Throwaway Style: Thank You’s Sardine Dream is the Future Music We Deserve

Thank You 640

Throwaway Style is a weekly column dedicated to examining all aspects of the Northwest music scene. Whether it’s a new artist making waves, headlines affecting local talent, or reflecting on some of the music that’s been a foundation in our region; this space celebrates everything happening in the Northwest region, every Thursday on the KEXP Blog.

Like many kids, growing up I was always fascinated and daydreaming about the future. Flying cars and jetpacks I assumed were a given, as were teleportation and probably a moon base that I could take my private rocket ship to with my android BFF whenever I wanted to. I don’t wanna say that the future’s been a disappointment, but uh… I guess there’s a new iPhone coming out or something? Neat. But one other thing I loved to think about was what music would sound like in the future. Sci-fi movies I watched were often depicted with electronic music as the score, bleeps and bloops taking over to disassociate the human element of music. In a way, that kind of came true in some really beautiful ways that I won’t dig into right now. What captured my imagination, though, was how challenging and foreign music could become. I wanted something that could defy anything I could think up.

I’ve never stopped thinking about that idea, really. And while the future is lame in a lot of ways, there are still artists who can invigorate that dormant curiosity and whisk me away with something so wild and new that I have to step back and remember, “Holy shit, we’re living in the year 2017! The 21st century!” Seattle band Thank You does that for me. Their latest album, Sardine Dream, is seven tracks of pure propulsive insanity. It sounds like music in a blender — in the best way possible. I don’t even really know how to characterize what I’m listening to most of the time. On their Bandcamp page, the band just lists their genre as “pop” and “zoom.” Honestly, that sounds about right. The catchiness of the melodies certainly resembles pop music, but it’s more of the onomatopoeia of those words that captures the music best. This music POPS and ZOOMS. There’s a physicality to it that I’m not used to hearing in music; a constant movement that feels like it’d combust if it weren’t for some invisible force holding it all together.

The album is disorienting almost immediately as “A Runner” thrusts through your speakers or headphones. Guitarist and vocalist Will Segerstrom comes in with a swirling melody and layers of droning vocals. It’s a psychedelic trip before a swath of drums burst in and propel it even further forward. The spinning feeling never stops, it’s only heightened with clanking piano chords and a steady bass line before airy synthesizer adds another level of wooziness. It’s jazzy, frantic, trippy, and all in all overwhelming. And that’s just the first track. “Crooning In The Moonlight” is like an upside play on romance, with jangling acoustic guitar chords buried in a whirlwind of rhythm. Segerstrom repeats the title over and over again, each time in a stoic delivery that somehow adds to the mania.

Even when things calm down on “Rob’s Wet Dream,” which plays into a lounge aesthetic, it still feels like an inter-dimensional rip from another world. The music swells into far-out reaches, climbing higher and higher and pushing itself to uncomfortable recesses. Things get even more obtuse with “Visitors,” appropriately opening with the line, “take me to your leader.” If you told me this song was written by actual aliens, I might not dismiss the notion right away. Who else could come up with these bold and eclectic sounds? The song feels like, as he says in the song, a “galactic exchange.” The music is the sound of radio waves sent out into the universe and bounced back covered in space dust collected over the galaxies.

Logically, I know this music was made by some local musicians but it can’t help but excite my imagination. The future we live in can be a pretty bleak place with innovations that seem to embolden consumerism instead of curiosity. But hearing something like Sardine Dream is a reminder that there’s always more to explore and new things to create. It’ll probably be another millennium before we can fully get our heads around this music. Isn’t that exciting?

Sardine Dream is out now. You can catch Thank You live tomorrow at Brainfreeze.

New and News

Familiars Release Debut Album Digest Self

Out of the ashes of Kithkin, Ian McCutcheon has reemerged with a new band called Familiars. In the wake of that band ending, McCutcheon found himself in trying times. He lost a family member, committed himself to a job he wasn’t enthused about, and needed a change. After quitting his job and taking some time to reflect by reading The Odyssey, hiking through Maine, and immersing himself in the sounds of ’80s and ’90s synth-heavy music, he’s back with Familiars’ debut album, Digest Self. It’s a stunning, lush album focused on transformation. It’s a beautiful work and you can stream it in full below.


Jenny Creep Drops New Album Ecstatic Renewal 

Seattle pop-purveyors Jenny Creep are back with a new record, Ecstatic Renewal, and it feels just as fresh and bright as the title might imply. Even when the instrumentation veers into lush and downbeat indie rock (which I’m always a sucker for), the melodies pop out and implant themselves into your brain. It’s gonna be a grey fall and winter — let Jenny Creep give you the boost to get through the next few months.

Upstream Music Fest Is Now Taking Artist Submissions

Alright, I’ve mentioned this in the past couple columns, but it’s because I really want you all to know about it! Upstream has opened up artist submissions for next year’s festival and you have between now and Nov. 24. This year artists are asked to submit an original video with the submission. It’s a chance to give an original touch to your application. Upstream Head Curator Meli Darby runs down the process in this video below.

Live and Loud: This Week’s Recommended Local Shows

November 9: Familiars (album release), Fabulous Downey Brothers, and Sundae Crush at The Central Saloon




November 10: Ecstatic Cosmic Union, Miss Rayon, Thank You at Brainfreeze 




November 11: Taylor McFerrin, Sassyblack, Noel Brass Jr. at The Nectar



November 11: Chynna Rogers, Guayaba, and J-Nasty at The Vera Project



November 15: Oh, Rose, Tino Drima, and Swamp Meet at The Sunset Tavern



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