Monsterwatch Recontextualize the Classic "Seattle Sound" with Z O T (KEXP Premiere)

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry
Photo by Jake Hanson

Seattle’s grunge era has surpassed being history and become a sort of myth – at least to those of us who weren’t old enough to experience it for themselves. Records like Bleach and Louder Than Love create an image of a fuzzy, bleak, and yet inspired city fighting against the oppressive darkness looming over it. What’s funny though is that while Seattle has undoubtedly changed in the last 30 years, some of those images of the older Seattle still are reflected today. When you first hear Monsterwatch, it’s hard not to think of the halcyon days of logger fashion and furious riffs. But don’t call it a throwback, the trio may be using the same arsenal but they’re injecting it with a perspective that could only come from the modern era with their latest EP, Z O T.

Recorded by Steve Fisk (himself a grunge legend) and Arsen Gogeshvili, Z O T recontextualizes the sound Seattle first became famous for and injects with new youthful energy. If you’ve seen the band perform live, the energy they infect into the room is palpable. The shrieking force of “I Don’t Get It” exudes disgust and worry through layers of fuzz, while “Lost My Car” plays to the idiosyncrasies and plights of big city life. But it goes deeper even deeper than that. They’re using noise to cope with modern anxieties, much like their forebears before them did. Guitarist and vocalist John Spinney shares a bit about the record’s conception:

“These four songs are about the struggles of feeling empty, unwanted, lost, and emotionally overwhelmed. Lyrically I focused on the feeling of nothing and emptiness. Which is where we got the name Z O T – another word for nothingness. Depression and mental health is something that should never go ignored and coming from personal experiences of not wanting help or not wanting to talk about what’s going on in my head I’ve attempted to translate these feelings and emotions into our songs and hope it connects with people who are struggling to overcome any sort of emotional battle. We write music to help and will continue to do so."

The EP’s four tracks zip by at a tenacious speed, leaving you wanting to go back and try and decipher between the noise and the poignant confessions. Z O T is out this Friday, March 2. Pre-order it now. Stream the EP in full below.

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