When we first started tossing around ideas for the next compilation, at first, it seemed like a bit too much to handle. We also weren’t really sure where to begin – Fecking Bahamas routinely peeps the planet in search of the newest sounds, and everywhere offers something. Y’all are a talented bunch. So we thought about throwing darts at a globe till we hit somewhere new, but then it hit us: we were pretty excited about right where we were, at that exact moment.
At the time, we were still based in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene itself might never have the visibility that Portland has, its sprawling arts and music community is literally spilling over with talent. In fact, a number of acts that have taken off in Portland first started just two hours south in humble Eugene. It’s on the smaller side, but dense, and forms sort of a natural pipeline. It also makes for a convenient, if occasionally unforgiving, spot for West Coast tour routes, which is how we came into contact with the majority of these bands.
Once we made the choice, it didn’t take long for our inboxes to become absolutely flooded with familiar faces, old friends, and new acquaintances we were all too happy to make. In the end, the undertaking of Vol. VIII turned out to be a life affirming process, and we’re really excited to keep it going with the next two comps. Oh, and keen listeners just might pick up on some Fecking Bahamas Easter eggs in the short, ambient Travelogue interludes, a new feature we decided to throw in for more of an immersive feel.
Before we introduce everyone below, we want to take a moment to express our immense gratitude to all of the people in all of the bands for trusting us with their music. It’s a huge honor, and we cherish it every day. This is also the current iteration of FB’s first compilation, so for it to turn like this on the first go has us feeling pretty great about the future.
We are very lucky, and extremely proud, to finally present VIII. U.S. West Coast // Pacific Northwest.
Nekomi – “Rewind to Infinite”
The first track to hit our inboxes for the compilation, and one that gets stuck in our heads all the time. Oakland’s Alicia Rei Kim and their command of guitar in its rawest form is on full display here, which might surprise Nekomi fans expecting more of the atmospheric, industrialized death-pop found on Hell is A Lonely Place, but as soon as we heard it, we knew it was going to be the proper intro to the comp.
When we asked Ando to be a part of the compilation, we weren’t sure what he was going to say. However, he quickly said yes, and it was a turning point of sorts for the comp – at that moment, we knew we had to give it everything we had. Ando’s hyper-melodic thump and slap-happy progressive hip-hop bops are a always above average, and “The Bright Side” is just one example of how he combines deft production and esoteric guitar technique into singularly tasteful results.
Easily the quirkiest cut from The Mantra Discord’s recent EP, this bonkers little ripper goes through a plethora of stages before landing in a majestic lake of reverberated saxophone. The band wears influences on its sleeve Covet and Polyphia, but it’s The Mantra Discord’s subtler quirks, like that minor-2nd turnaround in the main riff, that keep you coming back.
If you’ve kept up with our social media and the main site, you’ve most likely already been introduced to this trio. This live print of “Giving Up the Ghost” is one of the several songs from of their debut that bring to mind a specific brand of progressive post-hardcore explored by bands like Fear Before and Exotic Animal Petting Zoo and in our book, that is never a bad thing.
It’s been way too long since we’ve heard anything new from San Francisco’s noisy moth rock warriors, but we certainly won’t turn down a good B-side while we wait. “Cubed” plays like a swiftly oncoming heat flash, with skronky breaks and detached, ominous vocal drones. It’s as entertaining as it is abrasive, and that’s just the way we like it.
We have a feeling this one is going to be sneaking up on a lot of unsuspecting listeners. Gentleman Surfer is relatively new to us as well, introduced to us by the guys in Hypha. “Herc Bags” is math rock to the core, with blitzing drums and an overall Lightning Bolt-on-acid vibe that is sure to have you begging for more – if you can hang.
It’s hard to tell if the title “Transylvanian Sala” is profound or not. On one hand, vampiric blood salsa sounds incredibly metal. On the other, garlic heavy salsas often leave us feeling kind of strange. Luckily, Hypha’s ode to this fantastical substance is a unique and progressive journey through all of the possibilities. It’s got a slightly different from from their debut, which we also really liked – the heavier parts are heavier, but there is also a lot more dynamic in the melodies and guitar parts, so we’re really excited to see Hypha continue to push themselves, and are stoked to have them here.
Getting an email from Former Animals to let us know that they were not only regrouping, but wanting to participate in the compilation, was another moment in the curation process where we had to step back and take it all in. We haven’t heard anything from the band since 2012, and their bombastic EP’s are still a thing of wonder today, and if “Mocha! Mocha! Mocha!” is any indication, they’ve still got more than enough math-y magic to go around.
As sparse as the southern Oregon bays can appear, there’s actually a pretty bustling artistic community if you look hard enough. While I See Sound are one the area’s premier math rock bands, and their talent for crafting original ideas is easy to see on “Oedipus Fate” with its kaleidoscopic guitars and dark vocal narrative. Fun Fact: several members of this band are behind the Tidal Bridge Sessions, an excellent showcase for local and surrounding talent.
Although not as terrifying as you might think, Egotones’ “Terror Ascension” is one of those menacing little jaunts into the math-adjacent land of instrumental surf. This ain’t no big Kahuna, though – the song clearly demonstrates Egotones’ affinity for Western spaghetti sounds and haunting carnival nightlife vibes. No matter where you find Egotones, the uniquely cinematic flair of these PNW greats is sure to stand out.
Muscle Beach Petting Zoo – “Rate of Decay (Swamp Rock Mix)”
You know, before anyone referred to MBPZ as math rock or prog, the residents of Eugene called them “swamp rock.” For better or for worse, this label didn’t really hold, but “Rate of Decay” perhaps most obviously bridges the gap between the swampy garage rock the town was used to, and the mathematical guitar-tapping harmonies from the modern world.
Check out more from Muscle Beach petting Zoo here.
Evan Pond – “Hit Return”
There are a lot of catchy bits on this compilation, but the first minute or so of Evan Pond’s “Hit Return” contains some of the most aggressive ear-worms that we encountered throughout this entire process. The way the song divides itself using syncopated meter and alternating time signatures is pretty impressive, and a lot of the adventurous guitar phrasing reminds us of a younger, ASIWYFA with a dash of the first Adebisi Shank EP.
Honeybender – “San Junipero (Live at Liesureland)”
Just for a second, even though it’s kind of the point, can you just imagine the things you’d do as a honey bender? So many teas, so little time. This live cut of “Junipero” from Leisureland sees the band fully blissed out at Leisureland – you can really hear just how damn sunny these guys are feeling in the instrumentation, and it’s a warm, sticky, and infectious good time for all.
Mobilities is a progressive outfit from Portland that have been slowly rising from the underground for a few years now, and this live cut of “Estoque” shows off their practiced, methodical pace. The song’s atmospheric moments feed perfectly into its more explosive ones, but at any dynamic, Mobilities is one of the area’s more uniquely transportive acts. It’s a focus that makes for a chemistry that absolutely ignites whenever it hits the stage, and this Star Theater cut is no exception.
When we first met Basso Profundo’s bandleader, he was tending bar at a place called Blaire Alley. Like we mentioned earlier in the intro, a lot of bands that manage to take off in Portland first get their footing in Eugene. We’re not sure if this particular project began down there, but either way, we’re happy to present “Bodily Oddity.”
To Bloom has been making waves out of the PNW the past year or so with their technically charged post-hardcore, and it’s a pleasure to see, because Portland (if not Oregon at large) has somewhat of a garage rock problem. To Bloom are cut from a different cloth entirely, and keep things interesting with touches of progressive influence from bands like Eidola, A Lot Like Birds, and Origami Button. Fun Fact: Mobilities’ Logan Gardner also slays the kit for this band, adding to the general excitement.
Bug Seance’s cool and relaxed post-everything breeze is a breathe of fresh air, and “November” is a great introduction to the overall aesthetic of the band. It’s not quite shoegaze or post-rock, but it does know when to lean into a part. Or build it up, tear it down, speed it up, what have you. Bug Seance aren’t afraid to stretch a good idea around a twisted structure, and as you can hear by now, they’re pretty darn good at it.
Yet another moment we knew this compilation was going to be a rootin’, tootin’ good time was when bandleader Maeve Louise Greenleaf submitted “Spring Ensemble.” Maeve has always been a talented songwriter (not to mention writer), but her band’s lively backing sweetens the deal with emotive strings and a deeply textured rhythm section. Fun Fact: the band’s bass player, Jeff Cole, filled in on both bass and drums at different times for Childspeak during their Indulgent Endeavors tour.
Speaking of Childspeak alumni, Ben Toledo, who also filled in on bass during the Indulgent Endeavors tour and some time after, is brains behind this project, and it’s great to hear him get his groove on here with the post-punk tinged “Faceless.” But we will also always remember him as the absolute unit behind the low end of Other Lights, which was more of a post-metal thing. The last time we saw them was when we all played with Felix Martin and Sarah Longfield in 2019. Anyway, fans of El Ten Eleven and Silian Rail are sure to find something to dig here, and we hope to hear more from the band soon.
Hell, let’s just get the Childspeak part of the article done with already, why don’t we? It’s only right, as this particular section of the comp overall we had the most fun sequencing, as we couldn’t help but think about all the intertwined relationships we’d developed with all the bands over the years. Lord, do we miss them something fierce. Regardless, if you’re curious, this “Fillet, Move On” mix is slightly different from the album one, features some minor overdubbing, and even got somewhat of a light remaster, so it does feel like it’s dripping with a little more sauce than the OG cut. Just a little though.
We decided to close out the Oregon part of the journey with one of the true sprawls of the Portland underground. Though Rainbow Face’s name might paint a nostalgic picture in your mind of the vintage hippie mindset, don’t be fooled – the band might play a mean brand of psychedelic prog, but rest assured, it is not like that at all. It’s more like every member of King Crimson chasing you down the street, breaking you with their instruments. And we mean that as a compliment.
The last few tracks felt like an upward arc, so we decided to take it down a notch as we cruise into the Washingtonian portion of the comp. First up we have Filling Company, which is the creative union of Laura Fisher and Shake The Baby Till the Love Comes Out‘s Niko Wood. The result is a tranquil, soulful break from reality, and a low-key reminder that even though Niko can absolutely decimate a drum set, he also knows when to hang back when the song calls for it.
Armature – “Woodwork”
It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Seattle’s Armature, the last time actually being our first ever article for Fecking Bahamas, (well, we being me, if that helps) which was on the relationship between math rock and the Fender Telecaster. While we can’t be sure what guitars are featured on the track, we can be sure that we like what we’re hearing, especially in the breakdown that clean little tap solo before the outro takes off. Either way, if you’re looking for some adventurous post-rock flavored math, and you haven’t heard Armature yet, you’re definitely in for a treat.
Another win for Seattle, Himiko Cloud’s expertly executed formula is hard to deny on “Terrestrial.” You can pick up traces of shred-y influences like CHON, but there’s a wide open palette of tones on display here that speaks to the band’s overall emphasis on songs themselves. There’s also a palpable sense of fun, which goes a long way with, and probably the listeners as well.
In 2016, I met Don Forgetti at a crazy house party in a suburb of Seats;e that was hosting a show for their music video premier. I won’t familiar with their music at the time, but as I watched their set, I was struck by their humor and bizarre delivery. It was psychedelic, manic, and occasionally hard to follow – that’s how I knew I liked it. I was happy to hear the band was still active, and we couldn’t resist the chance to show “Manopotato” to the rest of the world out there.
Within seconds of “Funeral Party”, listeners will feel a torrent of non-linear ecstasy that only algebraic lords like Garrett Gleason and Niko Wood could create. The song potentially represents the first glimpse into the duo’s next batch of beautifully chaotic tunes, the first of which we were happy to premier last year. That album was pretty insane, but from the sound of it, we are in for something even more extreme.
Check out more from Garrett Gleason and Niko Wood here.
Scum Luckily – “Tenterhook”
Let’s be honest, “Tenterhook” is a creepy name. We’re not sure if it’s a real thing, but it sounds like something between a tendril and a tender hook, and that’s just got us really afraid. Thankfully, this Scum Luckily offering isn’t quite as intimidating, with it’s fuzzy, bear-like bass and swooping drums.
A City Without A Map – “Scream Hell Away”
We are so stoked to present A City Without A Map, which not only features Max of Two Brothers on vocals, but our very own social media contributor Nick Van Meter. The song’s crunchier beginning and harsh vocals give way to some loopy introspection and cool guitar phrasing halfway through, making for a decent cut of post-hardcore no matter who is involved.
A newcomer we’ve been relatively excited about, At Home With Monsters is a melodic, metallic slab of prog for fans of The Safety Fire and Protest the Hero. “Folded Flame” near goes quite full mathcore, but it certainly blazes past the boundaries of the average math rock band, particularly when we get an epic saxophone lead when we least expect it. We honestly have no idea what to expect from the project next, but it will probably be fast, and sometimes, that’s all we need.
The Pieces of Shit! – “Mouth Sounds (feat. Thomas Erak)”
The final official track of the comp couldn’t be in better hands than with The Pieces of Shit! But of course, a guest feature from legendary Fall of Troy frontman Thomas Erak would probably go a long way now that we think about it. Oh, we can have both? Right on.
Well, that was that, and now was are exhausted as hell. Stream, buy, and pirate the comp to your hearts’ content, and if you wanna rejuvenate us, at any point we’ll take a hot coffee, which you can buy us here. It’s snowing out here. We hate it. Anyway, once again, big thanks to all the bands involved, and we can’t wait to kick off VIII. B East Coast // Midwest and do it all over again real soon. Well, maybe we can wait a little bit. Like a week. Maybe. Thanks for reading!