Music fans of the Pacific Northwest, hello and welcome back to our third annual year-end daily countdown, 100 Bands in 100 Days, where every day until December 31st, we’re showcasing a new band or artist you have to know about, presented by Verity Credit Union. Follow the #100Bands100Days hashtag on Twitter to stay on top of all the bands featured and make sure to follow Verity on Twitter as well. Some days the featured act could be an established and locally-adored northwest-based musician that perhaps you haven’t been turned onto yet, and other times they could be a band with a small following that just hasn’t had their deserved time in the sun yet. Either way, we’re fairly confident you can come away from this daily segment with plenty of new favorites. Today we’re taking our journey back to the Emerald City to explore an artist that’s sure to take Seattle by storm by year’s-end, Moon Dial!
With their upcoming full-length debut record, Nice Day Pretty Colors, this prolific quartet wants you to remember the name Moon Dial. After making the rounds in Seattle with a debut EP in 2015, as well as a gauntlet of well-received live performances, Moon Dial hopped into The Unknown Studios in Anacortes, WA (an old Catholic church building turned well-respected music studio among local musicians) to show Seattle just what they were capable of in a full-length album capacity. The ten songs that would emerge from this recording would become Nice Day Pretty Colors, and the talent on display throughout the record definitely makes Moon Dial stand out among the sea of up-and-coming indie rockers in the rainy city. Lead singer Jon Atkins is the main attraction, with his quirky but passionate voice belting out lyrics that aren’t immediate and plainly spelled-out, but contain a lot of themes to unpack on repeat listens for those that like their lyrics to be more on the cryptic and decipherable side. Atkins’ writing style clearly takes a lot of cues from some of indie rock’s most beloved songwriters, who’ve also mastered the art of writing lyrics that are poetic and emotional without giving too much away on the surface.
While vocals and lyrics play a huge part in the Moon Dial equation, the instrumentation and musical presentation help escalate the project beyond just being a solid indie folk-rock band. Nice Day Pretty Colors was recorded in an expansive church, and Moon Dial used this added space to their advantage, presenting an album that truly sounds as grand and purposeful as music in Moon Dial’s style should sound. The soundstage is largely dominated by the guitar work of both Atkins and dedicated guitarist Eric Kegley, whose performances present a lot of unique guitar tones; everything from twinkly, Midwest emo-esque guitars to finger-picked acoustic guitar to sturdy, groovy electric guitar makes an appearance on the album. The drumming from Garrett Croxon may not be overly flashy, but his drums have great body and clarity in the mix, perfectly backing up the expansive instrumentation, and together with the resonant bass from Daguerreotypes’ Jeff Anderson, Moon Dial’s rhythm section is sort like the band’s unsung hero; they aren’t so prevalent in the mix that they’ll be the first thing your attention shifts towards, but the band’s music wouldn’t sound quite as rich without it. For Nice Day Pretty Colors, the band also recruited guest saxophonists Art Brown and Kate Olson, as well as cellist Lauren Swiderski, all of whose contributions are subtle, but effective in adding instrumental color to the band’s music.
Local indie rock fans that like to hang onto lyrics and massive musical presentation need to check out what Moon Dial brings to the table. You’re doing yourself no favors listening to this band’s music through some crappy earbuds or laptop speakers. Get yourself a nice pair of headphones and marvel at just how good Moon Dial’s music sounds.
You can follow Moon Dial on Facebook and Twitter, and keep up with the band’s music through their official website, moondialmusic.com. Nice Day Pretty Colors is projected for release on the 1st of December, and will be available through Moon Dial’s Bandcamp page upon its release. Until then, you can stream the album’s title track below via Bandcamp.