Jolly Drones // Sequoim
Ah, the Pacific Northwest. The wooded and foggy region (an experience mostly gained through Twin Peaks and listening to the Microphones / Mount Eerie) has long been a bastion of independent music, spearheaded for years by the likes of legendary labels including K Records of Olympia and Sub Pop of Seattle. There naturally still exists an immense passion for music and songwriting in the area, and entering that creative fray is psych-noise band Jolly Drones out of Olympia, Washington. Comprised of Nathan Gibson, Jenna Fitton, Joel Davenport, and “anyone they can find,” they’ve released their first single, “Sequoim”, ahead of their upcoming album release through L.A.-based Gazelle Recordings. For “Sequoim”, Jolly Drones have also enlisted the collaborative aid of Elizabeth le Fey, the enigmatic and spellbinding songstress who records and performs under the moniker of Globelamp.
“Sequoim” introduces itself with a cacophony of different noises: a wailing guitar, feedback, and some edited cuts of what sounds like human breathing. But a quick drum lick later and “Sequoim” truly begins with the powerful vocals of le Fey and a noticeably cool bass line. A story of provoking time, le Fey warns: “Today, makes me ready for tomorrow. Don’t be late.” Eventually harmonizing with le Fey is frontman Gibson, and although “Sequoim” tries to present itself as a duet, Elizabeth le Fey sounds to be the one at the reins vocally. However, the song isn’t intended to be a Globelamp track. Jolly Drones have carefully set themselves apart stylistically from the analog, folksy creations of Globelamp with their own take on a mix of 1990s shoegaze and Olympia rock.
The debut album of Jolly Drones, entitled Crush!, stands to be fairly hefty at 21 tracks, and “Sequoim” is but a small yet gratifying taste. Now, I’ve intended to write this article without the use of any analogies to nature, which seems to be pretty common when referencing bands from the Northwest. But I relent: “Sequoim” strangely attaches to you like a patch of feral Cascade moss. Whatever that means. Be sure to catch Crush! digitally and on cassette when it releases August 21st and see them live in San Francisco with The Electric Magpie on August 28th.