, mixed and mastered, the idea of Trashlord in full, hi-fi glory is incredibly exciting. Stream it all below.