It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest has a storied history of producing stellar bands that bubble their way up from the regions underground. Most bands of old from Portland, Seattle, Olympia and other locales don’t even need to be referenced here. You just know who they are. In 2016 things are no different as the Seattle music scene continues to pummel the world with sincere, relevant, and often stringently feminist rock music. Nirvana brought my ears to the Northwest but I stayed for Tacocat, Stickers, Childbirth, Lisa Prank, Chastity Belt, and a whole slew of others who’ve created a sound and scene all their own.
One of those others is Pony Time, a raucous duo comprised of Luke Beetham and Stacy Peck. Their latest album Rumours 2: The Rumours are True released in late 2015 fits into this mold while still carving out a unique space and aesthetic. The albums 11 tracks are a kind of militant sounding, lo-fi punk that can illicit both head bobbing and moshing in the right circles. Pecks drumming is steady, precise and almost machine gun-esque on tracks like “Really Nice Guys”, “Rock and Roll Will Kill You”, and the poppy “Just Chips”. Beetham’s new wave vox are a constant contrast to the gritty rawness of the duo’s instruments creating a classic late-70’s punk vibe on “Don’t Mind If I Dew”. The songs on Rumours 2 tend to start slow and steady. They entice you to wait for the climax which typically brings Beetham’s pop laden hooks crashing into Peck’s hectic work behind the kit. This formula is exemplified by “Pattern Time” the last Pony Time track on the record.
The final song on the album is indicative of the support and collaboration which has allowed this scene to continue to thrive. Peck’s involvement in Seattle super-group Childbirth along with Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt and Bree McKenna of Tacocat is just one of many projects the drummer is working on, the latest of which is Party Girls; a new group featuring Beetham and Peck along with Robin Edwards (aka Lisa Prank). The punked out party pop of the previous 10 tracks gives way to “Stop Talking” a riot grrrl fueled volcano of a song which draws a clear line of sight to where these musicians came from. In this way the album manages to look into the future and past while still remaining grounded in the present. Pony Time are just one of many building on the underground scenes of decades past and yet they’re doing it in a way which doesn’t rely on any preconceived notions of what “punk” or what the “Northwest” is supposed to sound like. Pony Time makes music which sounds like Pony Time, and that is exactly what I’m looking for in 2016. Rumours 2: The Rumours are True is out now on SS Records.