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, on this gloomy Sunday, we’re gonna turn that frown upside down by taking a look at one of Seattle’s finest psychedelic and experimental rock bands of the modern era, General Mojo’s!
One of the great things about Seattle’s music scene is its ability to move forward and give a big middle finger to the status quo once things start to become stale. As we’ve mentioned in a previous entry of this series, hazy, psychedelic “pharmaceutical rock” is one of the most prevalent sounds in the Emerald City, and while plenty of Seattle bands adopt this style well, to fully stand out among the overwhelming sea of reverb and sun-scorched guitars, your band has to be doing something great and emergent that no other band around here can offer, and General Mojo’s seem to be up to the task. While other modern psych rock bands can feel like straightforward jangly indie pop bands with a few extra effect pedals and toke hits added for some easy sonic bliss, General Mojo’s take this reverb-y atmosphere and use it as a sonic palette to experiment with an impressive array of styles — jazz rock, gargantuan progressive rock, space rock — and pull off each experiment with meticulous finesse and attention to detail.
Listening to the band’s latest studio release, the six-track How Hollow a Heart, you can tell that a lot of attention and time went into each individual element of these songs to make them sound as fantastic as possible. Across the 27 minutes the mini-album lasts, the listener is constantly kept on their toes, through songs that are always introducing new sonic textures, added instrumentation, and the occasional radical shift in style at the drop of a hat, as evidenced on “Coyote Song,” which suddenly transitions from a jazzy, spaced-out prog-rock jam into an exotic, body-moving worldbeat groove with percussion that feels wholly different from the album’s typically punchy drums. The album is filled with guitar riffs that have strong melodies and give the album some catchy appeal, and whenever guitarist David Solonen throws one of his many dizzying guitar solos onto the tail-end of these tracks, no one is safe from his wrath. How Hollow a Heart closes with one of the most epic, arena-sized album closers we’ve heard in a long time, “Don’t Feed the Birds,” whose rush of colossal instrumentation in the latter half of the song is the stuff of wonders, and the song is capped off with the album’s best moment, collaborator Kate Copeland’s excellent, masterfully performed, and pretty long keyboard solo, a moment where, even though the album is three minutes shy of the 30-minute mark, you finish the album feeling completely satisfied and eager to immediately replay the album.
General Mojo’s are one of those boundary-pushing bands that definitely deserve recognition that far transcends just local notoriety. If you’re looking for a band whose music will leave you feeling you just embarked on a massive and purposeful journey, you have to look into what General Mojo’s are doing.
You can follow General Mojo’s on Facebook and Twitter, and keep up with the band through their official website, generalmojos.com. Their music is available for streaming or purchase through generalmojomusic.bandcamp.com, where you can also find physical CDs of their two full studio releases. Stream the first single from How Hollow a Heart, “The Valley,” below via the band’s YouTube.