Seattle rock band celebrates release of new record “Sincerely” on Feb. 23 at Chop Suey.
Like many rock bands with DIY roots, Dude York’s career has been a journey toward clarity — better recordings, more focused songwriting. It’s fitting, then, that the band, which plays a record-release show at Chop Suey on Thursday, Feb. 23, has paired its most direct writing with its biggest-sounding songs to date.
“Sincerely,” the group’s new record on Seattle label Hardly Art, feels like a payoff for what’s long been one of the city’s hardest-working bands.
Since relocating from Walla Walla to Seattle in 2010, the trio — singer/guitarist Peter Richards, singer/bassist Claire England and drummer Andrew Hall — has persistently played clubs, house shows and basements while releasing a series of singles, EPs and full-length records.
With Mommy Long Legs, Lisa Prank; 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., Seattle; $10 (206-324-8005 or www.chopsuey.com).
For “Sincerely,” the band enlisted John Goodmanson (known for his work with grunge-era acts like Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill) to produce the album. The result is the sort of hefty, hooky-rock record for which Seattle is still known.
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Crucially, though, Dude York’s music isn’t a nostalgia trip. Though the trio’s fractured power-pop sound would have fit in on college radio 25 years ago, its mindset is in the here and now.
Its songs primarily deal with the anxiety, frayed relationships and ennui that crop up in one’s mid-20s, a preoccupation that juxtaposes strikingly against such brash, self-assured music.
Such a focus allows the band’s personality to come through in a way that’s refreshingly unforced. On “The Way I Feel,” Richards sings about texting his therapist even though he knows he can’t legally respond; “Sincerely I” is a minutelong interlude consisting of some very pretty guitar noodling overlaid with a voicemail from a La Croix Water customer-service representative.
Much has been made, in music-criticism circles at least, about rock’s place in the modern-music landscape.
Mainstream rock hasn’t been a commercial force in decades; indie rock seems out of touch in an increasingly diverse world.
Bands like Dude York, alongside Mitski, Angel Olsen or Hardly Art label mates Tacocat and Chastity Belt, seem like the most likely way forward: rock music that touches on modern concerns, is forthright instead of vague and offers perspectives other than the male gaze.
Theorizing aside, though, Dude York is still a rock band, and one that’s proved to be a cohesive, confident live act. The new songs should shine in a club setting.