A stable of Seattle music luminaries, including Mudhoney, Navvi and Cumulus, release strong new albums on Sept. 28.
We’re officially calling it: September is the new Rocktober. After all, it’s tough to out-rock any month that begins with a partial Nirvana reunion and the usual Bumbershoot exploits, not to mention punk-metal roller-rink blowouts and inclusive four-(late)-night dance-music bashes.
But an already solid month for Seattle music wraps with a spate of strong new releases from local artists dropping Sept. 28, with a packed weekend of release shows in their honor. From grizzled, ever-relevant rock faves to cerebral electro-pop luminaries, here are six Seattle records that should be on your radar.
Cumulus, “Comfort World”
Alex Niedzialkowski wasn’t in the happiest place while writing her down-but-not-out follow-up to 2013’s “I Never Meant It to be Like This.” On top of a fizzled relationship and the dissolution of her day job and backing band, word came that Niedzialkowski’s mother had developed breast cancer. Despite the emotional trials, a sense of resilience permeates the resulting indie-pop rockers on “Comfort World,” Cumulus’ second album on Chris Walla’s Trans- Records. Buzzing power-pop riffs prop up the songwriter’s wistful pop-punk-informed vocals on single “Tough Crowd” before the more stripped-down, somberly twangy “Lighter” — a two-song turnaround exemplifying the record’s delightfully subtle range.
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28; Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave., Seattle; $10; 206-784-4880, sunsettavern.com
Mudhoney, “Digital Garbage”
If any band could channel the exasperated gloom of life in 2018 into an album that magically doesn’t make us want to self-waterboard, of course it’d be the sarcastic local alt-rock greats, who are celebrating their 30th year as a band. Mudhoney’s topical new album plays like an irritably hungover read through The New York Times’ e-edition with searing commentary from singer Mark Arm. Over the band’s unruly midtempo scuzz, Arm skewers fearmongering (“Paranoid Core”), religious hypocrisy (“21st Century Pharisees”) and validation-craving social-media culture (“Kill Yourself Live”) with his morbidly dark humor keeping the latter from feeling like a curmudgeonly lecture from across the generational gap. Yeah, the world sucks. But 30 years in, Mudhoney does not.
9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29; Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $20.50-$23.50, 206-315-8063, stgpresents.org
Two years after Navvi’s impressive debut album, the airy electro-pop duo returns with another set of cerebral soundscapes made for cloud-surfing moonlit skies. Kristin Henry’s soulfully gauzy vocals lend an arm’s-length intimacy to Brad Boettger’s downtempo productions, pulling you in through a fog of lo-fi synths and reverberating basslines, but not close enough to lose their mystique. Released via Seattle’s notable Hush Hush Records, “Ultra” doubles down on Navvi’s spectrally brooding sound that makes for intoxicating club shows.
8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28; Vermillion Art Gallery & Bar, 1508 11th Ave., Seattle; free; 21-plus; vermillionseattle.com
Red Ribbon, “Dark Party”
Emma Danner, the driving force behind Red Ribbon, has a way of penning dark and spindly indie-rock songs that creep and crawl into your skull, leaving chilling lines like “I won’t die of loneliness, but if I do I’ll blame you” rolling around in there for days. The group’s first proper album, issued via Everett’s solid upstart label Union Zero, features several excellently touched-up songs from last year’s “Freaks Only” tape, including “Use My Head” — the album’s somberly plodding centerpiece, now with more nuanced layers and clearer production giving Danner’s voice a haunting clarity.
With Spesh; 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30; Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $12; 206-709-9442, thebarboza.com
Spesh, “Famous World”
Emerging from the dissolution of Seattle’s now-defunct Boyfriends, Spesh hit the ground running last year with their hallucinatory, pop-leaning take on British alt rock, making noise with club gigs and low-key but well-received local festival slots this summer. Their buoyantly gliding debut album runs as fluidly as a Technicolor river, with frontman Michael McKinney dreamily crooning on the standout “Tomato Rose” like a lost Gallagher brother who’d rather hit underground dance parties with acid-dropping basement punks than wage stadium-sized quarrels with Noel and Liam. It’s a darkly danceable set evoking the Psychedelic Furs and the melancholic post-punk of early Cure, riding jangly riffs and irresistible elastic rhythms.
With Red Ribbon; 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30; Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $12; 206-709-9442, thebarboza.com
Tres Leches, “Amorfo”
These scruffy, bilingual post-punks have quickly become local favorites, thanks to their DIY sensibilities and stormy live shows that find the trio rotating instruments on stage. On their debut album, Tres Leches trade English/Spanish lyrics over barbed riffs, methodically slashing and bobbing through the impressive eight-song set. From the seven-minute “Doing What Are You/What Are You Doing” — a wiry bop-along that boils over into crunchy shouter — to the psychedelic jangle-and-fuzz of “I Try,” the warmly frayed album coolly shifts gears with a cohesive serve-the-song liberty.
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28; Clock-Out Lounge, 4864 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle; $10; 21-plus; clockoutlounge.com