By Adam Rothbarth
Coming together from Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, this Washington collective calls itself the “best hardly known, under-practiced pop band in the Pacific Northwest!” They aren’t totally wrong here — throughout their two excellent LPs, their fuzzy slacker-rock has felt calculatedly messy in the best way possible; their sophomore effort, Crooked Numbers, dropped on January 12, 2018 via Swoon Records, and boasted the band’s most ambitious sounds and vibes yet.
Case in point: “King of the Last Calls,” which invokes everything from Pavement’s confidently disarrayed mania and early-New Pornographers’ crystalline power-pop to The Jesus and Mary Chain’s metered reverb and ethereality. Yet, despite its myriad influences, this Song of the Day feels wholly fresh and original, refusing to sit still by switching up its textures and its mix pretty often — an impressive feat for a 4-minute song.
2018 probably won’t see a more upbeat resignation than Unlikely Friends’ buoyantly delivered “I don’t want to hear any more positive platitudes/I don’t need your phony psychology/I just want to sit here like the king of the last calls/Everything I need is in front of me.” Drawing on the rich Pacific Northwest tradition of hiding despair within killer pop songs, Unlikely Friends is starting to put the claim that they’re the best “hardly known” band in jeopardy—at this rate, they won’t be a secret for much longer.
You can follow Unlikely Friends via their Facebook page. They will play Full Tilt Ice Cream on Thursday, February 24th. Below, you can watch their in-studio KEXP performance from two years ago.
Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole is "symbol" by Adrianne Lenker, from the 2018 album abysskiss on Saddle Creek.
Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters is "Us" by NAVVI, from the 2018 album Ultra on Hush Hush.
Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters is "Darkhorse" by Emma Ruth Rundle, from the 2018 album On Dark Horses on Sargent House.